Taylor's Island Cabin at Dawn

Constantine Foltis, Jr. sent us these photographs. All of the photos, except for the aerial picture and the picture of the speedboat were taken by Mr. Foltis during the 1940s.

Album of Photos Courtesy Constantine Foltis, Jr.

"My early memories of Taylor's Island were of the main house fitted out as a hunting lodge. The kitchen had a traditional cast-iron wood stove for cooking, and the only electricity was from a gasoline-powered generator in a bungalow on the property. There was no telephone. When anyone needed to make a call, they came across the harbor to our house to do so. If there was a telephone call to our house for the Taylors, my mother would tie a white sheet on a bush facing the harbor, which someone on the island would eventually see and come over and return the call."

Mr. Taylor had a Mathews cruiser, possibly about 30 feet in length, and a lapstrake sailboat, perhaps 16 feet long. My sister Helen Foltis once told me that when she was a teenager, Alex Nestor (whom we all addressed by the Greek nickname of Aleko) taught her to sail. During the first lesson Aleko asked if she was ready to handle the boat, and she said she was. He said something like, "OK, see you later" then dove overboard and swam back to the island. Years later Helen taught me to sail.

"The picture of the little bridge is included for the following reason: Constantine Foltis, Sr. purchased the Smith property near the South Ferry in the 1940s, intending to build a hotel with surrounding cottages. Problems with financing and failing health prevented accomplishing that goal, and the property was later sold or foreclosed (I don't know which). I was unaware until now that the Smiths had at one time also owned what later became known as Taylor's Island. The Foltis summer home, from 1928 (year of my birth) until 1953, was at the tip of Little Ram Island, with a clear view across Coecle's Harbor to Taylor's Island. Mr. Taylor and Mr. Foltis were long standing friends and business associates in the New York Greek community. At that time, Mr. Taylor owned the St. Moritz Hotel and Buckingham Hotel in Manhattan, and Constantine Foltis, Sr. owned the Sea Cove restaurant on Broadway and West 72nd Street, Manhattan. I am not sure when Mr. Taylor purchased the island, but it may have been in the late 1920s or early 1930s."

"Mr. Taylor died of a heart attack in, I believe, late 1947 or early 1948. I was away at school at the time and never learned any more details. Mrs. Taylor, who was Greek but lived in Egypt before her marriage, went back to Egypt after her husband died."