Thursday, October 24, 2013

"Horse Tamer" Statue's New Home


© Bryant Library Local History Collection





A preservation success story took place this past Saturday in Gerry Park in the center of Roslyn's historical district, at the unveiling of a meticulously restored "Horse Tamer" statue from the long-gone Harbor Hill, the Gold Coast mansion of Clarence Mackay.










© Bryant Library Local History Collection

Originally two such statues graced Mackay's Stanford White-designed estate. Modeled after sculptures commissioned by Louis XV that once graced the Champs-Elysees and are now on display at the Louvre, the two Mackay horses went separate ways after the house was torn down in 1947. One was moved to Roslyn High School, and the other was left in situ in what became backyard of a private residence, where the 25 foot sculpture "almost dwarfed the house", according to Franklin Hill Perrell, president of the Roslyn Landmark Society.

© Howard Kroplick
© Howard Kroplick

It was the owners of this home, Bruce and Melissa Shulman, who donated the statue to the Town of North Hempstead before selling the property in 2010. The Roslyn Landmark Society embarked on a fundraising campaign to support the restoration of the statue by North Shore Architectural Stone. The nearly 3 year restoration was completed recently, resulting in the grand unveiling of the statue at Gerry Park where it can now be enjoyed by the general public.
© Paul J. Mateyunas
© Paul J. Mateyunas

 As a footnote, the second Horse Tamer sculpture was recently removed from Roslyn High School as its condition was deteriorating rapidly. It is currently at North Shore Architectural Stone where it is being restored. For more information on that project, you can visit: http://www.friendsofthehorsetamer.com/.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Inisfada, Continued

Inisfada © North Shore Long Island Country Houses

As discussed in our last post, the future of Inisfada remains the most pressing topic in Long Island's historic mansions today. According to the mayor of North Hills, Marvin Natiss, the group that has purchased Inisfada is interested in fully developing the property, and has not mentioned incorporating the house. (1) Over the past few weeks, asbestos abatement has been going on. This can be a sign of demolition or restoration, but in this case it is most likely the former. (2) If this story ends in the demolition of the house, it will join a long list of other impressive properties that have succumbed to suburbia on the North Shore—though perhaps none quite so large or significant throughout the community as Inisfada.


 Von Stade Estate © North Shore Long Island Country Houses
Von Stade Estate © North Shore Long Island Country Houses
• Von Stade Estate, Old Westbury - also William Entenmann's Timber Point Farm
Once a thriving horse farm, built by equine enthusiast F. Skiddy Von Stade and later part of the Entenmann family, the house was left to ruins for decades before finally succumbing to the wrecking ball to make way for a housing development in February 2012.

Dark Hollow © North Shore Long Island Country Houses
Dark Hollow © North Shore Long Island Country Houses
• Dark Hollow, Cold Spring Harbor - Oliver Burr Jennings
Designed by architects Mott B. Schmidt and Mogens Tvede in 1930, the centerpiece of the home was the barrel vaulted living room and a two-story rotunda with a repeating star pattern in its large skylight, chandelier, and terrazzo floor. Occupied privately up until 2010, new owners left it to ruin before razing it in January 2012.

© Paul J. Mateyunas
© Paul J. Mateyunas
• Keewaydin, Sands Point - John Scott Browning
Long credited as an inspiration for Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (and once owned by F. Scott Fitzgerald's publisher Herbert Bayard Swopes), Keewaydin was last sold in 2004, and torn down in 2011, when the new owner claimed to be unable to keep up with the costs of maintaining the aging property.

Flora Whitney House © North Shore Long Island Country Houses
Flora Whitney House © North Shore Long Island Country Houses
Flora Whitney House © North Shore Long Island Country Houses
• Flora Whitney House
The Delano & Aldrich designed home was sold in 1963 to the New York Institute of Technology, who used it until 1999 when it and its 113 acres was sold again for approximately $10 million. It was demolished by its new owners in 2001, when it was replaced by a newly built, even larger home.

Little Ipswich © North Shore Long Island Country Houses
• Little Ipswich, Woodbury - Ruby Ross and Chalmers Wood
Another Delano house, Little Ipswich was a favorite of the architect. The classically styled country home was called "gemlike" by Architectural Digest, and sold to Count Uzielli after Ruby Ross Wood's death. In 1995 it was razed and replaced by a modern development called Peroni Estates.

Burrwood © North Shore Long Island Country Houses
Burrwood © North Shore Long Island Country Houses
Burrwood © North Shore Long Island Country Houses
Burrwood © North Shore Long Island Country Houses
• Burrwood, Cold Spring Harbor - Walter Jennings
Designed by Carrère & Hastings in 1898, with its grounds done by the Olmsted Brothers, Burrwood sat on 400 sweeping acres with an impressive 4 stories and 50 rooms. Occupied by Jennings for 50 years, Burrwood was occupied for the next 40 years by the Industrial Home for the Blind until it was sold off to a developer and razed in 1993. Not unlike Inisfada, this was a very unpopular and contested decision at the time.

Check back here in the upcoming weeks as crucial meetings and other developments in the story of Inisfada unfold.