’40s Cottages in Pine Neck


TODAY MY SISTER AND I wandered the streets of Pine Neck, a bayfront community about three miles west of Sag Harbor, on the north shore of Long Island’s South Fork.


It should by rights be called Oak Neck for the towering trees that define the neighborhood; it’s not all that piney, but someone must have thought Pine Neck sounded better.


The area’s cottages, each unique, seem to be mostly of 1940s vintage.


With few signs of encroaching development, it looks more or less as it did in the days before rock’n’roll.


We looked last night at some real-estate listings, which confirmed that one thing has changed since the Andrews Sisters ruled the air waves: the prices. The active listings seem to start at about 400K for the smaller, non-waterfront cottages and ascend from there.



The unusually large (for the area) waterfront property in the two pictures above sold last year for $1.1million.

Most of the houses are on small lots (about one-tenth of an acre), neither derelict nor overly spiffed up. The house below is an exception.


I’m guessing many of them are still owned by the families that first bought or built them.


There are few visible ‘For Sale’ signs. The houses below are not necessarily on the market; they’re the ones that caught my eye as we rambled, for one reason or another.







The sandy beach on Noyac Bay, below, is the reason a community of summer cottages sprung up in this particular spot. None of the houses are more than a few minutes’ walk away.


Here are a few of the coveted bayfront cottages:




And some of the local denizens:


This is my sister’s adorable pea-green rental, below, recently renovated and kitted out with mid-20th century furniture.


15 thoughts on “’40s Cottages in Pine Neck

  1. Pine Neck is a neighborhood in Noyack, which seems be an official part of Sag Harbor (though not the historic village). Here’s what the Corcoran website says: “The first time many people see Noyack is when they take the shortcut from Route 27 in Southampton to Sag Harbor. This woodsy and somewhat hilly area used to be a diamond in the rough. Not anymore. The house-proud owners of the quaint beach cottages in the Pine Neck area have the South Fork’s best views of sunset and Shelter Island…” (By the way, I don’t agree with that real estate hype. We have sunset views second to none here at Maidstone Beach in Springs. So there.)

  2. Thanks, that was nice. It make me feel “end of summer” though which in my little brain comes earlier every year.

  3. Yeah, I know what you mean, Terry. Function of age, I think. Though I’m really glad I no longer read fashion magazines, which always made me feel the season was over before it began.

  4. I stumbled across these photos and thought I was in a time machine. As a boy, in the 1950s, my family spent every summer in a little bungalow right on Noyac Bay (178 Noyac Rd) – and I have never forgotton those wonderful summers. It’s good to see that that little slice of heaven has not changed that much (except for prices – we rented the bungalow back then for $500 for the whole summer). I’d love to see a photo of that bungalow today. Thanks for the memories.

  5. Hi John,
    I realize this comment is 15 months later, but I hope you get it. My family also spent 3 weeks every summer in the same bungalow, right on the water from about 1967- 1978. The 5 of us would walk up to the candy store and for a quarter fill up the penny candy bags. We thought it was cool to go to the IGA for our mom’s groceries. We fished and clammed the bay and cooked it all over bonfires! My parents hauled our b&w tv out there , tin foil antennae and all, and it is where everyone on the beach gathered to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon! My dad said it started out $75/week and by the time we were all working teens and couldn’t take the time anymore, it was about $250/week. In 1992 I looked at the same bungalow (Sylvester’s)to bring my babies and repeat good times but it was way out of my price range!

  6. hi John and Cathy (and I apologize too for the late reply, John), but thank you both for sharing your memories of childhood summers at Pine Neck. It’s really kind of extraordinary how the area has changed so little in the past 60 or 70 yrs! Except, as Cathy points out, for the prices.

  7. I just enjoyed reading your post about the Noyac Cottages. My family was there, with our B&W TV (yes, Tin Foil Antennae as well) and we also watched the moon landing that summer! In fact, we rented the brick red cottage, as shown in one of the pictures above! We were there for many summers, and those memories are my happiest ones of childhood. My husband and I wandered out there a few years back as it has always been my dream to own one of these darlings, and we were shocked to find just one for sale – $650,000 and all boarded up and run down! My how times have changed – – but thankfully not the look and feel of this precious spot. Alas, I shall never own one, but I’ll always have the memories!

  8. Cara, Cathy and Christina, It’s good to see I’m not alone in my love of that place and time. My older brother makes fun of me for “wallowing in the past” but if the past was that great, it’s worth remembering to me. Cathy…… our bungalow was owned by the Topping family. It was red and white back then. I think it might be the 19th photo down on Cara’s list of photos. Had an open screen porch back then. The Toppings also owned a grey one next door. We were at the end of the driveway that came straight down from Elm Street. We had a red and white barn behind our bungalow that we would store stuff in for the next season. My brother and I played endless hours of wiffle ball – where a fly over that barn roof was a homer. There was a stone fireplace in the back yard which we would cook steaks, hamburgers & “mickey finns” on (baked potato wrapped in tin foil). We had a 14 ft MFG speedboat that I would spend countless hours in (gas was actually affordable back then – remember?) and we too would fish for porgies, weak fish and those unavoidable blowfish either off the Monastery on top of North Haven or by the black buoy near Shelter Island or at Jessups Neck. We too would clam low tides and over at Jessups Neck. A thrill was when our dad would come out on weekends or vacation and we would take in a cowboy movie at the Sag Harbor Theater or the Bridgehampton Drive In. I was barefoot from June to Labor Day and would walk every day up to Phillips General Store for the morning Daily News (and some assorted donuts) and the evening World Telegram (and a quart of ice cream) for my mom and dad. Just the other day I stumbled across a few Indian paint pots I had found among the rocks between the bungalow and water. A couple of years ago I found the Topping son of the farmer we had rented from and told him how much those summers in his bungalow meant to me. He told me that taxes forced his family to sell in the 90s. They could no longer get high enough summer rent to justify the property taxes as those properties became so expensive. My parents had looked at a place in I think Red Hook on the water in about 1963 for $14,000. They always regretted not getting it. However we all ended up in San Clemente, Calif – where I am now in retirement. I still think of Noyac Bay and that little colony of bungalows as a little piece of heaven and am glad I found others who share that sentiment and the experience. Cathy, let me know if you think that was the bungalow you were in too – that would be something. Sorry to have taken up so much space.

  9. Not at all John. Space is limitless on the internet. Thanks for checking in, and for the memories. Even I got nostalgic, and I never spent summers in Pine Neck:-)

  10. my god john, i rented a bungalow there about 3 yrs ago, and fell madly and hopelessly in love with the place…but reading your account of your summers brought tears to my eys….what wonderful memories u had….and dont listen to your brother, that is what life is built on….memories, thanks for sharing and i enjoyed reading your email so much…..i will buy a house there someday…..

  11. Dorothy, I’m so glad you have experienced that special little place too and am so happy that it has not changed that much in the last 50 years – other than the prices which is too bad they’ve gotten so high. I truly hope you realize the dream of owning there. I have, at this point in life, finally given up on my hope of having a place there. I still remember the first summer we went out there. My father had seen an obscure little ad in the Sunday NY Times about rentals on Noyac Bay and contacted the placer of the ad – a Mr. Hallock. He owned and lived in the very west-most bungalow of the long strip of bay front bungalows. Most of those bungalows were rentals back then and Hallock was in charge of renting all or most from his rental office on the first floor of his bungalow. We rented a bay front bungalow for a week, owned by a family called the Boettingers. I remember lying in the bed I shared with my brother listening to the chorus of crickets in the total darkness of the night (no street lights out there then – don’t know about now). Growing up in Floral Park, just east of Queens Village where I was born, I had never heard anything like that. We rented a dory for the week, with oars, from a place not far from the bungalow. For a kid growing up on cement, this was a huge thrill for me. We loved it so much that we went to Mr. Hallock to extend our stay. He said that that particular bungalow was spoken for after our stay but he had another farther east down the bay that was available. That was the red and white Topping bungalow. We spent a week there and absolutely fell in love with that place. Frank Topping – a potato farmer from Bridgehampton – rode over to welcome us to his bungalow and brought us bags of produce from his farm in his black 40’s open bed truck. He was in his 80s or 90s but I still remember shaking that strong, massive hand. My father said it was from years of picking crops and working with his hands. The following year we went out for a month to the Topping bungalow and my father bought a used row boat and 7 1/2 hp Scott Atwater outboard motor that first year. The boat had a leak we were constantly dealing with – and the outboard had a starting cord that had to be wrapped around with every start (or attempt to start). We dove from the boat, fished from the boat, just cruised the shoreline from the tip of Jessups Neck to the Monastery at North Haven. Sometimes we just cut the motor in the middle of the bay and laid on the seats, lapping up the sun to the soothing noise of the water lapping against the side of the boat. Mr. Topping loved us – and we him – and he offered my father the bungalow for the whole season for $500 for the next year. It took great sacrifice on my father’s part to let my mother, brother and I spend the whole summer there, when he had only two weeks vacation – but he did – driving out every Friday night from Floral Park and driving home Sunday night to make it back to his NY City job the next day. My brother and I would play Canasta at the little dining table that looked through the galley kitchen, out the back door and up the long dirt driveway to Elm Street and wait for the sign of headlights signalling my father’s arrival on Friday nights. Mr. Topping never raised our rent and we went on to spend another 10 plus summers there. I made friends from all over the Country who came with their families to rent for a week or so and my last couple of years there became part of a group of ‘regular seasonals’ who hung out together, water skiing, clamming or just barbequing on the beach. Those were some of the best times of my life and I hope I adequately thanked my parents – particularly my father who wasn’t out there full time – for providing them. Most of my friends had parents who saw vacations as a chance to get away and left the kids with “Nana” and they were lucky if their family went anywhere together at all. For years I held onto the dream of someday buying a place there and cruising that bay again and walking up Elm Street again and lying on the sand in front of the bungalow again – but it was never to be. So, Dorothy, I hope you make it – or at least get to stay there many times again. I truly do believe it’s one of the most tranquil and beautiful spots in the world. Maybe when you do, you’ll share some photos.

  12. I too love the area and am about to take my daughter there for her first trip. Would you mind telling me the information about the 107 rental as I’d love to be in Pine Neck proper the next time we go! Thank you so very much!

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