Category Archives: Long Island
In two days, on December 13, it will be St. Lucia’s Day- the patron saint of light, which I mentioned in a post from about this time last year.
As the Northern Hemisphere plunges into its darkest time of year, I’m once again thinking lightward, but this time in visions of this past summer:
These were taken throughout the Adirondacks and Hudson Valley of New York during the summer of 2012 – Velvia 100 (water-damaged) in a Holga.
Here are a couple of related posts:
Through the 1920’s and ’30’s, Ahmet Muhtar Zoggolli, a.k.a. Zog I, was prime minister of, president of, and finally, King of Albania. Among other eccentricities, he holds the world record for number of cigarettes smoked in one day (225!), and is said to have survived 55 assassination attempts- in one case, he personally engaged in a gun fight with an attacker.
“Oh God, it was so short” he uttered when he was exiled by invading Italian armies in 1939.
He and his family wandered Britain and Egypt, and in 1951 purchased the early-20th century Knollwood Estate in the Gold Coast of Long Island, New York.
He planned to bring his entire court to the U.S., but immigration laws impeded this. The entire American endeavor was a sad failure.
Zog eventually died in Paris ten years later. His Queen Geraldine passed in 2002.
It has been suggested that King Zog bought the Estate with diamonds and rubies, and that hidden treasure lay on or under the grounds.
After being ditched in the late ’50’s, it was torn down to prevent looting. So complete was the annihilation that only a few specks remain of the 60-room palatial mansion. The only remains are the front gate, a couple of gazebos, the base of a loggia, some garden walls… The most prominent survivor is the double staircase that led to what was once the front patio.
The silence here is striking and strange. Subtle traces of stonework emerge from the brambles, and you begin to notice features of the overgrowth that reveal landscaped patterns- well-aligned rows of large trees and such.
Ghosts abound. Echoes of all those who passed through what is now a sad patch of forest. Cigars smoked, gatherings had, all manner of passions and frustrations. Holidays, births, deaths, visits- all the trappings of both grand and humble living.