Treasures of New York: Gold Coast Mansions Premieres February 17 on WLIW21 and February 21 on THIRTEEN
In advance of the conclusion of season 4 of “Downton Abbey,” viewers are treated to a tour of the lavish mansions of Long Island’s North Shore
The North Shore of Long Island is a region with a unique and elegant history, known commonly by its nickname, the Gold Coast. During the turn of the twentieth century, it was home to hundreds of America’s wealthiest men and women, who all built vast country estates that were modeled after the grand country homes of the European gentry. It was a world that inspired American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald in his classic tale, The Great Gatsby, which portrays the lavish lifestyles and elite society life of the Gold Coast during the Roaring Twenties. Treasures of New York: Gold Coast Mansions, premiering on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 9:15 p.m. on WLIW21 and Friday, February 21 at 10:30 p.m. on THIRTEEN, reveals the Downton Abbey and Great Gatsby-style elegance of the mansions on Long Island’s North Shore.
In a forty year period that spanned from the 1890s through the 1930s, over 1,200 mansions were built on the Gold Coast. The location offered the ability to build palatial estates spanning hundreds of acres, where they could anchor boats on the harbors of Long Island Sound, play polo, hunt, ride horses, throw over-the-top parties and enjoy the open space. Top architectural, landscape and interior design firms from the United States and Europe, including McKim, Meade & White, Carrere & Hastings, Delano & Adrich, Warren & Wetmore, Charles of London and the Olmsted Brothers, were responsible for creating the mansions and filling them with the finest antiques, art and furniture. And, like their European counterparts, these mansions were staffed with teams of servants, who cared for and maintained these estates.
During its height, the Gold Coast was home to the greatest concentrations of wealth in the United States. The families that created and lived in these grand country homes were connected to nearly every major industry in the world, including railroads, mining, banking and shipping. The names of the proud owners of Gold Coast mansions read like a who’s who list of the time: Guggenheims, Morgans, Phippses, Roosevelts, Whitneys, Woolworths, Pratts and Vanderbilts all had extravagant summer homes on the Gold Coast, many of which still stand today and are open to the public. OHEKA CASTLE, Planting Fields Arboretum, and Old Westbury Gardens are among the historic and lavish homes featured in Treasures of New York: Gold Coast Mansions.
Unfortunately, of the more than one thousand mansions that once stood on the North Shore, less than a third still remain. Some are still owned privately, while others are open to the public as parks, museums and luxury hotels. And while there are many challenges involved in maintaining these historic homes, a preservation movement exists to try and protect the Gold Coast mansions. These homes represent a history that is entirely unique to Long Island and cannot be forgotten.
After the initial WLIW21 broadcast, the full episode will be available for online streaming at thirteen.org/treasures-of-ny. The website offers past episodes and conversations with visionaries behind New York’s greatest institutions.
Ally Gimbel is producer of the Treasures of New York: Gold Coast Mansions program. Diane Masciale is general manager of WLIW21 and executive producer of local production, including the Treasures of New York series. Executive-in-Charge is John Servidio.
Treasures of New York explores New York’s cultural heritage by spotlighting its points of interest, distinguished establishments and notable figures. Treasures of New York: Gold Coast Mansions is made possible by the Metropolitan Media Fund.
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