Earlier today, I shared a video that depicted the destruction of an innocent chocolate Easter bunny
by way of a 65-watt incandescent light bulb. Harrowing stuff. Now, here’s another video that shows a famous American estate — totally different but no less beloved and ingrained into the imagination than the Easter bunny — meeting a most unfortunate end.
The historic home in question is
Daisy Buchanan’s party shack Land’s End, a 25-room Colonial Revival mansion built in 1902 on Long Island’s Gold Coast and popularly thought to be the inspiration behind a staple of summer reading lists at high schools across the nation: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.”
After purchasing the legendary but falling apart manse seven years ago for $17 million, owner and real estate developer Bert Brodsky decided to demolish the home. And despite uproar from historical groups, that is what happened on April 16.
It would be nice to think that when the condemned home is razed, the estate will be turned into a public park or wildlife sanctuary with an adjacent memorial library, an Audubon-certified
golf course (“The Jordan Baker Club,” perhaps?), or a Roaring Twenties theme park: Roller Coasters! Dance Marathons! Air shows! Bootlegging! Flagpole sitting! But alas, the 15-acre property in the village of Sands Point will become Seagate
, a mini-community of five mansions selling for $10 million apiece. Sigh.
Brodsky, who originally planned to live in the crumbling manse on Hoffstot Lane with his family when he purchased it in 2004, tells CNN
: "It came from a different era. It is a shame, but time passed it by." He adds: “It was a very, very big, ostentatious house, and in this time, people aren't looking for 24,000-square-foot houses on 15 acres, with taxes and council rates.”
From 1922 to early 1924, Minnesota-born Fitzgerald lived (but mostly drank) on Long Island — in Great Neck (AKA West Egg) — during a time when Land’s End was perhaps at its full-on house party peak. Over the years, Albert Einstein, Groucho Marx, Winston Churchill, and countless other luminaries including Fitzgerald himself all let loose in the legendary "East Egg" home owned by Pulitzer Prize-winner journalist and Algonquin Round Table member Herbert Bayard Swope
. According to the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society
, Fitzgerald wrote "The Great Gatsby" in Paris after having decamped from Long Island with his wife, Zelda. The book was published in April 1925.
Literary lore aside, here’s hoping the razing of The Gatsby Mansion isn’t a complete demolition job and that any original architectural elements of the home are salvaged, repurposed and allowed to live on. It’s a shame to think that a home with such a rich history could end up dumped in a landfill, a modern day Valley of the Ashes.