Old Westbury Homes for Sale

About Old Westbury

According to Forbes and Newsweek magazines, Old Westbury is consistently ranked as one of the wealthiest suburbs in the country and has been a popular place for the elite to build their grand residences for two centuries. Conveniently located at the southern edge of what is known as Long Island’s “Gold Coast,” it is just a little over a half-hour commute to Manhattan via train or Northern Parkway and Long Island Expressway. Its 8.6 square miles of rolling wooded hills create a sense of country and an ideal place to tuck away secluded estates ranging from two acres to hundreds of acres. Long known as an equestrian’s paradise, it still has miles of public riding trails, a horse farm, and polo grounds. Its population is about 4,200 residents and about 1000 families. There is no business center to the village, but residents are only a few minutes from outstanding shopping, dining, boating, cultural venues, and award-winning hospitals. It is the home to three institutions of higher learning and two country-club golf courses.

Once upon a time, this fabled village of Old Westbury, repeatedly featured today in film and television productions for its opulent lifestyle, was, three centuries ago, the site of a very humble and bucolic existence. About 40 sprawling, self-sufficient farms, owned by a community of Quakers, with just a few businesses (blacksmith, grist mill, general store, and a dye and carpet factory), lived very contentedly from the mid-seventeenth to the late nineteenth century.

After the Civil War and the arrival of the railway, the farms were gradually sold to York City’s elite families, like the Phipps’s, Whitney’s, Vanderbilt’s, and Goodyear’s. They were drawn to these rolling wooded hillsides and open meadows, just 35 minutes from the city, where they could enjoy their equestrian sports such as horse racing, fox hunting, and polo. And so, they transformed the farms into magnificent estates with grand, sprawling manors reminiscent of European palaces.

With the construction of parkways on Long Island, and the demand for cheaper housing for returning service men and women after World War II, the face of Old Westbury was once again transformed. With rising land prices and taxes, the grand estate owners began to sell or bequeath their land to developers and institutions. Partially in Old Westbury, Long Island University Post was purchased from the Post estate, and named after the cereal inventor, Charles W. Post. The 530-acre Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney estate was sold to a developer who then sold 190 acres with the mansion to men creating the Old Westbury Golf and Country Club, and the remaining acreage turned into The New York Institute of Technology Old Westbury and the Seversky Conference Center. The SUNY College at Old Westbury was originally “Broad Hollow,” the estate of industrialist, philanthropist, and renowned equestrian, F. Ambrose Clark.

One of the remaining estates is the 100-acre estate, “Westbury,” built for John S. Phipps, heir to the U. S. Steel fortune, and his wife, Margarita Grace Phipps, of the Grace Shipping Company family in England. It was one of several homes that they owned and only lived there from September to January every year. Known today as Old Westbury Gardens, it has one of the most beautiful gardens in the world and is a very popular estate museum on Long Island. It was opened to the public by the Phipps’s daughter, Margaret Phipps Boegner, who lived there until she died in 2006 at 99 years old. This amazing gift to the public from the Phipps gives everyone who visits the opportunity to experience the opulence and grandeur of the Long Island’s “Golden Age”.

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