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The Hamlet of Oyster Bay is only a small speck on the map of Long Island. It was a wonderful little community in which to live. We spent lazy summer days swimming its pristine shores or hiking through the woods. Walking to Snouder’s to enjoy an ice cream soda or to Bonanza’s, for a lemon ice and a hotdog.
I grew up on Orchard Street, where most of the homes were very old. Next door to our home was a Blacksmith Shop. Prior to that, it was a Church. Our home was well over one hundred years old then. Its original structure was moved to its current site and contained only one room. This small dwelling was where the Minister of the Church had resided. My Mother was born in a house located on what was then called Fortified Hill. The same hill of the famed “Colonial Simcoe and The Queens Rangers”. While renovating my grandparent’s home spectacles, lanterns and other old artifacts were found. This is part of the History of only two homes. A small thimble full, of Oyster Bays’ rich History.
The wood’s we played in have long since been gone. In their place stand condos and offices. What used to be pretty little tree lined streets and quaint old gingerbread homes, are now being cast in the shadows by towering cement buildings and illegal two and three family apartments. The Blacksmith Shop has long since been torn down. It was replaced, by an office building. This building has been sold and is currently under demolition. The new building will be much larger in comparison to the previous structure and will be built even closer, to the existing private residences.
I have heard that much Real Estate has recently been purchased in the Village. I am not against change or improvement. I do feel however, that a standard should be set in the Hamlet of Oyster Bay. Consideration should be given especially where commercial property will closely border residential areas.
We should be preserving this small community not detracting from it. The quaintness of our village can still remain. Architectural esthetics should be taken into consideration, when renovation or new construction is to be done. It should reflect the spirit of a small community and the flavor and history of the town itself.
I no longer reside in Oyster Bay. I am writing this letter hoping that some thought and respect will be given to the surroundings of my family, friends and other long time residents of Oyster Bay.
Regina P. Rettig nee (Brandt)