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Longtime Port Eyesore Is Gutted

The old Shields house was torn down last week to make way for a much-needed parking area for shoppers.

With the demolition, Port Washington residents have finally gotten rid of a decades-old eyesore that stood at the corner of Main Street and Port Washington Boulevard.

The house, which is said to be at least 60-years-old, spent a good deal of that time vacant, town historians say. It had been at various times a print shop, a hardware store and an auto service supplier.

The demolition of the 5,000-square-foot wood frame house took only a couple of hours. “This is old wood; the backhoe goes through it like butter,” said Jeff Johnson, who worked the multi-ton 400 Komatsu Excavator that chunk by chunk took the two-and-a-half story house down.

North Hempstead Town Supervisor John Kaiman said the demolition cost the town, which owns the land through the Port Washington Parking District, $130,000. The town hopes to make up the outlay through parking fees once the property has been redeveloped, Kaiman said. He envisions 20 to 30 parking spots, some green space and possibly bicycle racks. The redesign will take several months.

“We hope we are going from blight to bright and enhance upper Main Street,” said Mindy Germain of Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington.

Mitch Schwartz, co-president of the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the project, saying for businesses, “one of the biggest problems is customer parking.”

Government “grinds slowly,” Kaiman said. “Today we’re going to grind down this building.”