"The trees travel at night. They wait, strapped to 48-foot-long trailers in a muddy lot in a New Jersey nursery, until about 11 p.m., when the roads are clear. Then trucks haul them up Routes 33 and 9 in New Jersey, across Staten Island and onto the Long Island Expressway, arriving at their destination in Southampton Village just before the sun rises over the ocean a few hundred yards to the east.
In all, 440 trees - the largest of them more than 70 feet tall and exceeding 50,000 pounds - will have followed this route by next spring. Upon arrival, the trees - most of them more than 40 years old, and some 60 years old - are being replanted on the largest plot of undeveloped land in the village.
It is part of a plan by Bob Gianos, a real estate developer, to create surroundings that physically resemble the quaint settlements of the area's past and then sell seven four-acre plots for millions of dollars each.
Chet Halka of Halka Nurseries, which specializes in growing and selling large trees at its sites in Monmouth and Cumberland Counties in New Jersey, said that when Mr. Gianos called asking for hundreds of big trees, he "had a hard time taking him seriously." Mr. Halka's customers have included Euro Disney and Keith Richards."