Do You Prefer the Book or The Movie? The House That Inspired Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby' Is on the Long Island Market

September 1, 2017

In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald describes the protagonist's house as "a factual imitation of some Hôtel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden." The real-life mansion that inspired Fitzgerald is standing tall on the Gold Coast of Long Island.  However, the lot is a mere 5.3 acres and there's no ivy or swimming pool, but there is a tennis court!  Nonetheless, the house is spectacular and the scenery still awe-inspiring.  The house is currently on the market for $16.88 million. 

The 13-bedroom, 8.5 bathroom house was designed in 1928 by McKim, Mead & White. It's located on the North Shore of Long Island at 235 Middle Neck Road in Sands Point, Mary Harriman Rumsey purchased the land in 1923. Rumsey was the founder of Junior League of the City of New York and a daughter of railroad magnate E.H. Harriman. Her brother, W. Averell Harriman, became governor of New York, Rumsey and her house were important to Fitzgerald."In addition to helping Fitzgerald discover the lifestyle of the moneyed aristocracy of Old Westport, Long Island, and their involvement in the movement of eugenics as material for The Great Gatsby, Mary Harriman Rumsey shaped the author's view of the very rich and won his applause for her work in New Deal politics," a 2015 article in the F. Scott Fitzgerald Reviewnotes. "Evidence supports the argument that Fitzgerald's portrayal of 'the pretty woman in a brown riding habit' in a scene in chapter 6 of The Great Gatsby is a lasting memorial to Mary Harriman Rumsey."

 

The current owners reportedly made some major changes. Harrison Design renovated the property. The porch overlooks Long Island Sound.  Original architectural details have been restored.  There's a separate caretaker's cottage and boathouse on the property, too.  Neighbors included Vanderbilts and Guggenheims."Obviously, it’s so imposing—you drive down and see the sweeping views," said Nava Mitnick, a broker with Daniel Gale Sotheby's International who's representing the property. "But when we entered the house, I described it as a 'glorified cottage,' because it’s so homey."  Quite a contrast from the house that inspired 'The Great Gatsby' movie in 2013. (See below)

The estate that inspired the 2013 movie set was listed for a roaring $85 million!  The opulent homes in the village of Kings Point served as inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby—and this one reportedly inspired the set design for the 2013 film. 

 

 

Whether you prefer the descriptive words of one's imagination or the glitz and glam of lights, camera and action...both homes are sure to impress!  

 

Kermit Brown

 

Luxury Real Estate

 

 

 

 Biography. Zillow, Architectural Digest, Sotheby's Trulia

 

 

 

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