Growing up on Long Island, New York, I have seen so many changes through the years. The lovely land we had open that were home to things like huge Pickle Farms and beautiful nurseries being sold, knocked down, subdivided and housing units going up in droves. Our original Levitt homes have all become HUGE....dormered and extended every which way you can and with many of the former zoning restrictions being lifted, homes are built so high they cut off your sunshine; or go so far back or next to you that you feel that you have someone in YOUR space.
However, the "middle" of Long Island used to be different; we are neither on the exclusive North Shore or the infamous Hamptons. We are about ½ hour from our lovely Jones Beach and we have always considered ourselves just "middle class." In spite of the forever rising taxes we are not in an exclusive area by any means.
I have been watching these last few years as the older homes that were so intriquite to Long Island and were considered "Starter" homes are being sold. Children who go off to college cannot afford to come back here to live and often the parents can't afford to stay, anyway. Families leave while others hang on tenaciously to stay somewhere they love.
These starter homes are older, quaint and, quite honestly, remind me of my own home. Originally built over 100 years ago it was just a two bedroom "cottage," a dream home for some couple or small family just starting out. These homes were often built on larger lots-say 120 X 100 and perfect now for subdivision. The newer homes that are going up on the Island are well over the half million mark....there is no land because apparently people don't WANT land anymore; they are a series of huge houses into a lot. Right on top of each other.
My son occasionally works with his father who does "flips." Or I should say demolishes these older homes that are in need of work, subdivides the lots, tears down the older homes and builds two new, big ones. And yes, it's still quite lucrative here although they sit unsold for longer they DO sell. There is not ONE I am aware of that has sold in this middle class neighborhood for under $650.000.
The other day after a doctor appt to which my son took me, he stopped to show me an older home his dad had just purchased-for a song, apparently. It was a tiny A Framed house on a sub dividable lot and it obviously needed work. It wasn't GETTING work, of course, it was getting razed but it's not the HOUSE I SAW:
What I saw was a couples dream. A few scuffed up Little Tykes Toys outside where they had plenty of property to roam on and be safe, a couple that chose and scrimped and saved to have their very own home. It sounds soapy but you could almost feel the love people once had for this little home. It affected me very much ("last time I'm taking YOU to see a house" my son muttered) but I realized how sad it was. On a Long Island that my son couldn't possibly understand because he hadn't been here then....he's been here through the demolitions, flips and money making days and barely remembers that we never locked our doors because we weren't sure what neighbors would be in that day.
The faces of "New" Long Island have left behind the Middle Class. And an entire lifestyle that many people will never have the benefit of knowing. My home with it's $10,000 taxes is a "Starter" home...and I would sure hate to see it go---in the face of "progress."
*Carole Provenzale has been a Certified Feng Shui Consultant since 1997 and is the Founder of Feng Shui Long Island, New York City providing on site Feng Shui Consultations for all of New York City and Long Island Homes, Apartments, Businesses, Studios and Condos, Renovations, PrePurchase and New Construction. Distance Feng Shui Consultations always available by phone.