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Town Focus: Wyandanch, Day 5

Wyandanch Park is home to picnic facilities, playgrounds

Wyandanch Park is home to picnic facilities, playgrounds and basketball and tennis courts. (Jan. 26, 2012) Credit: J.C. Cherubini

Today I wrap up a week in Wyandanch, a community that draws a strong reaction from people both inside and out of it.

Based on the people I talked to this week, someone is just as likely to associate Wyandanch with a crime statistic as they are with family values and small-town living.

Today, look for more interviews that will explain a resident’s perspective, including two women who grew up on the same block and have stayed in Wyandanch to raise their children.

I started the week at the high school and found myself back in the schools a few times after that. When talking to Wyandanch residents, the community’s youth was a common theme. They want to see their students succeed.

Delores Jenkins, principal at LaFrancis Hardiman Elementary School, has spent her career working toward that goal. She’ll be honored for her commitment to education at a Town of Babylon Black History Month celebration next week, along with another force in the Wyandanch community, Sondra Cochran, executive director of the Wyandanch Community Development Corporation. Look for a story later today on these women’s accomplishments and why they are being honored.

I also looked into the history of the Wyandanch community, which, despite having one of the earliest train stations built on Long Island, was slow to rise. Much of the documentation the Town of Babylon has collected on early Wyandanch shows it was mostly woods and farmland. Even up to the 1950s, there was little development. I’ll post a full story on the history of Wyandanch today.

Thanks for your emails, tweets and comments. Feel free to send more and bring me back out to Wyandanch.

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