Although stirring at any time of the year, the 67-acre Lyndhurst estate in Tarrytown, New York, truly comes alive during the weeks leading up to Halloween. Between theDark Shadowsassociations, proximity to Sleepy Hollow, and the mansion itself (an 1838 Gothic-Revival country house that effortlessly lends itself to macabre atmospherics), Lyndhurst is part of a larger seasonal spook-fest that draws thousand to this particular Hudson River-abutting stretch of Westchester County every fall.
The coronavirus pandemic, however, has thrown a slight wrench into the region’s eerie autumnal goings-on. While the grounds of Lyndhurst, a National Trust Historic Site, remain very much open to visitors, the mansion remains closed for tours. As Krystyn Hastings-Silver, Lyndhurst’s curator and preservation manager, puts it, the seasonal vibe at the estate this year will be less “scary-spooky and more “fun-spooky.” Yet as some familiar doors have been temporarily shuttered at Lyndhurst due to COVID-19 safety precautions, brand new (but also very old) ones been opened for the first time to the public in decades.
Opening tomorrow, September 18, and running through November 1 at Lyndhurst as a fall preview is Watershed Moment, the latest site-specific work from the studio of artist and preservation architect Jorge Otero-Pailos. Best known for making monumental latex casts of historic structures ranging from the Old United States Mint building to the Houses of Parliament in London as part of The Ethics of Dust series, Otero-Pailos has transformed the (safe and stabilized) ruins of Lyndhurst’s long-abandoned natatorium into a haunting, meditative space that both connects viewers with the rich history of the site and larger region while also inviting them to contemplate the passage of time and the sweeping, largely turbulent changes afoot in contemporary America.