Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Demolition of the Cornelius Vanderbilt II Mansion

The largest home in New York City ever built at the time, and still the largest home ever built there, the Cornelius Vanderbilt II mansion was truly a masterpiece. Occupying an entire full block, it had around 130 rooms. Among those rooms was a ballroom, an art gallery/dining room, a grand salon, small salon, drawing room, library, water color reception room, smoking room (the Moorish Room), an office, breakfast room, service pantries, 2-story great hall, more than 17 bedrooms, more than 6 bathrooms and numerous servant's rooms. The home had been sold in 1925 by Vanderbilt's widow, Alice, because her $7 million trust, which produced an annual income of $250,00, could not pay for the $130,000 in property taxes on the home and meet her other expenses (one of which was the property taxes on her other home in Newport, The Breakers, which was $85,000 annually). Besides keeping a few personal pieces of furniture, Alice had most of the fixtures and furnishings auctioned off. 

"The Ballroom is as big as a house, and the bathrooms are so big, a taxi could do a complete circle in one of them" the magazines said. The home was eventually sold for $7 million by Bergdorf Goodman, who planned on building a retail palace on the site. The home was demolished in 1927. 

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  1. Such a loss for the city of new york. The home anchored 5th Avenue as one moved up along Central Park lined with many other great mansions. One of my all time favorites.


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