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What’s a roadtrip if you can’t pose in front of an oversized something? A trip to the outer reaches of Long Island would not be complete for a roadside giant loving fan without a visit to the famous Big Duck in Flanders NY. Why it’s practically historical in its architectural significance. And kinda cute too!

The Big Duck!(speaking of cute, the Retro Roadgirls were just wonderful when I asked them to pose for scale. thanks dolls!)

Built in 1931 in Riverhead NY by a duck farmer in to sell ducks and duck eggs, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. This cement quacker which originally had model T headlights for eyes has been historically renovated and was moved around a couple of times since settling in its current location since 2007. But all that is only a small bit about the important history of this place.

Buildings that are shaped to look like something else can be called follies, mimetic, novelty or programmatic architecture. You know, giant teapots, tee-pees and the like. But an architectural term for these buildings is also a “duck” or “duck architecture”. This term was coined by famous architect Robert Venturi, and this big duck in Long Island is the reason he uses that term!

I wasn’t sure that the duck was open when we pulled up, as it was a bit dark inside, but we entered to find a friendly volunteer behind the counter selling “duckamabilia” and other souvenirs. I could not help but pick up a book on roadside delights, and posed for a rare photo in front of the duck myself!

Betty and The Duck!

So if you’re on Long Island, don’t be a goose, stop by and say hello to this cheery roadside bird, who has made architectural history!

The Duck of Flanders
928 Riverhead-Hampton Bays Rd
Flanders, NY 11901

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