On 25 acres of land in Tarrytown, stands a grand estate which has recently gotten a new purpose in its life. This magnificent Great Depression Era estate, located on 723 South Broadway, is now an upscale venue in which to book your business meeting, wedding, photo-shoot, or other community event.
This is the Belvedere Estate and although it was reconstructed in 1928, it was originally built in 1910. The original owners were the famous journalist and sports writer Caspar Whitney and his wife Florence. Whitney’s home stood on five acres of land.
In 1928, Dr. Philip Gillette Cole, a physician educated at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and originally from Helena Montana, purchased the house and land. At this point he also purchased the neighboring estate of W.L. Bull. He then demolished both Whitney’s and Bull’s houses and combined Whitney’s five acres with Bull’s 20 and built a new house. The main house that the Cole family built and lived in overlooked both the Hudson River and Tappan Zee Bridge. Accordingly Dr. Cole named the estate “Zeeview”.
Though he did well financially in New York after he took over his father’s business, which manufactured the Schrader tire valves, he greatly missed Montana, so he filled his home with one of the largest collections of western art in America.
Dr. Cole died thirteen years later but his family continued to live there until 1951.
When the Cole family put the house up for sale, no one bought it for a while, but eventually, Samuel Bronfman, owner of the whiskey making business Seagram’s and Sons Company, bought the place.
Unlike Dr. Cole, The Bronfman family did not live in the estate, they used it to conduct business meetings and social events. It was the Bronfman family who gave the estate its current name “Belvedere,” which was the name of their primary home in Toronto Canada. The name means “beautiful view” in Italian.
Mr. Bronfman died in 1971 and the house was then again put up for sale. 420 interested buyers attempted to buy the home including a company planning to convert it into a senior citizen retirement center, and Penthouse Magazine intending to build their own version of the Playboy mansion.
However in 1972, it was the Unification Church that finally purchased the estate. Today with the help of Mike and Linda Fiorentino, the church leases most of the property out for corporate business meetings, presentations by public speakers, weddings, film and photo shoots and other community events. This arrangement has been in place since March of 2017.
Mike and Linda Fiorentino moved to New York from Stamford, Connecticut in 1992. They settled in Greenburgh’s Hartsdale in order to be closer to the economic and cultural opportunities in New York City. They chose to settle in Greenburgh, because even though White Plains and Scarsdale were larger and had more name recognition, they liked the idea of having a home close to a train station, and being close to a wide range of shops, like those on Hartsdale Avenue.
To schedule an event at the Belvedere Estate, call Linda Fiorentino at 914-419-1013 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The estate can accommodate events of almost any size because if/when the main building fills up, additional guests can congregate in the Agora House (http://www.thebelvedereestate.com/about.html).
Read the River Journal Interview with the authors HERE.