- Prior to building the Silver Sands Motel in 1957, Florence and Thomas Jurzenia traveled across the country, staying at various other new and modern motels, for ideas about how to design the Silver Sands. They saw many neon signs, which served as inspiration for the iconic Silver Sands Motel sign, which still sits atop the building today.
(Co-Founder Thomas Jurzenia at a Silver Sands Clam Bake, circa early 1960s.) above
- Silvermere Road was still a dirt road when the Motel opened. It wasn't until years later that it was paved.
(Below, a Silver Sands Coffee Shop was run next to the office for years.)
- The neon sign was designed by Thomas Jurzenia on a napkin and constructed by a designer with the last name of Niedermeyer who reportedly made large neon signs all over Long Island and the New York area.
- The rooms of the Silver Sands were decorated with furniture from W. J. Sloan's in Manhattan, a famous furniture store of its day on Fifth Avenue. Much of that furniture still adorns our rooms today and have become antiques.
(Above, a modern photo created by a guest, showing room 22 with the design today and back in 1957. The W.Sloane chairs and desk remain, as does the view.)
- The beach of the Silver Sands in Greenport was known as "Blazing Stump" during the Prohibition Days of the 1920s, as there was a tree stump there that the bootleggers would light on fire and this was signal that it was safe to bring the liquor ashore from the boats.
- The Juniper Bushes which surround the Silver Sands courtyard are at least 61 years old, and they have been there since the Motel opened in 1957. They were just the size of small shrubs when planted and are now the size of Volkswagens.
- The lobby of the Silver Sands was decorated with carvings of local birds by Shinnecock Indian artist David Martinez. Those carvings still sit on the walls of the Silver Sands lobby today.
- To attract customers in a pre-internet age, the Jurzenias placed ads in the New York Times to attract the first wave of guests. While Greenport did have a tourist economy in the 1950s, it was not on the level it is today as a destination. However, our guests slowly found their way out to us, largely from Long Island and Manhattan.
(Below, an ad in the New York Times where we paid for placement next to the famed Grossinger's in upstate New York, an inspiration for DIRTY DANCING.)
- One of our more famous guests, Aristotle Onassis, docked his yacht off of the Silver Sands in the 1960s and had a picnic on the beach, using room #22 as a cabana for the day.
- - Filmmaker Todd Haynes wrote his beloved 1998 film VELVET GOLDMINE, about a fictional glam rocker, when staying at the Silver Sands during the dead of a snowy winter for a few weeks in the mid-90s, in room #1 facing the Peconic Bay. We now unofficially refer to this as the "Velvet Goldmine Lounge."