When former Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti begins his appointed ambassadorship in India sometime this year, not only will he be moving to a new country and culture, but his digs will change dramatically—and it feels like an upgrade.
In Los Angeles, Garcetti lived for nearly a decade in Getty House, the official residence of the L.A. mayor. A Tudor revival, Getty House was built in 1921 and is located in Windsor Square.
During the stormy pandemic years, the mayor found his home often under siege from demonstrators. In 2021, for example, protestors defaced the house after he signed an ordinance to limit homeless encampments.
And for the past two years, it’s been a hard-won road for Garcetti to win the ambassadorship gig. He had the support in the Senate, but that dried up after an alleged sexual harassment scandal involving one of his top lieutenants landed the mayor in hot water and in the crosshairs of Sen. Chuck Grassley, who commissioned a lengthy report. However, he maintained the steadfast support of President Biden and Senate Democratic leaders, as he told Los Angeles magazine in an October interview.
On March 16, the Senate confirmed Garcetti as the latest U.S. ambassador, ending a long, fraught journey to be granted his passage to India; the final vote count, which became iffy as senators’ support waivered, was ultimately 52 to 42.
In an interview with the Times ahead of the vote, Garcetti emphasized the support he saw from Biden.“I had check-ins with the president, and he was 100 percent behind me,” Garcetti said.
And very soon, Garcetti will take LAX to IATA in New Delhi, then head to his new home, the historic Roosevelt House—known as the traditional residence of the U.S. ambassador. As you can see below, this dwelling is a bit more luxe than Getty House, with white concrete grillwork and gold columns throughout its grounds.
Apparently, people had been accidentally walking into the water, so the reception room features an upward-snaking handrail that had to be extended around the decorative fountain a few years after the house’s dedication in 1963, according to a pamphlet about the property published by the American Embassy and New Delhi.
Shantipath, also known as Shanti Path, is the main road in this diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. Its name means “Peace Road” in Hindi.
The famous American architect, Durell Stone, designed not only the Roosevelt House but also the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. How that came to be was no accident: when Jackie Kennedy visited the Roosevelt House in 1962, she was so fascinated by the structure that she chose Durrell to design the building in D.C. that would bear her husband’s name.
The first American ambassador to India was Kenneth Galbraith, who served under Kennedy. In remarks made at the Roosevelt House dedication in 1963, Ambassador Galbraith said “it is a handsome building that does some credit to your capital.”
Roosevelt House became a gathering place—not just for politicians, but musicians, astronauts, and others, with an emphasis on cross-cultural exchange. Art here is also important, and the house has many works on loan from museums. Ambassador Kenneth B. Keating (1969-1972) said he “lived in a gallery.:
“It’s not exactly like home but then it’s never dull either,” he pointed out. During his time at Roosevelt House, the place was considered a leader, from paintings to sculpture, in the best of contemporary Indian art.
And if Garcetti ever gets overwhelmed, he can always retreat to the most California of past times—lounging by Roosevelt’s House’s swimming pool.
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