Starting at about the turn of the century and through the 1930s, Long Island’s North Shore was a virtual Who’s Who of high society. The term Blue Bloods, first coined in England in 1832, refers to socialites and nobles and was an appropriate term for this area. From the Astors to the Vanderbilts this was THE place to be for some of the most notable Americans. In fact, author F. Scott Fitzgerald, who lived in Great Neck, wrote about this era and prohibition in his book, “The Great Gatsby.”
The mansions constructed during this period numbered in the hundreds. The land, formerly covered in a patchwork quilt of Quaker farms, was transformed into sprawling, British-style country estates with magnificent manor houses surrounded by equally impressive manicured gardens and grounds. Though their numbers are down to but a handful and even fewer are still privately owned, there are reminders of that long gone era. Many of the mansions are publicly owned and others still exist in another capacity – a college, a museum, a religious institute or state and county parks.
No longer exclusive as a seasonal retreat and playground for the elite and powerful, the North Shore now welcomes all to enjoy its beauty and wide open space. Located beyond the encroachment of much of the over-building in the NYC metropolitan area, the winding, wooded roads lead to charming villages, formerly traveled by horse drawn carriages and then chauffeured limousines. These areas now are filled with family cars from far and wide.