A private residence for nearly a century, the Belvedere Estate in Tarrytown recently opened its doors to film crews, and the response has been ecstatic. A grand French-style manor with a stucco façade set on 25 acres with enviable Hudson River views, Belvedere Estate tells a story of the gilded age of affluence in Westchester. Built as early as 1910, the estate was where guests like Amelia Earhart and Will Rogers once wined and dined.
Recently we had the opportunity to speak with Linda Fiorentino, who handles film and event inquiries for the estate, and here’s what she had to say about this unique venue:
What type of film activity have you seen since opening your doors to the public?
We were thrilled to welcome the cast and crew of “The Sinner” (NBC/Universal) in July 2017. The show’s stars were on site, Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman, so that was really exciting. Our first shoot demonstrated the flexibility of our property for productions. We were able to use some of our many rooms for green rooms and meeting rooms. They also needed a heavily wooded area, and seven of our 25 acres look like a forest. Bill Pullman’s character is seen coming out of our woods and looking at an estate in the distance. Scenes were also shot in the main mansion, the basement, and in the Agora House, which looks like a speakeasy lodge. It was really one-stop shopping for the shoot.
What’s the history of the estate?
The Belvedere was originally part of Philipsburg Manor, a 90,000-acre property and one of the richest landholdings in America. It was built by Florence and Casper Whitney and purchased in 1928 by Dr. Philip Gillette Cole, and renamed Zeeview. The house at Zeeview sat comfortably overlooking the Hudson River and the Tappan Zee. The Coles built several more buildings on the property, including the Agora House and the Studio. After Cole’s death, Samuel Bronfman of the Seagram’s whiskey family acquired the estate. The property was renamed Belvedere, after the Bronfmans’ main residence in Toronto. In 1972, the property was acquired by the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.
How did you come to the attention of location managers?
We attended the Westchester County Film Office’s “On Location: Westchester” event last year, and I had the opportunity to meet several location scouts at the event. I also learned a great deal about marketing our property via e-mail and through social media. We started reaching out to location scouts, and word got around.
What’s unique about the property for film shoots?
The diversity of locations we offer in one setting really sets the Belvedere Estate apart. We have the grand manor home with its gorgeous rooms, period details, and vintage furnishings. We also have lush gardens and rustic outbuildings. Our acreage is expansive, and our views of the Tappan Zee can’t be beat. We also have a country road that winds around the property that offers staging opportunities.
What’s next for the Belvedere Estate?
We’re eager to welcome more productions to our beautiful location. We are film friendly, and we are offering special discounts to productions. To scout our location or inquire about availabilities, location managers can reach out to me directly by calling (914) 419-1013 or sending me an e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.