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Copiague native drawn to Amityville’s elegance
Patricia Cahaney, 56, of Amityville, is president of the Amityville Historical Society, a member of the Amityville Village Parks Commission, and served for six years on the Amityville Board of Education. She has lived in Amityville Village since 1980.
What brought you to Amityville?
I grew up in Copiague, so it wasn’t a long jump. I thought it was very quaint here and very charming. I liked the fact that it was a village with its own downtown, its own police department and a lot of Victorian houses that were well maintained. I thought it was all very elegant.
So it seems like you were really enchanted with the idea of living here.
Absolutely. I would walk to Amityville. I would use the library here. I was always very impressed.
I love our location right off the water and how we have a lot of parks. Something that’s very unique about Amityville is that many boat houses still exist. A lot of waterfront houses still have them. They’ve been very well-preserved, as have barns.
What were some of your favorite spots in town?
The Five and Ten. I used to love the Five and Ten. My mother would come to Amityville to cash her checks and we would always go to the Five and Ten. And I always used to be fascinated by all the antique shops, I would always find amazing things in Amityville. And I loved the architecture, all the beautiful houses. In my head, I would create all these stories about the houses, like, there’s a beautiful white picket fence, I bet two sisters live there. I was really amazed with it here as a child.
So when you finally moved here, what was it like for you?
My first house was a modest house on Oak Street. At the time, it was very affordable and there were a lot of young people buying and renovating houses. I’m not sure that it’s like that anymore.
Eventually, we traded up. We got a bigger house with more property.
And now you live in a historic house, right?
Yes, it was built in 1894. I like the size of the rooms, the high ceilings, I like all the details. It still has a lot of character.
How has Amityville changed?
I still think there’s a lot of civic pride. I still think it’s a tight-knit community with people helping people. I think the values I wanted are still here. People still go back generations. If I have a circle of 14 or 15 couples, one or more of them go three generations here. This is a place people want to be. Everyone knows everyone, there’s a real sense of caring here.
What challenges does the community face?
With a mall so close, I think having a healthy downtown is probably a challenge.
If you could use a word to define Amityville, what would it be?
Longevity. I think there’s longevity here.