On the peninsula of Sands Point, a mainstay of Long Island’s fabled Gold Coast, sits a waterfront estate that, like the area, has a history that speaks to a very different time. From the luxurious amenities of a separate movie house, original to the property when a notable investment banker built it, to the waterfront home’s enviable vantage points for sunsets, this nearly four-acre estate is a world unto itself.
After all, Sands Point was the “East Egg” of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, representing the “old money” crowd in the novel. That, Sands Point certainly was. The area, surrounded on three sides by water, was originally owned by just three families: the Sands, the Vanderbilts and the Cornwells.
Even today, the 3.86-acre estate at 16 Plum Beach Point Road is where “luxury comes to life,” according to Maggie Keats of Douglas Elliman, who represents the exclusive listing with Grace Chang for $7.495 million. Besides the 16-room primary house, the substantial grounds offer a pool, pool house, tennis court with tennis house, a deepwater dock and even a dog house with a dog run.
It’s “your ticket to a luxe and serene retreat without ever leaving home,” the listing says.
Robert Lehman, who succeeded his father as the head of Lehman Brothers investment bank, built the home in 1935, according to Keats, who said he chose the area because the Nassau County location was an easy commute to Manhattan.
A major art collector, his private collection rose to a value of at least $50 million at the time of his death in 1969, according to The New York Times. He had been chairman of the board at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and, after his death the Robert Lehman Foundation donated approximately 3,000 pieces of art to the Met, including works by Henri Matisse and Auguste Rodin.
Some other statues from Lehman’s collection, though of lesser value, are still on the property today.
The 8,074-square-foot primary home was expanded a number of times over the last nearly nine decades.
The 16 rooms include seven bedrooms, eight full bathrooms and three half-baths.
As for the primary suite, it is gigantic and boasts views on three sides. “You feel like you’re on an ocean liner — the views are so panoramic,” Keats says.
In addition to the oversized sleeping quarters, there is a large sitting room and an office divided by a gas fireplace — one of five in the home. There is a walk-in closet and bath on one side of the bedroom. A walk through the suite leads to a dressing room with a second bathroom.
Above the three-car garage, there are additional guest quarters.
The home also features a wine cellar and a full spa featuring a sauna/steam room, massage room with a bath, as well as a gym. Among the other interior amenities, Keats points to a lovely garden room with plumbing, making it easy to water plants, a music room, and a home office with a fireplace.
“The kitchen is tremendous,” Keats says. “It has its own breakfast room that opens to the pool.”
The oversized heated gunite pool overlooks the water and is surrounded by a brick patio. The pool house offers two changing rooms, a full bathroom and a kitchenette with a bar.
The water is really what it’s all about, says Keats.
The house is “situated unbelievably beautifully on the property,” Keats says. “It’s set way back from the street, you can’t even see it.”
There are 225 feet of waterfront along Manhassett Bay and a coveted deepwater dock, one of only 19 docks in Sands Points, a village with 900 homes.
“On this side of the peninsula you have deeper water, which is lovely and you do get the western-facing sunsets,” Keats says.
Plus, a seawall makes the property less vulnerable to storms.
Also on the property is a true rarity: a separate movie theater.
“The movie house was actually a part of the original estate and it was a screening room” Keats says. “It’s a separate structure. After dinner, you went across the driveway and watched movies,” she says. Today, it holds a big-screen television and individual chairs, along with “vintage equipment that has been kept around for flavor.”
The only other dedicated movie house Keats knows about was at the Sands Point home of Nicholas Schenck, a major film executive of the 1930s, who built there in 1942.
The property also contains highly unusual canine amenities. While the entire estate is gated and fenced, dogs enjoy their own run here, with “separate quarters for canine guests,” Keats explains. “I’ve never seen a guest house for dogs.”
Finishing up the tour of the estate are a tennis court and a tennis house, which offers a changing room, half bath, and storage for equipment.
This article appeared in the September issue of Behind The Hedges inside the Long Island Press. Click here and flip to page 41 to read the digital version of Hedges. To read more of Behind The Hedges coverage of western Suffolk County and Nassau County, click here.