Thursday, March 24, 2011

'Kidd's Rocks'/'Lands End'

'Kidd's Rocks' / 'Lands End', the John Scott Browning estate built c. 1911 in Sands Point, as it currently looks awaiting the wrecking ball. Click HERE to see the brochure from when 'Kidd's Rocks' / 'Lands End' was for sale. Click HERE for more on the estate.


Anonymous said...

What a very sad sight. It is a shame she was allowed to meet this fate.

magnus said...

Heartbreaking. It's like seeing an old, once grand friend reduced to the gutter.

The Down East Dilettante said...

So, I've nothing new to add, really, but once again it strikes me how very well the designer sited this house, and why it became so iconic---it holds the site well, the relation to the space around it is perfect. And now, a bunch of little unrelated mcmansions will be plastered in a grid upon the land.

I think dividing the house into condos, which the layout here would have well supported, would have been far the better choice---and have kept the site open.

But, we can only go so far in blaming the slimey owner. Economic conditions, poor town ordinances, etc etc. are just to blame. People can only do what they're allowed to do. In a way this event is a good metaphor for the general dumbing down of american life and politics in the last few years.

Anonymous said...

"In a way this event is a good metaphor for the general dumbing down of american life and politics in the last few years."

Very true DED. Well...this already made a rather depressing day even more so.

Very sad.

james said...

Tou were there this weekend, Zach?

Zach said...

Yes, briefly on Sunday afternoon. Walked over from the Preserve.

Flo said...

"a bunch of little unrelated mcmansions"

I know! He can tie his new Lady GaGa houses together by repurposing slabs of that upstairs pink veined marble in all his 1st floor powder rooms of the new development. That ought to set the tone. Yeah, and gold fixtures.

OLI, thank you for this update, this house has been on my mind. I keep thinking might get saved.

commentator8 said...

I agree, that the real lesson here, and the culprit of the demise of this house and so many in the decades before it, are the extremely high taxes that are just unreasonable to maintain for anyone.

I understand the idea of "redistribution of wealth", if that's your political belief, and that for some homes and owners it can be afforded (Ira Rennert), but when that law leads to the demolition of truly significant and historic homes that really are the backbone of our history as a country, you have to think that needs to be reconsidered.

California has major tax breaks for maintaining historical homes in their original condition, and obviously solutions have been found for the great homes of England, so it really seems something can still be done here.

Unfortunately, even if a solution was enacted today, so much has already been lost.

lil' gay boy said...

It saddens all of us; two grand dames in one week ––– Elizabeth Taylor & this house.

The final nail, I think, is when it was widely publicized that this is not a Stanford White design. If that hadn't been the case, one could have made more of an argument for preservation. As it stands, it's main claim to posterity is that it is thought to be the inspiration for, and at least embodies the spirit of, Daisy Buchannan's house in The Great Gatsby:

"And so it happened that on a warm windy evening I drove over to East Egg to see two old friends whom I scarcely knew at all. Their house was even more elaborate than I expected, a cheerful red-and-white Georgian Colonial mansion, overlooking the bay. The lawn started at the beach and ran toward the front door for a quarter of a mile, jumping over sun-dials and brick walks and burning gardens—finally when it reached the house drifting up the side in bright vines as though from the momentum of its run. The front was broken by a line of French windows, glowing now with reflected gold and wide open to the warm windy afternoon, and Tom Buchanan in riding clothes was standing with his legs apart on the front porch."

But then I am sadly reminded of the vacuousness of today's generation where, when on a reality TV program a fifty-something client compliments a hot young realtor with a literary reference and he later asks, "Who is this Dorian Gray?"

I could have cried.

Kellsboro Jack said...

What of the interior details - from the door knobs, mantels, marble fireplaces to inlaid floors, et al? Has that been stripped and sold off? Its not uncommon to start seeing items appearing in architectural salvage shops with claims of having 'come out of X estate'.

We've lamented about the punishing taxes of the area and the impact on these grand old estates. It must be said however that its not like the North Shore lacks in significant wealth to keep feeding the meters as it were. There are no pitchfork and burning torch crowds of owners marching on Glen Cove's city hall demanding a reduction.

I have sympathies for a once wealthy family now a generation later at best 'land rich and cash poor' against the rising tide of taxes and upkeep. That isn't the case in Land's End so I have precious little sympathy and chafe at his employing of that excuse. The current owner has roughly the same annual tax obligation on the property as Mrs. Kraft Payson bore.

Poe Dettrow said...

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne ceaselessly into the past."

Flo said...

"What of the interior details - from the door knobs, mantels, marble fireplaces to inlaid floors, et al? Has that been stripped and sold off?"

It may or not be SOP up there but down south where I live, the company hired for the demo job takes away everything, marvelous interior details as well as the rotten old exterior materials, and everything in between. Many times the demo companies maintain a nicely profitable salvage yard, well known to designers and other insider sources. It's all done in stages. So, yes, contractual interior foraging may be underway right now, be on the lookout for names on the sides of vans and trucks, then follow up as you desire.

Flo said...

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne ceaselessly into the past."

Yes, a dirge for Lands End

Anonymous said...

-Very Off Topic Post - but if not now, when/where?

Understandably, faced with the grim reality of events, such as the anticipated demise of this beloved landmark, regular posters here often wax philosophic, or give over to theatrics, as a way to cope with the situation. I don't doubt for a moment that those are earnest, heartfelt sentiments.

I, for my part, prefer to bring out some key facts rarely considered at times such as now when a general consensus would likely not be in favor of shattering the premise that a Gold Coast exists on Long Island in 2011, all the while knowing, fundamentally, that it no longer does.

May we, at long last, consider the matter resolved, please? If we can agree on that then we can agree the lexicon needs modifying.

The current archaic one is good for a few snake oil peddling realtors and such. Those who originated what was later dubbed the 'Gold Coast' could never have been swindled by their sackful of talksh:t.

Just as no one today would contemplate describing Coney Island as a beach resort, it follows that neither is the North Shore of LI any longer a gold coast.

Actually, the area is sometimes of late referred to in print as 'Long Island's former Gold Coast', which honestly and accurately reflects historical changes whereby the upper class population has experienced displacement and decimation for over a half century, far outstripped in number by the influx of those further down the strata.

If we split all North Shore municipalities into 3 groups, I think 4 or 5 locales re Matinecock, Centre Island, Cove Neck, Mill Neck, etc, can be thought of as relatively intact authentic remnants of LI's former Gold Coast, whereas an equal count re Bayville, East Hills, Saddle Rock, Glen Cove, etc, have been wrecked.

Most others not named are a very mixed bag. Sands Point is fast earning its way into the second group.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:47

Very well put.

Anonymous said...

Oyster Bsy Cove still has some of the largest intact swarths of "Gold Coast" along Tiffany Creek Preserve/ Sandy Hill, as does Lattingtown and Upper Brookville along Mill River Road and Planting Fields vicinity. I would also include the Northern part of Laurel Hollow which is part of the OBC/ Cove Neck continuum and Lloyd Harbor?Neck?Adjacent part of CSH.All of these areas still also have many of the old "Upper Class" residents.