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Mansion linked to “The Great Gatsby” demolished

By Reuters
Tuesday, April 19, 2011 15:57 EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bulldozers have razed a storied mansion where F. Scott Fitzgerald partied and which some say inspired his classic 1925 novel “The Great Gatsby”

The Colonial Revival-style Lands End mansion was built in the early 20th century in Sands Point, New York, overlooking the waters of Long Island Sound.

In the 1920s it became the home of Herbert Bayard Swope, the executive editor of the New York World and an acquaintance of many of the luminaries who came to define the Roaring Twenties, including Fitzgerald.

But in recent years it had stood empty. Bulldozers arrived on Saturday and by Monday all that stood were a few brick chimneys, with demolition to be completed on Tuesday.

Bert Brodsky, the founder of a healthcare technology company, bought the mansion in 2004. He hoped to move into the huge property with its two dozen or so rooms, but his family thought otherwise.

“My wife felt the house was far too big for us at our stage of life,” he said. It soon went back on the market but found no serious takers. “People would say, ‘I don’t want to live in an enormous house.’”

Brodsky later won permission to divide up the 13 acres of property and build five houses on the site.

It remains open to debate whether Fitzgerald was thinking of Lands End when he described the “cheerful red-and-white Georgian Colonial mansion, overlooking the bay” in “The Great Gatsby.”

True believers, like Ruth Prigozy, the executive director of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society, say that Fitzgerald had attended Swope’s parties at the home while he was writing his novel and that the view and the way the property juts out into the water is “very much as Fitzgerald describes.”

Others, like local village clerk Randy Bond, say that is ridiculous. “It was a nice old house but it’s totally ludicrous. Daisy Buchanan’s house was visible from Great Neck. This one isn’t,” Bond said.

Six film versions of the “The Great Gatsby” were made between 1926 and 2007, the most famous of which starred Robert Redford in 1974.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)

Mochila insert follows.

Reuters
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