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Foot-wide Hamptons pathway sold for $120,000

Dunes at Napeague, New York
Source: Wikipedia
Dunes at Napeague, New York

This makes real estate prices in the ritzy Hamptons look like chump change.

Two Wall Street financiers locked horns and bid each other up in a face-to-face auction for an overgrown 1,885-foot-long strip of land, just 1 foot wide, running through the dunes to the sea, a local official on Long Island said Thursday.

The winning bid was $120,000.

That's $120,000 for what is essentially a footpath to the ocean.

"They were very cordial afterwards," said Wayne Thompson, property manager for New York's Suffolk County on Long Island. "One was represented by a lawyer and the other showed (up). The one without the lawyer won!"

The winner, after a total of 34 bids and counter-bids, was Marc Helie, who according to Bloomberg, is employed by Chevalier Investments, LLC, in Manhattan.

(Read more: Hamptons beach home sales hit new record)

His rival in the face-to-face in a conference room at the Suffolk county's Division of Real Property Acquisition and Management in Hauppauge, was Kyle Cruz, a managing director at Centerbridge Partners LP also in Manhattan.

Newsday, which first reported on the bidding war, said neither man commented on the auction.

Thompson said the bidding started at a minimum of $1,500 and went back and forth until Helie emerged the winner. "We had figured maybe it would go to a couple thousand and one would walk away," Thompson told NBCNews.com

"It's only one foot (wide) but it mattered to the guy who bought it," he said,

But based on reports from staffers who ran the auction, Thompson said, "I gathered one guy really did not want the other one walking over his property to the water.

"The idea was blocking one another from getting access to the ocean. I don't know how you could even walk on it, it's only a foot wide and all overgrown. It's hard to tell from the air where the property is, there's pine shrubs all over the place," he said.

Thompson said the strip of land in Napeague, in East Hampton, had been acquired ten years ago by the county for non-payment of taxes by the owner.

The county decided to sell it off for just $10 and offered it to the owners of six adjoining properties. Four did not respond, which left Helie and Cruz to go mano-a-mano with their checkbooks.

The winning bid was disclosed Wednesday after the county's finance committee voted to recommend the full legislature accept the bid when it meets next week.

Helie's purchase effectively gives him narrow slivers of property on both sides of Cruz, who would have to walk on Helie's property to reach the ocean beach a few hundred feet away.

(Read home: Finding the best summer home deals)

Napeague, where both men live, is a tiny enclave of million-dollar houses close to Montauk at the eastern end of Long Island.

Thompson said the $120,000 sale would have no effect on other properties or their value.

Neither Helie not Cruz has commented on the sale, but Thomson said Helie was very calm afterwards. "He was excited to win, but maybe not to pay $120,000!"

—Steve James, NBC News

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.