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Q&A with George Burke: Owner of the Seguine Mansion

George Burke, 85, relaxes on the lawn of

George Burke, 85, relaxes on the lawn of the Seguine Mansion, which he owns, in Prince's Bay, Staten Island, Friday, May 22, 2015. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Who says time travel isn't possible?

George Burke lives a 19th century life right in the heart of Princeas Bay, Staten Island. The 84-year-old former interior designer has joint ownership of the Seguine Mansion with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and he actually resides inside the historical landmark, surrounded by his own personal collection of eclectic antiques.

In the 1980s, he made it his mission to see the home restored to its former glory. With the help of friends, a whole lot of white paint, and the purchase of some majestic peacocks, Burke succeeded.  Now, the house is the subject of a new Rizzoli coffee table book: "The Seguine House: A Nineteenth-Century Working Estate in Twenty-First Century New York City."

The mansion stands as a testament to Prince's Bay past. And thanks to Burke's tenacity, it'll now be a lasting part of Prince's Bay's future.

You've traveled a lot of places. What makes Prince's Bay unique?

The history here is unbelievable. The Prince Regent used to anchor his ship right in the harbor. It's one of the safest places in New York City to live. It's like a little old town. Everybody keeps their property up.

What's it like living in a 19th century mansion?

It's gorgeous living here. It's like my own private oasis.

How do you interact with the community?

There's the annual White Party in the spring, we do a plantation barbecue in the fall where people dress up in period costumes, a formal Christmas party and other events throughout the year. Everybody loves it; they say I'm keeping up their real estate values.

Are you working on renovating any other parts of the property?

I'm restoring the rose garden this spring.


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