Behold! Holly Hill Hits the Market

SELLER: Estate of Brooke Astor
LOCATION: Briarcliff Manor, NY
PRICE: $12,900,000
SIZE: 10,000 square feet (approx.), 13 bedrooms, 9 full and 2 half bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: …At the heart of this bucolic 64.60 acre haven, the 1927 stone manor designed by prominent architect William Delano embodies the quiet elegance of a classic English country house. There are 6 marble fireplace and 13 bedrooms, including staff quarters…Indoor and outdoor pools are featured along with extensive dependencies including a greenhouse, 4-bedroom gardener’s cottage, carriage house and barn.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Today we go from the real estate reedonkulous Neverland Ranch saga to the utterly sooblime country estate of New York City’s inestimable (and deceased) grande dame Brooke Astor which only this week was placed on the market with an asking price of $12,900,000.

Since philanthropic Miz Astor passed on to meet her great philanthropist in the sky there has been considerable hoo-ha and much ink spilled over Miz Astor’s legendary Park Avenue dooplex, currently listed at a spine tingling $34,000,000 (originally listed at an even more spine tingling $46,000,000).

Starting with Mister Max Abelson’s customarily thorough report in the NY Observer this morning, we also expect much hullabaloo will be made in the press and on the gossipy real estate blogs about the listing of Miz Astor’s beloved estate Holly Hill, which occupies 64.60 rolling acres over looking the mighty Hudson River in Briarcliff Manor, NY.

Any of the children who read such gorgeous and glossy rags as Vanity Fair or New York Magazine already know that Holly Hill is where Miz Astor expired at the extremely ripe old age of 105. Miz Astor is survived by one aged son, Anthony Marshall, who has been indicted on 16 lurid and scandalous counts of stealing from his mother’s mammoth money pile in the last years of her life when she was unquestionably compromised with Alzheimer’s. Mister Marshall has, naturally, pleaded not guilty to the salacious allegations.

Listing information for Holly Hill indicates that the main manse, an utterly dignified and well proportioned stone manor house, measures in at approximately 10,000 square feet and includes 13 bedrooms and nine full and 2 half bathrooms, a count that includes the staff quarters.

Built in 1927 and designed by noted society architect William Adams Delano, Holly Hill contains a perfect and elegantly curving staircase that is currently and quirkily lined with dog portraits, a 42-foot long living room with luscious lemon chiffon colored curtains, a banquet sized dining room, a book lined library surrounded in pickled paneling, and two sun porches including one Miz Astor dubbed the Philosopher’s Room, although we don’t know why.

Additionally, according to listing information and Mister Abelson’s report, there is a Memory Room lined with personal mementos and photographs, a wet bar, natch, a kitchen with butler’s pantry and a one person elevator which we presume was installed to haul the most august centenarian owner from the perfectly played public rooms to her pink and cream colored private quarters which features a small balcony and one of the six marble mantled fireplaces.

Holly Hill includes both an outdoor swimming pool as well as a long and thin indoor pool which Miz Astor reportedly preferred heated to a well beyond lukewarm 90 degrees. Listing information also reveals the property includes garaging for seven cars, a four bedroom gardener’s cottage, a chauffeur’s apartment atop the 5 bay carriage house, a barn and root cellar, a large but apparently empty greenhouse, extensive cutting gardens, a croquet lawn, an apple orchard, something called the Love Temple and a most interestingly, a pet cemetery.

Every square inch of Holly Hill appears to have been immaculately maintained and the deevoonly done day-core, while far too clenched jaw and Oscar de la Renta pantsuit-ish for Your Mama’s personal taste, is beyond reproach even by the most cynical and/or modern minded folks. While it’s certainly possible and perfectly understandable that any new owner and steward of Holly Hill will desire to update and modernize the mansion and its dependencies, given that the developement rights are intact, it’s also a very distinct possibility that a developer will purchase the property and break up the large and very expensive to maintain estate into smaller estates. We’re certain real estate preservationists will cry foul at the notion. We’ll, uncharacteristically, bite our snarky tongue.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Lovely setting.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think that the reason that this place is priced the way it is, is that it isn’t in the right town. Location, location, location. Briarcliff Manor is nice, but it’s not the kind of place that a New Yorker is going to buy a country house at this point. And all the people in this price range who are looking to get out of the city want to live in Greenwich. That’s the bottom line.

  3. CarlaInCalifornia says:

    Wow! 64+ acres with a mansion for UNDER $13MM. Amazing! I totally envy the savvy person who ends up buying this piece of architectural history at a bargain price….. :)

    And I agree with Anonymous 2:47pm, gotta have that POOL!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Oops I’m posting as this topic is on the out.. nevertheless…

    I notice that in the dining room there is a secondary (and smaller) dining table, the same as in Miss Astor’s Park Avenue residence. Is that where the madame eats when she’s not hosting a dinner? Or is that where additional wares (or even food) are put whenever there IS a dinner?.. Is that de rigueur in Society dining rooms? I’m just curious…

    Anyway, the house and grounds are divine: lived in, gracious, elegant, rich.. unlike many other overstuffed mansions that try too hard to scream that everything in them is expensive.

  5. Viva! says:


    It is the same thing. That said, the courts appointed Annette de la Renta as her guardian for a reason, Brooke Astor, THE Brooke Astor, was living like a bag lady on Park Avenue for over a year.

    I HATE anyone who treats senior citizens in anything other than an immaculate fashion. So her pig son and pig daughter in law can go to hell!

  6. stpaulsnowman says:

    6:19, LGB……..amen, amen

  7. Anonymous says:

    That hallway with the staircase and the dog paintings is ripped from the pages of one of those English country life magazines. Quite astounding. There are very few people who live like this in America. You almost never see a picture of it. This is not tacky, this is slightly eccentric which is precisely what is so wonderful about it. And also so great to see in an
    American house because you almost never do.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Dated interiors? Check out the Sotheby’s Greenwich site sometime. It’s chock full of huge houses, most probably built on spec in the last ten years, with interiors that aspire to this kind of decoration but don’t come close to achieving it. Many of the most successful decorators in New York right now are in the business of putting this look together, bunny williams, mario, etc. But you can’t just manufacture this scene out of cut cloth. Not to mention that their clients would never be happy with this. Generally, I think they are way too insecure. They would demand more of everything. These rooms would never (have) cost enough for them.


  9. Anonymous says:

    It’s a good thing the stairway is soooo cool because a one person elevator sounds like a vertical coffin!

    Is there a kid on earth that wouldn’t kill for the chance to hang out in the cubby under the stairs? It looks like something out of a Disney story.

  10. Anonymous says:

    i love the doggies on the staircase! so whimisically tacky! only a perfect manor of a NY society grande dame could pull it off.

  11. lil' gay boy says:


    Buy it for me, please? I want it, I want it I want it!!!

    A lovely home; the interiors may be somewhat dated but it comes closest to Greetree, the Betsey Whitney estate in Manhasset.

    Both homes are just that ––– homes ––– gracious, well-lived in, comfortable homes.

    CZ Guest’s house, Templeton, umm, not so much. But it too has a lovely setting and country house ambiance that neither money nor inclination seem to be able to reproduce these days.

    Holly Hill, Templeton, Greentree; answers to the age-old question, “What’s your country?”

    Oh and Viva! ––– the jury’s still out on sonny boy (sad but true). An article in New York Magazine last year paints a very different picture; the writer claims he came away with an altered impression of Tony & Charlene; crass, but not guilty (although in those circles it may very well be one in the same).

  12. Anonymous says:

    I cannot escape the absolute dread that the Garflecks might live here. This fabulous estate would die a thousand deaths. On the other hand, they could afford it.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It is a very understated house, in my opinion. Very livable.

    The broker is probably trying to start a bidding war.

    I would KILL for that pool. Keep the house, but send me the POOL!!!!!!!!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    in an earlier comment i said this property either adjoins or is very near to the rockefeller estate. well i just looked at it on msn live search and i guess if very near means a couple of miles up the road then i’m just barely right. it certainly doesn’t adjoin. the estate is on scarborough rd in briarcliff manor at the point where the road makes a turn from north to east. it is not surrounded by other estates, but more like countrfied suburbia of the upper middle variety. in fact, there is another house very close to the main house. doesn’t look like 65 acres, more like 20, but maybe. . . similar to the situation of the cz guest place in old westbury on long island. still love it, though!

  15. Viva! says:

    A beautiful home. That was the point, it was Brooke Astor’s home and it seems to have been lived in beautifully.

    Very underpriced.

    Rest in peace Brooke Astor, may your evil pig of a son and his horrible pig of a wife rot in the depths of hell!

  16. Billy says:

    High WASP indeed. Redone last? 58? then just well maintained, very well maintained.

    Did she keep the wardrobe to choke the horse, in the carriage house?

  17. Anonymous says:

    What a nice home. Along with the Helmsley estate in Greenwich, they epitomize quality and fine living. This one is much smaller but more comfortable. Amazing that a property with so much acreage is only a 45 minute ride to grand central. Not that anyone would probably ride metro north if they lived there.

  18. Anonymous says:

    needs a complete make over

  19. Anonymous says:

    Wow, that is beautiful, screams “country estate”, how I wish I could have one…
    Although, the dog pictures on the stairwell combined with all the weird little shelves & cluttery stuff on the table under the stairs is kind of weird to me.

  20. Anonymous says:

    fuk him.. he was “a has been” and now he is a ” has not “…

    love it…the karma train at neverland has no brakes…

  21. Anonymous says:

    Mariah Carey had a house a few miles away, double the size, on a similar lot with no water views, surrounded by a highway for double the price. She listed it for $40M and sold it for $22M TEN years ago. The market is done!!!

  22. Anonymous says:

    this house is waaaaayyyyy underpriced. The market really must be crap right now. This house would have been at least double 5 years ago, and 66 acres in westchester is almost unheard of. Most mansions are on an acre or two.

    Ben and Jen did look in this area when they were supposedly moving to NY after their first kid.

  23. Jen says:

    I want
    I want
    I want
    I want
    I want



    Maybe I want



    Lets keep looking

  24. Madam Pince says:

    Lovely, lovely, lovely. Just what I’d expect from the admirable Miz Astor (may she rest in peace) and under the care of Miz de la Renta.

    Please. Ben & Jen don’t have the taste or character to appreciate this.

  25. Anonymous says:

    This house feels perfectly well lived-in. I’d have it in a NY minute.

  26. Venice4504 says:

    Would Ben and Jen like it?

  27. This house is the epitome of what I call “High WASP” interior design. Love it!

  28. Anonymous says:

    i forgot to add that if this place doesn’t go to contract in the next month at the ask, or over the ask because of a bidding war, then you’ll know this country is in for some very scary times. the property either adjoins or is very close to the rockefeller estate, kykuit.

  29. Anonymous says:

    wow. the very best. and to my mind, quite underpriced. compare to what cornelia guest is trying to get (20m at last look) for another old money estate, her late mother’s place in old westbury, which is being marketed by daniel gale. quite extraordinary to see from these interior shots that the house of a 105 year old woman (when she died) is in such superb condition. still extremely well maintained. annette de la renta is probably the one to credit for that.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely gorgeous. I want it :) phx

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