The 1986 Tom Hanks vehicle The Money Pit might not have won over critics, but its tale of exaggerated renovation woes resonates with anyone who has ever fallen victim to a property lemon. The seemingly cursed home's interiors were shot on an elaborate set (above), but the rest of the film—which was released 27 years ago today—takes place in or around some spectacular architecture, from The Northway, the Gilded Age Long Island estate that provided the mansion exteriors, to Miami's Villa Vizcaya, standing in for a Brazilian money pit at the movie's conclusion. See all the real life high-class real estate from this 80's classic, below.
? Erected in 1898 in Locust Valley on Long Island's North Shore, The Northway House was, at the time of filming, owned by Eric Ridder, Sr., a prominent publisher and sailor who successfully defended the 1964 America's Cup as co-skipper of the yacht Constellation. Needless to say, Ridder did not keep his home in the sort of disarray depicted in the movie, hence the need for a sound stage for all of the interior disasters. In the film's world, the fragile mansion is sold for just $200K, but last traded hands in 2002 for more than ten times that amount, $2.125M. Still, at the time, one broker told the Post that the price was "low for a property of those proportions in Locust Valley." The buyer heard that loud and clear and, in 2009, the house was briefly listed for sale with the sky-high asking price of $7.9M.
? At the beginning of The Money Pit, Hanks' character, Walter, is near broke—after his father, a partner in the same law firm, embezzled millions and ran off to South America—but he and his concert violist girlfriend, Anna (played by Shelley Long), are seen to be living in high style in Manhattan. This is all explained once Anna's ex-husband, an egotist conductor, returns from Europe to reclaim his apartment. The opulent interiors were shot inside The Apthorp, a legendary apartment building on Manhattan's Upper West Side. A former rental building, The Apthorp was purchased in 2007 by a developer for a whopping $427M, and Recently transformed into condominiums. After a scandal-ridden, Money Pit-esque conversion, the units in The Apthorp have been combined into sprawling pads, like this four-bedroom, 4,200-square-foot duplex (above), currently listed for $9.95M.
? While the interiors were shot at The Apthorp, the exterior establishing shot of the conductor's pad shows another, equally impressive Upper West Side building, The Langham, at 135 Central Park West. Built in 1906, The Langham was designed by Charles W. Clinton and William Hamilton Russell, the same architects who designed The Apthorp. This building has remained a rental, however, and is described by Streeteasy as "arguably the most magnificent and majestic rental building in New York City." In 2006, it went up for sale, with the New York Sun estimating its value at $600M. For now, the building is still open to tenants, with this two-bedroom penthouse (above) asking $16,500 per month.
— Amid the personal turmoil, Anna's ex-husband attempts to win her heart back with a series of propositions and a dinner at the now-defunct Cafe des Artistes, just off of Central Park West on 67th Street. Famous for its murals, painted by artist Howard Chandler Christy, the restaurant was popular with artists, dancers, and musicians, in part for its close proximity to Lincoln Center. Marcel Duchamp, Norman Rockwell, Isadora Duncan, and Rudolph Valentino are all said to have been regulars at one time or another. Today, the restaurant has reopened as The Leopard, and the building, the Hotel des Artistes, houses fewer artists than financiers. A two-bedroom in the building (above) is in contract for around $5.85M.
? Though shot almost entirely in the New York metropolitan area, The Money Pit also briefly features an epic South Florida estate, said to be a Brazilian mansion purchased by Walter's scheming father from the same band of con artists who scammed the couple in New York. Known as Villa Vizcaya, the Coconut Grove mansion was built in 1916 on 180 acres by James Deering, whose fortune was derived from International Harvester heavy machinery. Deering used the estate for just nine years, before his death in 1925, and the estate eventually found its way into the hands of Miami-Dade County in 1952. Today, it serves as the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and is open daily to the public.
· The Money Pit: Tom Hanks & Shelley Long Buy a Fixer Upper [Hooked on Houses]
· Money Pit House for Sale [NY Post]
· As the Apthorp Turns [Curbed NY]
· 390 West End Avenue #1/2F [Streeteasy]
· 135 Central Park West [Streeteasy]
· 1 West 67th Street [Streeteasy]
· Vizcaya Museum and Gardens [official site]