From the NY Times:
“George, you’ve always wanted this house,” said Mrs. Seguine, who by then was in her 90s and close to death. “Now you can have it. But you must promise me that you will save it.”
She didn’t have to ask twice.
Mr. Burke, now 80, promptly bought the house for $150,000 and spent the next five years restoring the premises to their former glory, largely with his own hands. Thanks to his efforts, the mansion looks much as it did when the Seguines roamed these generously proportioned, high-ceilinged rooms, and offers a vivid portrait of how people lived in an era characterized by both graciousness and a crowd of servants.
Mr. Burke presides over the mansion like a lord of the manor. But although he is part of a large extended family, he never married and has no children. From early on he worried about what would become of the house when he was not around to care for it.
And so in 1989 he transferred the house and its property to the Historic House Trust of New York City, which is operated in tandem with the city Parks Department. Under the terms of the arrangement, Mr. Burke can live in the house until his death, at which time the trust will take over the property. Because the building is a city landmark and listed on the state and federal registers of historic places, Mr. Burke is confident that what he calls “the last of the island’s great old plantation houses” will enjoy a long and happy life.