Sunday, January 29, 2006

Once Upon A Time On the North Shore of Long Island . . .

was as I recall, the opening line of one of my favorite movies -- Sabrina. I was reminded of it when I read an article in the New York Times about the attempt to preserve what remains of the Northwood estate in Oyster Bay Cove. Once an incredible 865 acres, reduced by time and circumstance to a paltry 60 now, it is one of the fading reminders of the splendor of Long Island's Gold Coast in the early 20th century.

Mansions proliferated, from the turn of the century through the 1920's as leaders and scions of industry, the who's who of high society, bought up huge parcels of land for summer retreats and built massive structures, fashioned after the architecture and castles of Europe. Often occupying hundreds of acres of prime real estate, with some of the the most magnificent views the island has to offer, the intricately designed homes, formal gardens, paths and outbuildings were, and still are a sight to behold.

If you visit, you have but to close your eyes and you can almost sense the excitement as guests arrived for the grand soirees hosted for the glitterati of the era. What wonderful relics they are of an age long gone. Whether or not you've ever been here and seen them first hand, you've likely been exposed to some of these mansions at one time or another. The backdrop of many a motion picture over the years, we've seen Old Westbury Gardens in Alfred Hitchcock's North By Northwest, in Love Story, The Age of Innocence and many others. Citizen Kane featured Oheka Castle, and the Vanderbilt Estate (Eagle's Nest) was seen in Crocodile Dundee II and a film my son made that has yet to be released. There are many others -- and a great site to visit to experience the magnificence of the time is Long Islands Gold Coast website.

Author: Geri Sonkin


Blogger Rick Lorenz CRS, ABR, CLHMS said...

Interesting history. Most peopkem would mnot know nthis mninformation. Thanks.

7:23 PM  
Blogger Allyson Hoffman said...

Geri, this is the remembrance of things past for me who grew up in this area ... thanks for bringing back the flavor of times gone by with your artful portrayal of a very special part of Long Island!

7:43 PM  
Blogger Margaret Rome said...

Really like the way you have brought back memories of the mansions. Nice article.
Margaret Rome

8:49 PM  

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