Van Cortlandt House

QUIZ: Can You Guess the Oldest Building in Each NYC Borough?

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Van Cortlandt House

Pop quiz time! I’m going to tell you a snippet of history about the oldest building in each NYC borough and you’re going to guess which building I’m describing. Ready? Now let’s begin!

Let's start off at Brooklyn's oldest building: With parts of this building dating back to 1652, this Canarsie farmhouse is not only the oldest building in Brooklyn, but also the oldest building in New York City! It stayed in the family for eight generations until 1901 when it was sold to developers. The house was later restored and opened as a museum in 1982. What is the name of this building?

Next, let's go to the Bronx's oldest building: Constructed in 1748, this Georgian-styled house was part of a wheat plantation owned by one of early New York's politically connected, mercantile families. This house and the surrounding land was sold to the city in the late 1880s and opened as a museum in 1897, making it the city's first historic house museum. Which historic house is it?

Moving on to Manhattan's oldest building: Built in 1719, this colonial relic was frequented by several revolutionaries before and after the Revolutionary War. Today, it serves as a museum along with continuing its original purpose; however, its status as Manhattan’s oldest building is disputed on account of its controversial restoration in 1906. Which building is this?

Now let's head to Queens' oldest building: This East Elmhurst home gets part of its name from the same family whose name is on the city's largest jail. The home's current owner gives private tours where she explains how she personally restored the house back to its 1654 glory, and displays her extensive antique collection, which includes Broadway memorabilia, World War I artifacts, and a 1915 Coney Island carnival horse. Which historic home is this?
Last but not least, let's go to Staten Island's oldest building: This historic home was built in the early 1660s by a French Huguenot who took his wife and four children to Staten Island to escape religious persecution in Europe. The family that first occupied this house was also one of the first founding families of Oude Dorp or Old Town, the first permanent settlement on Staten Island. No one has lived in this landmarked building since 1913, and today it is owned by Historic Richmond Town, who occasionally opens it to the public. But if you miss the opportunity for a tour, you can easily see the house as you drive by Richmond Road. What is the name of this house?

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