Lovely Long Island

As you head east toward the tip of Long Island’s South Fork, near the old water mill that gives the town of Water Mill its name, you’ll see on your right a small body of water.  Known as Mill Creek, it opens into a small bay called Mecox Bay.

If you turn off the road and follow the water, you’ll eventually come to Flying Point Beach.

During part of the year, the little bay is more of a saltwater pond, separated from the ocean. But at other times, a channel is opened, allowing the bay to regain its tides, filling and lowering with the ocean.

The beach is different on every visit.

Last Light by Linda Van Cooper

I read that before the 1938 hurricane, Flying Point Beach had dunes that ranged from 40 to 75 feet. But a 15-foot storm surge carried the sand off and deposited it in the bay. The dunes are not particularly high now.

Dune at the Cut by Linda Van Cooper

And most years, they take a pounding by one storm or other. In August 2011, Hurricane Irene sent water pouring up the slope of the beach and into the parking lot, as you can see in this video.

The surf easily dismantled wooden pathways to the beach, and exposed the huge steel barriers intended to build up the dunes, and protect the many homes that have been built on them.

The beach is narrower now in some spots than I ever remember seeing it.  Of course, beaches have always been about change, but the warming of the planet, thanks to man-made climate change, has put our shorelines in a new kind of jeopardy.

I’ve been coming out here for a long time. The potato fields that swept the open landscape are mostly long gone. The acres of scrubby, tangled vegetation that hid generations of foxes have shrunk to tiny lots, although Linda, the painter of these landscapes, recently spotted a fox and kit on the road to the beach. Mecox Bay is now ringed by houses of Gatsbyesque proportions (whose existence I try to deny by not including them in my photographs), and the few remaining farmhouses and cottages in the area have been renovated beyond recognition, or replaced by  huge, ostentatious structures that look like beach hotels or clubs, but are single-family homes.

And still … it’s beautiful.

You have to avert your gaze sometimes to diminish the shock of seeing a huge monstrosity of a house fill your range of vision. But luckily, we haven’t yet figured out how to build right on the water, so the beauty remains.

Path to the Beach by Linda Van Cooper

At any time of day, any time of year, in any weather, in the rosy glow of sunset or the bright light of day.

Flying Point Beach by Linda Van Cooper.

And if you can’t get out to see this place where the bay meets the ocean, you can get a taste of its beauty in these paintings by Linda Van Cooper.

Tracks at Mecox Bay by Linda Van Cooper

So long for now.

For more on Long Island, Mecox Bay and the wildlife of the area, visit:

I Find A Gray Seal Pup
Herons, Swans and Coots on Long Island
Swans on Long Island
Crabbing on Eastern Long Island

Explore posts in the same categories: 2012, Art and Literature, In the City, In the Country

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15 Comments on “Lovely Long Island”


  1. […] Research and Preservation, which I first encountered after finding an adorable gray seal pup on Flying Point Beach on Long Island’s south fork, is on the […]

  2. Mr. Mantooth Says:

    Love the photos, love the paintings. Your words and her pictures are simpatico. Is there information on how to get in touch with painter Linda Van Cooper if i want to buy one? These houses are BIGGER than Gatsby’s

  3. Andre Says:

    Long Island is a beauty…. Pollution of the waters has been brought mostly under control… but the restoration of the waterways is still a big task. Overdevelopment on land seems to still be a problem though I hope they are no longer intruding on forested land. It’s a good thing the wine industry has gotten so popular and saved some of the rural land. There are not as many farms left… but if the vineyards didn’t start taking up up parcels of land – there might be even more of those unnecessarily large houses with their SUV’s in the driveway.

  4. Barbara Says:

    What a beautiful piece with fabulous evocative paintings. We all seem to wish we could turn back the clock – I certainly do. I live in a tourist area where every square inch of shoreline along Georgian Bay and for several hundreds of feet inland from the shore, monster homes desecrate the landscape. Even up further north, the 30,000 islands are becoming clogged with “cottages” – winterized uglies that could house a hundred people and probably take at least 50 to run.

    As Fremont110293 so aptly says – what were they thinking? and what were the municipalities who condoned all this reckless destruction thinking… we live in a crazy world.

    Thanks Melissa for showing us the beauty that still exists – both through your eyes and Linda Van Cooper’s. Let’s hold to that. Perhaps people will wake up as the water creeps closer and closer to villages and towns or will they learn as they’ve done in Mumbai to build over water… floating palaces that can be blown to smitherenes by the ever increasing storms?

  5. Charlotte Says:

    Lovely post, lovely paintings, how well they fit with your words….although those sunset photos are spectacular and look like Monets.

  6. mthew Says:

    I do the same thing with Nantucket: frame my photos so the monster SUV-houses can’t be seen. It’s my own fantasy, but keeps the heart still.

  7. Liz H Says:

    What a mellow looking kind of place. Amazing with a population density so close by that there is a little slice of beach, and space to find the waters ebb and flow.


  8. Lovely indeed… and the paintings are very evocative :-)


    • Thanks, Vladimir. I’ve kayaked on Mecox Bay, and found it wonderful, but for you it would probably be like kayaking in the bathtub. (People, check out Vlad’s site for amazing kayaking adventures, many right here in NYC, and gorgeous photos.)


  9. That is a very lovely area of the Hamptons, indeed, and you have captured it well. Thank you for not including the “Gatbyesque” houses. You phrase it more kindly than I do. My choices range more toward grotesque, ridiculous, ego-stroking, and What were they thinking?


    • Thanks! And I couldn’t agree more about the monstrous, bloated houses out there. Many were built on spec and never sold, so now the land is gone and the houses just sit there, unused, unwanted & ugly as hell.


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