Nooooo! Say it isn't so! The 25-room New York mansion that inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is being demolished. Torn down. Ripped to smithereens. And with it, a piece of great literary history -- and a piece of my heart.
The mansion (oh, the mansion!), which not only inspired the book, but had people like Albert Einstein, the Wright Brothers, the Rockefellers, and Oscar Wilde sauntering around its parties, had a tennis court, two private beaches, a 75-foot swimming pool, pool-house, greenhouse, horse stables, French gardens, and an entire floor to house the housekeepers. So inspiring! But definitely a home of another era.
The thing that bums be out -- and that I kind of don't get -- is that the home is being torn down to make way for five new mansions that will go for around $10 million apiece. How can someone in good conscience move into one of them? Your modern, crass McMansion is encroaching upon Jay, Nick, and Daisy's stomping ground! Shoo!
Sure, it's not the kind of home someone is realistically going to buy to live in. Bert Brodsky, who bought the place in 2004 for $17.5 million, originally wanted his four children to build houses on the grounds when they grew up -- that didn't happen. Then he wanted to turn it into a retirement home for himself, his wife, and their friends, but the village trustees wouldn't permit it. Can't say he didn't try.
But, it's the Gatsby house. Can't someone really rich buy it and preserve it? What about Richard Branson? He's always doing crazy things with his money. Hell, he's dedicating an entire private island of his to lemurs! Save the Gatsby house, Sir Branson! I haven't even seen it yet!
I don't know why it bothers me so much that five new mansions are going up in its stead, but it does. It just seems sacrilegious or something. Like, if there were a library going there, it would be okay, but I guess I just envision Real Housewives-type people shacking up there, holding Botox parties where Jay Gatsby's library once was. Awful.
Maybe I'm wrong, though. Maybe a few quiet, bookish families will move in and immerse their children in the literary greatness, occasionally having parties where they'll spend the night drinking wine and talking about Fitzgerald and Salinger into the wee hours of the morning.
Probably not, though.
What do you think about the Gatsby house being torn down?
Image via Neilhooting/Flickr