Scientifically proven (sort of) to be the happiest place in New York City, it’s no surprise that somebody would have wanted to build a mansion in what’s now Fort Tryon Park near the Cloisters. Where is it then, you ask? Well, all that remains today are a few stone arches just west of Corbin Circle, which once served as an entranceway for the estate before it burned to the ground in 1925. Though not quite as impressive as the estate itself, the arches are certainly remarkable on their own terms, and you can catch a glimpse of them below courtesy of photographer (and actor) Nicholas Santasier.
The mansion was built by a wealthy horseman from Chicago named Cornelius K.G. Billings, who spent more than $2 million on what he eventually dubbed Fort Tryon Hall. The construction took place between 1901 and 1905 and the estate was so impressive that it drew the attention of John D. Rockefeller Jr., who bought the mansion in 1917. He hired the Olmsted Brothers architectural firm, founded by the sons of the man responsible for co-designing Central Park and Prospect Park, to help develop the land around the estate and even went as far as to buy land on the New Jersey side of the Hudson. Sadly, a fire destroyed Billings Mansion and all that remains are the small frame and stucco gatehouse that we see today.