Santa Claus' talk, wine tasting at Ten Broeck Mansion

by Super User
Event among varied holiday offerings at historic home Ten Broeck Mansion is red brick and thick with history, a distinguished elder in Arbor Hill and a beacon of Albany's role in the American chronicle. But it is, in some ways, Albany's stealth mansion. As prominent as it is, as proudly as it looms from both its downtown perch and its place in history, Ten Broeck is arguably the lowest-profile of the city's three historic sites. It's not on many people's commutes. It's not on many people's radar, either.

"It's off the beaten path," said Paula Hemmings, vice president of the board and an active volunteer with the mansion. And yet it's filled with stories. Down in the basement sits the oldest continually operating private wine cellar in the country — bet you didn't know that. It sat dormant during Prohibition, back when gangster Legs Diamond was busy bootlegging and canoodling. He visited his girlfriend Kiki on Ten Broeck Street the night he died — maybe you didn't know that, either. (The mansion was somewhere on Legs' radar, at least.)

Schuyler Mansion and Historic Cherry Hill are both a little bit older, a little bit more recognized, but Ten Broeck has its share of history and quirk.

"Part of it is you don't have the same name, like Schuyler — everybody recognizes Schuyler," Hemmings said. And these days, everybody associates Schuyler with Philip's daughter, Elizabeth, who married that guy, whatshisface, you know — oh, what's he called, again? "We actually do have an Alexander Hamilton" connection, said Samantha Hall-Saladino, the mansion's executive director. "So, Abraham and Elizabeth Ten Broeck's daughter married Rensselaer Schuyler, who was one of Philip Schuyler's sons — so she would have been the sister-in-law of Alexander Hamilton." That's probably something else you didn't know.

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