The Alexander Macomb House at 39–41 Broadway in Manhattan served as the second Presidential Mansion. President George Washington occupied it from February 23 to August 30, 1790, during New York City's two-year term as the national capital.
Alexander Macomb (1748–1831) was an Irish-born American merchant and land speculator. He built the four-story city house on the west side of Broadway in 1786–88. Macomb leased it to the French Minister Plenipotentiary, the Comte de Moustier, who occupied it until his return to Paris in early 1790. President Washington purchased furniture, mirrors and draperies from the departing Minister with his own money, including American-made furniture in the French style. Some of these items survive at Mount Vernon and elsewhere.
The first Presidential Mansion was the Samuel Osgood House at 3 Cherry Street in Manhattan, which Washington occupied from April 23, 1789 to February 23, 1790. He had been living there a week before his April 30, 1789, inauguration as the first President of the United States. The Osgood House (demolished 1856) was in the most congested part of Manhattan, near the port along the East River, and Washington found it cramped for his presidential household. The Macomb House was significantly larger, located in a neighborhood just north of the Bowling Green, with an extraordinary view of the Hudson River out its rear windows.
The presidential household functioned with staff of about 20, composed of wage workers, indentured servants and enslaved servants. Slavery was legal in New York, and Washington brought 7 enslaved Africans from Mount Vernon to work in his presidential household: William Lee, Christopher Sheels, Giles, Paris, Austin, Moll, and Oney Judge.
Under the July 1790 Residence Act, the national capital moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for a 10-year period while the permanent national capital was under construction in the District of Columbia. Washington vacated the Macomb House on August 30, 1790, and returned to Mount Vernon, stopping in Philadelphia to examine what was to become the third Presidential Mansion, the President's House in Philadelphia.
In 1821, the Macomb House became Bunker's Mansion House Hotel.