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4 LI communities make Forbes' wealthiest list

Plandome is ranked fifth on Forbes' 10 most

Plandome is ranked fifth on Forbes' 10 most affluent U.S. communities list. (Sept. 24, 2009) Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Four Nassau communities are in the money - having placed among the nation's 10 wealthiest, according to Forbes magazine.

No other region in the country did so well. Plandome Village was highest at No. 5 on the magazine's new ranking, which was based on census data of average median household income between 2005 and 2009. Plandome's was $242,000.

Close behind were Hewlett Neck Village, where the typical income was $239,000; Munsey Park, $237,000; and Plandome Manor, $234,000.

Residents of the four Nassau County communities weren't surprised they made the list of richest neighborhoods, though all said they didn't feel especially privileged.

The residents, like those of towns and villages throughout Nassau and Suffolk, said property taxes, mortgages and other expenses consumed much of their take-home pay.

"I'd expect we'd be on the list - look at all the homes being rebuilt around here," said Lyn Magee, a mother of four grade-school children in Plandome who once sold real estate. "But not everyone is rich here. . . . People choose to live here because they grew up here, and like the sense of community."

Magee's friend, Nancy Albanese of Munsey Park, agreed, saying her husband, a Garden City lawyer, wanted to raise the couple's three children near where he grew up. "I think it's great we made the list. . . . People work hard for the money they have."

This isn't the first time Munsey Park's affluence has garnered national attention. In 2009, the village of 2,608 inhabitants was No. 13 on a similar ranking by BusinessWeek magazine.

The four villages recognized by Forbes have much in common besides all lying within the same county.

They are filled with large, single-family homes and have a dearth of businesses. Residents often work on Wall Street or industries allied with it, such as law firms.

The populations are under 2,700, and in the case of Hewlett Neck, less than 540.

George W. Frank, a former Plandome resident and retired executive from Solomon Smith Barney Inc., said Nassau's North Shore was ideal for commuters because the Long Island Rail Road's Port Washington branch offers a fast ride to Manhattan by skipping the railroad's choke point at Jamaica.

"The affluence here is connected to the financial industry. . . . Unless you earn a good salary you can't afford to live here with the high cost of real estate," Frank said as he waited for a train at the LIRR station in Plandome.

Meanwhile, in Plandome Manor and elsewhere Thursday, contractors were expanding homes, originally built in the early part of the 20th century.

One electrician from Bay Shore, who requested anonymity, said the residents he had done work for were friendly and appreciative. "The tips are larger up here than on the South Shore."

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