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History

The new Mariner Estate opened its doors after a full restoration of the property, Fall 2021. Now owned and operated by the United States Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Association and Foundation, it is our pursuit to honor the building's rich history.

The building was formerly owned by The Woman's Club of Great Neck, which was established in 1919. Their first President Mrs. Francoise M.D. Barstow, wife of former Kings Point Mayor William Slocum Barstow, bought and donated the building for this members-only club in 1936. The Barstow family, known for their philanthropic endeavors, was instrumental in developing/building many iconic properties throughout Great Neck. This included the development of the Middle Neck Rd LIRR crossing. It was Mrs. Barstow’s vision to provide a venue with ample space for the community to congregate socially and have the ability to do charitable work.

On January 4, 1937 the building hosted a formal grand opening with Associate Editor of the New York Times, John H. Finley, as the Master of Ceremonies. He referred to the property as "A House of Leisure." Finley went on to quote Aristotle and Ecclesiasticus on the benefits of leisure and the direct effect it has on the trajectory of society. He explained, "Leisure in life is just as important as efficiency in labor."

Throughout the better part of the next eight decades, the women held countless charitable events and gatherings for the community. The membership felt it was equally as important to allow non-member events so that the entire community could enjoy the historical beauty and architecture of eras gone by. The club hosted countless weddings, anniversaries, bar mitzvahs, and private events making it a recognizable venue throughout Long Island and within the Great Neck community.

It is our goal now to maintain and preserve this building to ensure that the new memories made within these walls are also cherished and passed on for generations to come. With the dedicated staff of the USMMA Alumni Association and Foundation, we look forward to embracing the traditions that have been set forth, fostering the idea and importance of congregating for leisure, and showcasing this extraordinary property for all of life's momentous occasions.