Thursday, February 3, 2011

The East End

by Jesse Halsey

The atmosphere changes when one crosses the Shinnecock canal. It is always cooler out there; and then besides, one comes to the New England part of Long Island. The East Riding of Yorkshire in the old days, it has still a flavor not found on the west end of the Island where Dutch influence predominated.

Although the modern cottager has come in numbers and with affluence, these “Yorkers,” as the native used to call them, have not changed the scene essentially as many of the summer homes follow the old lines of the colonial or farm house type though there are notable exceptions in Mr. Atterbury’s [ed note: architect Grosvenor Atterbury ] shingled houses that hug the dunes and in an occasional Italian villa or other importation.

Cement construction has appeared on the main highways only and one misses the real beauty of the countryside if he follows these after he reaches “The East End.” In the last twenty years the local road-masters have developed a road of loam, sand, and oil, which, smoothly honed after each rain, make a perfect highway much more resilient and easy riding than cement or macadam. Southampton and East Hampton towns are threaded with such roads, almost unknown to the motorist who goes flying through on the numbered state highway, missing the ponds and bays and almost missing the ocean itself until he reaches Nappeague, that long narrow Cape-Cod-like-sand-dune-stretch that leads to Montauk. Aside from this one piece of cement it is better to keep to the dirt roads and spend a little time seeing the natural beauty of the Island’s southeastern fluke.

For like a great leviathan, Long Island throws itself out into the ocean paralleling the Connecticut shore, with its head safely anchored to Manhattan island by the Bridges, bathed by the Sound on the starboard, and the Atlantic on the port side, its tail.

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