A man living in New York City has not paid rent for his apartment in more than 30 years, yet he is not facing eviction.
Roy Fox is one of the 23 lucky New Yorkers who live in a publicly owned historic sites across the five boroughs.
The former radio host, who worked in cities from his native Chicago to Detroit and Pittsburgh, happen upon an offer to live rent-free in the King Manor House – an 11-acre historic landmark in Jamaica, Queens.
The only catch is to serve as a caretaker of the 29-room mansion in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
“[I just] open and close the place,” said Fox of his 1806-built museum dwelling.
“Work hardly comes to mind.”
“It’s payment for all the years I’ve done, doing nothing,” he added.
Fox happened upon the opportunity in the late 1980s, when his then-wife had a job restoring the carousel at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Her boss tipped her off that the parks commissioner was looking for someone to live in the King Manor.
“It was such a New York story,” Fox recalled.
The centuries-old manor was once owned by Rufus King — one of the five framers of the US Constitution and a vocal abolitionist.
His sons Charles King and John Alsop King became president of Columbia College and governor of New York, respectively.
“The beginnings of anti-racism were here at King Manor with this family and others like them,” said Fox.
“I’m housebound, but what a house to be bound in.”
Frank Vagnone, head of the Historic House Trust, reveals that as many as 16 other New Yorkers have the same deal at other historic houses.
“People from the outside might just see it as free rent and say, “I’ll do that,” but in actual fact, it’s a really responsible job,” he said.