The owners of one of the Long Island mansions that inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” have chopped $1 million off the home’s price.
The homeowners, who bought the 91-year-old mansion in 2012 for $6.6 million, are selling it for $16.8 million. The home sits on 5.3 waterfront acres in Sands Point, NY, a wealthy village that served as the inspiration for the fictional town of East Egg.
In the book, the wealthy and mysterious Jay Gatsby lives in a mansion in West Egg, across the bay from the socialite Daisy Buchanan, whose dock is illuminated by a green light.
In the 1920s, Fitzgerald lived in Great Neck, NY, a wealthy village across the Manhasset Bay that became West Egg in the book. Fitzgerald made a number of friends on both sides of the bay, notably Mary Harriman Rumsey, a socialite who was the eldest daughter of a railroad baron.
Scholars of Fitzgerald’s work believe she was the “pretty woman in a brown riding habit” briefly mentioned in chapter six of "The Great Gatsby."
Harriman Rumsey built the 13-bedroom, 8.5-bath mansion in 1926, and it stayed in the family until 2012, when it was purchased by hedge fund investor Jamie Mai and his wife, Chiara. (Mai is one of the traders who made hundreds of millions of dollars betting against the subprime mortgage market, and was featured in the 2010 book “The Big Short.”)
The French Normandy–style estate was designed by architects at McKim, Mead & White, the firm behind Columbia University’s main campus, the Boston Public Library, and New York City’s original Pennsylvania Station.
The 29-room limestone house features arched windows on the ground floor, a sharply peaked roof, and a circular tower. Inside, the home’s stunning living room features an arched barrel ceiling, with carved woodwork and french doors leading to the loggia and views of Hempstead Bay.
The kitchen is bright and modern, with two islands, a gas range stove, and double-size refrigerator. There’s a light-filled breakfast room, surrounded by windows with a large skylight overhead. The home’s formal dining room has a herringbone-pattern wooden floor, fireplace, and french doors.
The home’s semicircular office is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows and built-in bookcases. Upstairs, the master bedroom has a fireplace and french doors that lead to a semicircular terrace. There’s a walk-in closet with a generous island, and the master bathroom has a soaking tub and walk-in shower.
Elsewhere, there’s a tennis court, beach cottage, caretaker’s house, and boathouse. The property includes 391 feet of sandy beachfront.
Harriman Rumsey was famous in her own day as the founder of the Junior League, a New York nonprofit that still exists and today has 291 local chapters. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked her to chair the Consumer Advisory Board, the nation’s first federal consumer rights group.
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