If you’ve always dreamed of seeing the sphinx with your own eyes, but have continuously balked at booking a flight, getting your passport updated, and traveling around the globe to the barren deserts of Egypt—fear no more! New York boasts its very own sphinx—located not in the sands of Northern Africa, but along the highway within close proximity to the sands of Long Island’s beaches. Standing on route 27A in Bayport, the sphinx is on the property of the Fontana Cement Company, and has been on the same spot for over 30 years. It originally stood in Blue Point, along the train tracks outside of the Anchorage Inn, and some say it dates back as far as the early twentieth century.
This sphinx is not quite as large, nor nearly as ancient, as Egypt’s, but it does have a more palatable cartoon-ish face—and, as a bonus, its nose was never shot off by evil Nazi soldiers looking to allay their boredom. In addition to that, this mythological concrete creation offers a real prize to those luck ladies willing to do it’s bidding. An inscription carved between its outstretched lion paws promises, “She who climbs the sphinx’s head, a millionaire will surely wed.” This odd come-on might explain the disturbingly lecherous, google-eyed expression on ol’ Sphinx’s face.
Egypt seems really appealing—it helped invent modern culture and is the home of some of the world’s most prized ancient relics. But Long Island has its own sphinx, and on top of that, it’s the home of the genius that brought us “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.” When I’m planning my next archeological vacation, I’m going to save my pocket change and head out to Long Island.
Photos by John Leita
You can read about all of New York’s other Roadside Oddities and curious attractions in our book Weird New York.