Did you know that as of the 2010 US Census, there were 5,508 residents in Centerport in 2,032 housing units? Of those, the highest percentage (5.6%) were ages 45-49 years; the lowest (1.1%) was 85 years and over. The median age was 44.6 years. Of our residents, 33.2% had children, with 25.7% under age 18 years old. In 2010, there were 4,055 eligible voters. By US Census estimated data for 2017, our community is relatively stable, with a slight decrease in population of 128 individuals; a slight change to 4,052 eligible voters (-3); however Housing Units increased to 2,195. Education-wise for 2017, of those 25 years and older, there were 1,116 individuals with Graduate or Professional degrees and 1,121 with Bachelor’s degrees. So, 59.4% of Centerport residents over the age of 25 years have 4 or more years of college. The average income of those over 25 years of age in 2010 was $70,352. Residents with Bachelor’s degrees earned $79,777 and those with Graduate or Professional degrees $93,026. Wow – way to go, Centerport overachievers!!
Centerport = latitude 40 degrees, 53 minutes north; longitude 73 degrees 22 minutes west. The hamlet was shaped by receding Ice Age glaciers, with the Native American Paleo people being the first known inhabitants, approximately 12,000 years ago (Weber, 1990). The prefix “Paleo,” comes from a Greek adjective meaning “old” or “ancient.” Stone tools, particularly projectile points, and scrapers are the primary evidence of the earliest human activities in the Americas. (Wikipedia, 2019) “The local harbors must have seemed ideal offering easy access from broader waters and a steady supply of fresh water and abundant food in the surrounding hills.” (Weber, 1990) Fishing has been integral to Centerport’s identity since its first inhabitants walked the land. Today, it’s common to find people fishing off Mill Dam bridge during the season, and, for those lucky enough to catch a glimpse, to see a resident Bald Eagle snatching a meal from Mill Pond.
No doubt the most famous Centerport resident was William “Willy” K. Vanderbilt II. The heir to an enormous fortune, Willy K. was an avid sailor, naturalist, and car enthusiast. He built his Centerport summer home, “Eagle’s Nest,” on the eastern shore of the Little Neck peninsula. The story of his fascinating life is far too long for this small space. “Vanderbilt’s will provided for donation of his property to the county, with provision that the mansion and grounds be used for a museum for his marine, natural history, and ethnographic collections; the natural history institution was established during 1950. Developing a museum that interprets Vanderbilt’s life, times, and collections, the county constructed a planetarium on the grounds during 1970.” (Wikipedia, 2019)
Suffolk County’s Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium is a worthwhile stop for anyone visiting Long Island. To learn more, visit: http://www.vanderbiltmuseum.org
William K. Vanderbilt’s estate, Eagle’s Nest, is arguably the most famous landmark on Centerport’s Little Neck peninsula. Its construction required the efforts of hundreds of artists and craftsmen over the course of many years. One of its most notable features is the ornate bell tower, which sits atop the main entrance to the mansion. Crowning the bell tower is an elaborate weather vane, which was entirely hand-made by ironworker Samuel Yellin. Yellin crafted this magnificent piece using only traditional blacksmith tools: hammers, anvil and forge. His work was in high demand among the owners and builders of Long Island’s mansions, including the Isaac Guggenheim residence in Port Washington and J.P. Morgan’s summer estate in Matinecock. You can read more about Samuel Yellin here:
Centerport has been a haven for those who appreciate and relish its bucolic nature. Famous artists and musicians, entrepreneurs and professionals have lived and worked here. For example, did you know that Russian–born composer and pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff wrote his final composition “Symphonic Dances,” also known as “Fantastic Dances,” an orchestral suite in three movements, at the Honeyman estate in 1940 on the Little Neck peninsula? “On warm summer evenings, many locals would raft up in small boats off the estate to listen to him practicing.” (Weber, 1990)
“In July 1924 when Arthur Dove and Helen Torr sailed into Huntington Harbor aboard their 42-foot yawl, Mona, they could not have anticipated the extent to which Long Island’s North Shore would inspire some of their greatest paintings. They lived in Halesite until the Great Depression when both Dove and Torr moved back to Dove’s estate located in Geneva.”
“Wishing to return to Long Island, in 1938 the couple moved back into their first home, a former post office and general store on Center Shore [sic] Road in Centerport, New York. They purchased the house for $980.00. The tiny, one-room cottage stood on the edge of the Titus Mill Pond. Almost immediately, Dove was found to have pneumonia; he eventually suffered from a heart attack and was diagnosed with a debilitating kidney disorder. In terrible health for the remainder of his days, he lived quietly, finally able to devote himself entirely to painting, and focus on the inspiration of his surroundings and his home. Some of the most powerful paintings of his career, including Indian Summer, were painted in Centerport. Torr remained in the house on the millpond but never painted again. Helen Torr died in 1967. In 1979, her works and Dove’s were hung together in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.” (Wikipedia, 2019)
Heron Park and Grist Mill Park are two of the many attractive locations in Centerport. Did you know that the Centerport Harbor Civic Association played a crucial part in their creation? Under the leadership of Gloria and Stan Wertheimer, the CHCA obtained a grant of $140,000 from the Environmental Open Space and Park Fund Review Advisory Committee. In addition, the CHCA raised additional capital with the sale of park benches and personalized bricks that adorn the parks’ footpaths. Many thanks, Gloria and Stan, and everyone who contributed!
Rock musician and inventor Buzz Feiten spent part of his youth in Centerport. Over the years, Buzz performed with a number of music notables, including the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the Rascals, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Gregg Allman, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Kenny Loggins, and many, many others. (Wikipedia). Among guitar players, Buzz is also known for his invention of the Buzz Feiten Tuning System, which modifies a guitar to allow it to play all notes in a more correct pitch. More recently, Buzz has introduced his own brand of guitars.
To learn more about Buzz, click on this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buzz_Feiten
Do you remember Linck’s Log Cabin located on 25A in Centerport? They served one of the best burgers back the 70s. Does anyone else have memories of eating at Linck’s?
“Bird Island” is a unique feature just east of the coast of the Little Neck peninsula. Weber (2001) states: “In the 1970’s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cut through the long sandbar running south in Northport Harbor from near the Centerport Yacht Club ostensibly to provide a flushing action to scour the head of the harbor. The desired flux was never attained, but the project did create ‘Bird Island’ from the spoil. Sadly the muck is slipping back into the channel as the fill was not properly banked.” (pg. 92)
Aside from the nearly 500 homes on the Little Neck Peninsula there are 9 public venues that draw thousands of visitors throughout the year: Centerport Beach, the Centerport Beach Senior Center, the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs R.C. Church, the Centerport United Methodist Church, Camp Alvernia, the Montessori School, the Centerport Yacht Club and the Centerport Preserve. It’s no wonder traffic often gets so backed up on Little Neck Road!
Watch this page as we build on Centerport’s fascinating history!