Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
April 2, 2024 ·  2 min read

Meet the man living in a 22,000-square-foot mansion rent-free

For the last 30 years, Roy Fox has been living in a 22,00 square foot mansion in New York City completely rent-free. There’s just one catch: He has to be the giant, historic museum’s caretaker. (1)

This Man Lives in an NYC Mansion Entirely Rent-Free

Since the late ‘80s, Fox has been living in King Manor House, a historic mansion in Jamaica, Queens, without paying a dime. How? He acts as the museum’s caretaker in exchange for room and board. (1)

Image Credit: Tamara Beckwith / New York Post

This makes him one of just 23 NYC residents who get to live rent-free in historical landmarks. How did he get the gig? Well, I suppose he can thank his first wife. (1)

A New York Story

Before moving into King Manor, Fox worked as a radio host. His wife at the time was working a job restoring the Brooklyn Bridge carousel. Her boss told her that the park commissioner was looking for someone to live in the mansion and take care of it. (1)

Fox moved in in 1989. The mansion has 29 rooms total, but he lives in what would have been the servant’s quarters, which he luckily had a say in the renovations done to them. (1) His home includes (1):

  • Two bedrooms
  • Bathroom
  • Open-concept kitchen and dining space
  • Office
  • Common area

Divorced twice, he lives alone in the house with his cat named Super Cat, who was once a stray. (1)

Outside of COVID times, he has plenty of interactions with museum guests and staff. He calls the museum staff his family and enjoys entering friends. (1)

“Fox is the heart of King Manor,” said King Manor executive director Kelsey Brow. “Years pass, and the Fox is still in the house. He always says, ‘King Manor, like no other museum.’ Well, there’s no other caretaker like our Fox!” (1)

A Real History Buff

Naturally, living in a historical mansion, Fox has a real affinity for history. The house was completed in 1806, however, some sections date back into the 1700s. It was inhabited by Rufus King, one of the five framers of the US Constitution and a passionate anti-slavery activist. (2)

“The beginnings of anti-racism were here at King Manor with this family and others like them,” Fox said. “I’m housebound, but what a house to be bound in.” (1)

One of King’s sons went on to become president of Columbia College, the other became governor of New York. (2)

So what does a man living alone in a giant mansion do all day during a global pandemic? Fox reads and writes, and writes and reads. He owns 4,000 books and counting, and always has a pen and piece of paper on him to write down his thoughts and observations as they come. (1)

It may not be the ideal situation for everyone, but for Fox, his historical mansion home is his own personal paradise.

Keep Reading: People Live In Oldest Mall In America After 48 Abandoned Shops Are Turned Into Homes


  1. “Meet the NYC man living in a 22,000-square-foot mansion rent-free.” NY Post. Allison Hope. December 31, 2020.
  2. King Manor.