“Castles in the Sky: The Gilded Age Mansions of Northern Manhattan” Webinar

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 New York Adventure Club as we explore the stunning Gilded Age New York estates that once dotted the Manhattan landscape throughout the northern-most neighborhoods of Inwood and Washington Heights.

Led by uptown historian and best–selling author Cole Thompson, our 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)
  • 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
  • virtual walkthrough of the Washington Heights Castle once owned by real estate developer Charles V. Paterno, and what building complex took its place
  • 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 Northern Manhattan in the Gilded Age are welcomed and encouraged!

Can’t make it live? Don’t worry, you’ll have access to the full replay for one week!

See you there, virtually! $10.

*Immediately upon registering, you will receive a separate, automated email containing the link to join this webinar

**For the best possible viewing experience, please ensure you’re using the latest version of your internet browser — Google Chrome is the most compatible. Exact technical requirements and a webinar user guide will be shared in the automated confirmation email upon registration.

***A full replay of the experience will be available to all registered guests for up to a week

About Cole

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.











When: Wed., Dec. 30, 2020 at 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

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 New York Adventure Club as we explore the stunning Gilded Age New York estates that once dotted the Manhattan landscape throughout the northern-most neighborhoods of Inwood and Washington Heights.

Led by uptown historian and best–selling author Cole Thompson, our 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)
  • 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
  • virtual walkthrough of the Washington Heights Castle once owned by real estate developer Charles V. Paterno, and what building complex took its place
  • 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 Northern Manhattan in the Gilded Age are welcomed and encouraged!

Can’t make it live? Don’t worry, you’ll have access to the full replay for one week!

See you there, virtually! $10.

*Immediately upon registering, you will receive a separate, automated email containing the link to join this webinar

**For the best possible viewing experience, please ensure you’re using the latest version of your internet browser — Google Chrome is the most compatible. Exact technical requirements and a webinar user guide will be shared in the automated confirmation email upon registration.

***A full replay of the experience will be available to all registered guests for up to a week

About Cole

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.

Buy tickets/get more info now