We were sad when Mr. Albee, the eminent playwright, died in 2016. He was a true Montauk lover and booster, and was also very kind to us personally. (For more on this, read on below.) And now, his oceanfront property on Old Montauk Highway is for sale, asking $20 million. It’s repped by Paul Brennan and Ronald White at Elliman.
A number of oceanfront properties on Old Montauk Highway have been listed in recent months, all asking around $21 million (the former Madoff place, the Hirtenstein property, and a new listing we’ll examine in the next few days), along with the news last week of a $23 million sale of a 2.2-acre property. However, none of them offer as much land as this property does: 2.8 acres, including a house, guest house, pool, and tennis. Granted, the house could use some updating (although we would hope the new owner retains that funky dyed slate flooring). The house isn’t huge, either, but it has a wonderful history. So we think the asking price is very fair.
In 2012, Mr. Albee kindly wrote for us the history of his purchase of the house. We repeat it here with admiration for his talent and appreciation for his kindness.
I saw Montauk for the first time in the summer of 1961 when I drove out there to meet with Uta Hagen, the great actress, at her summer home abutting the ocean, to see if she was interested in being in my play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? She was and so she did.
Back then there was no new highway to Montauk – it was the Old Montauk Highway which took us into town. The Old Montauk Highway ran along the ocean, with hills and valleys – occasionally the ocean was visible – and, finally, at the top of a hill, the land descended and there was the wide ocean and the flat plain of Montauk. I think it was during that drive that I decided I had to live in Montauk some day. I had always been a person who needed to be near oceans as a kid – my family wintered in Palm Beach, Florida, in a house on the ocean, and in the summers they had a house in Larchmont, on Long Island Sound.
A couple of years after Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opened, my would be real estate agent (the dear Martha Greene) called to tell me that a small house on the ocean had become available, for its owner had died in a small plane accident. I saw the house – it was a small house with a small guest house on four acres and, indeed, it was on the ocean on a hill. It was ideal. And while I didn’t have the $40,000 for what four acres were going for then, I did have Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? on Broadway, which enabled me to go broke by getting the property.
Montauk has changed a lot over the years: many of the lovely little ocean front houses are being taken down and houses too large for the properties put up in their stead. But Montauk still has not suffered as badly as The Hamptons have in overpopulation and overcrowding. I cannot imagine living anywhere else than Montauk, though I do keep a loft in Tribeca in New York City.
–Edward Albee, 2012
For more, click here. 320 Old Montauk Highway, Montauk