Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lets keep great things of the past. On the north shore of Long Island what was known as The Gold Coast sits a mansion, a magnificent old home with a story. People go boating and pass by a great view of the mansion because it sits right on the shore. Like all great tourist attractions, people say that is The Great Gatsby House. This house was said to have inspired the writing of a now classic story by F. Scott Fitzgerald that is required reading in most high schools now. I know this because my teen aged daughter just read the novel in class.
She said, “The Great Gatsby is a timeless story with a new and different look at the classic love story. A story taught in public schools across the nation. Just recently it found its way to my kitchen table. Jay Gatsby a charismatic, war hero and millionaire looking for the love he lost when going off to war. The book was filled with imagery. The imagination could run wild with this book. People were described so brilliantly, scenes were described with a magical fluidity, and the miraculous homes on the long island harbor were described so majestically. One of the most talked about item of this story was the home of the great Jay Gatsby, a large white active home filled with people and movement at all times. A home we would all dream about. An image I do not plan on forgetting “
Well, sweetie, you can forget about that home now because someone authorized for it to be condemned and torn down just this past week; instead of restoring it to the magnificence as described in the classic American novel. The house was called Lands End . It was built by a newspaper editor in 1902, the 21,000 square foot house sat in the village of Sands Point that hosted the likes of Winston Churchill, and Einstein. It was the grand parties that caught Fitzgerald’s attention. Today it was owned by real estate developer Bert Brodsky . Him and his son bought the property 7 years ago. The upkeep on the 18 million dollar house was too costly.
It became condemned. The home was one of the few remaining relics going back to a time of pleasure for some during the 1920’s. No place represented the era more than this house. The author was also in his twenties when he wrote the novel. As seen in the 1974 film staring Robert Redford, the novel tells the story of a Wall Street trader named Nick Carroll who rents a cottage next to the mysterious Jay Gatsby who is famous for his lavish parties. By the time the book is published, Fitzgerald has moved away from the house. He died in 1940 at the age of 44.
Despite protests from historical groups, Bert Brodsky said he had no choice but to tear down the neglected house. They plan to build 5 homes on the property they will now call Seagate. To my surprise when turning the news on yesterday a small story came up on the television, “the mansion on the long island sound that inspired the book ‘The Great Gatsby’ was torn down today.” At first, I was shocked that the house even existed, then I was heart broken to find out that it had been torn down with out fully being seen by all of its young readers. This should have been a historical house saved so that our children could see and feel the events so beautifully described in the classic book.
The story is set in the 1920’s . Jay is a handsome dashing millionaire. It is a rags to riches story. He met Daisy when they were children. She lived a lavish life across in the other mansion across the bay. They grew up and Jay was a soldier during WW1. After the War, he worked hard until he could afford to buy the great house. Daisy grew up too and became very popular. He bought the white house so that he could look for Daisy’s house across the sound. During the war he met her again and fell in love. He never moved on with his life and he remained in love with her. She moved on with her life and married and had a child. Her husband was unfaithful and had an affair with Myrtle who is also married to Wilson.
The plot thickens and eventually Wilson kills Jay in his pool and then kills himself. There is a great tragedy in the books story and now there is a tragedy on the land that inspired the book.

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