Tuesday, June 29, 2010

'Old Trees'

'Old Trees', the Goodhue Livingston estate designed by himself (of Trowbridge & Livingston) c. 1911 in Southampton. Livingston was a graduate of the Columbia School of Architecture (both undergraduate and graduate). Some works by Livingston & Trowbridge include the St. Regis Hotel, the Knickerbocker Hotel, the Hayden Planetarium, the Bankers Trust Company Building and Rikers Island Penitentiary. He was a recipient of the medal of honor by both the AIA of NYC and the Architectural League of NY. Goodhue Livingston died in Southampton in 1951 at the age of 84. Click HERE to see 'Old Trees' on google earth and HERE on bing.

Pictures from Architectural Record, 1916.


The Down East Dilettante said...

I sat next to Livingston's granddaughter at a dinner party several years ago, and conversation got around to this house. She said that it was his absolute pride, a building that he had got absolutely 'right' and if I remember correctly, she also said it was his take on an older Livingson family house on the Hudson. I wish I could remember which. This is why I started a blog. To write all this stuff down before it all disappeared from my overstuffed brain.

The Ancient said...

I suppose if you can drop $48 million on a house you use less than one night out of ten, a half-million dollar annual maintenance bill is no real problem:


(It's certainly heartening to see those trillions in synthetic credit default obligations weren't entirely wasted ...)

The Down East Dilettante said...

Oh Ancient, I always like the way you think.

I was literally, fifteen minutes ago, having a conversation with a friend about the gigantic, vertiginous upswing in higher end property prices compared to the rest of the market over the last decade--my astonishment that a 250,000 dollar house in 1995 might possibly now be a 400,000 house, but it's likely that a 1.5 million dollar house in 1995 is now a 15 million dollar house. I've never begrudged people wealth, but I do begrudge the way gains, and the size of those have been gotten, or ill-gotten, in recent years. And so few people seem to actually mind.

Anonymous said...

ancient, is that the complete link?

The Ancient said...

It works for me: Make sure you copied all of it.

However, here's the salient passage:

In 1960, the Livingston estate sold Old Trees to John Michael Shaheen. He was the president of the Macmillan Ring-Free Oil Company, and died in 1985. His family sold it in 2000 for $20 million to the current owner, an extremely private businessman who recently bought an estate in Cape Cod.

Grant landed the listing two months ago, when Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein backed out of a signed contract for approximately $41 million. (Old Trees had been on the market for about 7 months.)

Grant has already shown the property to six pre-screened potential buyers. "I turn away one out of every three people who inquire to see it," said Grant. "Someone making $20 million a year is still not going to be able to buy this. Plus it's $500,000 in upkeep every year." The owner also doesn't want voyeurs taking tours just for the thrill of it.

The Ancient said...


I don't begrudge anyone any level of wealth or income.

But there is a part of me that always makes it a point to distinguish between those who get rich by creating value (however that may occur or be defined) and those who get rich by tricking hapless cows into the most efficient neighborhood abattoir (Goldman Sachs, for instance).

Personally, I've made a bit of money out of Goldman. I think it's the best firm of its type. But I still reserve the right to make judgments.