Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Has Long Island New York Lost It's Charm?

To Whom It May Concern,

I just returned from a trip up North and across the border where I use to live for a short while and upon returning, was almost sorry to return to my beloved home. In fact, the area I once boasted about and with so much history, character, charisma, and scenery has, and continues to become a place I am ambivalent, and somewhat “ashamed” to call my home.

Besides the ridiculously escalating and often unaffordable real estate rates and taxes, which may have been in the past justifiable, by the “elite” uniqueness our neighborhoods and communities had to offer, Long Island is growing less and less desirable to live on.

We are NOTHING more than an extension of the boroughs that define our “borders” and are quickly and surely becoming an urban, cluttered, and congested metropolis and an eyesore.

In as much as life up North was less convenient, with stores closing much sooner than our own, and retail prices significantly higher, overall, our northern neighbor has far surpassed us in creating communities that are conducive to “convenience” and family life.

Surely, they are lacking in the “small town” appeal, (such as full serve gas stations, hometown convenience stores, small town Main streets, and the ambiance of trees and nature that continue to endure along our highways and in our back yards) which indeed makes Long Island so unique, special and appealing.

What they “DO” have to offer however is a much more avant-garde Euro-centric style that resonates of class and elegance.

Most of their shopping arenas, mimic airport plaza in Farmingdale, but with a greater and more diverse host of stores allowing for “one-stop-shopping” in one immediate location. And, what is especially commendable is that not only does the architecture offer design and convenience, but that it is continually well maintained, with a minimum of garbage gracing the curbs and parking lot and with hired help to make sure it is properly conserved and up-kept.

Furthermore, ALL (or at least MOST) of their malls offer a regal atmosphere replete with marble columns, vespa-like courtyard eateries and cafes and even lush lounge areas for those wishing to take a rest.

Highways and parkways are NOT strewn with garbage nor deteriorating walls and partitions. And, most companies and corporate buildings offer a modern, up-to-date appeal (and lavish landscaping) that make them a pleasure to look at and perceptively organizations you’d want to work for.

Trash receptacles are current and contemporary and available on most street corners and along roadways and in each area/town, AND, are not overflowing with garbage. Also, each downtown area is amply decorated with delightful streetlamps, plants and hanging flowers, not to mention cobblestone paved sidewalks and walkways as well as manicured lawns and parks for local residents and their families. And, there’s a minimum, of vandalism and graffiti.

Homes, while definitely more city-like in structure and appeal, offer mush more contemporary construction, style and architecture.

Most homes are made of brick (especially newer ones) and are interiorly superior to many of those available here (for the same cost). In general, most feature spiral staircases, a galley kitchen, a sitting room, dining room area, granite or marble countertops, top-of-the-line appliances (stoves, dishwashers, refrigerators, etc.). Additionally, most consist of a half bath on the main floor and at least two others throughout the house. Plus, it’s quite common for homes to have a wine cellar in the basement, a separate laundry area, a master bath with a full ensuite, a guest room with a bathroom and two children’s rooms with a Jack and Jill washroom facility all for under $800,000. And, this is in some of the newly developed areas. Not to mention that communities are much more well maintained especially in as far as home and neighborhood aesthetics (ie: no garbage on sidewalks or streets) are concerned.

Convenience stores, such as 7-Elevens are PRISTINELY clean and ultramodern as are grocery stores, supermarkets, and even beverage and alcohol markets and stores.

Yet, they have very few neighborhoods with a multitude of trees, very few beaches (at least around the GTA, and a lot fewer scenic areas such as Long Beach, The Hamptons, etc.) While no doubt WE have more overall amenities and luxuries, what we have is not very well maintained, inviting or affordable, and is more of a distraction than an attraction.

In my opinion, the only (slight) progress that is (if you’re lucky enough to stumble across it) is the few senior/assisted living communities cropping up across The Island, as well as the foliage recently planted along the service road of the Long Island Expressway between exits 33 and 39 or 40.

Otherwise, our streets, highways, parkways, and shopping centers are progressively riffled with litter and deteriorating walls and foliage. Not to mention that there is NOTHING aesthetically appealing denoting and signifying the entrance onto Long Island from Brooklyn or Queens. In fact, we have become and extension these bordering boroughs, if not an extension of The Bronx just off the Major Deegan, Clearview and Cross Bronx. And, some areas are even putting our suburban communities to shame.

I can’t help but wonder where all our hard-earned tax dollars are being spent, if not to preserve what our parents, grandparents, and ancestors worked so hard to build and ensure, we, (along with our families), could benefit from and enjoy.

I staunchly believe that we need to bring back the “nostalgia” that Long Island is renowned for and take immediate initiative in improving upon it and making an affordable and desirable place to live…the way it once use to be. With that said, we ALL need to do our part, but we need to start with our local leaders, especially since they are in a position to demand and implement these necessary improvements and changes.

A Concerned Resident And Long Island Native Mia Bolaris-Forget


Michael Daly said...

You know, you are absolutely right in all of your questions and assertions. But with all of that, many of us still choose to live here and enjoy the best parts of life here. Best of luck, wherever you choose to live and remember... no matter where we go, there we are.

Alida Thorpe said...

You pose some very good questions but even with our problems, Long Island is a wonderful place to live. Housing prices? They are high everywhere! Litter? It doesn't fall on the responsiblity of government. Let each parent teach their children to keep our counties clean and litter free. You can't escape all problems because people are everywhere. The northern states have their own problems. One of which is poverty. There are depressed areas and no chance of getting jobs nearby. Good luck in finding the "perfect" place to live. I think I found it and it is right here...Long Island!

Anonymous said...

I agree, I love Long Island, but the litter is out of control!!!! However. it does fall on the government though, and local shop owners and residents.
Its called using low level criminals to clean up our highways, like they do in every other part of this nation. For god sakes even the city looks cleaner than here. Not to mention I have a father in law visiting from Ohio, and its embarrasing!

--Disgusted on Long Island