20 Things to Do in the Hamptons Before Memorial Day: Visit the Camera Obscura

Greenport's camera obscura
Greenport’s camera obscura, Photo: villageofgreenport.org

Memorial Day (Monday, May 30) and the official start of the East End’s busy summer season is around the corner, so now’s the time to take advantage of all the special things that will be nonexistent or difficult to enjoy in the Hamptons once the crowds arrive from points west.

We continue our countdown of 20 things to do before Memorial Day in the Hamptons (or North Fork) with:

#9: Visit Greenport’s Camera Obscura

While Greenport’s camera obscura isn’t actually in the Hamptons, it’s a short trip by ferry from Sag Harbor to Shelter Island to the North Fork’s most happening village. And Mitchell Park, where the camera obscura resides in Greenport, couldn’t be much closer or easier to find from the ferry dock. So what is a camera obscura, and why should you experience it now?

First, it’s one of only five in the country, and it’s right here! A camera obscura is a dark room that allows light to enter through a small opening, and, through the use of mirrors, a live image is projected onto a screen. The Village of Greenport’s website explains: “The vibrant image promotes a feeling of serene detachment, reveals details otherwise overlooked, and enhances one’s appreciation of the scenic beauty. Many viewers find the experience deeply moving, and almost all are fascinated by this magical new way of seeing.”

Once popular with artists, today there are about 50 camera obscuras in the world and—as previously noted—only five are in the United States. The Greenport camera obscura only reopened in 2012 after it was closed for two years of repairs. And now it’s only available by appointment. Imagine how hard it’ll be to get one once summer begins.

Call 631-477-2200 for info and appointments. Admission is just $1.

Viewing is best when the sun is strongest, so consider it when arranging a visit, and while you’re there, check out Mitchell Park’s antique carousel and all of Greenport’s wonderful shops and restaurants.


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