Sunday, November 23, 2008
Long Island Duck, Flanders
Flanders Duck in its present location
© Alida Thorpe
In 1931, duck farmer Martin Maurer built this 20-ft. high, 30-ft. long, concrete-over-wooden frame "duck" to use it as a Riverhead (Flanders) shop.
Maurer sold ducks and duck eggs from this location.
When the land was sold for development, the Giant Duck preservationists and the Friends for Long Island's Heritage petitioned to save the structure which had become a Long Island attraction.
The owners donated the Big Duck to Suffolk County in 1987.
In 1988 it moved from Flanders to Hampton Bays along Route 24 at the entrance of Sears-Bellow County Park.
It has now moved back to Flanders and rests near the original duck farm, on Flanders Road.
The shop still operates -- now as a tourism center for the East end of Long Island, selling souvenirs to tourists and New York City weekend visitors.
Each year, on the first Wednesday in December, the Suffolk County Parks Department sponsors the Annual Holiday Lighting of the Big Duck.
This year, it will happen on December 3rd.
Visitors join in singing carols and once Santa arrives, transported by the Flanders Fire Department, the switch is activated and the Big Duck lights up for all to see.