Map Giveaway: LI Before the LIE

IMG_3417UPDATE: Lisa of South Slope, Brooklyn (comment #7) is the winner of the map!

THIS PAST SUNDAY, I followed a yard sale sign to a classic 1850s Greek Revival. It was late on Day 2 of the sale, and there wasn’t much left (and I was on my way to yoga — a girl’s gotta have priorities). But I did manage to snatch up a couple of 1930s road maps with mellow retro colors and evocative pen-and-ink illustrations.

As a little incentive to you, dear readers, to get you in the habit of commenting on this blog — and in the interest of market research — I’m giving away a 1930s Esso map of Metropolitan New York and Long Island, gratis. It’s full of anachronistic touches, like the words “The Ghetto” plastered over the Lower East Side; a ferry schedule; a long, long list of golf and yacht clubs; and no Long Island Expressway or Kennedy Airport. Suitable for framing!


All you have to do is comment on this post. Click on ‘Leave a Comment’ or ‘[Number of] Comments,’ above, under the headline of this post, and a form will open up for your comment. You can use your real name or not, but you do need to give an e-mail address, which won’t appear on the blog, so I can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. On Sunday, June 20, I’ll select the winner at random using’s random-number selector.
Tell me how you discovered this blog, what you like about it (or dislike – I can take it), what you’d like to see covered here, why you like old maps, what kind of old house you live in — I don’t care what you say, just comment! You might enjoy it.



Shipshape ’30s Beach Cottage 599K

UPDATE: This cottage closed in September 2010 for 520K.


ONE OF MY FAVORITE COTTAGES has just hit the market. A friend and I were out for a walk Sunday morning and noticed the realtor’s sign. We were gazing over the moon gate at the impeccable, boxwood-edged patio when the owner pulled up in his green SUV and offered us a tour. We took him up on it.


A onetime fisherman’s cottage, it was moved to this corner lot in the Maidstone Park area of Springs from its original waterfront spot. At 600 square feet — 1 BR + sleeping loft, with a separate, 170-square-foot guest cottage —  it’s small but shipshape, with every space-saving efficiency, including custom narrow appliances in the galley kitchen. The cottage was mentioned in a New York Times story in August 2006 about tiny houses.


The owner is a NYC-based architect; every construction, design, and decor decision is supremely tasteful. I love the white painted floors. Seeing them confirmed my plan to paint my own tongue-in-groove floors white at the earliest opportunity.


The property is small — about 1/10 acre, but lushly landscaped for privacy, with a brick dining patio and wood deck, and high-tech irrigation, lighting, and indoor-outdoor sound systems.

The homeowner told us he’s selling because he’s been working on the house for nine years. Now that it’s done, he needs a new project. I understand.

For the real-estate listing, with more pics and open house dates, go here.

Best Little House on Shelter Island Under 500K

HAD DINNER LAST NIGHT with a friend who is a real estate agent on Shelter Island, tucked between Long Island’s two forks and reachable only by ferry. I asked her to tip me off to the best older house on the market right now under 500K.

She likes this 1930s shingled cottage on half an acre that was once part of a lima bean farm. It’s 2BR, 1 bath, with a sun porch enclosed by jalousie windows, plus a huge unfinished attic, below, with great potential for additional living space. The house is near the historic, Victorian-gingerbread-laden community of Shelter Island Heights.

Asking price is 495K.

For more info:

Adventures in Cottage Living


MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS RECENTLY in my humble East Hampton cottage.

I’ve managed to turn a drab 1930s stick rattan sofa, above, with no cushions, into comfortable seating for my screened porch. All it took was three days wielding a paintbrush (this thing has a LOT of surface area and needed priming), while listening to songs I didn’t even know I had on my iPod. That, plus $400 worth of cushions on sale from the Restoration Hardware catalogue have in turn transformed the porch into a second living room. I’m sitting there as I type this, feeling pleased with myself.

But that’s nothing compared with the fact that today, after three months of living without one (inconceivable, I know), I finally had a proper refrigerator delivered. It’s a stainless Frigidaire, and I like it. It’s not the blue Smeg of my dreams, but it’s not bad-looking — exceedingly plain. It’s fairly quiet (I would prefer complete silence, but this is as close as I’m gonna get), and it’s the right size for the space, not a monster.

For almost three months — after buying and quickly returning to Sears a cheapo fridge that drove me crazy with its grunts and groans — I’ve been living with an Igloo cooler and a fridge the size of a hotel mini-bar, with a freezer just big enough for a can of lemonade. I was really tired of all my fresh Long Island farmstand produce falling on the floor each time I opened the door.


I didn’t want to do the Sears/PC Richard route, so two weeks ago, I went to Bob Stevens Appliances, a real appliance store, located in the airport at Westhampton Beach (a safe distance from the runway). I felt I needed to see the things in situ, so I wouldn’t make a second refrigerator mistake, and it appears I have not. Now my vegetables and bottles of Long Island Summer Ale look lost in the depths of 18 cubic feet. I see a trip to the Bridgehampton King Kullen in my future.img_1800

I still want the blue, though, so my plan is to paint the lower kitchen cabinets Benjamin Moore’s Sailor Sea Blue, or something like it. This painting thing, once you get in the rhythm, ain’t so bad.

Oh, and the cellar is nearly cleared out of the previous owner’s stuff. Just a few more trips to the dump, and then it will be time to start filling it up with my own stuff.

Deer count, last 24 hours: 4 (a mother and two fawns yesterday, and a really bold one today who came within a few feet of my back door – eyeing the impatiens, I’ll bet).