This week, Jailee got a peek at the Andrew Freedman Home located on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. The abandoned mansion is the location of a new exhibition by No Longer Empty that will go up later this spring. No Longer Empty, an art organization, creates exhibitions in spaces that are, well, empty or not in use. Take a look at this amazing site and what Jailee found inside.
The grand entrance to the Andrew Freedman Home faces the Grand Concourse in the Bronx located steps from the subway. Behind the steel gate and fence lies an impressive mansion that has been abandoned for 25 years and has fallen into disrepair. The mansion, owned by millionaire Andrew Freedman, became a home for rich people that lost their fortunes during the Depression. When I walked up to the building, I saw the tarp covered staircase and assumed that there must be another way in.
Walking around to the rear of the mansion, I found this back entrance. Currently, the ground floor of the home is occupied and being used as a community center. Children and their families bustle through this back entrance. Inside I found classrooms and activities taking place inside. However, when I stepped outside again to take a better look (and there weren’t any strollers passing by) I began to imagine what this mansion was like years and years ago. By looking at this rear entrance, you can imagine how the previous residents entered the mansion in style.
The first floor has a number of spacious ballroom and banquet spaces. In the year following the Depression, though those that lived here had lost their fortunes, the Home provided them with the lush surroundings that they were accustomed to. Fancy dinners and events were held in these spaces.
Here is another example of event space located on the 1st floor.
The most interesting part of my visit was taking a look on the 2nd floor. Eerie and quite, this floor seems to have been completely forgotten. This is where the residents had once lived. Individual apartments line the wide hallway, each with its own private bathroom. Christmas decorations were sitting in the hallway, a ghostly reminder that this was once the home of a vibrant and active community of people. The tree and presents look as though they were pulled out from one of the abandoned apartment rooms.
Most of the rooms look like this. Personal items, clothes, furniture are in heaps.
A few of the rooms are completely empty with the exception of the cracking walls. In this room, a phone was still mounted on the wall.
Small details like this beautiful door knob were a constant reminder to me of the mansion’s past as I wondered around. This mansion was once the home for residents with extravagant tastes and standards, but whose fortunes disappeared right before their eyes.
No Longer Empty’s exhibition is scheduled for April. They will be using some of the larger banquet spaces on the 1st floor as well as a number of rooms on the 2nd floor. You can read more about the exhibition here. Titled after the F. Scott Fitzgerald book, This Side of Paradise, the exhibition and its programming “will celebrate human ingenuity, the strength of the human spirit and the resilience needed to fashion beauty, hope and rejoicing from the simplest of resources.” (No Longer Empty website)
This will be a fabulous opportunity to breathe new life into this historical site.
Andrew Freedman Home
1125 Grand Concourse, Bronx