Back in the Gilded Age, all the nouveau riche robber barons of the east coast engaged in the sort of competition that only nouveau riche robber barons would ever consider engaging in; who could build the most ridiculously lavish mansion on Long Island? A banker built a fireproof castle on a man-made hill (the hill alone took two years to build), and JP Morgan’s son built a massive Georgian mansion that later became (supposedly) haunted, and was eventually dynamited, but the most over-the-top house is probably this one. (Note: Gatsby’s laughably vulgar mansion in the “Great Gatsby” was directly modeled on these houses.)
Located on the 48 acre private Dosiris Island, this 27,000 square foot mansion, dubbed “Salutation,” was built by JP Morgan’s grandson Junius in 1919. (His father gave him the island as a wedding present.) For $125 million, you get the main house, the 46 acres of island land, a 28 acre pond, a 250-foot dock – and five other houses built on the island. Junius Morgan eventually became so lonely that he had his friends come out and build their own houses near his mansion, to keep him company. (Hm, who would’ve thought living on a billion-dollar estate located on a private island would be so isolating?!) Subsequent owners re-acquired all the houses, though, so you can walk around naked with the curtains open if you pony up the $125 million. (Heck, you can jog around the island naked.)
According to the listing, “historical details abound” in the house, which means the interiors are about as hip as your grandmother’s flower-print nightgown. The photos show a house that’s like a lazy Hollywood movie version of an old rich guy’s house, with lots of old woodwork, checkerboard marble floors, oriental rugs, gilded mirrors, and medieval-style tapestries. (In fact, this house was featured in the Harrison Ford remake of “Sabrina,” so it has literally been used as the lazy Hollywood version of an old rich guy’s house.) There are 24 fireplaces, some of which are located in bathrooms. The main hallway of the manor house is eighty feet long, which is twenty feet longer than a regulation bowling lane. If you leave your phone charger upstairs, it would literally be faster to just order a new one off Amazon than to go upstairs and fetch it. The dining room seats a hundred, which is 97 more people than I’ve ever had at my house at one time, and in a stroke of sheer genius, the master suite actually has two bedrooms, each with its own fireplace and bathroom, with a sitting room in the middle. This should be standard for all cohabitating couples.
Outside, the grounds were designed by the same landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park. Accordingly, there are lots of winding paths, multi-tiered gardens, and the occasional old man muttering in Russian while he searches the ground for half-smoked cigarettes. Because cars are for peasants, there are not one but two helicopter landing pads. And there’s a beautiful sandy beach, and a concrete sea wall that will be absolutely no protection at all in the impending environmental apocalypse. (Sorry, I just watched “The Day After Tomorrow” on TV at the gym.)
The other five houses on the island, which are somewhat whimsically referred to as “cottages,” are each far far nicer than the nicest house in your hometown when you were growing up. After Morgan’s death in 1960, the houses were sold separately, and the manor house and most of the island was sold to a Texas coal baron. When he went bankrupt in the Nineties, the estate was auctioned off. (According to the New York Times, you had to hand over a cashier’s check for $350,000 just to bid.) The winning bidder was a local socialite who’d already stealthily bought several of the other houses on the island, and eventually bought them all, restoring the integrity of the original estate. Now she’s selling it, and you could be only the fourth person to ever live here for the low low price of $125 million. What are you waiting for? (Other than a winning Powerball ticket.)