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On Staten Island, an Antebellum Mansion Sines Bright Old White House
By Josh Barbanel Feb. 11, 2015
“He wakes up every morning saying how can I make my home more beautiful,” said Christina Mantz, who grew up in an 1840s farm house on Staten Island. “Less is more is something he never learned.”
Mr. Burke still climbs a ladder each year to paint a portion of the exterior. He waters his trees and formal gardens by hand and feeds his flock of peacocks. He throws a spring garden party where guests are encouraged to dress in white.
In the past few years, he set up a foundation to eventually run the mansion alongside the city’s Parks Department.
To raise money to support the house in the future, Ms. Mantz put together a 124-page coffee-table book tracing the mansion’s history and Mr. Burke’s restoration. It is to be published at the end of March by Rizzoli New York. Her husband, Robert Mantz, an artist who works in advertising, handled the photography.
She has so far raised $42,000 of the $50,000 budget for the book, “The Seguine House: A Nineteenth-Century Working Estate in Twenty-First Century New York City,” ($50).