Payne Whitney Mansion
As one of the few remaining buildings from the Gilded Age architectural period, the Stanford White-designed Payne Whitney Mansion at 972 Fifth Avenue offers an unparalleled blend of history, location, design, and elegance. Steeped in the history of turn-of-the- century New York, Renaissance Europe and France, the mansion transports visitors to another epoch and offers the height of elegance and sophistication in the 21st century. Its location, across from Central Park and on Museum Mile, is easily accessible.
The mansion was commissioned in 1902 by Oliver Hazard Payne, a former treasurer of Standard Oil Company, for his nephew, Payne Whitney, on the occasion of his marriage to Helen Hay, uniting two prominent American families. Payne’s father, William, served as Secretary of the Navy under President Cleveland in 1885 and Payne’s father-in-law, John Hay, was U.S. Secretary of State from 1898-1905, as well as a U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Payne’s brother, Harry, married Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, a sculptor, arts patron and founder of the Whitney Museum of American Art.
The French government acquired the Payne Whitney Mansion in 1952. In 1970, it was deemed an official landmark of the City of New York. Today, this emblematic building is home to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.