After Otto passed away in 1934 his wife sold it off. Being the tough times of the depression she didn't have many offers and it was purchased by the NYC Department of Sanitation to be used as a retreat. That didn't go so well and only lasted 2 years. Then it was taken over by the Marine Radio Operators before being purchased by the Eastern Military Academy. The Eastern Military Academy was a respectful owner of the building, if you don't mind tanks driving around the gardens.
Today the castle restoration is the biggest restoration project of its kind. 70% of the castle has been restored, with plans in the works for the other 30%. The castle is currently functioning as a hotel, restaurant, catering hall. I think catering hall is an understatement. You may have seen OHEKA on Platinum Weddings or in photos of Kevin Jonas wedding. You may have also seen it in The Emperors Club, What Happens In Vegas, Royal Pains or in ads for Audi, Victoria's Secret, Ralph Lauren and every bridal magazine - just to name a few of its accolades.
|Charlie Chaplin Room|
|Formal Dining Room|
After this we moved upstairs to the 4th floor where most of the suites are. We got to see the bridal suite and a Fairbanks Suite (a different one then featured on the website). After the 4th Floor we went to the wind tunnel, which functioned as 1910's air conditioning and then to take a peak at the pool from the outside. The pool is a long lap pool and for several reasons is not open to the public. Although it is partially restored, it is still part of the 30% of the estate to still be completed. After this we were brought back to the ballroom for coffee and cookies, a really nice way to end the tour. And it allowed you to take a look around the castle some more if you didn't have time to check everything out.
|Bathroom in Fairbanks Suite|
If you're out on Long Island this is absolutely a wonderful site to see, although there are some other historic mansions on Long Island this one is unique in it's history. I think you'll also find OHEKA Castle to be a very warm and home like environment compared to many other mansions you could see in the country. This could also have to do with the fact that Gary actually lives in the castle and calls it his home. Yes, while waiting for my tour Gary came by the grand staircase and said hi to anyone who was waiting for the tour and welcomed us to him home.
Tours operate daily at 11AM, if you are planning on visiting I would recommend asking if there are any events going on when you are there. If they are filming or have a party you may find areas of the castle are off limits for the tour.