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LIVING IN LONG BEACH

Many people are attracted to Long Beach - "the city by

the sea" - for its sand, surf and bay. The allure of seaside living keeps this

real estate market hot.

"We've got the location," said Ramona DeBenedetto, owner-broker of Beach to

Bay Realty, citing the ocean as the primary draw. "Plus, the airport is

nearby," she added, referring to John F. Kennedy International, "and we're one

hour away from one of the best cities in the world."

Homes are never too far from the water on this barrier island, which spans

a half-mile wide from the Atlantic Ocean to Reynolds Channel. The oceanfront is

popular for its 2.2-mile-long boardwalk, lined by high-rise condos and co-ops.

Homes on the west end have direct beach access, and some bay-front properties

have floating docks.

Areas near the water can be densely housed; neighborhoods leading to the

city's interior are tree-lined. House styles include bungalows, Colonials,

ranches, high-ranches, contemporaries and Tudors, generally priced from

$300,000 to $2.5 million, DeBenedetto said. Prices have gone up roughly

$200,000 from four years ago, she said, noting the number of closings so far

this year has surpassed those in 2002.

There's a good deal of construction as well: Many of the smaller houses are

being expanded, and new condo complexes are being built, such as the Meridian

on West Broadway. The seven-story, 36-unit luxury building, where prices range

from $749,000 to $1.580 million, should be ready for occupancy by the end of

the month, said Joyce Coletti of Prudential Douglas Elliman.

Long Beach is one of only two cities on Long Island (the other is Glen

Cove). Much of the community's evolution is owed to William Reynolds, a state

senator who developed Coney Island's Dreamland park. In 1906 Reynolds and other

investors acquired the oceanfront from private owners and the rest of the

island from the Town of Hempstead, so he could build a boardwalk, homes and

hotels. Reynolds had Mediterranean style-homes built on the north side, where

he also had the island dredged to create a channel.

Today, the city continues to attract summer residents and tourists. The

summer population just about doubles, said Mary Giambalvo, the city's public

relations director. A long list of summer festivities includes arts and crafts

fairs and concerts on the boardwalk.

The Long Beach Recreation Center on Magnolia Boulevard and West Bay Drive

offers amenities and programs for all ages, including a skating rink, two

swimming pools and a weight room.

A few parks have been renovated, and new restaurants are coming into town.

The city has hired consultants to help plan the city's future, Giambalvo said.

Residents can attend workshops to stay informed or access www.longbeachny.org.

Students attend the Long Beach school district.

AT A GLANCE

Town: Hempstead

Area: 2.1 square miles

Population: 35,462

Median age: 41.2*

Median household income: $65,257*

Median home value: $528,000**

LIRR to NYC: 51 to 59 minutes at peak times

Monthly ticket: $203

ZIP code: 11561*

Sources: Claritas 2005, U.S. Census, Long Island Rail Road

*Includes Lido Beach

**Based on sales in the past six months per Multiple Listing Service of Long

Island

IF YOU WANT ... TO BUY

Starter: Ranch, 2 to 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, 30-by-60-foot lot.

Taxes: $2,600-$5,300

Price: $300,000-$470,000

Trade-up: Colonial, contemporary, high-ranch, some two-family homes, 3 to 4

bedrooms, 1 1/2 to 2 baths, 30-by-60-foot or 40-by-100-foot lots.

Taxes: $4,200-$7,600

Price: $470,000-$690,000

Luxury: Colonial, contemporary, Tudors, split-level, antique- historic and

two-family, 4 to 6 bedrooms, 2 to 4 baths, garage, 50-by-100-foot to

100-by-100-foot-plus lots.

Taxes: $8,200-$17,000

Price: $690,000-$2.5 million (waterfront and new construction starting at

$850,000)

Condos: Studio, $195,000; 1-bedroom, $269,000; 2-bedroom, $375,000;

3-bedroom, $600,000; new $750,000-$1.5 million.

Co-ops: Studio $149,000; 1-bedroom, $225,000; 2-bedroom, $345,000.

Town houses: Three-bedrooms, $700,000 and up

TO RENT

Year-round houses are $1,600 to $3,500 a month. Summer rentals $6,000 to

$45,000 for the season.

RECENT SALES

Oregon Street, $375,000, 3-bedroom ranch, 1 bath, partial basement,

30-by-60-foot lot, brick-shingle, 78 years old, taxes $5,000.

Nevada Avenue, $480,000, waterfront, 3-bedroom cottage, 1 bath,

30-by-60-foot lot, frame, 77 years old, taxes $3,850.

Harding Avenue, $535,000, 4-bedroom two-story home, 2 baths, 40-by-57-foot

lot, siding, 58 years old, taxes $6,729.

Magnolia Boulevard, $750,000, 4-bedroom Colonial, 2 full baths, 2 half

baths, fireplace, detached 2-car garage, 60-by-100-foot lot, stucco, 81 years

old, taxes $8,581.

East Bay Drive, $1,037,500, bay front, 3-bedroom contemporary, 2 1/2 baths,

fireplace, 2-car garage, 40-by-120-foot lot, cedar, 16 years old, taxes

$12,840.

SOURCE: Ramona DeBenedetto, Beach to Bay Realty

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