“Castles in the Sky: The Gilded Age Mansions of Northern Manhattan” Webinar
What: Webinar about Northern Manhattan’s Gilded Age
When: Wednesday, Feb 17 from 8 PM – 9:30 PM EST
Cost: $10 (Treat yourself.)
Once upon a time in old New York, glittering castles adorned the high ground of northern Manhattan’s rolling hills, occupied by powerful global figures including merchant princes, captains of industry, and real estate titans. Though by the end of the 20th century, most of these gilded palaces had been knocked down and paved over — their legacy all but forgotten. This is the story of the magnificent homes and eclectic characters of a lost era, and how they shaped New York for generations to come.
Join Uptown historian Cole Thompson on a NEW YORK ADVENTURE CLUB virtual tour and explore the stunning Gilded Age New York estates that once dotted the Manhattan landscape throughout the northern-most neighborhoods of Inwood and Washington Heights.
This virtual experience showcasing both the exteriors and interiors of these lavish properties — and the colorful tales of their former owners — will include:
- A look at the Seaman-Drake mansion — built in the 1850s on the Wizard of Oz-like property known as Mount Olympus, remnants of its entry archway can still be found in modern-day NYC (if you know where to look). The Park Terrace Gardens apartment coop now occupies the site of the former mansion.
- A discussion around Industrialist C.K.G Billings and his palace, Tryon Hall, on the current site of Fort Tryon Park — Billings was so crazy-rich that he once hosted a 14-course dinner on horseback, which included caviar, flaming peaches, and champagne served from saddlebags
- A virtual walkthrough of the Washington Heights Castle once owned by real estate developer Charles V. Paterno, and what building complex took its place. (Hint: Its Castle Village.)
- A peek inside the home of William H. Hurst, President of the New York Stock Quotation Telegraph Company, and the only surviving property from this forgotten Gilded Era
- Never-before-seen photos taken by the owners of these real-life castles, inside and out, which include fumed oak bowling alleys, indoor pools, and magnificent art collections
Afterward, we’ll have a Q&A with Cole — any and all questions about Nothern Manhattan in the Gilded Age are welcomed and encouraged!
An award-winning former television producer and best-selling author, Cole has hosted the popular uptown history blog MyInwood.net for nearly fifteen years. Cole has been profiled in the New Yorker in connection with his knowledge of Uptown history. In 2019 Cole co-authored a history of his neighborhood titled, Lost Inwood, with colleague Don Rice. Cole & Don often host a popular history series, also called Lost Inwood, before live audiences.
“Fascinating history, visuals were great and commentary was precise, organized and presented in a charming, informal manner. It held my interest from start to finish.” -Sandra
“I liked everything. Cole Thompson had done his homework and knew the history of our neighborhood. The site offered opportunities for us to comment and ask questions. I loved it!” -Regina
“Wonderful photographs and great stories. Discussed a part of NYC history I didn’t know much about.” -Amanda
“The presenter was relaxed and informative. The presentation was well researched and beautifully executed.” -Lisa
“I love Inwood history and Cole is extremely knowledgeable about this topic. Can’t get enough.” -Charlotte
“I liked not only the KNOWLEDGE about the subject but the PASSION about the subject.” -Dolores
“Great info, Cole’s research and hard to obtain photos were excellent. Great pace. Good use of maps, and present photo comparisons.” -Elke
“Great speaker! Loved the photos, and music! I could really place where these castles stood! Loved the bits on their owners!” -Jennifer
“I liked the detailed research and wonderful supporting visuals. Also, the enthusiasm and knowledge provided by Cole Thompson.” -Nicole
“I loved the knowledge and insight of the host. The pictures and history were really nice too. I loved that we could see where these places once stood as they are today.” -Elena
“I liked everything, Cole’s knowledge and enthusiasm, and his lovely manner. Great presentation. I can’t wait to go on a walk with him through the Club.” -Joan
“Cole was a terrific tour guide sharing wonderful photos which placed us in the area during these castle’s heyday.” -Joan G.