Gatsby Mansion To Come Down

The big news is that the house which was probably the inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald when he wrote The Great Gatsby will be demolished[1]. Probably … as these things can never be known for sure, and Fitzgerald did visit the Land’s End estate once (or maybe a few times), but the house of the novel was probably based on a number of huge houses on and around Long Island, and all other features of the book were drawn from numerous sources as, as well. Meyer Wolfsheim[2] was more based on Arnold Rothstein than anyone else – as he actually did fix the 1919 World Series, but writers, we are to assume, base all sorts of things they write on all sorts of things.

It is upsetting that a source of inspiration for such an important work is to be taken down and sub-divided into several mansions, all of which could fetch $10 million. But it’s a business decision, from the profit angle. From the other side of the equation, the property is too big to maintain, costing about $4,500 a day, and no one wants to buy the whole thing. Also, there doesn’t appear to be a registered list for heritage in this part of the US. (Views about this vary.) And so it seems that the state of New York cannot step in and make it forbidden to renovate or destroy the buildings in the name of their cultural significance. In other words, it’s business. No buyers means another strategy is required. This is a shame. But perhaps these estates were always vanity exercises by the super-rich, being unrealistic about how big their house should be and how many acres of virgin forest were required to comfortably nestle them in. Seems like overkill in retrospect. And yet, it’s a shame. I’m a bit torn here.

Published in: on March 15, 2011 at 7:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

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