More than 30 years living for free in the 2,000m2 villa

Roy Fox has had to pay rent while living in a large New York City mansion for over 30 years.

In a city of 8.4 million people, Roy Fox, 81, is one of 23 lucky New Yorkers residing in one of the city’s historic sites.

After becoming a newscaster, Fox came across an offer he couldn’t refuse. It’s a chance to live without rent at King Manor House, a historic site of over 44,000 square meters in Jamaica, Queens (New York).

“My job is simply to close and open the door every day” – Fox said of the mansion that was built in 1806.

Fox has never signed a contract or agreed to any specific terms, but Fox has done a good job of it for the past 30 years.

Fox does not have to pay to live in one of the largest homes in the city without a salary.

Fox took the opportunity in the late 1980s. At that time, his wife was working at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Her boss said, people are looking for someone to live at the King Manor villa. So Fox applied for the position.

The King Manor mansion was once owned by Rufus King – one of the five founders of the US Constitution. 

Fox was fortunate to arrive here in 1989, just in time for the mansion to be renovated. Thanks to that, Fox has the opportunity to “intervene” in the redesign of the room for the old servants – which is about to become his private apartment.

Fox’s apartment is located on the 3rd floor and has a kitchen with a dining room, a study room, a bathroom and two bedrooms. Initially, the construction team intended to close the kitchen but he insisted on keeping it, even though he didn’t cook much.

The office in the center of the “apartment” is where Fox spends the most time. It had a window overlooking the lush green garden surrounding the building and another overlooking the bustling Jamaico Avenue.

Before the Covid-19 translation, he welcomed quite a few guests to the mansion. He often happily invited them to drink beer, eat popcorn and watch movies of history. But now he lives almost alone. Fox has been divorced twice, and their marriages are childless. His only friend with him is Super Cat – a wild cat he raised a year and a half ago.

The living space is simply decorated by Fox. There are no antiques or historical artifacts in the Fox habitat. He wanted to keep them in place on the lower floors of the building. You won’t find the TV in Fox’s whereabouts. He has not used this media since 1982, when he gave it to a homeless person

But he always found joy in the books. Fox owns more than 4,000 literary works, history … “Too much and never enough” by Mary Trump is the latest book he is reading. The apartment had so many books that it surpassed the collection of 3,200 books by King – the former owner of the mansion.
“I feel like I am surrounded by friends,” Fox said of his massive book collection. Fox read and wrote voraciously. He always carries a pen and piece of paper with him to make notes and circle passages in the book.

He is also not worried about ghosting rumors on nights alone in the large building.

“Haunted? The only scary thing in this building is me,” Fox said with a laugh.

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