Queens College has let an historic $2.5 million waterfront mansion with sweeping views of Little Neck Bay stand empty for three years after its current president chose to live in his Westchester home while getting a $5,000 monthly housing allowance.
While Felix Matos Rodriguez collects $60,000 a year to live in his own house, the CUNY-owned Douglaston manse collects dust, used only sporadically for college functions.
“It’s like a Great Gatsby kind of mansion,” said one guest who had visited the official president’s residence in the past.
While CUNY bylaws require college presidents to live in homes provided by the public university system, Matos Rodriguez was allowed to remain in his family home after he was named the head of Queens College in August 2014.
He gave up residence in the arts and crafts/Colonial revival home that was built in 1915 and is nearly 5,000 square feet. The city purchased the property in 1968 and it was transferred to CUNY ownership in 1971.
James Muyskens, who retired as Queens College president at the end of 2013, lived in the four-bedroom estate while he headed the school, which is about seven miles south of the property.
“I found it a spactactular place for a president to live,” Muyskens told The Post. “We thoroughly enjoyed it and used it a lot for various campus and outreach activities.”
Among Muyskens’ neighbors was restaurant owner and chef Lidia Bastianich who has owned a waterfront home in the posh enclave for decades and used its kitchen to film some of her television shows.
CUNY contemplated selling off the mansion in 2001 when it was evaluating what to do with eight homes for administrators that were then worth more than $10 million. It planned to put the proceeds toward boosting housing allowances for the honchos who could then live where they chose.
A university official at the time called it “a more cost-effective approach. We don’t have to support maintenance of the facilities.”
As CUNY hung on to its properties, its tuition continued to rise. This year it increased by 3 percent to $6,530 a year at senior colleges.
In 2009, CUNY did sell an Upper East Side town house that was supposed to be the residence for Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, who lived elsewhere. It brought in $3.4 million.
It also sold another home it owned in Douglaston, a Colonial that was the residence for York College presidents. The current college…