Diane and Steve Akseizer
Legend Yacht and Beach Club
Glen Cove, New York
When F. Scott Fitzgerald needed a locale for The Great Gatsby, he chose the north shore of New York's Long Island, focusing on a stretch of mansion-studded beachfront called the "Gold Coast." When Steve and Diane Akseizer went looking for a new home four years ago, they found Gatsby's old haunts just to their liking. They settled on a sumptuous, new, 46-home gated community called Legend Yacht and Beach Club, in Glen Cove, less than 25 miles from Manhattan.
"The property had been the Loew estate, belonging to Marcus Loew, of the theater and motion picture family," explains Steve, a dentist who serves as a trustee for the Academy of General Dentistry. "He built a 100,000-square-foot mansion here and entertained people from Helen Hayes to the Prince of Wales." Loew's mansion was torn down in 1968, but the acreage on Long Island Sound, with water views that stretch from New York to Connecticut, made the perfect setting for a new community.
As with many of the Gold Coast's golden-age householders, residents of Legend Yacht and Beach Club find it easy to take to the water. "This is the only community in the Nassau-Suffolk County area with its own marina on the sound," Steve points out, "and each house has its own slip."
Homes at Legend stand on half-acres of land. They range in size from 3,200 to 6,000 square feet, not counting basement space. (There's also one 10,000-square-foot residence that originally served as the mansion's carriage house.) "There were four basic models to choose from," says Steve, "but by now each has been modified, so there are quite a few differences among them."
Modifications can't be made at will, though. If residents want to change the color of their siding, extend their driveway, or put in a basketball court for their kids (the Akseizers' four sons are grown), the Legend homeowners' association first has to review the proposed alterations.
"When you look for a home in this type of community, you have to make sure that your needs as an individual are in line with the rules," says Steve. He notes that while some similar developments permit fences as high as 6 feet, "here, no fences are allowed. It's all open, and it looks like you own everything. You can't do anything that blocks the view of the sound."
Legend has set aside 26 acres as communal property, including a 1½-acre pond with two fountains. Egrets, herons, and cormorants nest nearby. Classic gas lighting in common areas minimizes nighttime light pollution. There's nothing old-fashioned about maintenance, though, unless it's sheer attention to detail. "In the winter, snow is shoveled right up to your front steps by 6 a.m.," says Steve. "The docks are beautifully maintained, there's a lifeguard at the pool, and the gatehouse is staffed 24 hours a day."
Then there are the intangibles. "Ever since we've lived here, I've felt like we've been in paradise," says Diane Akseizer, who works for the department of radiation and oncology at Long Island Jewish Hospital. "I don't know what I've enjoyed most―the spectacular sunrises and sunsets, gazing at the bright stars on a clear night, or smelling the salty air while looking out over the sound. When I've had a particularly difficult day at work, I remind myself that this is really what it's all about."