4. The Commodore’s Mansion, Stapleton

The Commodore’s Mansion is now a Chinese restaurant.

The very first of the many grand mansions built for Cornelius Vanderbilt I, aka The Commodore, was constructed in 1839 between Stapleton and Tompkinsville. Vanderbilt built the mansion for himself and his wife on the northeast corner of his father’s farm. Boasting views of the bay at Stapleton, the home cost $27,000 at the time.

The style of the mansion was “modified Gothic” with six fluted columns and a Grecian portico. The materials it was made of included yellow Virginia pine, imported Egyptian marble, French plate, and South American mahogany. Six short years after the house was complete, Vanderbilt and his wife moved to Manhattan to an even bigger abode. The Staten Island home was purchased by financier George Law and then later George H. Daley. A fire struck in 1882 but the mansion persisted until the early 1900s when it was demolished. Today, a row of low-rise buildings stands in its place.