In February 1991, a 28-year-old Ed Chernoff tied up his running shoes, stepped outside of his Lido Beach home and started his daily run along the Long Beach Boardwalk.
His pace slowed as he caught a glimpse of something miraculous: a for-sale sign in the sunroom window of his favorite house, at 275 W. Beech St. His eyes filled with wonderment at the gargantuan Georgian-style home, with its brick exterior and white marble window trim. At last, it was vacant.
“You couldn’t help but notice this mansion from the boardwalk, because it stood out,” Chernoff, 57, said. “As a kid, I’d glance at it and say, ‘That’s my favorite house.’”
Chernoff, who grew up in Point Lookout until he was about 15, rushed back to his condo in the Lido Beach Towers Condominium and immediately called his mother.
“‘Ma, you’re never gonna believe it: My favorite house in Long Beach has a for-sale sign!’” he exclaimed on the phone.
But Chernoff, CEO of New Millennium Eyewear Group, had recently purchased a home in Bedminster, N.J., close to where that company was based. He wasn’t looking to purchase a new place.
Despite his recent buy, Chernoff eagerly picked up his mother from Lido Beach, stopped at the West Beech Street property and convinced the appraiser to quickly tour the four-floor property.
“Right on the spot, I offered them a low-ball offer,” he said. “The next day, they called me.”
He was thrilled to purchase the 21-bedroom, 8-bathroom and two-kitchen home complete with many ocean views – but the space needed repair. For Chernoff, it was important to maintain the integrity of the house.
After putting thousands of dollars into renovations, his effort garnered an award from the Long Beach Historical and Preservation Society: In 1995, the organization designated the structure as a historic building for his “restoration of the year.”
The 5,035-square-foot home, built in the late 1920s, stays true to its Roaring ’20s roots; owner Chernoff said he’s hosted plenty of Gatsby-esque parties and gatherings over the years, with more than 250 attendees. Chernoff’s two sisters were even married in the home, he said.
Chernoff did not disclose the worth of the property, but said he has been offered over $5 million for the property in years past. According to Realtor.com, the home has an estimated value of $1,432,200.
The personal and historical significance of the property is important to Chernoff.
A fourth-generation Long Beach/Lido Beach resident, Chernoff said the personal and historical significance of the property is crucial. The home is currently off the market, but Chernoff could sell the mansion down the line. He’s unsure what the future holds.
For now, Chernoff plans to stay: Nothing compared to the hospitality of the “City by the Sea.”
“I have another home in The Hamptons, another on a private island in The Bahamas – but Long Beach is something that I could never leave, and I’d never want to leave,” he said. “There’s no place like it. It’s a community that we’re a part of, and my family is committed to it.”