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All photos via Coldwell Banker
Location: Great Neck, New York
It's not East or West Egg, nowhere near the same league as Gatsby's gilded mansion, but this Mediterranean home in Great Neck can lay claim to something a lot more substantial than the fictional millionaire's backstory. F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald called this stately 7-bed, 7-bath home from the fall of 1922 to April 1924 (Zelda nicknamed it her ""nifty little Babbitt house," a Sinclair Lewis reference poking fun at the bourgeois). Young and a bit reckless, cash-strapped yet renting a Rolls, the couple caroused as the early short stories that presaged The Great Gatsby sprung forth from a small office above the garage, inspired by the social behaviors and lavishness of Prohibition-era Long Island. Though Fitzgerald, flush from the success of This Side of Paradise, was living beyond his means, the Long Island move was meant as a money saver: their $300-a-month rent (roughly $4,000 today) was a lot cheaper than their previous stay in a Manhattan hotel suite.
Looking at the updated property now, it's tasteful without being too ostentatious, boasting a basement bar, marble bathrooms and a large open kitchen. The StairMaster in the unfurnished basement is about as far from Roaring '20s splendor as shag carpeting and a lava lamp. But the dark wood office space might just be the spot to crank away at a typewriter, cocktail close at hand, and work on the next great American novel. It's also as good a place as any to think about what the neighborhood was like back in the '20s, when partiers such as bootlegger Max Gerlach, stockbroker Robert Kerr, and entertainer Groucho Marx bounced around town.