Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kykuit : The Rockefeller Mansion

This is the Rockefeller Manor known as Kykuit which is a dutch word that means "look out." John D. Rockefeller built this gorgeous estate with the money that he made in the oil business. It was very interesting to learn about this family, JDR was a philanthropist and taught all his children from a very young age to donate their money they had earned to charities and good causes. This house has 40 astounding rooms and 4 floors, the 2.5 hour tour only covered the main floor and Nelson's wonderful art gallery in the basement along with the breath taking grounds and a quick tour of the stables that had neat old cars and carriages. Pictures weren't allowed inside the house, I snuck a few with my phone when I was pretending to text, it was just to beautiful of a place, I couldn't resist the temptation.

There were sculptures all over the grounds which made for a very peaceful atmosphere, this one was right by the entrance, it is a reproduction of the famous statue, Bird in Space by Constantin Brancusi, a Romanian sculptor. He had made a series of 7 marble ones and 9 bronze ones, we had just seen the most famous marble one which is housed in the Met the day before. Judging by the other works in their art collection, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if this was one of the original 9 bronze in the series, that's how good their collection is.

Here are some examples of the exquisite interior, no pictures are allowed inside so we scanned these from the tour book.

This is the backyard

This is a sculpture of Orpheus, who was the "father of music" in Greek Mythology and was a chief poet as well. Orpheus was a theme through out the collected works of the Rockefellers, many paintings and sculptures were created around him. All generations of the family supported the arts and surrounded themselves with it, Jr. often talked about how he wanted his children surrounded by art. In the entrance hall he had a couple of very valuable Tang Dynasty Chinese porcelain horses which were the only works of art covered in Plexiglas, this was the only child proofing they had in the house and it was for that very reason, he wanted his children to be surrounded by such beauty but also he wanted them to be able to live as kids without breaking them.

Ok so we also couldn't take pictures in the art gallery in the basement which was filled with Calder's and Picasso's and expensive rare things of that nature. The thing that I found to be totally and unbelievably fascinating was that Nelson, the grandson of JDR who inherited the estate from his father, who was known as Mr. Jr around the house, commissioned Picasso to make tapestries out of some of his paintings. What?! Who has ever heard of these amazing works of art ...? They were so amazing, almost cooler then the original paintings. For example look at the tapestry made of Picasso's painting, Girl With A Mandolin, pictured below, I think it is astounding that is made with thread, I mean I am sure the oil is amazing as well but these tapestries are something else. Picasso didn't actually weave them himself he found a little French weaver to make them out of patterns he made, it would take her about 7-8 months to finish one, I found that to be rather fast to create such masterpieces.

This looks exactly like the painting of Guernica, I mean from the picture you can't even tell this is woven the details are so precise, simply mind blowing! You can see Picasso's signature and the stamp (CA) of the French weaver. Below are pictures of them creating these awesome works of genius. Pictures weren't allowed but as if I am going to listen to that rule when I am shown such cool things, I had to hide from the guide and unsuspiciously tag behind the group to get pictures but that is why some are a tad bit blurry.

This is the playhouse, a playhouse for grown ups, it is a rambling French Norman two-story structure completed by Junior in 1927, this structure is three times the size of the Kykuit mansion. Standing alongside the nine-hole, reversible golf course, and an outdoor swimming pool and two tennis courts, it contains an array of sporting facilities, including an indoor swimming pool and tennis court, fully equipped gym for basketball, a squash court, a billiard room and a full-size bowling alley. It also has dining and living rooms, and a huge reception hall.
After our wonderful tour of their amazing mansion, we went back to Terry Town for lunch and for strolling through the cute boutique full of Fall goods. I got some pumpkin cranberry scone and pumpkin pancake mixes that smell divine I can't wait to make them! I also got my own copy of The Legend of Sleepy Hallow and will write in the cover "Purchased in Terry Town, October 2010."

This was one of my favorite things in the store, super classy haha.

We had some awesome views of the Manor and Mill from across the river

For dessert I got a pumpkin tart, it was delicious and a perfect ending to my visit to this autumn time dreamland.

I thought it was funny to see Sleepy Hallow written on all the signs and such, I didn't really know that it was a real place, I just thought it was in the Legend.

When we got back to the big city it was time for tonight's dinner at Da Rosina located on our favorite street of restaurants. I got the veal picatta and tiramisu for a sweet ending.

Dad decided we had to leave New York with a great big happy ending so we went to see Mamma Mia for our last show on broad way. Our tickets were on the third row so we were basically apart of all the action, we could smell ... sweat! (How to lose a guy in ten days reference) It was a fantastic performance, we have seen it a couple of times before but each time its such as party you can never be disappointed by a good production of this show, it is one of my mom and dads favorites!

For some annoying reason no pictures are allowed in the theaters so I snapped as many as I could before someone yelled at me, no one actually did but they would have if they had seen me. The Winter Garden is such a gorgeous theater I had to document. I know I was bad about the whole "illegal" picture taking deal today.


  1. What a fun trip. It looks amazing. Again the pictures are beautiful. I particularly love the lacy shadows on the white pillars. So are those Picaso's just hanging in the basement of the Rockefeller basement? hmmm.... Still waiting to see the "headless horseman" riding along MY very shady "hollow" street. hehe

  2. What amazing pics from Kykuit. Thanks so much for sharing. I saved several for my houses & gardens screensaver. Dave-Seattle

  3. The Rockefellers have representation in "The Pilgrims Society," sponsored by the British Crown. Ever hear about it?

  4. Hi, I' tried to contact you but failed. I'm actually a Chinese-American living in Madison, Wisconsin. I've just finished a book teaching Chinese English and there're two scenes involve Kykuit. I really like your awesome pix taken at Kykuit. May I us a few of them? I'll certainly give you credit. Please reply me thru: Thank you very much!!!!