Winter is Coming. And while that may excite the most ardent Game of Thrones follower, it can be a painful proposition for New Yorkers. And on Long Island, a region that boasts beautiful parks and beaches, it may be especially frightening. But, it doesn't have to be. For every beach on the Island there is a slope perfect for sledding; for every outdoor summer activity, a rink. Why lounge in the sun when you can frolic in the snow? Here are some of the things you can do when the ground turns pearly white.
Live on the Vine
Think the Hamptons is just a place for summer lounging? The East End gives you the Live on the Vine music festival which rocks all through February and March. What's better than live music? Live music with some wine. Some of the most exciting names in regional jazz music will jam in some of the most preeminent vineyards on the island. After all, the cold is less cold with blues music. And wine.
In the mood for ice skating, but it's just too cold to handle? Try out The Rinx in Hauppauge with two world class indoor skating rinks located just inside Hidden Pond Park. Enjoy the beautiful wintry surroundings while skating with all the comforts and convenience of a fabulous indoor rinks. Looking for other prime indoor skating locales? The Dix Hills Skating Park offers lessons year round and is the perfect location for skating lessons or your child's next birthday bash. Want to stay indoors with an outdoor feel? Try the Andrew Stergiopoulos Ice Rink in the fabulous Great Neck park.
Christopher Morley park offers one of the best outdoor skating rinks in the region. In fact, News 12 named it the best outdoor rink on Long Island. And if you need to warm up - there is a fire and plenty of hot chocolate. Want to entertain the kids and get in some shopping? The famous Tanger Outlets has a surprising little secret: a rink for the kids and the big kids right adjacent to the fabulous shopping.
OK, Ok so there's a place for you alpine skiers in the mix. But, there are a number of downhill ski clubs which call Long Island their home, including the Garden City Ski Club and the Grumman Ski Club. Long Island also offers great venues for cross country skiers. Our favorite? Montauk Point State Park where you can view the Sound while hitting the (horizontal) slopes.
Take a Cruise
You don't need the Carribean or a boatload of cash (pun intended) to take a winter cruise. The Riverhead Foundation offers winter seal cruises out of Freeport. The whole family will learn a lot about marine life and seal behavior in particular, but warm clothes are needed. The ides of winter, i.e. January, is when the seals are most visible.
Watch Others on the Ice
The Islanders are in the midst of their last season the Island and they look poised to make an exciting playoff run. And if your kids are a bit younger (or are Rangers fans) Disney on Ice hits the Nassau Coliseum in January.
Living on Long Island, where many people have big backyards and their own privte swimming pools, it's easy to take for granted the wonderful public parks that your taxes help to build and pay for. If you live in or are thinking about moving to the Merrick/Bellmore/Wantagh area of Nassau County, it would be worth your while to check out the nearby parks, which can provide countless hours of outdoor entertainment for you and your family. Those moving to the area from New York City, who will naturally have a greater appreciation for parks, should take special note.
This huge public park is located in East Meadow, but is just a short drive north on Merrick Avenue from either Bellmore or Merrick. Measuring approximately 930 acres, Eisenhower Park is one of the largest parks in the New York Metropolitan Area and is bigger, in fact, than New York City's Central Park. In addition to having large playgrounds for families with small children, it also features an 18-hole golf course, a mini-golf course, a state-of-the-art indoor swimming facility, picnic areas, athletic trails, dozens of baseball, football and soccer fields (a number of which are lighted for night-time play), tennis courts, a batting cage, the Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre (which features outdoor concerts and films), and Carltun on the Park -- an exquisite restaurant and catering hall that plays host to countless weddings and other events throughout the year. With all that Eisenhower Park has to offer, the most appropriate question someone can ask about Eisenhower Park is: is there any leisure activity that you can't do there?
Just a few minutes south of Eisenhower Park but also in East Meadow is the Edward J. Speno Memorial Park, better known among locals as just "Speno Park". Speno Park has a real neighborhood feel to it. Nestled right in the middle of a quiet residential neighborhood on the border of North Bellmore, many residents may not even realize it is there until they happen to pass it on East Meadow Avenue. The park features basketball courts and multi-purpose fields, but its real draw (especially for young families) is its playground. The playground has both "big kid" and "little kid" jungle gyms, and despite the fact that it is a favorite among local moms, part of its allure is that it never really feels crowded.
Newbridge Road Park
This South Bellmore mainstay has everything you would want a neighborhood park to have and more. Besides its numerous athletic fields and courts for all forms of ball-play, Newbridge Road Park features a big outdoor pool to keep residents cool in the summer and a full-size ice hockey rink open year-round for use by hockey players and leisure skaters alike. This park also has some great spots for picnicing. Newbridge Road Park is located in South Bellmore just south of Merrick Road and just east of the Merrick border, making it easily accessible to residents of Bellmore, Merrick and Wantagh.
Cedar Creek Park
Located south of Merrick Road and just east of Wantagh Avenue in Seaford, this 259 acre park is equipped for plenty of outdoor activities. For sports fanatics, it's got tennis, handball, paddleball and basketball courts, baseball and softball fields, soccer/football/lacrosse fields, an archery range, and a number of running and biking trails, one of which leads south down through the trees lining the Wantagh Parkway and can be taken all the way down to Jones Beach, with some spectacular views of the open bays and open skies that make the South Shore of Long Island so special all along the way. There is also a dog-run, so pets can get a workout in too! For those with kids, Cedar Creek has a great children's playground that has been named the best on Long Island by the Long Island Press, along with a roller skating rink and a hill for sledding in the winter (yes, the South shore has some hills).
Why Should I Live Here? Location, Location, Location = Rockville Centre, Rockville Centre, Rockville Centre
Every once in a while, we'll ask a Long Island resident to tell you, the home buyer, what there is to love about their town. We call it: Why Should I Llve Here? If you want to tell us about your town, give us a holler. First up, Rockville Centre.
Welcome to Rockville Centre, nestled on the south shore of Long Island, a veritable jewel of a little village tucked away, yet full of delightful surprises. You can select from Colonials, Tudors, Ranches, and Victorians with wrap around porches, surrounded by beautiful gardens and set along established tree lined streets. Five exemplary elementary schools feed into the South Side Middle School and the designated Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, South Side High School. Additionally, the village is home to its own Cathedral, Temples and Churches, Recreation Center, parks and sports fields. Further, those living within the incorporated village can enjoy the advantages of their own village electrical company.
Heading into Manhattan? The Long Island Rail Road can get you into the city on a direct line in 38 minutes and with no traffic you can drive to midtown in 40 minutes. Off to JFK? Count on a 15 minute ride to your terminal. If you are thinking about a beach day, you can lay out your towel on the sand down in Long Beach within 30 minutes. Meeting your friend at the mall? Roosevelt Field will take you 15 minutes as well.
If you can never decide on what to have for dinner then Rockville Centre is the place for you, with every possibility at your doorstep or ready to be delivered to your home by the myriad restaurants. Perhaps a movie and dessert is what you want, a wine bar, or pub? Well, with so many choices you will have fun exploring the many options.
Rockville Centre is a wonderful place to live; did I mention that it is in a fantastic location?
If you are looking to buy a home in Merrick, New York, you really can't go wrong no matter which neighborhood you choose. But, of course, even in the best Long Island towns there are some neighborhoods that out-shine the rest. Hopefully this article will help you find your way to the best places to live in Merrick, no matter what your objective.
If you've ever taken the Babylon line on the Long Island Rail Road and passed through Merrick, you may have wondered what lay beneath that lush canopy of trees situated just to the northeast of the Merrick train station. The answer is the neighborhood known as Merrick Woods. As the name suggests, Merrick Woods is densely populated with high-reaching trees, which create a picturesque streetscape and tons of privacy for area residents. Despite its woodsy feel, Merrick Woods is within walking distance of the Long Island Rail Road and Sunrise Highway, so whether you are going east or west, by rail or by car, you will be on your way very quickly. Home values tend to be higher in this area of town, but few who purchase in Merrick Woods regret paying more for the beauty and convenience that it comes with.
If you were traveling east on Sunrise Highway and swung a right turn just before the green tree-line of the Meroke Preserve, you would find yourself in the very distinctive and cool-looking neighborhood of Gables Estates. Many of the homes here were designed in a Spanish-stucco, California style, which, coupled with its location in the leafy shade of the Meroke Preserve, gives off a Hollywood Hills vibe (minus the hills, of course). Indeed the area was developed in the 1920s with a Hollywood look in mind. Gables Estates is located between Merrick Road and Sunrise Highway, so all of the restaurants and retail stores that Merrick has to offer (and there are many) are a short drive or a walk away. The houses located along the eastern border of this neighborhood have the added "wow-factor" of backyards that run right up against the trees and ponds of the Meroke Preserve, providing those lucky home owners with the type of view that all the rest of us have to move to the country for.
This North Merrick neighborhood is probably less well known to those not native to Merrick, but once you've been there chances are you won't want to leave. Located just south of Jerusalem Avenue and just west of Park Avenue, Wenshaw Park is a haven for families who want their kids to grow up in a close-knit and safe community, with old fashioned street lamps and enough trees and green grass to make you feel as though you really are in a park that just happens to have houses in it. Recently, local builders have bought up a number of adjoining lots to create brand new homes that not only have a ton of square footage, but also have the big backyard to go with it. Unlike in some other areas of Nassau County, the newer, bigger homes have been seemlessly incorporated into the neighborhood, so that you don't get the feeling that a bunch of "McMansions" have just been plopped down out of place. Local businesses like the Park Avenue Deli are the kinds of places where everybody knows your name, adding to the "one big family" feel.
If you are looking for waterfont property, South Merrick has some of the best Long Island has to offer. In particular, the Hewlett Peninsula extends out into the East Bay and has a large swath of coastline with the type of open-bay exposure that home owner dreams are made of. Unlike some other areas on Long Island with waterfront property, South Merrick is not a far-removed location that is difficult to get to. On the contrary, a short trip north will bring you to such major thoroughfares as Merrick Road and Sunrise Highway, and an entrance to the Meadowbrook Parkway is located just outside its western border, putting access to the beaches of the South Shore within easy reach. South Merrick has plenty to offer residents of all generations and walks of life.
With over 400 miles of beach coastline, beautiful natural parks, and thriving nightlife, Long Island is the perfect destination for young families. This region is home to magnificent castles, historic buildings, and mansions. Its beaches are famous all over the world for their long stretches of sand and clean waters. Long Island also features lots of zoos, parks, sports facilities, and shopping outlets.
A growing number of young families have moved to Long Island over the past couple of decades. Areas like New Hyde Park, Long Beach, Oyster Bay, and the Hamptons quickly became the centers of the Island’s social scene. Here are some of the best neighborhoods for young families in Long Island:
Huntington Station is a preferred destination for young families looking to start a new life in Long Island. This community has a total 33,029 residents and 10,067 households. Many families are moving to Huntington Station because it has the highest population of children up to age four in the state. This area is also close to the Northern State, so commuting from here is easy. Additionally, the cost of living is quite low compared to the rest of Long Island.
With miles of sprawling sands and breathtaking views of the ocean, Long Beach attracts thousands of homebuyers every year. This beach community went from being a summer resort to a residential area. Those who live here have access to a large number of parks, schools, gyms, and recreational activities. The Department of Youth and Family Services provides residents with licensed child care, employment, and adventure camps for kids.
Home prices in Patchogue are affordable compared to the rest of Long Island. This community is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. Patchogue boasts hundreds of restaurants and cafes, fitness centers, educational institutions, cultural venues, and historic sites. The low cost of living attracts many young families and first-time homebuyers.
Surrounded by beach and natural parks, Massapequa real estate offers lots of recreational activities for children and young people. It is one of the best neighborhoods for young families on the south shore of Long Island. The community has a total population of 21,685 and covers 10.4 square kilometers. Massapequa features six elementary schools and a several high schools. There are also numerous bars, delis, pubs, and great pizzerias.
Brookville is a small community located in Nassau County. Residents have access to a large number of schools and government services. This place offers the best of both worlds for those who enjoy living in a picturesque village while having quick access to shopping outlets, restaurants, and major highways. There are numerous historic sites and cultural attractions in the area, including the Hillwood Art Museum and the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts.
Many potential homebuyers find the appeal of gated communities hard to resist. There are many benefits to this type of living, but there may also be some pitfalls, as well. Before buyers commit to living in this type of neighborhood, it’s important to review the pros and cons.
Since each of these neighborhoods tends to be a bit different, buyers should take the time to review the many different by-laws and homeowners’ association rules before deciding that they would like to purchase a home in one of these areas.
If buyers are interested in purchasing a home in a gated community in Nassau County, Long Island, they will likely be pleased to find that there is a large selection of them. They range in price and styles, so there is sure to be something to meet every buyer’s needs.
The benefits of a gated community:
- Security. Hands down, one of the biggest benefits of living in an exclusive community is the security. People don’t get to go in and out like they do in other neighborhoods because they have to stop at security and check in. Without clearance from a homeowner, people can’t just get in. This increases the security of the neighborhood and helps to prevent everything from dangers to children to burglaries.
- Exclusivity. Many homeowners want to live in a neighborhood that always looks neat and clean. They want to know that their neighbor isn’t going to build an ugly structure, or park a rotting RV in their driveway. Most gated communities come with homeowners’ associations that prevent this from happening.
- Something for everyone. Builders know that there are different budgets, different buyers and different needs. It is the needs of the buyers that have encouraged builders to create communities that feature homes at different price points and in different styles.
The drawbacks of a gated community:
- Fees. Most gated communities need to be able to pay for the upkeep of the neighborhood and pay for a guarded gate. The salaries of the guards and any other upkeep costs come from the residents in the form of HOA fees. Some can be quite high, so buyers should consider them before purchasing.
- Limiting by-laws. In some neighborhoods, the by-laws are limiting to the residents. Often, homeowners’ associations require that everything from a swing set to a shed be submitted for approval before it is built. It’s important to look carefully at all the by-laws of the homeowners’ association before buying, or buyers could wind up unhappy.
A gated community can offer a safe and secure way of life for many, but there can also be some negatives about living in a neighborhood like this, so buyers should be sure to consider both the pros and cons before choosing to live in this type of area.
Once the decision is made to live in a Nassau County Long Island gated community, buyers will be thrilled to find that they have many options to consider.
Back in December, we took a look at a few of the top school districts on the Island. US News and World Report recently released their rankings for the top schools in New York and, not surprisingly, many Long Island schools made the list. The report looked at 1,165 New York public, private and charter schools, accounting for teacher to student ratios, number of students who advanced to college as well as general math and english proficiency. The results bore little surprise: Long Island is a premier, if not the premier, destination for families looking to give their children a top flight education.
Coming in at Number 2 in the state, and at 22nd overall in the country, was South Side High School in Rockville Centre. South Side is a public school which boasted perfect scores in math proficiency, english proficiency and college readiness. What sets South Side - and many other Long Island public schools apart - is the wide ranging opportunities for the school's students to take their education above and beyond traditional high school expectations both in preparation for a collegiate workload and as an enticement to selective college admissions programs. Students at South Side can avail themselves of numerous Advanced Placement (college-level) and Honors courses as well as International Baccalaureate options. South Side is no stranger to success. In 2011, it was rated the second best High School on Long Island by the Washington Post.
Jericho High School came in at 17th statewide. A public school in the North Shore hamlet of Jericho, the school is another shining example of a successful Advanced Placement program. An astounding 84 percent of the student body avails itself of at least one Advanced Placement course and the exam pass rate is an equally remarkable 69 percent. The carry over is unmistakable. The school recently announced that 20 students were semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program.
Just behind Jericho, at 18th in the state, is Commack High School in Suffolk County's Commack. The school boasts one of the strongest International Baccalaureate programs in the state, with 83 percent of the student body participating in some capacity. It's not just about academics at Commack, however. Its proud to call its own the 2012 National Champion Kickline Team. We don't know what that is, but it's surely the source of much Cougar pride!
Rounding out the top 20 is Locust Valley High School in the North Shore's Locust Valley. The school also has an active International Baccalaureate program with 86 percent of the student body participating. The schools influence extends well past academia, understanding the importance of well-rounded, culturally enlightened student body. As an example, on April 10, the school is hosting a film festival.
All in Long Island offers six of the top school in New York with four of top one hundred schools at the national level. The conclusions to be drawn are stark: leaving aside the beautiful properties, the vast cultural opportunities, the delicious restaurant selection, if you're looking for a community where your children will floursish in both the short term and long, Long Island is the place to settle down.
Suffolk County, Long Island in New York is bursting with fun activities for all ages. With numerous museums, art galleries, pristine beaches, shopping, hiking and theaters in the county you can be sure that you will be fulfilled. Finding the right school for your child can be difficult. In Suffolk County education is taken seriously. The schools in this county are rated high and follow strict guidelines to ensure students are performing at their best. With all the benefits that Suffolk County, Long Island has to offer it is no wonder that many people are interested in buying their next home in Suffolk County. An added benefit is the crime rates in Suffolk County are declining with the increase of patrol cars on the street. To ensure safety the option of a gated home is often preferred. The residents living in these gated communities must be a member of the Homeowner’s Association (HOA) so they must adhere to the rules and by-laws that are enforced by the board.
Buying a gated home in Suffolk County Long Island would be ideal at any stage of life. Whether you are retired, single or raising a family there is a gated community that will fit your needs. One benefit of choosing a gated community is security. People feel safer knowing that strangers cannot walk on their property unannounced. Another benefit is most gated communities have amenities that suit various lifestyles. If you are looking to live in luxury then The Estates at Half Hollow will surely please. This delightful community offers homes that sit on a generous 45,000 square feet of land. The homes are equipped with such luxuries as a Jacuzzi, upright shower, a three car garage and a private terrace, to name a few.
The Villages West Gated Community would be an affordable option for a single person, family, or for someone who is retired. They have playgrounds for kids and they offer a variety of activities for all ages. The community has tennis courts, a basketball court, jogging trail and wading pool for children. If golf is your forte than Stonebridge Estates will suit you. It is a luxury community within the Stonebridge Golf links and Country Club. This community has many goodies and among those are a newly renovated cabana where you can host parties, have card games and meet for resident activities.
Country Woods community at St. James may interest you if you are looking for a community that is very family oriented. A large number of the residents that live at this community have children. The Smith Haven Mall is right around the corner and it is also situated in the St James school district which is one of the highest rated school systems in the area. There are many gated communities to choose from in Suffolk County, Long Island. With all the exciting activities throughout the county you will feel at home in many of the gated communities that Suffolk County, Long Island has to offer.
Few communities were hit harder by Hurricane Sandy than Long Beach, New York. Overnight, residents and local business owners saw their lives and livelihoods literally washed away. Many have wondered, and may still be wondering, if Long Beach will ever recover. But those still wondering are forgetting an important fact: few communities are as spirited and strong as Long Beach and, after spending countless hours in Long Beach, helping friends and family in the wake of Sandy, there is no question in this author's mind that Long Beach will be back stronger than ever, and sooner than most would expect.
Long Beach will be back, not because it was bailed out by the State or Federal government or because of massive fund raising efforts by charities, but because Long Beach residents love the place they live like few others, and won't rest until it has been restored to its former glory.
To get a better sense of the determination of Long Beach residents, we spoke with Dave Juan, long-time Long Beach resident and co-owner of UnSound Surf Shop on Park Avenue. When Hurricane Sandy hit Long Beach's shores on October 29th, it not only completely flooded UnSound Surf Shop, it also pounded the Juans' Long Beach home so hard that its foundation was breached and basement flooded to the top.
In the days and weeks following Sandy, Dave and his wife, Ashley, spent countless hours dealing with insurance adjusters and FEMA, just to be told that, for the most part, they were out of luck. After exploiting every loop-hole imaginable, in the end the insurance companies paid-out only a small fraction of the cost of damages the Juans were forced to endure. Facing the loss of a home and half of a business (Dave also co-owns a Quicksilver surf shop in neighboring Oceanside), many would have given up hope and looked to move and start over. Not the Juans.
Over the last four months, the Juans have rebuilt UnSound, and most of their home, with little more than the help of friends, neighbors and a few understanding and trusted contractors. Although they have been displaced from their home since late October, they are optimistic about their future in what has proved to be a united and proud community.
"Sandy was a total life-changer for me and pretty much everyone in Long Beach," said Dave Juan. "After all those years of taking our money, the insurance companies all of a sudden didn't want to know us. But the support we got from our friends in Long Beach and the international surfing community was amazing. UnSound is just about ready to re-open and our house is finally getting fixed thanks to a lot of generosity and, basically, volunteer hard labor! We plan to make UnSound better than ever and we will never leave Long Beach."
Long Beach has already come a long way in the four months since Sandy. Many stores and restaurants, especially in the east end, have reopened and are ready for the prime spring/summer season. In February the local "Polar Bears" descended on Long Beach for the annual Super Bowl Splash. And work is well underway to resurrect Long Beach's famed boardwalk, which residents sadly watched demolished earlier this winter. The City has set an aggressive time-table for completing the new boardwalk by Memorial Day, 2013. Based on the plans, the new boardwalk promises to be better than ever, and, like the City it has come to symbolize, able to withstand whatever mother nature may throw its way.
Although the scars left by Hurricane Sandy will be slow to heal, my guess is that come May, the summer vibe that has always enveloped Long Beach will be back in full force, and locals and visitors alike will flock to Long Beach in droves in search of the happiness that only a day at the beach can bring; especially after a long and trying winter that none will soon forget.
If you're looking to move to Merrick, NY, but like us here at Long Island NYRE are a self-professed foodie, don't stress. Merrick offers restaurants for all tastes and palletes. Here, we look at some of the town's bests.
The Merrick location of Xaga Sushi offers a wide variety of sushi rolls, classic Japanese fare and a great space. The fish is always fresh and the service is excellent.
Pizza and pasta is at its best at LaPiazza Italian Restaurant, which also has locations in Plainview and Melville. The only downside: it's so popular that you might have to wait a bit so get there early.
The Nicholas James Bistro offers a modern approach to Amerian cuisine. The menu, food and feel make for the equivalent of a night out in New York City when you don't feel like hopping on a train.
If you're looking for a burger or some other classic American favorites that will make you feel good in a friendly environment, take a stop at the Pit Stop. Don't trust us? Ask Guy Fieri who featured the local favorite on The Food Network.
If you're looking for the best hero in town and maybe the best hero in all of Long Island, look no further than the aptly named My Hero. Plus, we're breakfast guys and they have EGGS ALL DAY!
For great Southwestern food, BBQ, drinks and fun, including all different kinds of inventive themed dinners, check out RS Jones.
A new addition to the Merrick food scene, The Savoy Tavern has a New York City vibe, right around the corner from your house. The large two story space is perfect for a romantic dinner out or a private party. Make sure to check them out for great Happy Hour specials.
Want an absolute 10 burger? Try Burger 9 Point 5. The name sells itself short.
And if you're looking for something a little different, make your way to The Vine Wine Bar. More than just your average name rhyming wine bar, they have delicious tapas and can't miss vino tastings.
So there you have it Merrick residents past, present and future. If you have a healthy appetite, that should keep you busy for a few weeks. Keep Calm and Eat on!