NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio played host Sunday for thousands of New Yorkers who dropped in for an open house at the Gracie Mansion.

Visitors lined up outside the historic house, at 88th Street and East End Avenue on the Upper East Side, and waited for hours for their chance to stop inside.

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There, they were greeted by the mayor with a handshake and had their photo taken with him.

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, visitors said it all felt like a casual Sunday afternoon at the de Blasios’.

“He said to me, he says, ‘Welcome to the people’s house and Happy New Year,’” one visitor said.

“I asked him to shrink a little bit, because he’s much taller than me,” another said. “He said he certainly will, and he came down pretty close to me.”

Some kept it light, while other talked policy, appreciating the mayor listening to people.

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“Hopefully he can continue and it can be theme throughout his time as mayor,” a visitor said.

De Blasio said he wanted to send a message that the Gracie Mansion is a place for everyone.

“The idea today was the Gracie Mansion is the people’s house; that everyday New Yorkers should be able to come here, and enjoy it, and experience it,” he said.

De Blasio’s staff served visitors hot chocolate and apple cider while they waited.

More than 5,000 people registered online for the open house.

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