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Discovering the Gold Coast of Long Island - Home of the Great Gatsby PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen   
Hempstead House, Gold Coast, Long Island, New York, USA I love the Jazz Age, a term that F.Scott Fitzgerald coined in his novel, The Great Gatsby, set on the Gold Coast of Long Island, New York, and thought it was high time to discover this interesting and affluent area located only 20 miles from New York City.

I remembered reading The Great Gatsby in high school, which Fitzgerald wrote in 1925, and depicts the excess of the period known as the roaring twenties, and the area intrigued my imagination. This affluent area known as the Gold Coast refers to the North Shore area of Long Island, New York that borders Long Island Sound, and includes Nassau County and the western part of Suffolk County. The many villages that define the area vary greatly, each with their own distinct personalities waiting for me to discover them. 

Where to Stay 

Edward and I stayed at the Inn at Great Neck, a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, where Art Deco style, luxury amenities, and their close proximity to New York,only 26-minutes by train, make this 85-room and suite hotel perfect for the business or leisure traveler. 

Inn at Great Neck, Great Neck, Long Island
Inn at Great Neck

Our sumptuously appointed spacious guestroom had  a well-dressed king bed, an iPod docking station, DVD and CD player, large flat screen television, high-speed complimentary WI-FI, and over 100 complimentary DVDs available our use during our stay. The luxurious marble bath featured a whirlpool tub, walk-in shower, and a large selection of amenities. 

Inn at Great Neck Lobby, Great Neck, Long Island, New York, USA
 Inn at Great Neck Lobby

Combined with a well-equipped business center, a state-of-the-art exercise room, the Giraffe Room Lounge and Restaurant where we had an excellent dinner, and a prime location from which to discover the historic and cultural Gold Coast, the hotel provided us with all the bells and whistles that we could want. With its intimate size, the hotel also appealed to us on its level of personalized service and attention to detail. 

Inn at Great Neck Guest Room, Great Neck, Long Island, USA
Guest Room

Read about the Inn at Great Neck in the Hotels and Resorts section, Giraffe Room Lounge and Restaurant in the Restaurants and Chefs' Recipes sections where Chef Naim Bellan shares his delicious recipes for a taste of the restaurant

Inn at Great Neck, Great Neck, Long Island, USA

Inn at Great Neck
30 Cutter Mill Road
Great Neck,New York 11021
United States
Telephone:      +1-516-858-3690
Website:
         www.InnatGreatNeck.com 

Discovering the Gold Coast 

Opulence is what defines the Gold Coast of Long Island with its magnificent grand estates, and Sands Point, which F. Scott Fitzgerald based his affluent village of "East Egg" on in his novel, The Great Gatsby, was the perfect place to begin our discovery. 

Sands Point Preserve was once home to Howard Gould (1871 - 1959), Daniel Guggenheim (1856 - 1930) and his son, Harry Guggenheim (1890 - 1971). Entering through the high ornate wrought iron gates emblazoned with the letter G, I felt as if I was taking a step back in time. 

Nestled on park-like grounds overlooking Long Island Sound with its immaculate lawns and trees bursting in bloom, the former 216-acre Guggenheim Estate is a unique treasure reflecting the lavish lifestyle of the period. 

One of the first properties that we "discovered" was the100,000 sq. foot Castle Gould, built for Howard Gould and his wife, actress Katherine Clemmons in 1902. Although originally intended as a residence, upon completion, Howard Gould did not like the design, and used Castle Gould to stable for his horses and as servants' quarters. Built of Onondaga limestone, upon closer inspection, I was able to spot numerous fossils on the façade providing a "more to meet the eye" moment than just the overall grand splendor of the architecture. 

Hempstead House, Sands Point, New York, USA - Photo By Luxury Experience
Hempstead House

As a replacement for Castle Gould, Howard Gould hired the architectural firm of Hunt & Hunt to design a new 50,000 sq. foot, 40-room English Tudor style mansion that overlooked Long Island Sound. When Howard Gould moved to Europe, he sold the estate to Daniel Guggenheim in 1917 who named the mansion, Hempstead House

Hempstead House interior, Sands Point, New York, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Hempstead House Interior

During our visit, we had the opportunity to experience Hempstead House with its opulent sunken Palm Court, imposing stone fireplaces,and oak organ in the foyer with its ornate wood staircase and soaring ceiling. 

Hempstead House Fireplaces, Sands Point, New York, USA - Photo By Luxury Experience Hempstead House Fireplaces, Sands Point, New York, USA - Photo By Luxury Experience Hempstead House Fireplaces, Sands Point, New York, USA - Photo By Luxury Experience
Decorative Fireplaces 

Although unfurnished, my imagination conjured up how it must have looked during its elegant heyday. An interesting note is that interior shots of Hempstead House were used in the film, New Jack City, and the setting was also used in the film, Scent of a Woman

Hempstead House Stonework, Sands Point, New York, USA
Hempstead House Stonework

Harry Guggenheim also built an estate on the property in 1923 and named it Falaise, which has had its share of the limelight,and was featured in the film, The Godfather. Both Hempstead House and Falaise are open for tours during select times of the year. 

Dinosaur Trail - Sands Point Preserve, Long Island, New York, USA - Photo by Luxury ExperienceThe preserve also has several nature and dinosaur track trails to explore, however on the day that we visited, the adage, April showers brings May flowers, rang true, with intermittent rain showers throughout the day. We decided that it was best to avoid the slippery trails on this visit, no matter how inviting they looked with their dappled light filtering through the trees on the winding paths with wild daffodils beckoning from the woods. 

Sands Point Preserve is open daily from 9:00 am until 6:30 pm. Admission is charged: $5.00 per car,$2.00 per walk-in. There is no admission charged on Wednesdays. Contact Sands Point Preserve for information on tours of Falaise and Hempstead House.  

Sands Point Preserve, Long Island, New York, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience

Sands Point Preserve
127 Middle Neck Road
Sands Point, New York 11050
United States                                      
Telephone:     +1-516-571-7900
Telephone:     +1-516-571-7901
Email:             This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  
Website:
        www.SandsPointPreserve.org
Website:
        www.TheSandsPointPreserve.com  

Founded in 1641, the town of Great Neck , once known as Madam's Neck, revealed its playful nature when we saw a giraffe on the welcome sign, which we learned is their mascot. Great Neck offers visitors much to discover historically and culturally. 

Saddle Rock Grist Mill, Long Island, New York, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Saddle Rock Grist Mill

An interesting piece of Great Neck history is the Saddle Rock Grist Mill, located on the Long Island Sound, and built in 1715. It is the oldest operating gristmill in the United States and is now a museum.Call for hours before planning a visit.  

Saddle Rock Grist Mill, Long Island, New York, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience

Saddle Rock Grist Mill
Grist Mill Lane
Great Neck,New York
United States
Telephone:      +1-516-571-7900
Website:
         www.SaddleRock.org/History.html  

One of the cultural highlights of Great Neck is the Great Neck Art Center, a not-for-profit visual and performing arts center that opened in 1995 and offers a wealth of cultural opportunities. In addition to exhibitions, film series, and performances of all kinds, the Great Neck Art Center offers an exceptional program of diverse classes for all ages including art, ceramics, theatrical fencing, fashion drawing, music, voice, and dance including ballet, ballroom, and even hip hop. 

Great Neck Art Center Jazz Appreciation Concert
Jazz Appreciation Concerts

During the month of April 2010, they celebrated Jazz Appreciation with a series of exhibitions, and concerts, and a very interesting exhibition entitled, All That Jazz: Romare Bearden and Friends (runs until May 3, 2010) featuring works by the artists Romare Bearden (1911 - 1988) known as a painter, collagist, and printmaker, Wayne Ensrud, Jazz photographer William P. Gottlieb (1917-2006), and Julia Lapping Rivera.  

Great Neck Art Center - Romare Bearden exhibit, Great Neck, New York, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience
All That Jazz: Romare Bearden and Friends

As Jazz lovers, Edward and I especially appreciated William P. Gottlieb's  black and white photographs of notable Jazz icons, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, and Miles Davis with Howard McGhee, as well as Wayne Ensrud's Jazz musician series that included a work of Lena Horne

Great Neck Art Center - William P. Gottlieb B&W Poster of Billie Holiday - Great Neck, New York, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience  Great Neck Art Center - William P. Gottlieb B&W Poster of Nat King Cole - Great Neck, New York, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Billie Holiday                               Nat King Cole
William P. Gottlieb Collection

The Great Neck Art Center is open Monday, Tuesday,and Thursday from 9:00 am until 9:00 pm, Wednesday from 9:00 am until 8:00 pm, Friday from 9:00 am until 7:00 pm, Saturday from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm, and Sunday from 9:00 am until 1:00pm. 

For information on the Great Neck Art Center and upcoming exhibitions, performances, and film festivals, please visit their website.  

Great Neck Art Center, Great Neck, New York, USA

Great Neck Art Center
113 Middle Neck Road
Great Neck,New York 11021-1219
United States
Telephone:      +1-516-829-2570
Fax:                +1-516-829-3536
Website:
         www.GreatNeckArts.org 

F. Scott Fitzgerald based his fictional village of "West Egg" on a combination of Great Neck and King's Point, in his novel, The Great Gatsby. King's Point is now the home of the United States Merchant Marine Academy

United States Merchant Marine Academy, New York, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience
United States Merchant Marine Academy

Established in 1938, the United States Merchant Marine Academy moved into its permanent home in 1942 on what was once the Chrysler Estate. Retailer Henri Bendel built his mansion in 1916, Walter P. Chrysler purchased it in 1923, and it is now the chief administration building for the Academy, named Wiley Hall, and is open for tours. 

United States Merchant Marine Academy Memorial Statue, New York, USA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Memorial

Besides touring the campus grounds and Wiley Hall nestled along Long Island Sound, be sure to visit the American Merchant Marine Museum that tells the interesting history of seafaring and the United States Merchant Marines. 

The United States Merchant Marine Academy is open for visits daily from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm, and is closed on Federal holidays. The Museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm.  

United States Merchant Marine Academy, New York, USA

United States Merchant Marine Academy
American Merchant Marine Museum
300 Steamboat Road
Kings Point, NY11024-1699
United States
Telephone:      +1-516-773-5000
Museum:         +1-516-773-5515
Website:
         www.USMMA.edu 

Dining in Great Neck 

We had an excellent dinner at the Giraffe Room Lounge and Restaurant at the Inn at Great Neck where the Art Deco paintings set the ambience for Chef Naim Bellan's international cuisine. 

Giraffe Room Lounge and Restaurant, Inn at Great Neck, Great Neck, New York, USA
Giraffe Room Lounge and Restaurant

One of the highlights of our dinner was lump crab stuffed jumbo shrimp, which were stuffed with lump crab, red peppers, onions, and fresh herbs, presented on a bed of rice, with a pool of roasted cherry tomato wine sauce, and garnished with grilled asparagus to herald the spring asparagus season. 

Giraffe Room Lounge and Restaurant - Lump Crab and Jumbo Shrimp, Inn at Great Neck, Great Neck, New York, USA  - Photo by Luxury Experience
Lump Crab Stuffed Jumbo Shrimp

Another highlight was a special vegetarian dish that the chef made that was not on the menu, with roasted tomatoes, onions, eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash accompanied with seasoned rice interspersed with minced carrots that had homey appeal that was perfect on a cold, raw, rainy night. 

Chef Naim Bellan - Giraffe Room Lounge and Restaurant, Inn at Great Neck, Great Neck, New York, USA  - Photo by Luxury Experience
Chef Naim Bellan

Read about the Giraffe Room Lounge and Restaurant in the Restaurants section, and Chefs' Recipes section where Chef Naim Bellan shares his delicious recipes for a taste of the restaurant, and about the Inn at Great Neck in the Hotels and Resorts section. 

The Giraffe Room Lounge and Restaurant is open daily for Breakfast from 7:00am until 10:30 am, Lunch from 11:00 am until 2:30 pm, and Dinner from 5:00 pm until 11:00 pm.  

Giraffe Room Lounge and Restaurant
Inn at Great Neck
30 Cutter Mill Road
Great Neck,New York 11021
United States
Telephone:      +1-516-858-3690
Website:
         www.InnatGreatNeck.com 

Shopping 

Upscale shopping is part of the Gold Coast lifestyle experience, and we especially enjoyed browsing in the many interesting boutiques and wine shops in Great Neck conveniently located only steps away from the Inn at Great Neck. 

We also enjoyed shopping at Americana Manhasset in nearby Manhasset where luxury boutiques Hermes, Tiffany, Versace, Georgio Armani, Chanel, Prada, St. John, and Salvatore Ferragamo to name but a few, sang their inviting siren song to come and shop. 

The shops at Americana Manhasset are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm, Thursday evening until 8:00 pm, and Sunday from 12 noon until 6:00 pm.  

Americana Manhasset
2060 Northern Boulevard
Manhasset, New York 11030-3540
United States
Telephone:      +1-516-627-2277
Website:
         www.AmericanaManhasset.com 

Long Island Gold Coast, New York, USA - Photography by Luxury Experience
Great Neck Long Island

With its close proximity to New York City, the Gold Coast offers business and leisure travelers the best of both worlds. 

Read about the Gold Coast in the Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, and Chefs' Recipes sections. 

© May 2010. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com All Rights Reserved. 
 
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