A Slice of Long Island history, part 1

Long Island New York America’s fastest-growing community home place of business playground for the millions who live in Nassau and Suffolk counties but Long Island wasn’t always like this not many years ago it was a quiet semi rural community just a place where things were going to happen and this is our story maybe it’s because the Sun seems to hit that place a little more often or maybe it’s a spot of fertile land that cooks as a farmer to it with promises of fulfillment maybe that’s what brings men into a place men who make things happen men will take the promise of a place and make it grow and if it’s an exceptional place it’s likely to attract exceptional men men to write poems when lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed and the great star early drooped men to build castles men to lead the strenuous life and to lead the nation men to do things for the first time great deeds like Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic this is Long Island a place where things have happened are happening are going to happen just as gold brought settlers to California something is bringing people to Long Island if you ever lived in the city you’d know what attracts people to Long Island they all come for the same reasons out here there’s room to breathe you can afford your own home with the yard there’s room for the boys to grow among the trees and open spaces the way I did not surrounded by asphalt and concrete and there’s plenty of room for their father to relax in beautiful parks and recreational areas and are fine part ways make it easy to get there you couldn’t drag me back to the crowded city I’ve got everything I ever wanted right here the best stores and shops excellent schools for the children from elementary through high school even colleges we’re modern out here but we haven’t forgotten our heritage we have a knack of preserving the traditional alongside the new most of us work right here on the island back in 1940 it was one out of three most of us were commuters then but now the situation is reversed and more than two out of three work here where we live we’ve got a lot of jobs to do on the island from building planes and missiles to cameras and transistor radios big business and small we’ve got a lot of farmland here too and the ocean has been important to us from the beginning for business for pleasure along a thousand miles of waterfront seems there are a lot of reasons people come to Long Island and they’ve been coming since as far back as the early sixteen hundreds but the real population explosion is comparatively recent more new homes built in nine years of Long Island growth than of a whole history of Boston the oldest states once so typical of the island are disappearing or being broken into smaller developments where once a single mansion stood now 20 people owned their own small castles Long Island is a place of contrasts of diversity of both people and places from the Queens County line you to Montauk Point that’s a hundred miles and is filled with the greatest variety of things and people you’re likely to find anywhere suppose you wanted to shop and your favorite stores were miles away or suppose you wanted to deliver a political idea to all the people on the island when they don’t even have one government just separate counties townships and villages what’s needed is a communications medium that not only reports the news of the nation in the world but one that reports and interprets and takes part in local happenings with the interest of a leading citizen world war two changed the face of Long Island it had brought over 100,000 defense workers to the area and the end of the fighting overseas released millions of GIS to fight it home for some place to live on Long Island and imaginative building concerned levitan sons had an idea about this problem a new kind of Long Island home was designed a quality house but one that could be rented for $60 a month the key was assembly line construction of homes without sellers built on radiant heated concrete slabs this was not a sales promotion gimmick it was a guarantee of 2,000 rental homes to return servicemen there was nothing to rent in those days the veterans were doubled up in attics and cellars most of them couldn’t afford to buy homes so rental homes were a necessity unfortunately other people had different ideas our sources told us that the Hempstead Town Board might block the project because of an archaic Building Code requiring basements so Newsday jumped into the fight on the side of the veterans our job was to campaign for changing the local building code so the Levitt homes could be constructed we dug into the facts we found there was nothing technically wrong with this new type of construction the main battle was to be fought on May 27th the day the Town Board met to decide whether to change the code none of us will ever forget that meeting thousands of veterans answered Newsday’s call they jammed the Town Hall ready to stay until we got the decision they wanted the long-awaited battle was over in 20 minutes the code was revised clearing the way to build Levittown Levittown set off the explosive post-war growth of Long Island it was the beginning of the islands tremendous building boom homes ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 dollars getting those building restrictions changed brought a great influx of people more business came to the island to this in turn brought more people thus began a cycle that never has ended

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