The term “McMansion” is pejorative, poking fun at a house which is typically rather large but placed on a small parcel of land. McMansions are also often built as part of larger complexes by large construction companies such as Toll Brothers or Pulte Homes, and, therefore, each home is very similar to the neighboring ones. The name borrows the “Mc” from “McDonald’s,” which, of course, is known for producing hamburgers and other food items, without much in the way of variation, and in large volumes.
But in one case, the McDonald’s/mansion mix may be reversed. That situation? The McDonald’s in New Hyde Park, New York, pictured below. The mansion is a McDonald’s.
The New Hyde Park Mickey D’s is located on Jericho Turnpike (here’s a map) and has been around since 1795 — not as a hamburger joint, of course. The building was originally a farmhouse owned by the Denton family, whose forefather Richard Denton founded a town in the area. Around the 1860s, it was converted into a Georgian-style mansion, and it remained a family homestead through the rest of that century. A family biographer reports that the Denton House, as the building is called, was converted into a (non-McDonald’s) restaurant in the early- or mid-1910s. But sometime between World War I and when McDonald’s purchased the property in the mid-1980s, it was abandoned and derelict.
McDonald’s had no interest in owning a mansion; after all, anything more than two (or perhaps three) bathrooms is overkill, and bedrooms are totally unnecessary. But Jericho Turnpike is a great location for a fast food restaurant, and the McDonald’s franchisee figured he’d just tear down the disused home and build a cookie-cutter Golden Arches. But the townspeople of New Hyde Park had a different plan. They petitioned their government to give the homestead landmark status, thereby preventing its destruction. If McDonald’s wanted to open a restaurant there, they’d have to restore the building.
And that’s exactly what they did. As seen on ScoutingNY (with many excellent photos), the owner of the franchise found a picture of the building from 1926 and restored its facade to that state — and then opened it up as a McDonald’s. (As an accepted departure from the 1926 look, the owner also added a drive-thru window.) Inside, the food is the same as any other McDonald’s — as one reviewer notes, “go for the novelty; you’ll receive a happy meal.” Most of the interior has been gutted, but as seen at the ScountingNY link, at least there’s a circular, glass-enclosed dining area and a majestic staircase leading to more seating upstairs.
Bonus fact: Most McMansions aren’t what many realtors would consider “mansions.” As Wikipedia notes, a typical McMansion has about 3,000 square feet (or more) of living space, but “U.S. real estate brokers define a mansion as a dwelling of over 8,000 square feet.”
Double Bonus!: Here’s what the original McDonald’s looked like.
From the Archives: McHotDogs: Why McDonald’s doesn’t typically sell them.
Image via Chung Chu on Flickr, and used under a Creative Commons license