8 Long Island Architectural Landmarks to Visit

Architecture is an art form that impacts all of our lives. It’s the clean lines and functionality of your home that helps you go from breakfast table to sitting room with ease, the roadside attractions that make you brake for a selfie and the buildings in Barcelona that transported you to a magical Dr. Seuss book during a summer trip. Our very own Island is home to plenty of gems as well, so even if a trip overseas isn’t in the cards right now, you can still appreciate the necessary art by stopping to stare at these eight Long Island architectural landmarks.

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Stony Brook University Hospital

long island architectural landmarks

image: stony brook university hospital

Built by noted Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg in the 1970s, the buildings at Stony Brook University Hospital are more than 334 feet tall and have a dominating presence over the Stony Brook skyline. Named the third most beautiful hospital in America by Soliath Health in 2011, the building is enveloped by multi-level glass bridges and is about to get even more functional. A new eight-level 240,000-square-foot Medicine and Research Translation (MART) Building and 225,000-square-foot new Bed Tower, scheduled for completion this year, will nearly double Stony Brook’s capacity to provide cancer treatment to Long Islanders.

The Big Duck

the big duck

The Big Duck is an East End landmark.

The Big Duck, that gigantic duck-shaped building that sneaks up on you every time you’re driving on Route 24 in Flanders, actually inspired an architectural term. Architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scot Brown used “duck” to describe any building that has an unusual shape that represents products or services available within, like the Big Golden Guitar in Australia. Inside, The Big Duck, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, serves as a tourist center and gift shop that sells, shockingly, duck-themed products.

The Windmills of East Hampton

long island architectural landmarks

image: beyond my ken – own work, gfdl, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26751066

A picturesque nod to summers past, the three windmills of East Hampton represent some of the oldest American craftsmanship of the Wooden Age. Don’t just gawk, you can travel back in time by taking a tour of Hook Mill, Pantigo Mill and Gardiners Mill. Just call first for hours of operation or to make an appointment.

The Windmill at Watermill

Like its East Hamptons’ counterparts, the Windmill at Water Mill reminds us of our agrarian beginnings when men would grind grain, saw wood and pump water with the help of the wind. Today, it’s the perfect place to stop, stretch and snap a photo when stuck in Hamptons summer traffic.

Old Field Point Lighthouse

 Old Field Lighthouse, 1933. image: brookhaven pictorial collection of the suffolk county historical society library archives [182.117.11]. copyright © suffolk county historical society. all rights reserved.

Old Field Lighthouse, 1933. image: brookhaven pictorial collection of the suffolk county historical society library archives [182.117.11]. copyright © suffolk county historical society. all rights reserved.

Anyone who has come to Long Island by sea courtesy of the Bridgeport-Port Jefferson ferry has, at the very least, been tempted to buy a postcard of Old Field Point Lighthouse. The Victorian-Gothic revival exterior, complete with a 67-foot-tall lighthouse built shortly after the Civil War to accommodate the increased shipping traffic on Long Island (turns out traffic was always a thing around here), sits at the West entrance of Port Jefferson Harbor. Though not open to the public, you can arrange a visit to the grounds through the Old Field town offices.

Sagamore Hill National Historic Site

Front of Theodore Roosevelt House. image: sagamore hill national historic site

Front of Theodore Roosevelt House. image: sagamore hill national historic site

Theodore Roosevelt had Lamb & Rich design a shingle-style, Queen Anne home in Oyster Bay in 1884. A landmark not just for its quaint vibe, Sagamore Hill is perhaps most known for being Roosevelt’s Summer White House, when he started a tradition of Commander in Chiefs taking long summer vacations. After years of being closed to the public, Sagamore Hill National Historic Site reopened last year after John G. Waite Architectural Firm and National Park Service completed a $10 million rehabilitation and restoration.

First Presbyterian Church (Old Whaler’s)

long island architectural landmarks

image: americasroof at en.wikipedia – transferred from en.wikipedia by sreebot, cc by-sa 2.5, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16555497

Perhaps Sag Harbor’s most distinguished landmark, First Presbyterian Church, also known as Old Whaler’s Church, is a surviving example of Egyptian Revival style architecture in the United States. Designed by Minard Lafever, the original steeple was 185 feet high but was destroyed by the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, but that didn’t stop Old Whaler’s from landing on the National Historic Landmark list in 1994.

Montauk Point Light

long island architectural landmarks

image: pamela bednarik – u.s. coast guard photo id 080817-G-0000X-015 photo page: [1]photo description page: [2]u.s. coast guard visual information gallery [3], public domain, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8016820

A Long Island summer is not truly complete without a trip to The End and you know you’re almost there when you start to see Montauk Point Light in the distance. The fourth oldest active lighthouse in the United States and first lighthouse in New York State, Montauk Point Light was first lit in 1797 and today has a light that can be seen for 17 nautical miles.

beth ann clyde

beth ann clyde

Beth Ann Clyde is a Digital Editor of Long Island Pulse. Have a story idea or just want to say hello? Email bethann@lipulse.com or reach out on Twitter @BAClyde.