Friday, April 20, 2018

William Flloyd Estate

Richard Floyd, first appeared in American records in the late 1660s as a leading landowner on the North Shore of Long Island, first in Huntington, then in Setauket.

A half-century later, in 1718, his son Richard Floyd II (1665-1738), bought over 4,400 acres of property from William "Tangier" Smith of the Manor of Saint George. The property stretched six miles north from Moriches Bay and approximately one mile west from the Mastic or Forge River. It included use rights for the Great South Beach on what is now Fire Island. Richard Floyd II gave this property to his youngest son, Nicoll Floyd.

The first Floyd to live on the estate, Nicoll Floyd built the first portion of the "Old Mastic House" in 1724, constructing a two-story, six-room shingled wood frame house. He developed the land into a prosperous plantation, using both slave and free laborers to raise grain, flax, sheep, and cattle. Nicoll Floyd expanded the home as his wealth and his family grew. Nicoll Floyd's oldest son, William Floyd inherited the property in 1755 at the age of 20.

General William Flloyd was born in Mastic Neck on December 17, 1734. He was an officer of the Suffolk County Militia for years, and in 1775, he was a Colonel in the First Suffolk Regiment. At the end of the Revolutionary War, he received a commission as a Major General. He served a shirt term in the Provincial Assembly of New York and was delegated to the Fist Continental Congress at Philadelphia.  He became one of the signer of the Declaration of Indepedence, He was a State Senator from 1777-1783 and again from 1784-1788.

He retired, leaving his home in Mastic Neck to his children. The house was sheltered on all sides by dense wood growth. The oldest part was built around 1724. Additions were made at an early date, so the house is virtually the same as when the General lived there.

The Estate was authorized as an addition to Fire Island National Seashore in 1965.  The 25-room "Old Mastic House," the twelve outbuildings, the family cemetery and the 613 acres of forest, fields, marsh and trails all graphically illuminate the layers of history.


Eberlin, Harold Donaldson. Manor Houses and Historic Homes of Long Island and Staten Island.   Ira J. Friedman, Inc., 1966.

“Historic William Floyd Estate Grounds.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior,

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Big Duck

The Big Duck, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, overlooks Reeves Bay in Flanders, Long Island, New York. The vision of Long Island duck farmer Martin Maurer, The Bog Duck was designed by Broadway set designers, the Collins Brothers, and crafted by locals George Reeve, John Smith, and Merlin Yeager in 1931. A live duck, attached to the porch of the Maurer’s home, was used as a model and Reeve used the skeleton of a cooked chicken to study how the interior architecture should be constructed.

The Big Duck was built in Riverhead as a shop to sell ducks and eggs. It was then moved to the Maurer Duck Farm in Flanders in 1936, where it remained for 52 years. In 1988, Kia and Pouran Eshghi, who had hoped to build condominiums on the property, purchased the land and the duck was quickly moved to the Sears Bellows County Park in Hampton Bays. In October 2007, the Big Duck returned to its former home of Flanders.  When the Big Duck moved from its home in Hampton Bays, it left behind a 125-pound cement egg in its nest – an old storage cellar covered with straw. The Big Duck’s big egg was made by Ronkonkoma sculptor Dick Fleig.

The bird stands 20 feet tall, and is 30 feet long and 18 feet wide. It weighs 20,000 pounds. Cement covers the duck’s wood and wire frame. The bird is painted white, save for its bright orange beak. Model-T Ford taillights were used for the duck’s eyes.

Roadside architecture designed to promote what is sold inside is now commonly known as "Duck Architecture", in honor of the whimsical grand-daddy of them all. The architectural term “duck” is used to describe buildings that are shaped after the object to which they relate. It was coined by architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown.

Supermodel Christie Brinkley, recorded a 2-minute recording detailing some of the history of the duck in 1991.


Uda, Rachel. “85 Years of Long Island's Big Duck.” Newsday, Newsday, 2 Sept. 2016,