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Posted April 8, 2007
Ever imagine what it might have been like to have dinner with F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda, to attend one of the fabulous parties so vividly painted in his literature? Their time is often called the Gilded Age, and it truly must have been if the amazing homes featured in North Shore Long Island are examples of houses they frequented. As most know, the North Shore of Long Island borders Long Island Sound and once boasted some 1,000 stately homes, more accurately mansions, earning that area the sobriquet Gold Coast. These were the homes of the rich and famous, the celebrated, and a gathering place for those who yearned to be a part of their storied existence. In all probability, it is the setting for Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (1925) with its memorable descriptions of privileged lives. North Shore homes with their varied architecture, verdant gardens, pools, furniture and appointments once outshone any to be found elsewhere in America or in Europe. Art historian Paul J. Mateyunas has selected 40 of these homes as the focus of 'North Shore Long Island/Country Houses 1890 - 1950.' He not only presents 350 duotones and floor plans in his beautiful volume but also traces the building of the homes and the lives of those who were in residence. All of this makes for a fascinating arm chair tour of another time in an unparalleled place. Recommended. - Gail Cooke
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