3. The William A. Clark Mansion, 960 Fifth Ave: Demolished
“Copper King” William A. Clark’s mansion at 960 Fifth Avenue was dubbed “Clark’s Folly.” The hulking home cost $6 million to build at the time, a sum that roughly equals $150 million dollars in modern times according to the Museum of the City of New York. Clark’s mansion, which took fourteen years to build, consisted of “121 rooms, 31 baths, four art galleries, a swimming pool, concealed garage, and underground rail line to bring in heating coal was completed in 1911.”
To facilitate the construction of the extravagant home, Clark bought a quarry in New Hampshire where he sourced stone and transported it to New York via a railroad he built specifically for that purpose. He also acquired a bronze foundry to make all of the metal fittings. Marble was imported from Italy, oak brought in from the Sherwood Forrest of England, and pieces of a French Chateau shipped over from France. After all of the work on the mansion was complete, Clark had a mere fourteen years to enjoy it before he passed away in 1925. The home became a white elephant. It eventually sold in 1927 for less than $3 million dollars and was promptly demolished, making it one of the most short-lived buildings in New York City. The mansion was replaced by a 12-story luxury condo building designed by Rosario Candela.