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Historic home razed after Islip gives OK

Two weeks after the Islip Town planning board removed a decade-old covenant protecting the historic Hollins Farm House, the once-stately 7,000-square-foot home was bulldozed.

Neighbors watched Friday as the sagging early-1900s house, once home to Wall Street banker Harry Bowly Hollins and his family, was flattened.

"I still can't believe it's gone," said neighbor John Gorman, a longtime advocate of restoring the East Islip house, who watched as pieces were taken away in dump trucks. "It was kind of sad that it couldn't have been saved."

Raymond Giusto, attorney for property owner Robert McGrath, said plans are moving forward to transform the one-acre property into a subdivision with four large homes, the first of which could be built in a few months.

Town officials confirmed McGrath received a demolition permit, but said he has not submitted a building application yet.

The farm house had been stripped of most of its historic features and was so decayed that town planning staff and the planning board decided it had to be bulldozed for safety reasons, especially since the house was a magnet for teens.

"My client caught 13 teenagers in the house with skateboards yesterday, so I think it's good that the house is down," Giusto said Friday.

Giusto said McGrath will conform with conditions set forth by the planning board for bulldozing the house: He must set up a historical marker where the house stood, design one of the new homes using similar architectural features, and contribute $50,000 to the renovation of historic Brookwood Hall, about a mile away in East Islip.

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