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No mailboxes in 'now I can relax' Great River

The mansion at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in

The mansion at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan


Great River, a bucolic hamlet along the Connetquot River, has everything from a park to an arboretum to a golf course. One thing the area doesn’t have: mailboxes.

One of the few areas on Long Island without mail delivery, residents must pick up their mail at the Great River post office, making it something of a community center. “On Saturdays, it becomes quite the meeting spot,” says Jim O’Connor, a Great River resident and Town of Islip councilman.  “People who haven’t seen each other in weeks are all going to pick up their mail.”

It adds to the sense of community within the parklike hamlet, which features just over 500 houses and a small commercial area alongside the post office consisting of George Martin’s Strip Steak and Great River Deli.    

“It’s only a quarter-mile of commercial space,” says Beth Roswell of Coach Realtors, a longtime resident.  “The area is very quiet and peaceful.  You come down Great River Road, and you just feel like, ‘OK, now I can relax.’”

The hamlet, Roswell says, features mostly farm ranches and Colonials with prices ranging from homes around $450,000 to waterfront properties commanding as much as $3 million.  Many houses along the water, she adds, are being knocked down and rebuilt into larger, modern homes.

With Timber Ridge Golf Course and Heckscher State Park to the south of the hamlet and the Bayard-Cutting Arboretum along the river on the northeastern border, Great River is a tucked-away community that offers plenty of activities, says Cliff Gibbons, president of the Great River Community Association.

“It’s a rare community,” Gibbons says.  “Not many people can say I have a golf course over here, an arboretum over here and a park over here.”

Great River is also home to Emmanuel Episcopal Church, which was founded in 1862, and the Great River Fire Department, which celebrated its 100th year in 2016. 

O’Connor adds that the hamlet is a boater’s paradise, featuring multiple boat launches.  “Great River offers access to all of the natural resources that we have here on Long Island,” he says.


There are no condos or co-ops on the market.   


Between July 1, 2017 and August 10, 2018, there were 18 home sales with a median sale price of $548,500, according to the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island. The low price for that period was $340,000 and the high was $2.3 million. During that time period a year earlier there were  26 home sales with a median sale price of $531,250. The price range was $322,875 to $1.65 million.


Most students attend East Islip High School.  


Town: Islip

Area:  6.9 square miles

ZIP code: 11739

Population: 1,489

Median age: 45.5

Median household income: $128,250

Median home value: $560,000*

LIRR to NYC:  68 to 89 minutes at peak

Monthly ticket: $391

School district: East Islip

SOURCES: 2010 Census;; LIRR;

*Based on sales in the past six months, according to MLSLI



Great River Rd.

Style: Colonial

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 2 full, 1 half

Built: 1978

Lot size: 100x200

Taxes: $18,017

Reduced: $14,000

Days on the market: 156


Woodhollow Rd.

Style: Farm Ranch

Bedrooms: 5

Bathrooms: 3

Built: 1960

Lot size: .46 acres

Taxes: $17,797

Reduced: $29,000

Days on the market: 93


River Rd.

Style: High-ranch

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 2 full, 1 half

Built: 1964

Lot size: .46 acres

Taxes: $13,865

Reduced: $5,000

Days on the market: 225



This high-ranch, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, includes a living room with a fireplace, a formal dining room and a new granite kitchen with stainless steel appliances.  The .47-acre property, with taxes of $13,284, includes an attached two-car garage.  Nancy Stein, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, 631-766-8577


This renovated Colonial, with four bedrooms and 2-1/2 bathrooms, has an open concept with a living room, eat-in kitchen and dining room.  The .58-acre property, with taxes of $17,990, features a finished basement, attached two-car garage and outdoor patio with built-in barbecue and firepit.  Tammy Ramsay, Ramsay Realtors, 516-319-8605


This five-bedroom, 3-1/2 bathroom Colonial offers a living room, den with a fireplace, eat-in kitchen, dining room, master bedroom with a bathroom and sauna, and a separate guest quarters.  The .64-acre property, on a cul-de-sac, includes a two-car garage, multi-level deck and in-ground pool.  Taxes: $22,879. Darren Sebor, Coach Realtors, 631-581-7979  

On Multiple Listings

Number of houses 6

Price range $495,000-$1,899,999

Tax range $13,284-$1,899,999

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