I have always been a bit of a history buff and especially have tried to learn something about the history of the places I've lived in. I have been lucky to live in places rich with stories. I believe that knowing about the past increases your understanding of the present.
The history of Long Island, especially the Gold Coast era is fascinating, and a bit sad. My area was once full of magnificent mansions, some of which were really more like castles than houses. There were hundreds of them in the North Shore of Long Island. The sad part is that only about a hundred remain, and some are empty ruins. The best kept example is the Westbury Mansion and gardens, which is now a museum. And which I have mentioned here before.
I am still learning more about the Gold Coast era, and about the houses that remain, one of which is Winfield, an amazing estate in Glen Cove, the house which is said to be haunted with the spirit of F.W. Woolworth who built it. I just finished a book about Winfield written by Monica Randall. Winfield is a three story Italian renaissance style marble palace with 56 rooms, and it employed over a 100 staff to upkeep the house and the extensive gardens. Absolutely gorgeous house, and totally fascinating history - this book made my commute feel short!