Drawn by the ample space and affordability that Long Island offers, former city dwellers are turning once-sleepy towns into hip, creative havens.
A growing number of young couples and empty nesters are flocking to select towns on the North and South Shores of Long Island, creating trendy enclaves with the cosmopolitan flair of Manhattan.
One of them is Long Beach, a magnet for young couples and singles, not to mention downsizing Long Islanders who are selling their homes elsewhere and want to live by the ocean and make it part of their daily lives.
“People love to walk or ride their bikes or Rollerblade on the boardwalk,” says Joyce Coletti, a real estate salesperson for Douglas Elliman who focuses on Long Beach. “They also like to play beach volleyball, surf, or just sit and watch the waves.” The boardwalk, which stretches for more than two miles, is central to the half- mile-wide City by the Sea, as Long Beach is nicknamed.
Long Beach’s “newness” factor is part of its allure. The barrier island, which Long Beach shares with Lido Beach, Point Lookout, and Atlantic Beach, was rebuilt to a more stringent code after Hurricane Sandy.
“It’s a brand-new city,” Coletti says. “Everything is new—the homes are new, the stores are new, the restaurants are new.”
Randee and Michael Busch recently sold their home and downsized to a large one-bedroom condo next door in Lido Beach. They made their selection in part because their ground-floor unit has a yard, and the building allowed them to bring their two large dogs.
“Everything I do is in Long Beach,” says Randee Busch, a retired teacher who still teaches one day a week there. “I take my yoga/Pilates class there, my friends are there, I go to the farmer’s market and the restaurants. And I walk the boardwalk.”
Downsizing couples are often selling large homes, so they don’t want anything too small, Coletti says. Many of these buyers are in the $700,000 to $1.5 million price range, which gives them a lot of options.
“Very few buy a one-bedroom,” says Coletti. “They’re looking for two or three bedrooms so the grandchildren can stay over.”
ALONG THE GOLD COAST
On the North Shore, the greater Roslyn area is hot, according to Maria Babaev, an associate broker with Douglas Elliman, who is based there. Roslyn’s charming downtown includes a 44-foot clock tower, built in 1895, along with bucolic Gerry Pond Park, which has walking paths, a playground, and a duck pond. The walkable village center offers upscale restaurants, boutiques, a movie theater, and a Long Island Rail Road station, from which Manhattan is approximately a 50-minute ride. “Roslyn is an old grist-mill town that has always had a lot of good bars and restaurants,” says Tucker Burns, a resident of Roslyn Harbor. My Father’s Place, a Roslyn music venue that attracted big names before closing in 1987, has been revived inside the elegant Roslyn Hotel.
Sea Cliff is an untouched, unpretentious place with a hippie vibe.
—Tucker Burns, longtime area resident
Burns’s favorite downtown restaurants include Kyma, offering upscale Greek fare, and Diane’s Bakery Cafe, for fresh baked goods. Other popular eateries include Limani, Besito Mexican, Thyme, and Hendrick’s Tavern in Roslyn, as well as Cipollini and Toku in neighboring Manhasset, Babaev says. About a mile down the road is the upscale shopping mall Americana Manhasset.
Housing options include Roslyn Landing, a luxury condominium development with two- and three-story townhomes, condos, and single-family homes ranging from about $1.4 million to $1.8 million, notes Babaev.
“Many buyers have downsized from larger homes in nearby communities like Brookville and Westbury,” she says. “People are also coming to the Roslyn area from Brooklyn and Queens, and there are young families moving in, so it’s a good mix of buyers.”
The village has additional condos, co-ops, and rentals, as well as contemporary, colonial, and ranch-style homes, with many historic 19th-century and early 20th-century homes in the mix.