Discover The timeless charm of the stephen van rennselaer house

Stephen Van Rensselaer III
B Nov 1, 1764 D Jan 26, 1839
PC Wikipedia
Stephen Van Rensselaer III built this modest two-story house at 153 Mulberry Street in 1816. Mr. Van Rensselear was 52 years old at the time and had an impressive political as well as a military resume, his rank was Major General. He was born into a very prestigious and wealthy family of the times. His father was Stephen van Rensselaer II, the 9th patron of Rensselaerswyck, and his mother was Catharina Livingston, daughter of Philip Livingston, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He studied at Princeton and Harvard University. In 1783 he married Margarita Schuyler who also came from a highly respected family. Her father, Philip Schuyler was renowned as a Revolutionary War general.

A Federalist, Van Rensselaer was a member of the New York State Assembly from 1789 to 1791, and the New York State Senate from 1791 to 1796. He was Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1795 to 1801, elected with Governor John Jay. Van Rensselaer, over his time in politics, acquired a reputation as a reformer, voting in favor of extending suffrage and going against much of New York's upper class in doing so. In 1801, Van Rensselaer presided over the state constitutional convention, was the Federalist nominee for Governor of New York, and lost to George Clinton, 24,808 votes to 20,843. He was also a member of the New York State Constitutional Convention in 1821, was elected to the House of Representatives a year later, and was a regent of the University of the State of New York.

During his lifetime, Van Rensselaer was among the richest men in America with a fortune of about $10 million, equal to about $68 billion today. Part of his fortune included a large amount of Manhattan real estate and the new house on Mulberry Street was part of it.
For unknown reasons, on August 11, 1842, the house was moved from the corner of Mulberry and Grand Street to 149 Mulberry-just two lots away. The new Italian American Museum sits at 153 Mulberry St. today.

During the late 1800’s the house, now located at 149 Mulberry St, served as an Italian cheese factory and the Italian Free Library on the main and upper floors. An average of two hundred and fifty men used the reading rooms every day, and upstairs there are rooms for young people and children’s clubs, sewing classes and acivities. On the first floor was the library and reading room. The room was decorated with American and Italian flags. There was a staff of 14 teachers for the children and in the basement was a clinic with several nurses to care for the community.

By 1911 the Italian Free Library and Italian cheese factory were gone and the house was home to Caputo’s Restaurant. This continued throughout the 20th century as the parlor floor of 149 Mulberry Street would consistently house an Italian Restaurant. In the 1930's it was home to Villa Nova Restaurant and for decades in the second half of the century it was Paolucci’s Restaurant.

The Stephen Van Rensslaer house was a bustling, active and well loved part of the community.

In 2022, Baby John’s The Pasta Boss brought real Italian cooking back to this address and is very proud to call this our home! We hope you enjoyed this varied and interesting history of 149 Mulberry Street, very much a part of the history of Little Italy. We are proud to be a part of the next chapter!
149 Mulberry Street 1940
PC NYC Tax Photo
149 Mulberry 1932
PC Library of Congress
A New Chapter For This Historic Home
Baby John and Chef Rosario Opening
The Pasta Boss 2022

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149 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013
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