Our January 2008 trip to Alder Manor, William Boyce Thompson’s Italian Renaissance Revival estate in Yonkers, N.Y., revealed many interesting bits of trivia. Did you know that a Victoria’s Secret catalog was shot there, or that this is the house where Russell Crowe, playing the delusional John Nash in “A Beautiful Mind,” makes his secret letter drops? The juxtaposition seems oddly appropriate.
We were treated to an impromptu tour of the house by its caretaker on a day when electricians were trying to re-wire the 72-room mansion. Our guide pointed to what might be the world’s largest paint chip, gracing the wall of an indoor pool room. He showed us the top-secrete location of the great one’s safe, which was unfortunately empty. Much of the home’s original art was stripped out and sold at auction in the 1980s. The Magnate’s cash was of course passed down through the family
Alder Manor was purchased by The Tara Circle in October 2004 with the intent of creating an Irish cultural center. The group is renting the building out for movie and photo shoots, weddings, and other cultural events. It has put together a great slideshow of the home, touting the building’s cinematic qualities. Mona Lisa Smiles, staring Julia Roberts, was also shot here, along with The Royal Tannenbaums and Crocodile Dundee II. (Editor’s note: The building was subsequently sold in 2014 to real estate developer Lela Gorin who continues to rent it out for weddings, photo shoots, and films.)