Wednesday, October 6, 2010

'West Banks'

'West Banks', the Reginald Barclay estate designed by Guy Lowell between 1910-12 in Sag Harbor. Click HERE to see the brochure from when 'West Banks' was for sale.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

SAD FATE OF LANDS END

I'm reposting this from my Wolver Hollow post as I am hoping the lack of comments is a result of no one having seen it.....

For those who missed it , interesting article in Times (typical uninformed reference that there are almost no estates left on the North Shore) that mentions Land's End. Appalling photo, when Brodsky bought it, the house was in decent condition. The idea that someone can overpay for an historic estate, neglect it and then get permission to demolish it because it is not salable at a significant profit is absurd. Shame on the DEC, State Historic Preservation Office and most of all, the village of Sands Point.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/01/nyregion/01gatsby.html?scp=1&sq=sands%20point&st=cse


September 30, 2010
Eyeing the Unreal Estate of Gatsby Esq.
By MARY JO MURPHY
IF the measure of the great American novel is whether thousands of people will pay to watch a staged reading of its every word in a single seating, interrupted only by a meal and maybe a sipped Manhattan or six, then Jonathan Whatshisname’s latest doorstopper is not your book. “The Great Gatsby” is......
That is if you can find this place. Long Island was the setting for the novel, but discovering what’s left of its 1920s Gold Coast splendor — either the real thing or Fitzgerald’s vivid gilt invention — is as much a job for a receptive imagination as it is for a Google map with a homing device directed to locate a certain green beacon. It’s a diverting exercise, though, and the railroad is an excellent starting point. After all, it ferried party guests to Gatsby, whose “station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains.”.............

It’s not the grail of the Gold Coast, though. That would be some gaudy pile that served as the inspiration for the Gatsby mansion in arriviste West Egg (the Kings Point end of the Great Neck peninsula), or, better yet, the Buchanan house in old-gold East Egg (the Sands Point end of the Port Washington peninsula), where Gatsby directed his gaze across Manhasset Bay to fixate on the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. You won’t find either. Not definitively.........

A large, white-columned Sands Point estate called Lands End, now in disrepair as developers seek to tear it down and subdivide the lot, is the one most frequently invoked as the inspiration for the Buchanan residence. When it was put up for sale in 2002, the real estate notices boasted unequivocally that it was. That’s because it was the home of the newspaperman Herbert Bayard Swope and his wife, Margaret, and the Fitzgeralds were among the theater and literary set at the Swopes’ famous parties. At least they were until Margaret disinvited them after Zelda stripped at one party and tried to seduce Margaret’s shy adolescent brother, who was terrified, writes Judith S. Goldstein in her book “Inventing Great Neck: Jewish Identity and the American Dream.” Ms. Goldstein quotes a 1931 account: "That was it for Margaret. Zelda was out. ‘Not with my brother, sister! Not in my house, Mrs. F!’ ”

You can see how Fitzgerald might have drawn inspiration for the novel’s raucous parties.

But wait. The Swopes did not move to “East Egg” until the Fitzgeralds had bolted for France; they lived in “West Egg” then (actually Great Neck), and it was their house on East Shore Road there, near Fitzgerald’s good friend and partner in alcoholism, Ring Lardner, that was the scene of those early bacchanals. This first Swope house no longer exists, but the Lardner house, at 325 East Shore Road, does

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to see that "West Banks" has survived. What a beautiful home, and an amazing beach.It looks as if most of it's original acreage is intact. Do you know who owns it now?

As for "Lands End"....so sad. No one seems to care about history or great architecture these days.This would have made a great family home.

The Down East Dilettante said...

My memory is that Land's End was up with an absolutely unrealistic asking price, even for the boom years, and that was a determining factor in its failure to sell---and then, as time went by, the increasing shabbiness...

As for the current subject, one look at it on bing shows that it has suffered at the hands of McMansion modernization too...but what a lovely conception originally...rustic Italian farmhouse on the entrance, and that heroic Serlio Arch on the waterfront.

Reginald Barclay---with the decline of the WASP, one doesn't hear as many of those names anymore--straight out of a 1930's screwball comedy...

The Down East Dilettante said...

Link to an earlier Times article about Land's End, when it was up for auction: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/16/garden/turf-a-whisper-of-white-a-hint-of-daisy.html

And when Brodsky did a lot of double talking about his motives and plans:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/10/realestate/10lizo.html

Anonymous said...

This house had many similarities to Thomas Hastings' Bagatelle in Old Westbury.

lil' gay boy said...

DED is correct about the present state of West Banks, if the Bing aerial is anything to judge by (and somewhat current). I now know why horsewhipping a miscreant used to be so popular.

As for Lands End (or Kidds Rock as some called it) one can see that it has seen better days (again, if Bing is somewhat current).

I recall it going up for sale at $50MM and being steadily reduced over the ensuing weeks to a mere $27MM (of which I would pay every penny if I had it).

I was always impressed when the pool & poolhouse were added; nestled into a depression in the lawn, it is virtually invisible from the house; I seem to recall at the time that the owners contemplated installing a helipad on the roof but converted it to a terrace after town opposition.

Security word - dicake: part of a old Brooklynese aphorism, i.e.: "Youse can't have dicake an' eat it, too."

Anonymous said...

Can't tell by the aerial, but has "West Banks" been grossly modernized?

The Down East Dilettante said...

lil' gay boy, I'm all for horsewhipping as suitable punishment for architectural crime (yet I remain firmly and resolutely in favor of strict gun control).

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

On the initial Google search for Reginald Barclay you get Lieutenant Reginald Barclay from Star Trek: The Next Generation. If you add Reginald Barclay 1930's you get this. Talk about being off the radar DED. What more might be out there on Reginald Barclay? A post from your archives perhaps? Where's Turner Pack Rats???

Anonymous said...

The decline of the WASP? That's in the blood and I am sure if you took one look around Piping Rock and Meadow Brook and many more other clubs from Maine to Palm Beach, one might feel otherwise.Remember, it's quiet money..not like the flash that's omnipresent these days. They might not have as much money but lock -jaw is alive and well.

The Down East Dilettante said...

HPHS: I tried your 1930's 'this' link, and it only brought up the comment page.

Anonymous----probably I should have said the decline of Old Wasp names. As a declining old Wasp myself, living in a hive of same here on the Maine coast, I see the end on the horizon for the Wasp hierarchy, as well as for the resonance of names like Reginald Barclay...

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

DED... exactly - point being if you Google this guy you get Star Trek or this website. There's no mention of him except here. re: the so called WASP decline. Isn't that the new definition of decline when your no longer relevant to rate a Google search?

Zach said...

Barclay's obituary was very small and shed no light on who he was. A 1919 NYTimes article on Barclay's daughter's coming out announcement lists their city house as 5 East 78th Street which by total coincidence I took a photo of yesterday as I walked by (with no knowledge of the connection). It's the one on the right.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4145/5058754848_c05a9224a8_o.jpg

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if "West Bank" is still in it's original state or not......

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

CPH Gilbert designed townhome c. 1902-1904. Barclay died in 1925. NY Times "for many years well-known in the social life of the city." A member of a old New England family, he belonged to the Pilgrim Society and the Society of Mayflower Descendent's. 5 East 78th later owned by Stephen Peabody, a public utilities financier. Later still Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Simpson. Mrs Simpson is/was a well-known dress designer.

Anonymous said...

It would seem that Reginald Barclay, as old WASP as his name may be, appeared in the news at least once more beyond the announcement of his birth, marriage and death....

NY Times, Aug. 3, 1915HOLDS R. S. BARCLAY ATTEMPTED FRAUD; Court Decision Says Soap Manufacturer Aimed to Victimize His Sister-in-Law. RECEIVER TO BE APPOINTED Justice Page Directs That Plaintiff Shall Receive 33 1-3 Per Cent. of Barclay Company Profits.

J

Anonymous said...

"Well done all of you..Oh,that rascal Barclay. He always was the scoundrel at Groton, or was it St. Paul's? Time for another gimlet".