Day 1158

2475 Richmond Road

March 2nd, 2015

From the NY Times:

The stars Mary-Kate Olsen and Lauren Hutton are laughing on a beat-up couch in their Harper’s Bazaar shoot, dressed for a bohemian ball, the plaster walls behind them cracked and humming in the afternoon light. In a Cosmopolitan U.K. spread, the model Megan McNierney totters down the stairs past a fresco of the Italian countryside, a Hitchcockian madman in pursuit. For a Vs. magazine feature, the actress Amber Heard reclines in a claw foot tub, wearing leather, lace, a commandant’s hat and knee-high boots, a riding crop clutched with menace in her hands.

All were shot in the same house, a favorite of photographers, editors and directors around the globe. With its chipped paint, marble fireplaces, rolling grounds and airy cupola, the home seems to be from another time and place. . . .

The 7,700-square-foot Italianate house, a New York City landmark, has been called Staten Island’s Grey Gardens, and not just for its appearance. It was built in 1855[-56] by David Ryers, a commander in the New York militia, and sold in 1889 to Gustav Mayer, a German confectioner whose Stapleton business was among the 114 founding bakeries of Nabisco.

For a century, his daughters Paula and Emilie Mayer, and few others, called 2475 Richmond Road home. The Mayer women never married — no man was ever good enough for their father.

The sisters found great joy in the house instead, with Paula painting frescoes from their travels on the walls, though in later years, they never went out, lowering baskets from the window to collect groceries, mail and laundry. By the time they moved out with their nurse in the 1980s, the sisters, who both lived to be more than 100, had confined themselves to two second-floor bedrooms, this inside a house with more than 20 rooms on four floors, five counting the cupola with views of Raritan Bay.
You can read the rest of the article here, and see many more photos here. For more detailed information about the house, check out its 1989 landmark designation report.

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