Imagine being named Ivan and growing up being bullied about it, but turning it around with a fascination of Ivanhoe and the world of King Arthur. Now, this man has his castle and calls himself “Sir Ivan.”
I had the pleasure of visiting “Sir Ivan” (Ivan Wilzig) at his home/castle, which sits atop a winding road in Water Mill.
Making my way through the gates of the 5-acre property, I spotted a brilliantly painted hot chartreuse pink and yellow limousine, right out of the ‘60s, with the word “Peace” boldly running down the sides of the car. It’s a “wow” moment seeing it.
I soon learned that peace is a theme that Ivan has embraced personally. He wears a gold chain around his neck with a large peace sign. Ironically, I bought an identical necklace for my son Josh’s dad and, since his passing, Josh now wears it.
The property also has peace signs embedded in tiles around the house and he’s added “Peaceman” to his name.
I was invited to Ivan’s hideaway by a new friend: Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar. She had written about him and when she had told me about Ivan and his castle, I immediately told her, “I must meet him!” And so I did!
In fact, Sir Ivan is the son of Holocaust survivor Siegbert Wilzig, who worked his way to enormous success as a philanthropist, first starting as a door-to-door salesman before becoming a banker and eventually selling his bank to North Fork Bank. Ivan was a banker in pinstriped suits, working with his dad until they both “retired” and Ivan began a new life.
He and his brother Alan created a wonderland with a spectacular infinity pool, a purple tennis court and a basketball court with a gold-painted hoop and boundary lines. There is even a moat leading up to the front castle door.
As Yvette and I toured the house, we glimpsed Ivan’s wardrobe, which consists of numerous specialty cape jackets that he wears in his other role as an award-winning recording artist, philanthropist and host of extraordinary parties.
Ivan takes pride in calling himself “Peaceman” and fulfilling his dream to be an entertainer, singer, dancer and a giving person.
We all enjoyed a poolside lunch warmed by the sun and the hospitality of our generous host. What a great time we had!