There was a time when you could purchase your Montauk summer home at Macy’s. What? Back up.
The United States was a newborn superpower in an arms, technology and ideology race with the Soviet Union. As the world rebuilt itself, the American Dream was born. There was a burning shift into modern living and modern comforts, and so with the transistor radio, microwave dinners and a thriving workforce with disposable income, came the cookie cutter vacation home: the Leisurama.
Following a showcase at New York City’s 1964 World’s Fair, more than 200 vacation homes, designed by Stanley Klein, Andrew Geller and Raymond Loewy Associates, were built at Culloden Point in Montauk for a mere $12,995. You could actually purchase one at Macy’s. At the Macy’s in Herald Square, for free, you could visit a full-scale model version of the Montauk homes on the 9th floor. Which were equipped with fully-loaded with everything you might need; furniture, linens and even a toothbrush.
Some may know the “Leisurama” from the famed “kitchen debates” between Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, which took place in an early prototype of the prefabricated homes shown at the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow. Others might know of them from a “leisurely” drive around Montauk. Regardless of your familiarity with these homes, next time you’re at Gosman’s take a drive along the ocean edge to see the many Leisuramas which many still call home today – a real life memoir of geopolitics and time spent by the beach.