Less than 25 miles from Manhattan and near the Long Island Expressway, fieldstone walls edge the entrance of a 108-acre estate. A relic of a bygone era, it is among the last king-size Gold Coast estates on Long Island’s North Shore.
“‘Groton Place’ is a vanishing breed,” said Meredyth Hull Smith, an associate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty in Manhattan, who shares the listing with Christina Porter and Lois Kirschenbaum of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty on Long Island.
The owners, Luis and Julie Rinaldini, wanted lots of land for their horses when, 23 years ago, they purchased the Old Westbury property, saving the expansive estate from impending development. Today they placed the estate, which has 10 fireplaces, seven bedrooms, seven-and-a-half baths, plus staff quarters, on the market for $29.9 million.
“They would like to sell the property to a single owner who could enjoy the property the way they had,” Ms. Smith said.
Concerned about preserving open space, Mr. Rinaldini, an architect turned investment banker, co-founded the North Shore Land Alliance, a land conservancy, from his living room in 2002. A new owner would inherit an approved subdivision plan for eight houses — none of which would be visible to the others — with the main house remaining on 17 acres. “We had a fantastic time here for 23 years” said Mr. Rinaldini, 67. “We are older. it’s time to think about simplifying some things.”
The driveway, more than half a mile long, winds past a 1751 farmhouse, an early 1900s dairy barn, rolling lawns, woods, perennial gardens, a children’s playhouse and a stable nearly as grand as the main 12,000-square-foot Georgian-style whitewashed brick mansion house at the top of a hill.
“It’s a great Covid escape hatch,” Ms. Smith said.
Designed by the architect Henry Renwick Sedgwick, the mansion was built in 1932 for Robert Winthrop, an investment banker and former president and benefactor of Winthrop University Hospital (now N.Y.U. Winthrop Hospital).
From the foyer, a broad center hall runs nearly 42 feet to the back terrace. During the summer solstice, sunlight filters straight through from east to west and the dining room fireplace lines up perfectly with the fireplace across the center hall in the library, its knotty pine walls painted a hunter green. Both rooms have full-height bay windows overlooking the 55-foot-by-24-foot terrace and sweeping lawns beyond.
Beyond the off-center staircase hall, a ballroom-size living room has an 11-and-a-half-foot ceiling. Three sets of French doors open to a side terrace. Wide plank oak floors run throughout the downstairs, with French parquet in the owner’s study, a later addition.
“It is a superbly designed house,” Mr. Rinaldini said. “Some of the Gilded Age mansions were over the top. This is restrained, but you can tell the quality is really good. The details are refined.”
The sizable kitchen has glass-fronted cabinets, mahogany countertops and opens to an ample breakfast room.
Pointing out the adjacent potting terrace on a FaceTime tour, Ms. Smith noted: “This is a serious country gentleman’s estate.”
Upstairs, the main suite has an adjacent sunroom, two bathrooms and two fireplaces, one in the bedroom and one in a dressing room. Four family bedrooms and a nanny’s room have en suite baths. A warren of smaller rooms was transformed to a family hangout.
The estate has been a setting for films including the “The Bourne Legacy,” Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” and “Cafe Society,” and Sofia Coppola’s upcoming “On the Rocks.” On television, it has appeared in “Royal Pains,” “Gossip Girls,” “Madame Secretary,” “Mozart in the Jungle” and “The Good Wife.”
The grounds also include an organic garden, a Har-Tru tennis court, a swimming pool and adjoining Regency style pavilion flanking two private cabanas.
The property is the surviving piece of a 550-acre estate designed by McKim, Mead & White between 1897 and 1902 for Winthrop’s uncle, Robert Dudley Winthrop. He gave 350 acres to Glen Oaks Country Club and 40 acres at the southern tip for the Long Island Expressway.
Still, it remains an equestrian paradise. An 1895 barn with a nearly three-story ceiling is “literally like an old cathedral,” Mr. Rinaldini said. The main stable houses a squash court, a hayloft and 10 horse stalls. The estate abuts miles of riding trails at the 605-acre State University of New York College at Old Westbury campus and about 100 miles of trails in Old Westbury.
“We can go out riding for four hours and never double back,” Mr. Rinaldini said.
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