5. Hempstead House (Guggenheim Estate)

Hempstead House (Guggenheim Estate)
At 50,000 square feet, Hempstead House is an example of American wealth. Photograph Courtesy of The Sands Point Preserve Conservancy.

Hempstead House, located in Sands Point, is one of the four mansions that constitute the Guggenheim Estate. Howard Gould, son of the railroad tycoon Jay Gould, started construction of the mansion in 1912. Gould built two castle-like buildings, the main house called Hempstead House, and the smaller house known as Castle Gould. The other two mansions are called Mille Fleur and Falaise. Hempstead House is an exemplary 50,000 square-foot, Tudor-style mansion that boasts 40 rooms and an imposing vaulted ceiling that incarnates the opulence and glamor of the 1920s. The walnut-paneled library was emulated from that of the palace of King James I, while the sunken Palm Court once contained 150 species of rare orchids, plants, and potted trees. After Guggenheim’s death in 1930, his wife Florence closed off Hempstead House and built a small water-side home, Mille Fleur, for herself.

Today Sands Point Preserve, the non-profit institution that preserves and runs the four mansions of the estate, hosts a plethora of events, from mansion tours and weddings, to even after-school art and yoga classes, and even a Halloween Ball. It has appeared as a location in numerous film and television productions, including the show Gotham.