Dec 11 2010

Six Degrees of Willie K: The Mackay Horse Statue and Saturday’s Cocktail Party

Here's a brand new feature for Six Degrees of Willie K. The goal is to link William K. Vanderbilt, Jr to a person, object or event in six steps or less. Today's challenge: Link Willie K. to last night's successful cocktail reception in honor of Roslyn Landmark Society's "Mission to Restore the Mackay Horse Statues".

Step #I: Clarence Mackay


Clarence H. Mackay (1874-1938) was the heir to the Comstock silver fortune and was a major figure in the development of the international telegraph business. Mackay was friends with William K.Vanderbilt Jr. and, as with most of New York high society, would often attend the Vanderbilt Cup Races.

Step #2. 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race



As seen in this photo taken immediately after the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race, William K. Vanderbilt Jr. (in the middle wearing googles) was asked to address his friends and race officials at the Westbury grandstand. Clarence Mackay can seen standing next to Willie K. during the speech.

Step #3: Harbor Hill Estate, Roslyn , New York


Before and after the races, Mackay also hosted huge parties for his friends and business associates at his 648-acre estate overlooking the village of Roslyn. Built from 1900 to 1902, Mackay's Harbor Hill estate was one of the largest on Long Island with formal gardens and terraces surrounding the main house designed by Stanford White.

Step #4: The Mackay Horse Statues



In 1910, Mackay commissioned two 25-ton, 40- foot replicas of the famous Champs-Elysees Marley Horse statues forHarbor Hill's west garden.

Step #5: Relocation of the South Makay Statue



In 2009, East Hills' residents Bruce and Melissa Shulman donated the statue to the Town of North Hempstead. With the assistance of the Roslyn Landmark Society and funding from the Gerry Charitable Trust, the statue was disassembled for restoration and future placement in a Roslyn park.

Step #6: Cocktail Reception "The Race Is On To Restore the Mackay Horses"


In the final step linking to Willie K., over 150 guests attended the reception to help restore the Mackay Horses. Among the guests was Patrick Mackay....the grandson of Clarence Mackay.

This 8- minute film on the history of the Mackay Statues was shown at the reception:

Links to related posts on VanderbiltCup Races and the Internet:

January 28, 2010: Clarence Mackay, the Vanderbilt Cup Races, a Horse and Newsday

Contribute to "The Race is On"campaign

January 27, 2010 Newsday: East Hills landmark horse statue gallops off

Book "Harbor Hill: Portrait of a House

February 29, 2010 Roslyn News "The Rise and Fall of the Mackay Fortune"

December 10, 2010 Roslyn News " Statue Restoration Fundraiser: Monies to Renovate the Famed Mackay Horses links:

-The Mackay Horse Statues

-The South Mackay Horse Statue

-Clarence H. Mackay, Harbor Hill and the Postal Telegraph

-Harbor Hill Estate, Roslyn, New York links:

-Harbor Hill (1904)

-Architectural Record 1904, "The Lay-Out of a Large Estate "Harbor Hill", the Country-Seat of Mr. Clarence Mackay at Roslyn, L.I.

-The Mackay Estate Gate Lodge


Dec 20 2010 Wallace Kaufman 12:46 AM

As we look at Clarence Mackay in the bosom of the eastern elite establishment, it’s interesting to remember that his father, John, an Irish Catholic immigrant with a French wife, were shunned.  Yet when Clarence’s daughter Ellin wanted to marry a Russian Jewish immigrant Clarence hired private detectives and reportedly said, “Over my dead body.” He lived, she eloped: with Irving Berlin.

(My grandparents lived in a house without plumbing by the swamps immediately below Mackay’s estate, English immigrants.  My grandfather often served as Mackay’s photographer for special events.  My aunts and my mother wore clothes Ellin outgrew.)

Dec 20 2010 Howard Kroplick 8:28 PM

Hi Wallace:

Wallace, thanks for the memory. Clarence Mackay claimed he opposed the marriage of his daughter Ellin to Irving Berlin because it “would never last”.

He was wrong. Ellin and Irving Berlin were married for 62 years until her death in 1988:


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