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George Washington Historic Dinner in a Deluge

By Lori Perkins

It’s been three years since the Morris-Jumel Mansion held their annual George Washington dinner on the grounds of the oldest house in Manhattan. This lavish reconstruction of the meal George Washington might have served his first cabinet (which was held at the mansion in July of 1790) took place on July 9th, the night that the skies opened up to give New York City nine inches of rain in four hours, exactly when the dinner was being served.

The four-course meal was set to be served from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. in a tent on the grounds of the mansion, but the rain drenched the servers, dressed in costumes that would have been appropriate in the 1800s, so that the event ended about 11:00 p.m.

Trays of salmon with asparagus (first course), layered salad (second course), pork loin stuffed with breadcrumbs with an apricot tart side dish (third course) and Martha Washington’s cherry pie with vanilla ice cream (fourth course) were brought out covered by plastic tarps, as ample wine was served all night.

The 100 or guests, which consisted of politicians, neighborhood historians and descendants of the house’s former inhabitants, listened as the $10.5 million plan for the house’s refurbishment was presented by Peg Ayers Crowley, the lead architect for the reconstruction, who showed posters of what is to come. Work will be completed by 2025.

Lisa Koenigsberg, President of the Morris-Jumel Mansion Board of Trustees, informed the crowd that this was the most successful fund-raiser the mansion has had to date and that more would be planned. Hopefully, without rain, but kudos to the serving staff for making is all seamless and delightful!


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