There is a shared loathing for exuberance and pretense.
“It would be ridiculous to try to be pretentious on Oak Island because you can’t get anywhere once you’re here,” said Alanna Heiss, founder of MoMA PS1. She and her husband, Fred Sherman, a litigator, scoured the newspaper classifieds for many years before they found their vintage cottage. “You can only socialize through friendship,” Ms. Heiss added.
Ms Liddle, the island’s unofficial social director, plans covered dinners, where you bring food for your own family and four other people. The games include potato spoon races. There is a sailing race and a book club.
“You will still be a stranger if you didn’t grow up coming here,” Ms. Rexrode said. This is not the case for their children, who started spending the summer here from an early age. While on the island, they surf the nearby Gilgo beach and sail, but they also install solar panels and set up terraces. Their 17-year-old son, Philip, returns for the fall duck hunt with his father. And when do their city friends visit?
“They’re a little stunned but then they think it’s cool,” said Philip Chirigos.
Homes here don’t go up for sale often because “people keep them in the family,” said Lisbeth English, associate agent at Netter Real Estate in West Islip. She is the listing agent for 24 Oak Street, a two-bedroom built in 1914, on the market for $ 249,880.
A red shingled house is under contract for more than its asking price of $ 399,000, said Matthew Arnold, agent at Netter. And Listing Pro has a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home listed on the island for $ 485,999.
After 16 summers, Mr. Sherman and Mrs. Heiss are ready to sell their house. They paid $ 220,000 for it and spent $ 100,000 on renovations, including adding a screened porch where the couple enjoy bird watching.
He and his wife speak of Oak Island with nostalgia. Seeing the Necklace of Houses from Ocean Parkway “is like a glimpse of ‘Brigadoon’,” Ms. Heiss said. “Anyone can see it, but they can’t get to it.