Fitzgerald's Gatsby house is doomed
The once-grand home called Lands End has fallen into disrepair. But back in the day, the 25-room, 20,000-square-foot Colonial Revival mansion was home to parties attended by Winston Churchill, the Marx brothers, Dorothy Parker and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. According to local lore, Fitzgerald drank there too, Newsday reports.
The home was built in 1902 and came to be owned by journalist Herbert Bayard Swope, one of the first recipients of the Pulitzer Prize and editor of the New York World. It was Swope's parties that Fitzgerald was said to have attended. The history of the house -- and its legendary influence on Fitzgerald -- was reported by Forbes when the house was for sale in 2005.
Located on 13 acres in Sands Point, N.Y., on Long Island Sound, the property has a private beach, a grand pool and wide patio (where, according to legend, Fitzgerald was spotted.) In January, Sands Point Village approved plans to raze the house and divide the property into lots for five custom homes, to be sold for $10 million each.
When the house was sold in the mid-2000s, it still had, according to the New York Times, "banana-yellow laminate countertops in the kitchen... neon flower-power 1970's-style carpeting in some of the bedrooms" and other design offenses that called for a full renovation.
Seems to me that an inspired eye could make that work -- although it would have to be an inspired eye with deep pockets -- upkeep was said to be $5,000 a day.
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo: F. Scott Fitzgerald with his wife, Zelda, and daughter, Scottie, in their Paris apartment in 1925, the year "The Great Gatsby" was published. Credit: Associated Press