Long Beach, New York

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Long Beach is a city located in Nassau County, New York. It was incorporated in 1922, and is nicknamed The City By the Sea (as seen, in Latin, on its official seal). As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 35,462.

The City of Long Beach is surrounded by the Town of Hempstead, but Towns do not possess any powers over a city in New York.

Contents

History

The community became an incorporated village in 1918 and a city in 1922.

Early History

Long Beach's first inhabitants were the Rockaway Indians, who sold the area to colonists in 1643. While the barrier island was used by baymen and farmers for fishing and harvesting salt hay, no one lived there year-round for more than two centuries, until Congress established a lifesaving station in 1849. A dozen years before, 62 people died when the barque Mexico carrying Irish immigrants to New York ran ashore on New Year's Day.

The first attempt to develop the island as a resort was organized by Austin Corbin, a builder from Brooklyn. He formed a partnership with the Long Island Rail Road to finance the New York and Long Beach Railroad Co which laid track from Lynbrook to Long Beach in 1880. The company also opened the 1,100-foot-long Long Beach Hotel, at the time the largest in the world. The railroad brought 300,000 visitors the first season. By the next spring, tracks had been laid the length of the island, but after repeated winter washouts they were removed in 1894.

"The Riviera of the East"

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Longbeach_1911.jpg
Long Beach boardwalk. c1911
Corbin's development scheme ultimately failed, as did two successive efforts. In 1906, William Reynolds, a 39-year-old former state senator and real estate developer, entered the picture. Reynolds had already developed four Brooklyn neighborhoods (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Borough Park, Bensonhurst and South Brownsville) and Coney Island's Dreamland, the world's largest amusement park. Reynolds, who also owned a theater and produced plays, gathered investors and acquired the oceanfront from its private owners and the rest of the island from the Town of Hempstead in 1907 so he could build a boardwalk, homes and hotels.

Reynolds had a herd of elephants march in from Dreamland, ostensibly to help build the boardwalk, but in reality it was just a publicity stunt. Dredges created a channel 1,000 feet wide on the north side of the island so Reynolds could bring in large steamboats and even seaplanes to carry more visitors. The new waterway was named, naturally, Reynolds Channel.

Crowded beach. c1923
Enlarge
Crowded beach. c1923
To ensure that Long Beach lived up to Reynolds' billing as 'The Riviera of the East', he required every building to be constructed in an "eclectic Mediterranean style" with white stucco walls and red tile roofs. And they could be occupied only by white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. After Reynolds' corporation went bankrupt in 1918, these restrictions were lifted and Long Beach became a melting pot filled by immigrants from overseas.

The new town attracted wealthy businessmen and entertainers. Before Reynolds' bankruptcy, he built a theater called Castles by the Sea with the largest dance floor in the world for dancers Vernon and Irene Castle. In the '40s, Jose Ferrer, Zero Mostel, Mae West and other famous actors performed at local theaters. And Jack Dempsey, Cab Calloway, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney and John Barrymore lived in Long Beach decades before anyone heard of Long Beach's most famous modern-day native, Billy Crystal.

Corruption and Scandal

In 1923 the world-famous Prohibition agents known simply as Izzy and Moe raided the Nassau Hotel and arrested three men for bootlegging. In 1930, five city police officers were charged with offering a bribe to a Coast Guard officer to allow liquor to be landed. The police had another problem a year later: a mystery that captivated the nation in the summer of 1931. A beachcomber found the body of a beautiful young woman named Starr Faithfull. She had left behind a suicide note, but others believed she had been murdered.

Official corruption had become almost a regular feature of life in Long Beach. In 1922, the state Legislature designated Long Beach a city and Reynolds was elected the first mayor. He was promptly indicted on charges of misappropriating funds. When he was found guilty, the clock in the tower at city hall was stopped in protest. When a judge released Reynolds from jail later that year on appeal, almost the entire population turned out to greet him. And the clock was turned back on.

In 1939, Mayor Louis F. Edwards was fatally shot by a police officer on the front steps of his home. Officer Alvin Dooley, a member of the police motorcycle squad and the mayor's own security detail, killed the mayor after losing his bid for PBA president to a candidate the mayor supported. Jackson Boulevard was later renamed Edwards Boulevard in honor of the late mayor.

After the murder, the city turned to a mayorless city manager system, which still exists to this day.

Urban Renewal

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Longbeach_polarbears.jpg
Long Beach Polar Bear Club, February 2005.
By the 1940s and 1950s, with the advent of cheap air travel and air-conditioning, Long Beach had become a primarily bedroom community for New York City, although there was a significant summer population increase into the 1970s. The rundown boardwalk hotels became old-age homes, until a scandal around 1970 led to many of the homes losing licenses. At that time, patients released from mental hospitals were "warehoused" in the hotels.

The boardwalk had a small amusement park until the mid 70s. In the late 1960s, the boardwalk and amusement park area were a magnet for youth from around Long Island, until a police crack down on drug trafficking ended that. Today, while there are few businesses left, the boardwalk is full of bikers, joggers, walkers and people-watchers.

Beginning in the 1980s and accelerating in the 1990s, Long Beach has begun an urban renewal, with new housing, new businesses and other improvements. Today, the city is again a popular bedroom community for people working in New York, attracted by the quiet beach atmosphere and the easy, 40-minute train commute.

Geography

The city is located on the south shore of Long Island. The city fronts on the Atlantic Ocean.

Demographics

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 35,462 people, 14,923 households, and 8,103 families residing in the city. The population density is 6,398.1/km² (16,594.9/mi²). There are 16,128 housing units at an average density of 2,909.8/km² (7,547.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 84.20% White, 6.18% African American, 0.21% Native American, 2.32% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 4.75% from other races, and 2.26% from two or more races. 12.80% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 14,923 households out of which 21.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.0% are married couples living together, 10.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 45.7% are non-families. 36.7% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.26 and the average family size is 3.02.

In the city the population is spread out with 18.5% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 34.4% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 40 years. For every 100 females there are 92.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $56,289, and the median income for a family is $68,222. Males have a median income of $50,995 versus $40,739 for females. The per capita income for the city is $31,069. 9.4% of the population and 6.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 13.2% of those under the age of 18 and 10.7% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Government

City Manager

City Council

City Court

Public schools

The Long Beach City School District consists of six public schools: 4 Elementary Schools, 1 Middle School, and 1 High School, as well as many various private schools.

Board of Education

Superintendent of Schools: Dr. Robert Greenberg

Elementary schools

There are four public Elementary Schools in Long Beach. Each one educates students who are in Kindergarten through Grade 5. The names of these schools (and their addresses and phone numbers) can be found below.

  • East Elementary School
    • 456 Neptune Blvd.
    • (516) 897-2184
  • Lido Elementary School
    • 237 Lido Blvd.
    • (516) 897-2140
  • Lindell Elementary School
    • 601 Lindell Blvd.
    • (516) 897-2198
  • West Elementary School
    • 91 Maryland Ave
    • (516) 897-2215

Middle schools

There is one public Middle School in Long Beach. It educates students who are in Grades 6 through 8. The name of this school (and its address and phone number) can be found below.

  • Long Beach Middle School
    • 239 Lido Blvd.
    • (516) 897-2162

High schools

There is one public High School in Long Beach. It educates students who are in Grades 9 though 12. The name of this school (and its address and phone number) can be found below.

  • Long Beach High School
    • 322 Lagoon Dr. W.
    • (516) 897-2012

Cultural and Literary References

External links

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