by: Peter J. Gallagher
Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes-a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
The Long Island mansion known as Lands End that is rumored to have been the inspiration for Jay Gatsby's home in the "The Great Gatsby" is being demolished to make way for five new homes worth an estimated $10 million each. As CBS News reports, in a piece entitled "The End Of An Era For The Gatsby House," "[t]he home was one of the few remaining relics hearkening back to Fitzgerald's time on Long Island during the Roaring '20s." According to lore, Fitzgerald would sit on a porch across the bay from Lands End at twilight and imagine the grand parties that he would later write about in what many people believe to be the great American novel. However, the upkeep on the $18 million mansion made it prohibitively expensive for the current owners to continue to maintain, so it will be destroyed and five new homes built in its place. The end of the mansion seems only appropriate for its fictional former owner who was always pessimistic about the future: "Gatsby believed in the . . . orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning-- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."