His Place–The ‘man cave’ done in style
The term “man cave” conjures a testosterone-laden lair, devoted to TV sports (usually with a particular team over-represented in the decorating plan), darts (or horseshoes, batting cage, golf net, etc.), cards, and drinking—or some combination thereof. There are definitely many qualifying specimens in the area.
But amidst the houses of Bedford Magazine readers there exists also a high-brow version of the man cave. They still involve a masculine element, but are intended and purposed to appeal to a broad-er audience with somewhat more refined interests. These are, perhaps, more erudite escapes, Renaissance rec rooms, or co-ed cabins than their less evolved ancestors, and the men behind them make for an interesting study.
(Photo top: Jeffrey Mechanick’s billiards room with hand-painted trompe l’oeil walls.)
Jeffrey Mechanick is a professor of medicine, medical director, and bigwig doctor of endocrinology and nutritional medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. When Mechanick and his wife, Debra, built their house in Pound Ridge 20 years ago, they finished the basement like something of an indoor amusement park. Their all-purpose arena includes a gym, hot tub, steam, sauna, showers, ping pong, billiards, cards and board games area, wine cellar with seating, and a pub.
Mechanick reflects, “We’ve had plenty of good times for grown-ups down here, and over the years I’ve had guys who’ve come to work-out with me in the gym a few days a week, but mostly we built it for the kids. Now we’re empty nesters. Debra has a busy matrimonial law practice in Manhattan. We both have to be in the city all the time.” So, the Mechanicks have put this bodacious basement up for sale—oh yeah—with a big house, a spectacular pool, and a lot of property attached—for a cool six million dollars!
Gary Goldstein is the founder and CEO of Whitney Partners, an executive search firm specializing in finance. Having suffered a near-death fall during a steeplechase a decade ago, Goldstein remains an avid equestrian and a member of the Bedford Riding Lanes Association, and keeps several horses in the barn in the back of his 10-plus acres at Buxton Farm, in Bedford Hills. The main house was built in 1790, and has been home to former New York Governor Dewitt Clinton and actress Gertrude Berg. When the old structure suffered a leak in a storm a couple of years ago, Goldstein and his wife, Jill Brooke, who is the publisher of flowerpowerdaily.com, determined to install a grand billiards room and guest bathroom to replace the damaged area.
This posh pool hall is decorated with a decidedly enlightened, if not declaredly feminine flourish, including bright modern art and blue wall treatment embossed with a snakeskin design—and none of the traditional elements screaming “men only.”
But the bathroom, which feels Cuban-inspired, does include a decidedly male-purposed urinal alongside the more traditional offering! About this pissing peculiarity, Goldstein muses, “I noticed that private residences have bidets but never a urinal. It’s not a male thing as much as I just thought it would be cool to have. We use the billiards room and this bathroom mostly when we have friends and parties, and we get some great remarks from just about every man—and woman—who sees it!”
Philip Richter grew up on Coker Farm in Bedford, learning to ride from his mom, Judy, world-famous equestrian and trainer. He’s the co-founder and president of Hollow Brook Wealth Management, and spends half the year in Bedford and half in Wellington, Florida, focused on his amateur jumpers. Beyond horses, Richter is passionate—maybe even a little bit crazy—about cars and motorcycles. Particularly German. He’s constructed the Turtle Garage on the 100-plus-acre Coker property as a storage facility for his dozen or so automobiles and half-dozen or so motorcycles.
But this combustion cabin is much more than just a Chevy shed. It has an upstairs which overlooks the curated collection that includes a lounge, board room, TV viewing area, arcade games, catering kitchen, dedicated beer and wine refrigerators, and a bar with tap.
Richter says, “I wanted a place to store the few cars I owned, and then the whole project, and my collection, grew into ‘The Turtle.’ I have a good group that comes over to hang out, talk cars, and enjoy some time together. It’s the best clubhouse you can imagine.”
To serve the gang, Richter’s motor manse hosts an annual car show (this year’s Turtle Invitational boasted hundreds of millions of dollars worth of juggernaut jewels), has its own website at turtlegarage.com, a free-to-subscribe newsletter, an e-book titled “In the Driver’s Seat,” and a guy named Alan Keeley, who’s the facilities and club manager. About the Turtle Garage, Richter reflects, “My collection isn’t the finest around. I know guys with more coveted cars. But I have as much fun with it as anyone around, and I get to share that fun with lots of friends!”