Friday, February 4, 2011

Why is there a Stonehenge on the Connecticut shore?

In case you needed any more proof that rich people have weird hobbies:

Jonathon Rothberg is normally a pretty respectable guy. He's also crazy rich, thanks to founding a series of successful biotech companies. So, when he bought a telescope, he decided he wanted an observatory. But he didn't just want a shed with a removable roof. No, he wanted a building the size of your average suburban house.

Not surprisingly, the oh-so-proper neighborhood association wasn't too thrilled with the idea of a 35-foot zinc-plated observatory in a colonial-style waterfront neighborhood. Standards, you know.

Most crazy-rich people, at this point, would settle for a smaller observatory, or find another hobby like underwater pogo-jumping across the Atlantic, or maybe model trains. Rothberg, though, had the thought of "what can I sneak past the zoning board?"

"Ooh, I know, 1.4 million pounds of rock!"

So, he hired a sculptor who works with giant rocks for a living, and ordered himself a Stonehenge:

View Larger Map

(aerial view)

The remarkable informative New York Times article reads like it got ripped off the front page of The Onion. But it's real.

Truth, it seems, is often stranger than fiction.

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