The Real Deal New York

The Betsy Ross of North Fork

Broker plants 2,000 American flags along Route 25
By Russell Steinberg | July 01, 2012 07:00AM

Kate Carpluk (center) and two of her flag volunteers

This July 4th, a four-mile stretch of Route 25 on Long Island’s North Fork will be looking particularly patriotic, thanks to a local real estate broker.

Kate Carpluk, an agent in the Mattituck office of Town & Country Real Estate, spent several evenings last month installing nearly 2,000 American flags along the road from Aquebogue to Laurel. It took Carpluk and two volunteers several days to plant the 18- by 12-inch flags (all made in America, of course).

Carpluk, who has been decorating Route 25 with flags every year for the last decade, said she views the annual task as a way to show her gratitude to those in the armed forces while also decorating the North Fork — a popular vacation spot for city dwellers — for the holiday.

“It’s a nice welcome for people,” she said, adding: “We want it to look patriotic.”

Town & Country founder Judi Desiderio commended Carpluk’s efforts. “My hat is off to her for doing this,” Desiderio said. “It’s her way of giving back to the community.”

Carpluk started the tradition years ago, planting the stars-and-stripes in small neighborhoods on her way to property showings. She has since moved on to decorating main roads, she said, so that more people can enjoy the flags. Once Independence Day passes, she encourages homeowners to take the flags, and use them to decorate their gardens or flower pots.

Carpluk has been with Town & Country Real Estate for two years, and previously worked for C21 Albertson. She does the “planting” in the evenings after work, which makes for some very long days for her and her helpers.

Luckily, their work does not go unnoticed: Carpluk says that it is common for passersby to wave or honk their approval while she is installing the flags. One year, she was planting flags when she was surprised to see a well-known local veteran racing towards her.

“I got a little nervous because, I didn’t know what he was going to do,” she recalled. As it turned out, “he actually wanted to give me a big hug.”

Carpluk called it one of the most special moments that she has ever experienced.

“It made my year,” she said.