When Dave and Tara Gibbs decided to move from Manhattan to Long Island about 3 1/2 years ago, Dave, who is a trader in the city, needed to consider his commute.

He viewed a Long Island Rail Road map and noticed the "red line" that didn't stop at Jamaica. He was looking at the Port Washington line.

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Port Washington, on the North Shore, is the place the Gibbs decided to call home.

"I've been ecstatic about this town ever since," Dave says.

In fact, the couple recently traded up in the same community. In addition to his swift commute - 40 minutes or less - he says he enjoys the area's ethnic and socioeconomic diversity.

Lorraine Schaum, who works for an entertainment company in Times Square, recently moved from lower Manhattan to Manhasset. "I wanted the flexibility of being able to go out and not have such a long commute home," she says, noting the schedule is terrific.

Farther east, commuters often seek stations with frequent schedules. Among them is Hicksville, where the Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma branches meet. This mid-Island community offers a multitude of conveniences - and an easy walk to and from the station when the weather is nice.

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On the South Shore, Linda Ciavarelli, of Weichert Realtors Dutch Door in West Sayville, says many buyers are attracted to Sayville, where most homes are less than a mile from the train station.