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Old 02-12-2007, 09:55 AM
 
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My husband and I have been house hunting for quite some time and have found good houses both on the north and south shores. Not being from the Island what are the primary differences? We think it is the people? There also appears to be more value on the south shore for the money and more of a sense of community. TOwns we are specifically referring to are South shore (s.bellmore & S. Merrick) North SHore (woodbury, Jericho, syosset, great neck,) All thoughts are much appreciated.
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Old 02-12-2007, 11:03 AM
 
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There are many differences between the North and South shores, as any LI'er will easily tell you! Some that come readily to mind are:

1. Geography: The north shore is part of or just behind the ancient glacial moraine that formed Long Island eons ago; therefore, the topography can be quite hilly in many places and the soil tends to be acid rocky clay. The south shore was formed by the "wash-out" from the moraine, so it is almost entirely flat; the soil tends to be light, sandy and well drained except in the areas that were or are near salt marshes. If you are a gardener, these distinctions are important! :-)

2. Climate: Yes there is a difference in climate even on LI! The south shore, because of its proximity to the bay and ocean, is always several degrees cooler in the summer (from the offshore breezes) and warmer in the winter. The dividing line between "south shore" climate and the rest of LI is usually the Southern Parkway or just north of there. You may not think this is important, but trust me: When the rest of LI gets several inches of snow dumped on it from a storm, yet everyplace south of Sunrise Highway gets rain instead, you'll appreciate the difference between having to shovel or not!

3. Property size: In most cases, zoning on the south shore allows for smaller lots (1/4 or 1/3 acre minimum) than many areas on the north shore. There are more communities in the center (Woodbury, Dix Hills, etc) or north shore with 1/2 acre or more minimum lots, than there are on the south shore. Not saying there are NO larger lots on the south shore! Only that overall, there are more areas with larger-lot zoning on the north shore than the south.

4. If you are talking about The Forks (north or south) there is a big difference . The south fork (i.e., the Hamptons) is extremely expensive and attracts the rich and wannabe-rich from Manhattan and elsewhere. It's all about "see and be seen" down there, and everything is obscenely overpriced, especially in summer. The north fork (Mattituck, Greenport, etc) is much more casual although it has begun to be "the new place to go" in the past couple of years. However, I don't think it will end up being "Hamptons North" anytime soon.

5. You've already noticed a difference between the general economics of the north and south shores, but be wary of applying that across the board. There are some extremely wealthy communities on the south shore, and there are some extremely depressed communities on the north shore. If I had to pinpoint the difference, though, I'd say that there has always been more "old money" on the north shore, especially in Nassau and Western Suffolk. However, see my comments on The Hamptons which are a entity unto themselves in that respect (the Hamptons are not typical).

Between the areas you are looking into, you will find a more relaxed casual atmosphere in Bellmore and Merrick. These have been middle-class "bedroom communities" ever since they were built in the early 1950s. If you go to Woodbury, Jericho, Syosset and Great Neck, be prepared to either "keep up with the Joneses" or to not even try to. There is, overall, much more conspicuous consumption in those towns (i.e., people will be more likely to judge you by whether or not you drive a Lexus or Mercedes "like everyone else in the area").
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Old 02-12-2007, 11:53 AM
 
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thanx overtaxed - you gave me a really informative summary...helps more than you know. Much appreciated.
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Old 02-12-2007, 06:18 PM
 
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Glad I could be of help!

Actually there is something I forgot to mention, which might be important if there are any boating enthusiasts in your family. There's a difference in the "boating scene" between the North and South shores too:

On the South shore you have bulkheading in Nassau and much of Suffolk, so you've also got many waterfront communities where houses do have dock space literally "in their own backyard" as well as in marinas. The Great South Bay can be shallow in spots, due to sandbars, and this is part of the reason that there are more powerboats than sailboats to be found on the South shore (those deep sailboat keels don't play well with sandbars!). But you will also have canals cutting into many many South Shore neighborhoods, and those canals are a great place to live if you have a boat ... they're usually deep too.

Things are different on the North Shore because of the topography (it's higher, with many areas on "bluffs" overlooking the Sound). Bulkheading isn't practical along much of the North Shore, except in areas like Northport Harbor, etc., marinas. Even so, you will see a lot more boats moored in the harbor(s) than tied up to a dock. The North Shore/LI Sound is more conducive to sailboats (no sandbars, for one thing!) and that's why you will probably see more of them, or at least as many as, powerboats there. It is very rare for someone living on the North Shore to be able to dock their boat in their own backyard!

It is much easier for someone who likes deep-sea fishing to live (or at least keep their boat) on the South Shore because of the easy access to the ocean; a North shore boater will have to go all the way to the east or west end of the island in order to get into ocean waters. There is no way to "boat" directly from the North to South shores, or vice versa.

So if you own, or intend to buy, a boat on LI, you need to do a bit of advance planning as to where you will be docking/mooring it versus where you will be living. A friend of mine lives in Stony Brook (North Shore) and for years docked their boat in Blue Point (South Shore). They were lucky because Nicolls Road, a major north/south artery, runs almost straight between the two areas but it still was time and gas-consuming to have to go back and forth each time they wanted to use the boat. They finally bought a larger boat and decided to dock it in Greenport year-round. It is still the same amount of travel time but at least their house and boat are now on the same side of the island!
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Old 02-12-2007, 08:28 PM
 
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Overtaxed covered it all. I just wanted to reiterate about the geography:
North shore- small, rocky beaches (sound beaches)
South shore- larger, sandy beaches (ocean beaches)
Both beautiful.
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Old 02-15-2007, 01:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggi813 View Post
Thanks overtaxed and nymom --- We haven't put much thought into "if we want a boat". Right now we are focused on getting out of Queens and into the suburbs to raise a family. We are pretty financially well off and drive a luxury vehicle and have nice things but we are so NOT jappy and stuck up people quite frankly we are more like plain jane and live in comfort clothing...We want to find a good location with good schools where we will fit in so we are all over the island trying to find this. You are really informative. It is a big help. Thanks again
These are all great points. Let me just say we've recent;y moved from Queens to Garden City (middle island, I guess) and love it. I don't think you'll regret it.

There's great places on both shores, but I would just say the North Shore is more "moneyed" and feels a bit more rural. The South Shore has wealth, but there is often a more blue collar feel and some places look like nice versions of Eastern Queens areas. There can be more of a martime feel, though, with the fish shack and canals, etc.

I think it depends on how much you want to spend, where you work, what kind of "fee" you want, what schools you want, etc. Just look at MLSLI.com to see price ranges and just drive by yourself a little bit to your top 5-10 areas. Once you see the places in person, then go deeper and maybe call a RE agent to see some houses and get some more details. Be sure to research the schools... academics, sports, demographics, etc. This is obviously important, but there are so many great SDs on LI, it's amazing.

Good luck. Don't be afraid to not be on a shore, either...Garden City, Rockville Centre, etc. are great areas in the middle of the island.
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Old 02-15-2007, 01:24 AM
 
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Originally Posted by GCGuy View Post
Don't be afraid to not be on a shore, either...Garden City, Rockville Centre, etc. are great areas in the middle of the island.
And less hurricane-risk exposure too, don't forget that (if you listen to the doom-and-gloomers about the Big One that's overdue)!

Actually that has now become a consideration for many buyers as the major insurers have been pulling out of writing new policies in LI coastal neighborhoods since Katrina. Allstate, Travelers and Liberty Mutual have already done this, so the other big names won't be far behind.

Garden City is a beautiful town. I grew up not far from there, my first job was with a firm located on Stewart Avenue, and I have fond memories of dinners and events at the (original!) Garden City Hotel.
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Old 02-15-2007, 10:22 AM
 
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Thanks GCGUY
One more question, I am aware of some of the excellent schools in nassau cty but if their are others be enlighten me as this is first and foremost in our home search; I know of jericho, syosset, cold spring harbor, great neck and south bellmore/s. merrick...oh and I believe wantagh? are their others that I am unaware of? thanks.
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Old 02-15-2007, 03:53 PM
NDL
 
Location: Greenville, SC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggi813 View Post
Not being from the Island what are the primary differences? We think it is the people?
In either the North or South Shore, not to generalize, but it would seem that the wealthier the area, the snobbier, and less friendly, the people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggi813 View Post
There also appears to be more value on the south shore for the money and more of a sense of community.
Having lived on both North and South Shores in Nassau County, I would agree that there's a greater sense of community on the South Shore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggi813 View Post
TOwns we are specifically referring to are South shore (s.bellmore & S. Merrick)
I am a greater fan of Merrick, than I am South Merrick. For in even the wealthier sections of Merrick, do I find very friendly, and civic minded, people.

It's a great town, and it certainly is a town worthy of consideration.

South Bellmore isn't a bad town either, although I favor Merrick/South Merrick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggi813 View Post
(woodbury, Jericho, syosset, great neck,) All thoughts are much appreciated.
Great Neck I know not much about. Woodbury seems to have a greater mix of new and old money, although the nouveau riche tend to get on everyone's nerves - for they are often boastful and overbearing, about the appearance of wealth, that isn't even theirs. This in stark contrast to the old money element, which is known for their charitable and noble works, and general pleasantry.

I personally would seek towns outside of Syosset and Jericho.
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Old 02-15-2007, 04:03 PM
NDL
 
Location: Greenville, SC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggi813 View Post
Thanks GCGUY
jericho, syosset, cold spring harbor, great neck and south bellmore/s. merrick...oh and I believe wantagh? are their others that I am unaware of? thanks.
Jericho and Syosset are consistently among the best in the country.

South Bellmore and Merrick have very good schools too, although with high schools, the preferred school is J.F.K., over Mepham.
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