Springs is known in art circles as the cradle of the abstract expressionist movement. Artists such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and John Ferren worked there. Writers such as Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, Philip Roth, Nora Ephron, and John Steinbeck have lived in or near Springs. Artists and writers were attracted to the area due to its rural nature, despite being within 100 miles (160 km) of New York City, and because housing prices “north of the Montauk Highway” on the bay side of the East Hampton peninsula have traditionally been lower than those closer to the Atlantic Ocean. Traditionally, locals are referred to as “Bonackers” which comes from Accabonac Harbor in Springs. East Hampton High School has adopted the Bonacker name for its sports teams.
The main roads connecting Springs to East Hampton are Springs-Fireplace Road and Three Mile Harbor Road. Jackson Pollock died in a car crash on Springs-Fireplace Road in 1956. Pollock and his wife Lee Krasner are buried in Green River Cemetery. Pollock’s grave is marked by a large glacial erratic stone on top of a hill, Krasner’s by a small stone lower on the hill. Since Pollock’s burial numerous other writers and artists have been buried in the cemetery, joining the locals.
The Pollock-Krasner House and Studio on Springs-Fireplace Road is owned by Stony Brook University and is open for tours by appointment. It includes an external studio shed where dried paint from Pollock’s projects is splattered on the floor and evokes Pollock’s most famous works. The neighborhood around it is an East Hampton historic district. Fireplace Road gets its name from fireplaces at its terminus that were used to signal the residents of Gardiners Island that supplies were ready to be picked up. Read more