This is a detail from an engraving of the Surf Hotel, probably from around 1880. It shows the main three-story building, outlying guest cottages, central piazza, ferry dock and covered walks to the ocean and bay.
The hotel opened in June 1856 close to present-day Kismet and was originally intended as a sportsmen's retreat. It rapidly became popular as a family destination and after numerous extensions could receive well over 500 guests. It was not the first hotel on the island, but was clearly the most ambitious with resort facilities including a ballroom, bar, restaurant, billiards, bowling, hundreds of acres of land (including all of what is now Robert Moses State park), wooden bath houses on the beach, etc.
NY state acquired the hotel and land in 1892 for use as a cholera quarantine station, but later leased the property to private operators for continued use as a resort. The hotel was demolished following the collapse of its roof in 1908.
Surf HotelkismetSammisfire islandhistorycholera