5. The Beechhurst neighborhood was a vacation area for celebrities including Arthur Hammerstein

Wildflower Estate

Beechhurst is a neighborhood of Whitestone bordered by the East River and the Cross Island Parkway. During the era of silent movies, Beechurst was a go-to location for famous stars including actress Mary Pickford, nicknamed “America’s Sweetheart” during the silent film era, as well as the Marx Brothers and W.C. Fields. Perhaps the neighborhood’s most notable resident was Arthur Hammerstein, the son of Oscar Hammerstein I of the Rogers and Hammerstein duo. Arthur Hammerstein produced operas for Rudolf Friml, led Broadway productions, and built what is today the Ed Sullivan Theater. Hammerstein was comedically arrested in 1920 for alcohol possession, even though it was just iced tea.

Hammerstein built a mansion in Beechhurst facing the Long Island Sound, where he lived with his wife Dorothy Dalton, a silent film actress. Their home, located at 168-11 Powells Cove Boulevard, is now a New York City designated landmark. It was designed by suburban and rural home architect Dwight James Baum and was named the “Wildflower” in honor of one of Hammerstein’s most successful Broadway productions. He sold the Neo-Tudor home in 1930 amid the Great Depression so he could sustain the Hammerstein Theater. The property was converted into the Clearview Yacht Club.