Behind every good man is a good woman and behind every good mansion open to the public is a bitchy old bag who is really concerned that Jim is going to take pictures and wishes we would all just go to Hell and leave her in peace. But trust me, it's worth enduring their ire to see so much gaudiness and genuine beauty mingling under the same massive Italian Renaissance style roof.
Some of the rooms are truly spectacular, I'm a particular fan of one of the oval bedrooms which, due to the no indoor photography policy, I can't find a picture of. The mansion, which served as the summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, was still in family hands in the 1960's; before dull and boring guides stalked the halls and exit signs were installed next to the imported French fireplaces. I would have loved to have seen the parties thrown in those last days–and I wonder, if it had stayed in the family, would wild parties still be thrown by Vanderbilt's great grandson Anderson Cooper.