Brooklyn Quarantine Diary

Quarantine is rooted in the Italian words quarantenara and quaranta giorni, or 40 days, the period of time the city of Venice forced ship passengers and cargo to wait before landing in the 14th and 15th centuries to try to stave off the plague.

How’s your enforced staycation going? For me, a single woman who lives alone and works from home, quarantine is very much like my regular life. I’m used to plenty of solitude and have no problem with it. What’s different now is that the pressures, external and internal, to go out and do something, anything at all, are completely and relaxingly absent.

I’ve been holed up in my garden-level brownstone apartment for eleven days, and so far, haven’t been bored for a minute. Early on, I placed delivery orders for groceries and wine, which I’d rarely ever done. The supermarket was out of half the stuff I wanted and the delivery window was four days out. It looks like I’ll have to cut my own fingernails soon and possibly my own hair, but that’s about the worst of it.

OK, I’m being flippant, and yes, I’m acutely aware of my privilege. If doing one’s own nails was the worst of it, we’d all be in great shape. People are fighting for their lives on ventilators as we speak, and nurses and doctors are working double and triple shifts without proper supplies, while my anxiety takes the form of being weirdly abstemious with such things as postage stamps, hair products and, yes, toilet paper (food and alcohol not so much).

When I landed at JFK Tuesday night, March 17, after an aborted Mexican vacation, my coronavirus worry was at a peak. I’d spent the last long day of travel first in a crowded van, then in an airport, then on a 5-hr flight and in a stuffy taxi which brought me to my Brooklyn door. To assuage my own anxiety and make sure I didn’t infect others in case I had been exposed, I committed to adopting the slightly more stringent NYC regulations in place for vulnerable over-70s, even though I’m 69 for another few days.

No problem. I didn’t really want to go food shopping or to the drugstore anyway, even with gloves, even for a few minutes, if it meant being extra-paranoid and/or guilty afterwards.

And no, quarantine is not an exact replica of my real life. Most days, under normal circumstances, I get up at an early hour, get dressed and go to the gym, and many evenings, after a day’s work at my desk, I go out for drinks and dinner with friends. Now I’m doing none of those things (except for the work part). I’ve left my building only for neighborhood walks.

This morning, it included the Farmers’ Market at Grand Army Plaza, where vendors were sparse, the produce tables — mostly root vegs and apples from last fall — cordoned off to keep customers at a distance, and people in masks and latex gloves lined up with six foot spaces between.

NYC is not as quiet as those ghost-town photos of Times Square would have you believe, or as Governor Cuomo and Mayor DeBlasio would like. Yesterday, Friday, was springlike, and Fort Greene Park was a de facto gym, with people doing every form of exercise from jump rope to crunches to stair climbing. Vehicular traffic was light but not that light. The sidewalks were emptier than usual, but hardly empty.

Our elected officials’ approach, of asking people to cooperate with the new regulations on a voluntary basis, worries me. Kids have even been playing basketball, a game in which avoiding close human contact is obviously impossible, in city parks and playgrounds the Mayor has been reluctant to padlock. With such lax enforcement, how much longer will this go on than it needs to? Maybe we can be sanguine about quarantine for a bit longer, but soon the charms of vegetating in place will pall.

My personal health panic faded after I watched (and half-believed) a YouTube video touting a best-case scenario, and passed the average incubation times for coronavirus. I’m feeling fine. Meanwhile, I self-isolate, shelter in place, lock myself down, willingly place myself under house arrest. I haven’t even made a dent on the procrastinated-on projects I call my “Winter List,” which I have already blown off several winters in a row. It includes such things as “Go through travel files” and “Go through old photos” (pre-2000, bursting out of a seven-foot wide credenza).

Directly as a result of the pandemic, I lost one of my two freelance clients to budget cuts, so I have a lot more free time than usual. I just don’t know what happens to it. I haven’t done any Pilates or yoga. I’ve cooked only a little, and haven’t cracked a book.

I have, however, raked up the back garden and cleared out under the deck stairs (my domain), throwing away stiffened hoses and broken snow shovels. My landlords are away at their country place, so I have the whole overgrown garden to myself. Early spring is its moment of glory, with forsythia and a magnificent star magnolia in bloom.

Last week, when this was new and things seemed on the verge of catastrophe, I found myself thinking of Anne Frank and her family’s 2-1/2 years in the Secret Annex, as well as my own confinement at age 14 with rheumatic fever. At first, the doctors said complete bed rest for 4 weeks, and that was bad enough. It turned out to be four whole months, from March to June 1964, before whatever it was they were measuring in my blood reached the correct level. But I made it through. The time went by and, in retrospect, it shaped me.

That experience was different, because I wasn’t contagious and could have all the visitors I wanted, but full-time bedrest throughout the entire spring of ninth grade was pretty extreme. I started a voluminous correspondence with an English penpal that remains a rock-solid friendship to this day. Our letters were masterpieces of adolescent reportage, unique sociological documents, largely about our mutual Beatles fandom. I read some memorable books (I remember two, anyway — Gone with the Wind and Of Human Bondage), and immersed myself in music, fueled by the AM radio stations I listened to on my transistor. Beatles, Stones, Motown, R&B, Dylan, Orbison — 1964 was a great year for pop music, and the hits of that season still carry a powerful emotional charge.

I know we’ll get through this as a society and live to fight at least another day (climate change has not been mentioned in weeks). Like everyone else, I’m worried about what happens next. As cozy as I am and as well-stocked, I hope this quarantine doesn’t last long enough for me to get around to sorting my CDs.

Posted in BROOKLYN | 5 Comments

First Timer in Mexico City

SIX DAYS AGO, I got back from two weeks in Mexico. It was supposed to have been a three-week vacation, but fears of the U.S.-Mexico border closing suddenly and the possibility, if flights were cancelled, of having to rent a car and drive cross country from Baja California to NYC (38 hours – I checked), caused my holiday to come to an abrupt end.

When a friend and I left JFK on Tuesday, March 3, there were a couple hundred coronavirus cases in New York. I had heard about it, and checked three drug stores for hand sanitizer before I left (to no avail), but it wasn’t something that would cause me to change my long-arranged travel plans, for gosh sakes. When I got back to NYC on Tuesday, March 17, the number of cases was in five digits.

I hadn’t ever been to CDMX (the new official acronym for Mexico City, for Ciudad de Mexico). I expected chaos, noise, maybe a little danger. Instead, I found it as rich in art and architecture as a European capital and cleaner than New York City, with parks full of jacaranda trees in purple bloom. Our two-bedroom, two-bath Air B&B was ridiculously inexpensive and more luxurious than my normal lifestyle, located in the Roma neighborhood, just around the corner from where the movie of that name was filmed.

Roma and Condesa, the adjoining nabe, about 3 miles from the Centro Historico, are both terrific, but Condesa is where I’d live if I lived in CDMX. It was built in the 1920s and ’30 around the jungle-like, oval-shaped Parque Mexico, on the site of a one-time racecourse. I wandered around, taking in the Art Deco architecture that flowered in Mexico City after the devastating economic effects of the 1910 Mexican Revolution had resolved.

All this wonderfulness was enhanced by the fact that I wasn’t paying much attention to the news.

My main goal was to see the murals of the great social realist Diego Rivera, with visits to his monumental works at the Palacio National (nothing less ambitious than the history of Mexico from pre-conquest times to the 1930s); the futuristic “Man at the Crossroads” mural at the Palacio des Bellas Artes, which also has towering murals by Orozco, Tamayo and Siquieros, and another at the Diego Rivera Museum, a personal and political riff on Seurat’s painting “Sunday on the Grand Jetté,” at the head of lovely Alameda Central park.

And we weren’t about to miss what is surely one of Mexico’s top tourist attractions, Frida’s Kahlo’s famous “blue house” in the Coyoacan neighborhood, a 20-minute taxi ride from the center, as well as the extraordinary modernist home and studio built in the nearby San Angel neighborhood for Rivera by his friend and neighbor, architect Juan O’Gorman. They didn’t disappoint. In fact, they astounded.

A street food tour with Eat Mexico was a highlight. It satisfied my curiosity about the famous Mexico City street food stalls without my having to risk digestive upset. The small-group tour took us to a central business district, Cuahutemoc, where there are tall glass office towers. It’s mostly office workers and construction workers who find these carts, set up in the morning and broken down at night, some that have been in the same family for decades, so convenient.

The food we tried at a dozen stops, ably guided by Ariana Ruiz, was uniformly fresh and delicious, and incredibly high in carbs. There was atolle, a warm sweet rice drink; samples from several tortillerias (of 65,000 in the city), round discs of corn dough, salted and eaten as a snack; cemitas poblanas, another bready thing, with string cheese, avocado and an herb called papalo. I also tried chamoy, a sweet/salty salsa, Asian- influenced, with tamarind, papaya, pineapple and other fruit; pombazo, a way to use day-old bread by soaking it in salsa and frying; shrimp burritos and a seafood tostada, Veracruz- style. It’s cooked ceviche, basically, sushi-fresh and delivered daily from both coasts, each 5 hours away by truck.

Food in general was a highlight of CDMX. We ate everywhere from a retro lunch counter in an 18th century Baroque building entirely clad in blue and white tiles, to the vegan cafe down the block where we sat outside one evening under string lights, to Dulce Patria, a fancy restaurant for which we had made advance reservations, that took us into Mexico City’s poshest neighborhood, Polanco.

We did many of the things you have to do your first time in CDMX, including the 14th century Templo Mayor excavations and museum, dating from when Mexico City, called Tenochtitlan, was on an island linked to the mainland by causeways, and the dizzying, world-class anthropology museum. I’m not sure one of the things you have to do is take the subway, but we did, as an adventure. It was impressively efficient. But Ubers are too, and hardly more costly.

Five days in Mexico City was perfect for must-dos and a bit of wandering, with guidebook in hand. Call me old-fashioned, but I still like to carry one around.

By the time we left for Oaxaca March 8, the coronavirus news was casting a pall. We encountered worried Americans there, which we had not in MCDX. Mexicans, too, were conscious of it and big on the hand sanitizer.

Oaxaca, sleepy by comparison to CDMX but of great charm and interest, will be the subject of another post. I’ll have plenty of time to put that together, from quarantine here in brownstone Brooklyn.

Hope you are all doing well in your seclusion during this weird, anxious time. I have faith it will eventually be over, and we’ll get back, not to the old normal, but hopefully better. After our enforced staycations, we’ll be well-rested and well-read, less crazed consumers, more appreciative of the low-wage workers who keep us going, less frenetic, more introspective. We’ll have caught up with old friends and cleaned out our closets. And I, I hope, will have revived my dormant blog.

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These Walls Talk: Story of an 1830s Brooklyn House

I AM BACK in Brooklyn for the winter and turning my attention to another of my vintage properties, one that hasn’t had much love in recent years: a four-story brick in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, located conveniently but noisily between two major arteries, Flatbush Avenue and Atlantic Avenue.

Doesn’t look like much, perhaps, with the fire escape and all, but it has history. I found out recently that it was built in 1835 by a mason named Ezekiel C. Frost, who had a Fulton Street address. It was a pretty fancy house at one time; you rarely see a Brooklyn row house with windows on the hallway stair landings, which this one has.

Land conveyance document showing the builder’s sale (of a possibly uncompleted house, as he had just bought the lot four or five months earlier) to John W. Hyatt on February 23, 1836. Hyatt owned it a couple months before flipping it to someone else… and so it went.

There’s no stoop, just a couple of steps up to the front door, surrounded by original carved wood moldings in a plain but obvious Greek Revival style. The parlor floor’s high ceilings were once bedecked with ornamental plasterwork.

When we bought the building vacant in 1979, it was unlivable, an utter wreck, with graffiti on the inside and other relics of NYC’s bad old days (metal gates across windows, steel apartment doors). The pipes had frozen and burst; the boiler was useless. But a few decorative details, including fluted moldings around the tall windows on the parlor floor, had miraculously survived.

The parlor floor as it looks today.

It took us four years to renovate the building, much of it hands-on, into three rental apartments — a ground floor one-bedroom, which replaced a former bodega; a 4-bedroom duplex on the parlor and third floors, above, created by installing an interior stair; and a top floor two-bedroom.

There were even a few shards of plaster detail left forty years ago, but we were so naive about historic preservation, we didn’t save them. I cringe to report that the bits and pieces of plaster we threw away in 1979 suggested our house may have had something akin to the plasterwork in the 1832 Old Merchant’s House, below, a historic house museum on East 4th Street in Manhattan, though not as ornate.

The house had a hectic history, which I delved into one Saturday morning last month at the Brooklyn Historical Society. In a two-hour workshop called “If These Walls Could Talk,” held in the hushed late-Victorian library of the BHS on Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights, we were introduced to various resources and materials, including maps, land conveyance documents and residential directories. There are also invaluable websites, notably the digitized archives of The Brooklyn Eagle, a daily newspaper that began publishing in the 1850s. (I wasn’t a total newbie at this; I did a similar workshop a few years back, researching our Cobble Hill building.)

That afternoon, I spent a further few hours in the library, coming away with a real sense of lived history, of the specific individuals who worked, ate, socialized on the very same wide-plank floorboards we’ve sanded and re-sanded and patched and filled, because they’re too full of character to replace.

Most moving of all were some 1850s classifieds in the Eagle, advertising ponies for sale, lost earrings, musical instruments (“French tremolo $20, Spanish guitar (a gem, only $35), English concertina $20”). Real people with real lives, who wore top hats and bustles and took meals at a communal table, meals probably prepared in what is now our basement boiler room.

Housing classifieds in the same paper of the same period were even more revealing. Seems the house may never have been used as a single-family home, but was always a multi-unit building. Individual floors and rooms were advertised to let, with or without board.

TO RENT – A beautiful parlor floor in a first class house; gas, water, &c. In good order; inquire of Mrs. Scott from 10 A.M. to-morrow till 3 P.M.

BOARD – Gentlemen and their wives, or five or six single gentlemen, can be accommodated in pleasant front or back rooms, on first or second floors, with good board. Cars pass the door.

Among the other intriguing things I found out:

  • The house’s original address, as the street name was different in the 19th century. That was key to finding out other things, but not all. Land conveyance documents are based not on addresses, but on not-to-scale lot drawings showing measurements from nearby street corners.
  • The house was likely built as a spec project right around the date I had surmised. It is a less grand version of the 1832 Old Merchant’s House, a historic house museum on East 4th Street in Manhattan, similar in proportion, detail and layout.
  • It changed hands, as did most of the other lots on the block and in the neighborhood, many, MANY times over the course of Brooklyn’s 19th century building and real estate booms.
  • There were births and deaths in the building, not to mention foreclosures and bankruptcies and day-after-Christmas visiting hours, when a pastor lived there in the 1890s.
  • That because of all the frantic flipping, continuing into the 20th century, my wasband and I have owned the building far longer than anyone else ever did.

It may have been this last startling realization that recharged my sense of responsibility toward this historic, if degraded, property. It spurred me to plan a spiffing-up, this coming winter, of the public halls, which haven’t been painted in many years and are sorely in need of new floor tile and stair carpet.

My cosmetic improvements are happening at a time when the house is about to be dwarfed by a mixed-use complex known as 80 Flatbush (renderings above — it’s the weird basket-shaped thing), with two towers of 40-something and nearly 70 stories. Ezekiel Frost would be very surprised.

The construction will take eight years. But this house is a survivor, and it will go on.

Posted in BROOKLYN, HISTORIC PRESERVATION | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Appreciating October: Old Houses & Fall Color

OCTOBER HAS BEEN A MONTH for remembering my love of old houses, which is why I started this blog in the first place, and for being blown away once again by the beauty of Long Island’s South Fork. That includes my own humble half-acre, above and below, whose fall colors are more brilliant than at any time in the decade I’ve been here.

They say it’s because of all the rain we had this season (which continues). Usually, the oak trees that dominate this region turn dull brown in fall, while the red maples and golden hickories are fewer. This year, it seems, the oaks haven’t turned yet and so remain green, while the others have colored up in timely fashion. It’s so blazingly beautiful that for once, I’m not suffering FOMO over not being in New England or the Hudson Valley.

Meanwhile, an article in the East Hampton Star about some local historic preservation awards for two recently restored Colonial-era houses caught my eye, and I trotted over to check them out. One is the early-18th century Hiram Sanford House on Egypt Lane, below, a plain and modest structure behind which new owners are building some kind of modernist bunker out of shipping containers (don’t ask).

Around the corner from it, un-awarded, is an even cuter house of similar vintage, below, which I only noticed because I parked in front of it.

The more outstanding preservation project is the Gardiner Mill Cottage Gallery, below, a 1750 saltbox with leaded windows. It sits on an open 3-1/2 acre lot that has remained intact in East Hampton Village since 1638, and also contains an 1804 windmill. The building is now a new art museum, open weekends only, with rotating exhibits of historical landscape paintings.

Nearby are two more of the oldest English Colonial houses in the country, Mulford Farm and the so-called “Home Sweet Home” museum, below, plus another fine windmill. I’ve been to these numerous times, and to the lovingly maintained kitchen garden that sits between them.

From there I spotted a house across the main road, below, that appears to have equal historic integrity, with asymmetrical windows and a steeply pitched roof (for shedding snow?) Certainly more than two centuries old, it just sits there with no awards, plaques or fanfare.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t been to Europe in a while so I’m not jaded, or maybe it’s because I’m about to go back to NYC for the winter, but suddenly, the architectural heritage of this pretty town looks especially rich to me.

I can’t say I’m ready to go back to the city, exactly, but it’s been a good long season and things are winding down. The coleus in my window boxes are only a frost away from turning black and falling over.

I’ve planted about 1,000 early bulbs — tarzetta daffodils, crocus, glory of the snow, winter aconite — here and there throughout the property, to welcome me back next spring.

The city has its charms, and I’m determined to rediscover those, too, this winter. But it doesn’t have this:

Posted in HAMPTONS, HISTORIC PRESERVATION, LANDSCAPING, LONG ISLAND | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Art-Making for All in Amagansett

EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. – Among the things that are NOT bogus about this area’s reputation is its importance in the history of modern art. What is even more remarkable is that it continues — not with the physical presence of famous figures like Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Willem deKooning, Robert Motherwell and dozens of other Abstract Expressionists who had strong Hamptons connections in the mid-20th century — but in the ongoing abundance of art fairs, art shows, art galleries and a unique waterfront studio where members of the public can take classes and set up at easels on a drop-in basis: The Art Barge in Napeague, moored halfway between Amagansett and Montauk.

It’s a former World War II naval vessel, towed to this spot in 1960, an inspiration of Victor d’Amico, then education director at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. With the later addition of a second level, there’s a downstairs painting studio ($50 for three hours of camaraderie, though it’s usually a bunch of silent, focused individuals getting walk-around instruction and encouragement from the Barge’s teachers), and an upstairs library and multi-media workspace, where a long wide table with stools on either side runs the length of the space, meadow views to the south, harbor views to the north.

That’s where, in June, I took a one-week workshop called the Bauhaus Preliminary Course, five 3-hour morning sessions exploring the teaching methods of the German art institute, whose short existence (from 1919 until shuttered by the Nazis in 1933) belies its enormous influence on world art and design in the decades since.

Fortunately, I have no ego investment in being an artist, because I soon discovered that among the 12 students in the class, I was the only one not already a visual artist of some sort, and way out of my league. Still, it was fun, messing around with materials from the block-long window ledges (the “junk buffet,” including such things as pieces of netting, foam insulation, feathers, astroturf and on and on) to make collages; cutting, arranging and squinting at pieces of colored paper as we learned principles of color; making rubber stamp textile designs and then trying our hand at weaving; and finally working with tempera paints in a way I hadn’t since 3rd grade.

I’ve since gone back to visit and walk along the deck watching sea birds and water snakes and dogs in the meadow, and have checked out the nearby modernist home of Victor D’Amico and his wife Mabel, also an art educator and prolific sculptor and assemblage artist, many of her works made with driftwood and found beach objects. Now known as the Mabel and Victor D’Amico Studio and Archive, it offers free public tours on Wednesdays and Saturdays by appointment.

The house itself, a humble affair built in the 1940s with recycled materials and the D’Amicos own labor, was one of the first modernist beach homes in the area. With concrete and linoleum floors, glass walls, pegboard cabinets, open shelving and Eames chairs, it has a mid-century modern aesthetic, as well as a look of having been constructed on a shoestring. Yet it stands, artful and atmospheric, and is being considered for local landmarks designation, which would offer it some protection from demolition. It seems the least the community can do.

Posted in HAMPTONS, HISTORIC PRESERVATION, LONG ISLAND | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Perennials on Parade + Shopping for an Instant Cottage Garden

The morning after I got back from my Italian vacation — April 3rd, I think it was — I called my plumber out on the East End of Long Island and said, “Charles, would it be jumping the gun to turn the water on now?” It would be, he said. “There was ice in the bucket this morning.” I don’t know what bucket he was referring to, but never mind that.

Point being, I had to wait another week before heading out to my mostly-unwinterized glorified bungalow. When I did arrive, car full of bags and boxes, the water was on and the toilet flushing, but the landscape was decidedly wintery. I hunkered down in my only insulated room, known as the great room, where I kept my new wood stove cranking, and slept there on an air mattress for a month, venturing into the rest of the house only for quick trips to the bathroom or kitchen to heat up a bowl of soup.

April’s delights, including a new rustic cedar gate (or arch or trellis), separating the lower garden from the upper garden, two kinds of epimedium, solomon’s seal and those very satisfying purple muscari along my impromptu wood-chip path

But I wanted to be out there, rather than in my city apartment, to catch the unfolding of the garden from the season’s beginning. It was the first spring I could expect some early bulbs, like muscari (grape hyacinth) and tiny hybrid tulips planted the fall before, and I didn’t want to miss anything.

May’s offerings, including the annual azalea and rhodie shows, plus rodgersia, the big-leaved brownish thing everyone always asks about, enkianthus, broom, flag iris

In the past, I’d never been able to start my season before mid-May, so the sunniness of my wooded half-acre in early spring, absent its dense canopy of leaves, was a revelation, as was the speed with which things came out of the ground.

The greening happened visibly day by day, almost hour by hour, once it got started, helped by the extra-abundant rains of May and June, said to be 50% more than normal for the period.

June’s white alliums, rose campion, astilbe, ladies mantel, and my instant cottage garden. One impulsive day I decided to do something with the four raised beds in the sunny center of the property, which up till then had been filled with catmint from years past, aggressive evening primrose, and some cottage favorites from upstate (rudbekia, obedient plant, coneflower). In two trips to the nursery, I added yarrow, delphinium, mallow, coreopsis, nicotiana and more — mostly perennials purchased in bloom. I’ll keep adding to it.

Yes, I worked, but not like a demon. Not like in the old days, when I was first clearing the property and establishing the garden. An hour here, two hours there, which leaves plenty of time to appreciate what Nature, with a bit of help from me, has wrought.

Lilies, day and otherwise, lead the way into July, along with hydrangea, drumstick alliums and later-blooming native rhododendrons

Posted in COTTAGE LIVING, GARDENS & GARDENING, HAMPTONS, LONG ISLAND | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Hey, Last-Minute Summer Vacation Planners! Rent My Glorified Boho Hamptons Beach Bungalow

Up for a beachy idyll of two weeks, eight weeks or something in between? Contact me for more info: caramia447 [at] gmail [dot] com

I can’t fault you for not having made summer plans yet, because I’m kind of a last-minute type myself. In fact, I’ve just finished setting up my house in East Hampton/Springs, N.Y., for July and/or August rental ($3,000/week, minimum two weeks).

The main attraction: it’s a five-minute walk from what still seems to be the Hamptons’ best-kept secret: the wide, sandy crescent of Maidstone Beach on eminently swimmable Gardiner’s Bay.

  • Swim in Gardiner’s Bay, at unspoiled, never-crowded Maidstone Beach, a 5 minute stroll from the house, or in the ocean at Amagansett (10 minutes drive)
  • Walk the scenic ‘loop’ through Maidstone Park, or along nearby Gerard Drive with Gardiner’s Bay to one side and Accabonac Harbor to the other
  • See egrets and ospreys, wild turkey and deer (not on my property, however; I’m fenced:-)
  • Nap on the deck, watch the sun set over the jetty, picnic at Louse Point, make bonfires on the beach or in my fire pit
  • Shower outdoors, grill on the brick patio, hang out on the porch at the Springs General Store
  • Paddleboard or kayak in the bay
  • Do yoga at one of several nearby studios
  • Surf or party at Montauk (25 mins. by car)
  • Farm stands, greenmarkets, nurseries
  • Yard sales, antiquing, shopping
  • Art shows and galleries, live performance at Guild Hall, music at Stephen Talkhouse, historic house tours, vineyard wine tastings at Wolffer and Channing Daughters
  • Garden tours + garden visits at LongHouse ReserveMadoo, Bridge Gardens
  • Check out the new arts center at Duck Creek, which has an ambitious program of outdoor jazz concerts (a mile away!)
  • Restaurants and bars galore
  • Explore historic Sag Harbor (20 minutes), Shelter Island (30), the North Fork, Block Island (day trip by ferry from Montauk)

The 1,400 square foot house, begun in the 1940s as a fishing cabin and expanded and renovated over the years, sleeps 6 in three bedrooms (one a separate cabin/studio) with one full bath, a huge outdoor shower, spacious decks for sunning and dining and half an acre of landscaped gardens.

There’s a master bedroom with comfortable queen bed; 2nd bedroom with two twins; as well as a separate studio with double bed and space for additional cot or crib (bathroom is in main house). There’s also a queen-size air mattress for overnight guests.

Quirkily enough, there are two main living areas: a sitting/dining room adjacent to the kitchen with sofa, chairs and fireplace, as well as a high-ceilinged great room with comfy seating and another large table for dining or working.

Like Jackson Pollack and Lee Krasner (whose home and studio is a mile away) and the other artists who flocked to this region in the postwar years, there’s no dishwasher and no air conditioning, but there are ceiling fans and room fans (and, unlike back in the day, Wi-Fi).

If I can help make your last-minute summer vacation plans happen, please email me at caramia447 [at] gmail [dot] com

Posted in HAMPTONS, LONG ISLAND, PROPERTIES FOR RENT | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments