September Slump

None better, IMHO: Maidstone Beach on Gardiner’s Bay, L.I.

ALL I CAN SAY IN MY OWN DEFENSE (to myself, mainly, but also to readers who may have noticed I’m headed for a record low number of monthly blog posts since starting this endeavor almost four years ago) is that I’ve been in a state of suspended animation for the past few weeks. The thing I really want to blog about, the thing I really want to have happen, is well on its way to happening but hasn’t happened yet — the purchase of an un-winterized 1,200-square-foot house in Springs (East Hampton, N.Y.) that started in the 1940s as a fishing cabin and had an early ’60s add-on that gives the whole a modernist look. Quirky, naturally.

Lawyers are on board, a house inspection has been made, a survey ordered, and a contract of sale drawn up. A few days ago I signed that contract and delivered it, along with a down payment that represents all the bread I’ve ever managed to stash away (and I’m glad to use it for this purpose, because I believe it represents the best investment I could possibly make with the funds). I’m now waiting for the seller to execute and return his copy of the contract — and then, and only then, will I believe this is for real.

Elephant ears of autumn

Meanwhile, sitting here in limbo has drained my motivation for fall planting at my present house (and also apparently for blogging), though I spent September in near-bliss. The perfect weather! The cloudless sky! The peace of it, with the summer hordes gone! I swam in the bay and read on the deck and puttered just a bit in the garden. And wrote an article or two and a column or three.

For the record, I’m illustrating this post with some of the few photos I took of the events and non-events of fleeting September.

Above, Just a few (hundred) people showed up for a massive Women for Obama yard sale in East Hampton, which raised $3,000. I held my own copycat Obama sale the following Saturday

The mob scene at East Hampton’s Main Beach for taschlich, above, the ritual tossing of bread into a body of water (in this case, the Atlantic Ocean) to signify the letting go of unwanted habits at the Jewish New Year. The seagulls were very happy

Offerings of the season at Wittendale’s Nursery, East Hampton

Late summer at Louse Point





WANT TO RENT my bright and comfortable 1940s cedar-shingled cottage in Springs, N.Y. (5 miles north of East Hampton village) August 1-31? It’s on a landscaped half-acre with a view into peaceful woods from the back deck.


The house is half a mile – a 10 minute walk, 5 minute bike ride, or 2 minute drive –from the beautiful, unspoiled, never-crowded Maidstone Beach on Gardiner’s Bay.


– 2BR (one full bed, two twins), 1 bath

– High ceilings, skylights, screened porch, huge deck, best outdoor shower ever


– ½ mile to Maidstone Beach, 1 mile to Louse Point (another spectacular beach on Accabonac Harbor). Superb swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, etc.

– 5 miles to ocean beaches at East Hampton and Amagansett

-Under 1 mile to Springs Historic District, including Jackson Pollock-Lee Krasner House and Springs General Store

– 10 minutes East Hampton Village, 10 minutes Amagansett, 20 minutes Sag Harbor, 25 minutes Montauk (restaurants, bars, stores, art galleries, historic houses, movies, etc.)

– 2-1/4 hours from NYC, barring traffic

– Washer-dryer in basement

– Flat-screen TV, DVD player, Wi-Fi, printer, iPod dock

– A/C in living room, ceiling fans in LR and MBR

– $7,000 August 1-31

To see more photos, go here. Email if interested in renting, or for more information. Thanks!

Reduced: Springs Cottage Near Bay 519K

27874hhTHIS COTTAGE, of indeterminate age, is on Neck Path, where old farmhouses date back to when the winding road between Amagansett and Springs was called a highway. It’s near the Green River cemetery where local icon Jackson Pollock is buried, and a short way from legendary Louse Point, one of the most beautiful bay beaches in the area, and the best kayak launch.

Above: Rear of property, with former garage converted to artist’s studio at left

And it’s still on the market after a year, like many of the houses around here. The price has come down $80,000 from last year’s listing.

What that says about the market is, well, not good. Even worse is the fact that last year, the asking price of 599K didn’t seem unreasonable to me. Today it seems high. This worries me as a homeowner always interested in the possibility of selling my present place and trading up.

But it’s still a cute house with a vintage vibe, in top-notch condition and in a pleasant spot.

Go here to see the current listing with more pics, and here to read my enthusiastic post of a year ago. It was a buyer’s market then as now, but apparently, buyers are not buying.

Springs Cottage 550K


IF I WERE IN THE MARKET for a restored fisherman’s cottage right now, I would check out this listing. It’s near where I live in Springs (East Hampton), N.Y., and right around the bend from a spectacular bay beach, Louse Point.


Both house and garden are bright and tidy. It’s 1,100 sq. ft., with a back porch and finished attic, which can be a third bedroom.


I wish it was on more than 1/4 acre, and had older windows, but you can’t have everything. The asking price is not unreasonable for these parts.


The detached garage has been converted to a ‘loom room,’ below.


FSBO: 1929 Cottage in Springs 600K

I CANNOT RESIST a ‘House for Sale by Owner’ sign, especially when it’s an older cedar-shingled cottage on Old Stone Highway, one of my favorite roads around here. Even though I just bought a house two short months ago, I called the number on the sign (add area code 631) and went to see it this afternoon. Why?


  • I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a better deal than the one I got
  • It’s good blog fodder
  • I have friends I’m hoping to lure out here to keep me company

Here’s the scoop: The house is a 1929 cottage added onto twice (most recently, a large, high-ceilinged sun room in the back, below), with a brand new well and septic, on an open/partly woodsy half-acre midway between Springs and Amagansett, a very short distance from my favorite bay beach, Louse Point, and not more than two miles from the fabled Amagansett dunes and ocean beaches, pride of eastern Long Island.

The owner is a woodworker who built himself a large (500 square foot) workshop in the back with a wood stove, that could also be a very fine artist’s studio (a writer wouldn’t need that much space).


The house is about 1,200 square feet, tucked between two other cedar-shingled cottages of similar vintage, with a clean unfinished attic space that could someday be a master bedroom suite or some such. Taxes are $3,500/year.

What’s bad? The downstairs — the original part of the house — is claustrophobic. You want to tear the dropped ceiling down with your bare hands. The bathrooms (1.5) and kitchen need drastic updating. Happily, there’s that sun room at the back — but the rest of the interior needs major re-thinking.

My considered opinion is that it’s overpriced by about 100K. It’s in a quieter, more attractive location than mine (which is a slightly smaller house but more intelligently laid out, for which I paid 320K), and on roughly the same size piece of land. It already has that valuable workshop, and a shed, and a patio, which mine does not.

If you’re in the market, it might be worth a look, and a stab at negotiation.