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Wyandanch people: Sharon Carter-McCutcheon
Throughout this week's Town Focus series in Wyandanch, we are profiling people we meet, from community leaders to residents we bump into around town.
Occupation: Real estate agent
How long have you lived in Wyandanch?
Most of my life. I’ve moved away for maybe a year once.
Home ownership. I came back here and I had gotten on the Section 8 program, and at that time you were allowed to live in your family’s home on Section 8. I worked hard, and when my grandmother was ready to retire, I was in a place to buy her home. We were very lucky. We purchased it in 2000. That was our way of getting a piece of the pie. Now, I have three children that have all grown up here. All gone through the school system.
What was it like growing up?
It was our neighborhood, it was just the best. We had the best block, everyone used to come to us and we all looked out for each other. And that was the disco era. You had to see what would go on at the park. You saw some of the best dancers. I mean, it was what we were seeing on TV right in our backyard. There would be people on roller skates, hustling, dancing, it was amazing.
What changed the image of the community?
I think it was in the '80s, because that’s when crack hit. And it hit our community hard. It was so cheap and so available. It hurt a lot of people, a lot of families. For the first time in a long time, you had children running around without mothers. People were ignorant to the real cost of the drug.
What do you think this community needs to focus on as it moves forward?
Home ownership. We have such a transient population now, and that causes problems. Half the people that are reported for crimes, we don’t know them. I see four guys on TV who just robbed the post office, and I don’t know them. Wyandanch is 4 by 4 miles. We know everyone, but those people are not from Wyandanch. They are transplants. And it upsets me that my husband takes the time to do our lawn, and then we look across the street and already their screens are laying in the yard, their garbage cans are not even garbage cans. And what are we going to do? Knock on their door and tell them how to take care of their house?
What do you love about Wyandanch now?
First of all, there are so many people that are still here. This is a community with lots of families and relationships forged from childhood.
How would you define the character of Wyandanch?
I would say, a town in flux but still moving ahead. I think we’ve taken steps in the right direction to be better than we’ve been. We have many scars, but I think that what we’ll become will outshine that.