Five Towns facts for kids
The Five Towns is an informal grouping of villages and hamlets in Nassau County, United States on the South Shore of western Long Island adjoining the border with Queens County in New York City. Despite the name, none of these communities is a town. The Five Towns is usually said to comprise the villages of Lawrence and Cedarhurst, the hamlets of Woodmere and Inwood, and "The Hewletts", which consist of the villages of Hewlett Bay Park, Hewlett Harbor, and Hewlett Neck, and the hamlet of Hewlett, along with Woodsburgh. North Woodmere is technically not one one of the named "FIve Towns" but many residents consider it as such because the entire area is served by the Five Towns' two local high schools. The "towns" most commonly included as constituents of the "Five Towns" are all in the southwest corner of the Town of Hempstead.
The name "Five Towns" dates back to 1931, when individual Community Chest groups in the area banded together to form the "Five Towns Community Chest", consisting of Inwood, Lawrence, Cedarhurst, Woodmere, and Hewlett. The organization still exists (as of 2006) as a local charity, but the "Five Towns" moniker caught on as a designation for the entire area. A 1933 article in The New York Times references a Girl Scouts of the USA encampment by the "Five Towns Council, embracing the villages [sic] of Inwood, Lawrence, Cedarhurst, Woodmere and Hewlett", listed in order by LIRR station.
One notable characteristic of the Five Towns is that despite the reputation of the South Shore of Nassau County being more urbanized than the North Shore, the Five Towns retains hamlets that resemble areas along Long Island's Gold Coast on the North Shore with enormous mansions and exclusive private communities along the water.
There is no official Five Towns designation.
Each of these "towns" has a consecutive stop on the Far Rockaway Branch of the Long Island Rail Road. All five communities are part of the Town of Hempstead. Woodmere is the largest and most populous community in the Five Towns. The Five Towns is known regionally for its collection of wealthy villages and hamlets. The area is one of the wealthiest in New York State. It has one of the highest percentages of Jewish residents in the nation.
Despite the Five Towns' regional reputation for wealth and demographic homogeneity, Inwood is both significantly lower income and significantly more diverse than the other four communities, with African-American and Hispanic populations of more than 25 percent each.
In popular culture
- The 1993 movie Amongst Friends, by Rob Weiss, was filmed and set in the Five Towns.
- The television show Entourage features a fictional show titled Five Towns, in which Johnny Drama stars as a character. The producer of the show was supposed to be actor-director Edward Burns, who in real life grew up in Valley Stream but attended Hewlett High School. When shown on Entourage the Five Towns is oddly portrayed as a gritty industrial area.
- In Thomas Pynchon's 1963 debut novel V., he mentions the Five Towns; however, he includes Malverne as being part of the group.
- In the film Goodfellas, when trying to get Henry to come along on a double date, Tommy mentions that his date lives in the Five Towns.
Five Towns Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.