If you’re a New Yorker, you're probably aware of the western stretch of land on the North Shore of Long Island famously nicknamed “the Gold Coast.” Some of you may also be aware of “The Great Gatsby” connection intertwined in the history of the Gold Coast. Let’s take a deeper look into this Gatsby connection and the history of the Gilded Age on Long Island.
What about The Great Gatsby Connection?
While visiting Great Neck, Long Island from 1922-1924, F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of America’s greatest writers of the 20th Century, attended lavish parties during the glitz and glamour of the prohibition era known as the Roaring Twenties. He found himself sipping cocktails and dancing the night away with the likes of sportswriter Ring Lardner, Dorothy Parker, Herbert Bayard Swope, and others. The fabled residents and experiences became the inspiration and setting for Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby, which centered on the Gold Coast’s wealth and Jay Gatsby’s aspiration to be accepted as a member of its high society. This literary classic shows fictionalized versions of Kings Point ("West Egg") and Sands Point ("East Egg") on the North Shore of Long Island. Into the 21st century, The Great Gatsby has sold millions of copies and many high school and colleges around the country have The Great Gatsby as required reading.
Why is this stretch of land nicknamed “the Gold Coast?”
In the late 19th century, ultra-wealthy American families, such as the Roosevelts, Vanderbilts, Pratts, Astors, Guggenheims, and Whitneys, constructed opulent Gold Coast mansions with typically one hundred rooms and thirty bathrooms situated on fifty acres of land. Designed in Gothic, Roman, English Tudor, Norman, Georgian, Mediterranean and Spanish architectural styles, these Gold Coast mansions showcased a family’s wealth and high status among a beautiful, lush landscape, reminiscent of the old castles and estates of Europe and Great Britain. Some of these elaborate mansions, castles, villas and chateaus even had racetracks, golf courses, gardens, greenhouses, pools, tennis courts and even equestrian parks. And because of this large concentration of fortune and wealth in the area, this stretch of Long Island coastline from Great Neck to Huntington became known as the Gold Coast.