The landmarked building, which was built in the 1920s with money bequeathed by millionaire Andrew Freedman, was initially built to house formerly rich elderly people who had lost their fortunes. Freedman had almost lost his, and therefore had the home designed to enable these people to live out the rest of their lives in luxury, with white glove service and servants, only collectively in a nursing home. Thanks to No Longer Empty, the building, whose top floors have been abandoned for 25 years, has been getting a lot of attention and foot traffic — the perfect publicity needed for the opening of the bed and breakfast program mid-May.
Owned by the Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council, the bed and breakfast will not only give tourists a unique and historic place to rest their heads, but also give back to the community. The home has been a center for community programs and a job center in the past few years, and now it will help a few local Bronx residents train in the hospitality industry as part of a community education program. The ballroom will be converted into a restaurant, where locals can choose to enroll in a culinary program. The entire project will help reenliven the forgotten historic structure, brining more visitors to the Bronx, while also helping locals train for new and rewarding careers.
With construction underway, including a rehabbed grand front porch and ten guest rooms, visitors will have the unique opportunity to experience the life of old New York when the Bronx was the country, at least for a night. They can wander the ballrooms, sun themselves on the sprawling lawn, walk through the gardens, dine on the great porch under umbrellas, all while supporting the community — and all within a short walk of Yankee Stadium. The Bed and Breakfast is scheduled to open in mid-May.
Images by Lori Zimmer for Inhabitat