KLEIERS IN THE NEWS

Two Names On The Isle 

Jul 20, 2010

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Joh Mehigan Tells the Story of Naming Willo Isle

Two Names on the Isle

Plum Island, the federal research laboratory off Long Island, sparks associations withanimal testing, Nelson DeMille murder mysteries and unsettling fans like Hannibal Lecter.

That’s the kind of publicity that the Manhattan real estate broker John Mehigan calls “the kiss of death.” He should know: he was hired to sell a different Plum Island, on Lake Putnam in Patterson, N.Y., near the Connecticut border.

So he persuaded the seller, Larry Plapler, a 76-year-old retired advertising executive who has lived there with his family in a four-bedroom home since 1976, to change the name.

Mr. Plapler happily agreed. He said that a New York city newspaper, The Mirror, built the island in the 1930s, as part of a real estate project, and called it Plum Island. Since then, a succession of owners all called the island Willo-Isle.

Mr. Plapler said a local real estate broker had restored the 1930s name to attract potential buyers.

Under the name Plum Island, however, the island sat on the market for two years.

Having restored the name Willo-Isle, Mr. Mehigan is asking $1.55 million for the island.

Mr. Plapler is sadly preparing to give up his home.

“Whether it’s Plum Island or Willo-Isle,” he said, “it’s a great escape from Manhattan Isle.”

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