How sweet it was. And far-out, too. If you thought Sun Ra and George Clinton were the two high-profile 20th-century stars most likely to board the mothership to a better world, you apparently didn’t know Jackie Gleason was in line in front of them. Was the Great One a secret idealist waiting for humanity’s deliverance?
Well, one can only hope he was that cool. In any case, he was fascinated sufficiently with UFO and sci-fi mythology to have these houses custom built. He called them ‘The Spaceship’ and ‘The Mothership.’ And, if his idealism only extended to the liberating potential of a truly great party, the 8.5-acre property and two structures surely delivered. Even if the buildings never left the ground, Gleason and his guests—who included Marilyn Monroe and Ol’ Blue Eyes himself—surely did. With four bars to service them, takeoff was assured.
The property is situated in upper Westchester, and dates to 1959. In terms of counter culture-inflected architecture, the year puts them ahead of their time, and suggests significant beat-generation artistic influence. What is most noticeable in viewing the photos below is the level of craftsmanship; a huge amount of custom woodwork and stonework is evident. In one of the houses, a magnificent ribbed ceiling, circular staircase, centerpiece fireplace, and wet bar are prominent. In the other, a spectacular series of hand-made leaded stained-glass panels surrounds a spiral staircase with marble treads and steel balustrade.
A series of terraces and decks wrap around the residences, looking out to the forested land, and the property includes a stone caretaker’s or guest house. The place is priced at $12 million.