Line Around the Block for Grey Gardens Estate Sale

Before the doors opened at 10 a.m. Friday, the line already stretched down the street. Durell Godfrey

People began to line up at 8 Friday morning to be among the first admitted to an estate sale at Grey Gardens, the house made famous by Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis's eccentric aunt and cousin, Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale and her daughter, Edith Bouvier Beale, known as Big and Little Edie.

An estate sale is always a popular affair in East Hampton, but this one had a special cachet, with the Grey Gardens name now recalling the eponymous 1975 Maysles brothers documentary that introduced the world to the Edies, by then living in squalor in a dilapidated house with a host of cats and other animals. The documentary enjoyed such a following that it eventually spawned an HBO feature film and a Broadway musical, also named after the estate.

Owned for many years by Ben Bradlee, the late executive editor of The Washington Post, and his wife, the journalist Sally Quinn, who brought it back to its original glory, the property was recently sold for nearly $18 million. Though the Beales were long gone, items dating to their era remained in the house on West End Road and were included in the sale.

Drawn by the lore of the estate and the intrigue surrounding the Edies, people came from near and far on Friday hoping, perhaps, to purchase a piece of the legend or simply to peer inside the house. The sale is being conducted by Susan Wexler of Behind the Hedgerows and is to continue on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking is at the Georgica Beach lot, just east of the property.
 

Bundles of Grey Gardens stationeryDurell Godfrey
Would-be buyers peered through the windows at Grey Gardens as they waited for the doors to open on Friday morning.Durell Godfrey
Some went with purpose, others were merely there to shop. At left, Dyanna Nesbit held a parrot figurine, purchased for a friend who believed it had belonged to the Beales.Durell Godfey
People were asked to wear blue booties as they traipsed through the house.Durell Godfrey
A flock of early birds waited for the clock to strike 10.Durell Godfrey
Browsing the offeringsDurell Godfrey
A sign on a bedroom doorDurell Godfrey
The documentary and a photo reel played on a TV in one of the rooms.Durell Godfrey
"There's quite a bit of wicker," Susan Wexler of Behind the Hedges said earlier this week. Durell Godfrey