A couple of large mansions (what, as opposed to small mansions?) play roles in SKIN OF THE WOLF. One is in Riverdale; the other house and its extensive grounds are up the Hudson River from NYC near the town of Esopus. If you were to ask whether the house and grounds herein were the model for that place we would of course deny it. However, for some reason we thought you’d find this estate interesting.
Although now the Raymond A. Rich Institute for Leadership Development of Marist College, the estate once belonged to Colonel Oliver Hazard Payne, one of the richest men in the world back in his day. In 1905 he bought the place from John Jacob Astor and hired Carrère and Hastings, the architects responsible for the New York Public Library, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and the Frick Museum. Payne had the house built like an Italian palazzo but he never liked it and he never lived there, rarely even spending summers in Esopus. In those days rich folks did half of what they did only to keep up with one another. Good thing times have changed, right?
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