Eleanor Roosevelt was the longest serving First Lady, presiding in that role from 1933 – 1945. While her husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was in office (and beyond), she played an active part in politics and served as a non-untraditional First Lady. She became active, engaged, and outspoken on controversial issues, including race and women’s rights.
In March 1942, the Roosevelts signed a four-year lease in this 16-story apartment building on MacDougal Street and Waverly Place, which overlooks Washington Square Park. The seven-room apartment (15-A) provided a street-level lobby entrance with accessibility for the president’s wheelchair.
Initially leased as a pied-à-terre (to be kept for occasional use,) the Roosevelts eventually planned to make this their primary New York City residence after World War II ended.
Following the death of FDR in April 1945, Eleanor Roosevelt moved in. She lived here for five years before moving uptown.
Although not a resident of Greenwich Village at the time, in 1958, Mrs. Roosevelt opposed plans to redesign Washington Square Park by opening it to traffic.