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I was walking down East 62nd Street this morning and was particularly struck by the contrast between the green leaves on the trees and this fantastic Beaux-Arts mansion that I have passed by so many times before.
Turns out 11 East 62nd Street was bought for $21,000,000 in 1999 by the Government of Japan and is used as the home of its permanent representati ve to the United Nations. It was built in 1900 by Margaret Vanderbilt Sheperd for her daughter Edith and her husband Ernesto Fabbri who was head of the Society for Italian Immigrants. Now known as the Fabbri-Steele Mansion, it stands 45 and a half feet wide with 22,500 square feet under roof! The architects, Haydel & Shepard, drew plans for massive entertaining spaces including the ornate ballroom, 21 by 45 foot mahogany paneled dining room, seven principle bedrooms, as well as nine staff rooms to house the Swedish chefs, English butler and footmen, Finnish lady’s maid, and Italian valet. Phew!
The second floor music room boasted this ridiculously ornate electro-pneumatic Aeolian Organ which was installed at a reported cost of $7,500. Apparently, most everything from the unpainted rolling oak doors in the kitchen to the studded leather door to the dining room was intact when the Japanese government bought the house 13 years ago. The organ was apparently disassembled and placed in storage where it waits restoration. Check out this 1999 Times article for more history and details and this for a little more on the Aeolian organ.