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West Islip is a cohesive community with many longtime residents who say they went to the area for its school district, proximity to the bay and nearby beaches, and active local organizations.
"It's a very lively community," said Bill Johnston, who has lived in West Islip for 49 years. Johnston and his wife, Gloria, are involved with the West Islip Beautification Society, as well as Keep Islip Clean, which encompasses all of Islip town's hamlets.
Restaurants, shops and services are generally concentrated along Montauk and Sunrise highways.
"Our businesses range from professional to blue-collar," said Joseph DiPalmer, a lifelong resident who is president of the Chamber of Commerce and chief of the West Islip Fire Department. He notes that Good Samaritan Hospital on Montauk Highway is another community asset.
West Islip is an economically diverse hamlet where homes vary from modest to grand, with prices from $325,000 to about $5 million, according to Jim Netter, who grew up in West Islip and founded Netter Real Estate almost 30 years ago.
Tree-lined neighborhoods feature eclectic home styles, such as capes, ranches, split-levels, high ranches, Colonials, contemporaries and Victorians. Some homes, including those on canals, may have views of the Great South Bay.
Netter said that while about 60 percent of his clients have purchased in West Islip before, the area also attracts nearby second-time home buyers. It's not unusual to see a house razed and replaced with a larger custom home.
The LaGrange Inn, now a restaurant and catering hall, was built shortly after the Revolutionary War.
Boating and fishing are among the popular recreational activities. Robert Moses Causeway provides access to the Captree Boat Basin and Robert Moses State Park. A beach and marina are at the end of Beach Drive.
The West Islip Symphony Orchestra stages several concerts each year. Annual events include the West Islip Country Fair, sponsored by the West Islip Bicentennial Committee. The recently renovated West Islip Public Library is on Higbie Lane.
- Lisa Doll Bruno (12/10/2004)