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TravelLong Island Getaways

Quirky roadside attractions on Long Island

Long Island is home to Big Chief Lewis, an Irish castle replica and many other road-trip worthy landmarks, statues and shops. These 28 local roadside attractions are wacky and worth the drive.

Riverhead Raceway Indian

This statue of a shirtless Indian -- which
Photo Credit: Joann Vaglica

This statue of a shirtless Indian -- which reports dub the Muffler Man -- can be found at the entrance of Riverhead Raceway, located at 1797 Old Country Road in Riverhead.

'Nipper' the dog

Photo Credit: Alan Howard

"Nipper" the dog, an attraction that hails from Buffalo, can be found standing tall, about 6-feet tall, in front of Plesser's appliance store, at 6 E. Main St. in Babylon. To date, there have been about 20 versions of "Nipper," which is the original RCA Victrola mascot. It's been around since the '50s, originally as a 30-inch display handed out during a promotion.

Casa Basso Restaurant

Two large swordsmen stand at the entrance of
Photo Credit: Photo by Daniel Brennan

Two large swordsmen stand at the entrance of Italian restaurant Casa Basso, located at 59 Montauk Hwy. in Westhampton. The 18th-century castle where diners can feast on manicotti, veal cutlet Parmigiana and chicken Marco Polo, among other items, is a family-owned and -operated business established in 1928.

Giant bull

On Wading River Manor Road in Calverton, a
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

On Wading River Manor Road in Calverton, a statue of a giant bull can be seen on a private farm through the slats of the fence.

The purple elephant

This colorful elephant statue can be seen raising
Photo Credit: Amy Onorato

This colorful elephant statue can be seen raising his trunk toward passersby on a quiet section of Fort Salonga Road in Northport. Why is he there? He's actually the mascot of The Purple Elephant, a gem of a restaurant specializing in vegan and Latin cuisine. The restaurant itself may be hard to find at first, but its mascot definitely attracts attention.

Yesterday's Treasures

Yesterday's Treasures is a unique shop, located at
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Yesterday's Treasures is a unique shop, located at 1547 Rt. 27 in Southampton, that sells life-size fiberglass statues and bronze sculptures, including dinosaurs, turtles, elephants and even Jesus. In 2013, a car left the roadway and smashed through more than a dozen of the dinosaur creations, causing about $40,000 in damage. The only dinosaur untouched was a 30-foot-long, 10-foot-tall T-Rex.

Christopher Columbus

This statue of Christopher Columbus towers over the
Photo Credit: Amy Onorato

This statue of Christopher Columbus towers over the intersection between Main Street and Lawrence Hill Road in Huntington, also known as Columbus Plaza.

The hot dog man

This stylish hot dog man can be found
Photo Credit: Amy Onorato

This stylish hot dog man can be found in front of the Food and Fun Deli on Wellwood Avenue in West Babylon. Food and Fun isn't like other ordinary delis -- this small roadside eatery also has an array of toys and collectables for sale.

Witch's Hat

The Witch's Hat is a town-designated landmark in
Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

The Witch's Hat is a town-designated landmark in Aquebogue. The structure was built in the 1920s as a vegetable stand. Since then, it has served as a spot for various peddlers, including the Girl Scouts.

Sphinx

The Sphinx was built by Capt. Will Graham
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The Sphinx was built by Capt. Will Graham in the early 1900s as an attraction for the Anchorage Inn in Bayport, which he owned until the inn burned to the ground in the 1920s. The Sphinx was then moved inside a gas station that was built on the site that the Ferri family operated until 1973, when they sold the land to Power Test. Workers bulldozing the gas station in 1974 accidentally severed the head of the Sphinx from its body. Lou and John Fontana, owners of Fontana Concrete in Bayport, restored it and set it in front of Fontana Concrete in 1983 as a memorial to the inn and its builder.

Brewster Burial Grounds

The Brewster Burial Grounds in Copiague have grave
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The Brewster Burial Grounds in Copiague have grave sites that date from around 1800 to 1873. Some graves are dedicated "in memory of the first Native American families of Long Island and those known only to the great spirit." Others honor Civil War veterans. Here is the grave for Sidney Brewster, which is one of three graves carved in the early 1950s out of concrete blocks by mason Richard Brewster.

Figurehead of Hercules

Protected by a pavilion, an old statue of
Photo Credit: Amy Onorato

Protected by a pavilion, an old statue of Hercules can be found near the water along Main Street in Stony Brook. The colored figurehead of the Greek mythological hero was attached to the front of a U.S. Navy boat, the U.S.S. Ohio, in 1820. The ship, the first to leave the Brooklyn Navy Yard, was involved in a wreck in the late 1980s. But the ship's figurehead, anchor and whaleboat were preserved and brought to Stony Brook.

Teddy Roosevelt

A statue of Teddy Roosevelt stands in Oyster
Photo Credit: Bridget O'Brien

A statue of Teddy Roosevelt stands in Oyster Bay, after its unveiling Saturday, October 29, 2005. The statue was relocated to a mini-park in 2010. The 2 1/2-ton sculpture is a copy of one in Portland, Ore., honoring the area's most famous resident in his Rough Riders uniform.

Drive Thru Florist

Need a tree to go? This drive-through florist
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Need a tree to go? This drive-through florist shop combines foliage with portability, and even - when it comes to palm trees - rentals. It's all headquartered at this Massapequa store which is not, despite its product offerings, any kind of a branch location.

Stargazer

A 70-foot by 50-foot sculpture greets drivers as
Photo Credit: Google Maps

A 70-foot by 50-foot sculpture greets drivers as they enter the Hamptons. The Stargzaer, created by artist Linda Scott in 1996, is a deer looking up at the sky. Originally, the stucco sculpture was commissioned by the Animal Rescue Fund in East Hampton. It was meant to straddle the driveway, and cars would drive through its legs. The Town of East Hampton's building department denied the proposal because of pressure from the town board and members of the public who felt Stargazer was dangerous because of its proximity to the airport on Daniel Hole's Road. The sculpture found its home on a local farm.

Big Duck

Built in 1931 by Long Island duck farmers

Built in 1931 by Long Island duck farmers Martin and Jeule Maurer, the Big Duck was an eye-catching shop where the Maurers sold their Peking Ducks to passing motorists on Riverhead's West Main Street. In 1936, the Maurers moved the building to Route 24 in Flanders. The Big Duck is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Roadside architecture that represents the goods sold in the building is now known as "duck architecture" in honor of the Big Duck.

Nova's Ark

Artist Nova Mihai Popa made his house a
Photo Credit: Google Maps

Artist Nova Mihai Popa made his house a work of art. Shaped like a barrel, the "green" house was designed sometime between 1986 and 1991. Nova's Ark, also known as the Barrel House or the Elliptical House, is a hand-crafted, sculptured home, made with recycled wood. It's located at 30 Millstone Road in Water Mill, where Popa established a studio for educating young artists in 1986. Popa founded The Ark Project, Inc. in 1993 to express his concept of "Integral Art." As a result, Nova's Ark is a part of a 95-acre preserve consisting of sculpture fields, galleries, performance spaces and workshops.

Tiny Town

In North Merrick there are a series of
Photo Credit: Google Maps

In North Merrick there are a series of narrow circular roads that hug small cottages, some no more than 12 feet wide. The neighborhood is known as Tiny Town, or Campgrounds. It arose from Methodist summer revival camp meetings held by the Long Island Camp Meeting Association beginning in 1869. The cottages, which would rent from $30 to $50 a summer, became year-round homes after the meetings were discontinued in the early 1900s due to declining interest.

Pirate House

This Miller Place house, owned by Dennis Connor,
Photo Credit: Google Maps

This Miller Place house, owned by Dennis Connor, is fully adorned with pirate decorations. Connor's daughter Janet developed severe mental impairments after she was in a car accident while vacationing in Hawaii with the family, according to Long Island Oddities. While visiting Disney World on another family trip, the Pirates of the Caribbean ride brought Janet happiness, and Connor decided to decorate his home with whatever pirate memorabilia he could find.

Shark mouth seafood store entrance

Even if you're not looking to purchase seafood,
Photo Credit: Ian J. Stark

Even if you're not looking to purchase seafood, a visit to Atlantic Seafood Fish Market in Center Moriches is a must. Thanks to its large tooth-lined awning, the fish market has become a photo-op location for locals. Shoppers have to walk through the jaws of a giant shark to shop for fish within the beast's belly.

World's largest dead fish

Centerport is home to the world's largest dead
Photo Credit: Newsday / Jim Peppler

Centerport is home to the world's largest dead fish — a skin-mounted whale shark. The giant whale shark was caught off Islip waters on Aug. 9, 1935. Visitors can view the preserved and recently restored fish at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum.

Castle Gould

A castle resides within Sands Point Park and
Photo Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

A castle resides within Sands Point Park and Preserve off Middle Neck Road in Port Washington. Built in 1902, Castle Gould is actually a replica of Ireland's Kilkenny Castle. The estate welcomes visitors with a museum shop and six trails for hiking.

Cemetery in Home Depot parking lot

You'll find a bit more than home appliances
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

You'll find a bit more than home appliances when you stop by Home Depot of Commack. The parking lot is home to an old cemetery that once served a wealthy family who owned 166 acres of land in the area. The Burr family plot was active until the 1880s, with the most recent gravestone dated 1878. The location became a trading facility for pilots during WWI until 1919 and more recently became a Modell's Sporting Goods, Old Navy and now a Home Depot. When you stop by the hardware store's parking lot, you'll notice a small portion of fenced-off land that still has the Burr gravestones.

Winnie the Witch

A witch made of metal and scrap wood
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

A witch made of metal and scrap wood peers down on shoppers from above Wicks Nursery in St. James. But Winnie the Witch isn't just around for the Halloween season. Winnie, a leftover seasonal decoration, was built in 1976 and has stayed perched on the nursery's rooftop ever since.

The Smithtown Bull

In the middle of an intersection in Smithtown,
Photo Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

In the middle of an intersection in Smithtown, you'll find a large statue of a bull. The 14-foot-tall bull, built in 1941, commemorates the founding of Smithtown by Richard Smythe. The bull represents the legend that Smythe obtained the land during a bargain with the Indians. Smythe supposedly made a deal that allowed him to keep all of the land that he was able to ride through, while on the back of a bull, in one day. The once-bronze bull shows its age, now appearing a green-and-blue hue.

Big Chief Lewis

You won't need a wishing well to find
Photo Credit: Frank Posillico

You won't need a wishing well to find luck in Massapequa. Legend has it a Fiberglas horse, buffalo and totem pole that belong to a giant Indian statue bring visitors good fortune. Big Chief Lewis, built by Rodman Shutt of Pennsylvania, was brought to his home in Massapequa on May 21, 1968. Long Islanders search for the statue, found between the Massapequa Post Office and the Big Chief Lewis building off Sunrise Highway, to make wishes at the artifact.

Colonial Era McDonald's

The New Hyde Park McDonald's is known for
Photo Credit: Meghan Giannotta

The New Hyde Park McDonald's is known for more than just its burgers and fries. It's also the site of a historic mansion from the 19th century. Because the Colonial-era home is considered a local landmark, McDonald's was not allowed to completely demolish it. Instead, the interior was converted into a fast food restaurant and the exterior was restored.

Grave of Richard Nixon's dog

Richard Nixon's well-known cocker spaniel, Checkers, was buried
Photo Credit: Newsday / Don Jacobsen

Richard Nixon's well-known cocker spaniel, Checkers, was buried in Wantagh's Bide-a-Wee Pet Cemetery in 1964. Long Islanders still visit Checkers' tombstone and place small American flags on the plot.

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