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Living large, paying not rent

This twenty-nine room mansion in Jamaica, Queens was originally the residence of Rufus King and early abolitionist and framer of the constitution.

Today it’s a museum and the home of Roy Fox, a retired a radio host who lives here, get this, rent free. Rufus King had thirty-five hundred books which was one of the largest libraries in the United States at that point.

  In exchange for 23 years of free housing he’s become the resident expert and tour guide.   | He held an interesting book and it’s taking him forever and a day to get through it. The reason you have round area in a very square house is because you bring the musicians in and you set them up and you’ve turned the dining room into a ball room.

He doesn’t seem to mind that he can’t throw a party here. The dining room I can’t use, I have one upstairs I mean I own a kitchen You’ll see, that’s good enough for me.

The King Manor museum is one of 19 historic homes owned by New York City with a live-in care taker and it’s the same deal for all them. The job has no salary but they also don’t pay rent.

Welcome, four thousand books tend to take up space. My wife who’s had the good sense to leave me will tell anyone that would be interested, it doesn’t make any sense but Fox knows exactly where every book in the library is and that’s true.

In the late 1980’s Mr. Fox’s and wife got the job restoring the carousel in Prospect Park and her new boss told her about the opportunity to live at the manor.

When we moved in here, one of our first nights there was a storm outside and we were reading in the bed here and the roof comes down in somewhat of a slant and all of a sudden we hear (clapping noises) and Mary said, uh Fox do you want to…the exact sound would be (knocks on wall).

Fox, do you want to tell me what that is? I said, sure, that’s Rufus and he wants his house back without us in it. Mr. Fox says that there are some critics of his living situation.

It’s been this goofy thing, you know that you give these people free apartments and why should they have it and let’s take it away. Who came up with this goofy idea? I work hard I clean the toilets around here, I do all the maintenance things.

I do what needs to be done. We’re a very small operation here, We’ve got three people on staff and then the lovable Fox. Me and the city got the greatest deal going, they provide me with my apartment and I get the work done. Hallelujah.

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