Living & Eating on Long Island's East End 

                           Excursions:  The Big Duck

My name is Monique.
I'm a 2-time Emmy Award winning TV Producer.
Having been in the business for over 15 years I've produced my share of live tv cooking segments, but never had much time to devote to cooking myself.

Last year when I got married, I moved out of New York City to the east end of Long Island, to ...wait for it...The Hamptons.

Now before you roll your eyes, there's more to the Hamptons than mansions and celebrities.

The Hamptons have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, miles of productive farmland, plus a rich clamming history that continues to this day.

When I moved out east and realized I was surrounded, not just by the bounty of the sea, but also local farms and vineyards, I couldn't wait to explore and sample my new environment.

That's what this blog is about.  Cooking, living, exploring and sharing those experiences.

You'll notice that my blog is a little of this and a little of that, kind of like a potluck meal.

Have you been to see the Big Duck? Years ago friends asked me that after I announced that I was dating a guy from the East End of Long Island.

It was so far away from New York City, not many Long Island locales were that well known to my New Yorker friends, but the Big Duck seemed very well known to many.

Eventually I did make a pit stop to the unusual building that sits on Flanders Road in Flanders, New York.

Just what is the Big Duck? It is a building built to look just like a duck. Duck farming was a huge industry on Long Island in the early part of the last century. By the late 1930s, as many as 90 duck farms dotted Flanders and Riverhead. Their feathers were used in ladies hats and the ducks themselves became a very popular meal. Anyone ever hear of Long Island Duck?

In 1931 a duck farmer named Martin Maurer wanted to build an unusual building to sell his ducks. Maurer was inspired by the original structures he had seen while visiting California, like a building shaped like a giant coffee pot.

Maurer built his Big Duck out of concrete, over a wooden frame. It stood 20-feet tall and 30-feet long. Tailights from a Model T Ford became the eyes, glowing red at night. For years Maurer sold his ducks and eggs out of the shop.

After Maurer passed away, the Big Duck moved several times between Flanders and Hampton Bays. When the Big Duck shut its doors in 1984 and the land where it sat was planned for development, fans and preservationists organized to save it.

The Big Duck was donated to Suffolk County in 1987 and in 1997 was added to The National Register of Historic Places. In 2007 it was moved within four miles of its original spot in Flanders.

Today the Big Duck is still owned and operated by Suffolk County. They maintain the interior and pay its staff, while Southampton Town maintains the exterior. The building operates as a tourism center for the East End of Long Island selling souvenirs.

Once a year, on the first Wednesday of December the Suffolk County Parks Department sponsors the annual Holiday Lighting of the Big Duck. Local kids sing duck carols and Santa arrives via the Flanders Fire Department.

Maurer may be long gone, but he left behind a very interesting legacy. Because he patented his fowl creation, today in the world of architecture any building shaped to look like its product is now called a "duck." The Big Duck has truly left its mark on the world of architecture.

The Big Duck
Highway 24
Flanders, NY 11901

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