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Letter: Port’s Past and Future

While our name expresses our concern for the past, the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society wishes to make it known that we are also very much concerned with Port Washington’s future.

The coming of the railroad to Port Washington in June of 1898 transformed our then quiet hamlet into a vibrant transportation hub — conveniently connecting a new and desirable living environment with New York City. The location of the train station on Main Street, then called Flower Hill Avenue, quickly encouraged the expansion of Port’s business district on that street from its original waterfront location on Manhasset Bay eastward to Port Washington Blvd. and beyond. This bustling commercial development also enhanced our community, making it all the more attractive for people to come, live and work here. And now, just about 114 years after the trains arrived in Port, Main Street and its relationship to its adjacent residential areas and the greater community call for our attention. Parking and density issues, antiquated zoning laws and physical design issues have for many years undermined the many benefits of our downtown. These are major quality of life matters that are long overdue to be addressed.

We, as trustees of your local historical society, are encouraged that action on these problems is finally taking place. Residents For A More Beautiful Port Washington has put forward a Main Street focused “Model Blocks Project” that has been commented on by the Port Washington Voice organization, by letters to the Port News and by the community members who attended the Voice’s Jan. 14 meeting at the Haven Avenue firehouse. Momentum has started for the community and the Town of North Hempstead to create a rational plan for our commercial district and strategies for its implementation. To this end, the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society offers its support, and wishes to be part of the discussions. Our archives chronicle how Port Washington’s downtown has developed over the years – it would be sensible for all of us to know where we were, before deciding on where we want to go.

Fred Blumlein
Trustee and Past-President
on behalf of the trustees of the
Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society