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Valley Stream mayor discusses village's 'racier' history
Valley Stream Village Mayor Edwin Fare, 50, was elected trustee in 2004 and then mayor in 2011. He teaches technology at Valley Stream South High School and has been a volunteer at Valley Stream’s fire department since age 18. He is also the chair of the village’s historical society.
What has kept you in Valley Stream all this time?
I’ve been here my whole life. My grandparents settled here, both my parents settled here, and now me and my wife raised our kids here. Our three children are the fourth generation in our family to go to the Valley Stream school system.
What do you find unique about your community?
It’s very unusual to find a village this size. We have about 38,000 residents. At one time, it was considered the largest incorporated village in the state.
You have been chair of the historical society for three years, so you know your fair share of history. What do you find the most interesting about Valley Stream’s history?
Before it was called Valley Stream, people nicknamed certain sections Tiger Town, which became a happenin’ type of place, and Rum Junction, which was a little bit of a racier and seedier area with speak-easies. There was an area called Foster’s Meadow that had farms, and Hungry Harbor, which was home to squatters. Every community has a history, and there’s a rich history here. For example, the village’s first Village Hall was built at 195 Rockaway Ave. in 1926. We’re halfway through making it a historic landmark. Having the courthouse at 195 Rockaway Avenue will bring more people to our main business district to not only pay that parking ticket but also grab lunch.
What do you find most attractive about the area and reason enough to raise your children here?
Here you have parkland, a fantastic pool system at Hendrickson Park and high quality of schools and recreational programs for young people. We have Hendrickson Park in the middle of Valley Stream, like Central Park is to New York City. The park used to be a beach when my parents were young. All the kids would swim in the lake in the 1920s and 1930s.
What do you think brings families here and keeps them here?
We’ve always been a crossroad. You can take the train or get on the highway and make it to Manhattan in 30 minutes or so. Not to mention, we’re like five minutes away from JFK Airport. Strangely enough, Valley Stream still has a hometown feeling. People see each other, shop together, and you have suburbia right near an urban center.