The Sands Point Manse
The Costello’s purchased their Sands Point home May 18, 1944, for $30,000. Costello paid half in cash and mortgaged the remainder. Number 5, Barkers Point Rd, was a twelve room home laying on two acres of wooded land that had previously been owned by an oil executive. While the couple spent most of their time at their Central Park West penthouse, weekends and other special occasions were spent in the quiet of their Long Island estate.
It was there the Mob kingpin took up gardening as a hobby, planting roses and sometimes entering them in local competitions, even winning on occasion. One story claims he had become so competitive over his green thumb, that when his tomatoes failed to produce to his liking, he purchased larger tomatoes at the market and tied them to the vine with green thread before proudly showing them off to his guests.
Though he had finally reached what should have been the epitome of respectability, an estate in the famed neighborhood in which the Great Gatsby is set, Costello was never fully able to assimilate himself into high society, and would often complain to his friends about his “snooty neighbors.” It was not unheard of for him to be asked not to return to certain establishments such as a country club, race track, or the Biltmore Steam Baths, and that rejection would continue to fuel his drive for acceptance through out his lifetime.
In one amusing anecdote from Leonard Katz book, “Uncle Frank,” Costello revealed to actor Anthony Quinn, who some of his neighbors were.
“You know, I used to like to walk in the morning. I didn’t like to walk during the day because I knew people were watching me and so forth and saying there’s Frank Costello, the Gangster. I don’t want to bother nobody. I want to be left alone. So I’d get up at five in the morning and take my walk. That morning as I came out of the house I see guys up in the trees. I know they are cops and F.B.I. men keeping an eye on me, but I go about my way. Let them look all they want. So I’m walking, and way down at the other end I see a little figure walking towards me. He’s getting closer and suddenly I realize it’s Harry Truman! He starts to say, ‘Hello Frank,’ and just as he’s about to say it, I say, ‘Keep your mouth shut you dumb bastard. They’re watching us. Don’t louse us both up.” So he smiles and keeps walking, and I smile and keep walking!”
Thanks to Avi Bash for use of the above photo from his private collection.
The couple remained in the home until 1973, when Frank passed away from heart failure. In 1975, Loretta sold the estate, and relocated to New Orleans to be closer to family. The Central Park West, penthouse was also sold for $50,000, with most of the money going to settle outstanding debt to the IRS.
Here is footage of the Costello house as it stands today.
All photographs by Edna Murray for Newsday, 1950.