Old Westbury Famous faces and places
Old Westbury’s proximity to Manhattan and its elegant manor homes have long been an attraction for both television and film. Films as far back as Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest staring Cary Grant and television shows as recent as Gossip Girl have been filmed in this elite enclave. This village is also home to many well known actors, musicians, business magnates and family dynasties.
Old Westbury History
Westbury was founded by Edmond Titus, and was later joined by Henry Willis. Henry Willis, one of the first English settlers, named the area after a town in his home county of Wiltshire, England. Westbury had been a Quaker community of isolated farms until the railroad came in 1836; after the Civil War, the New York elite discovered that the rich, well wooded flat countryside of the Hempstead Plains was a place to raise horses, and to hunt foxes and play polo at the Meadow Brook Club. They bought entire farms and built grand houses, somewhat separated from the Gold Coast mansions along Long Island’s North Shore.
‘Westbury House’, was the residence of Henry Phipps’ eldest son, John Shaffer Phipps. Today, the property is operated as Old Westbury Gardens. Robert Low Bacon built ‘Old Acres’ in the style of an Italian villa. Other landowners were Thomas Hitchcock and his family, Harry Payne Whitney and his wife the former Gertrude Vanderbilt, founder of New York’s Whitney Museum, at Apple Green (formerly a Mott house), Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, whose estate is now subdivided into the Old Westbury Country Club and New York Institute of Technology, Alfred I. du Pont, whose estate, Templeton also now serves part of the NYIT campus, the Post family and many other elite families.
The architect Thomas Hastings built a modest house for himself, ‘Bagatelle’, in 1908. A. Conger Goodyear, then president of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City had a house built in 1938 by famed architect Edward Durell Stone, who also designed the building for Conger’s museum. The house was recently designated a historical site to protect the structure from being demolished to subdivide the expensive land surrounding it. The estate of Robert Winthrop, an investment bank and member of the Dudley-Winthrop family, for whom Winthrop-University Hospital was named, has been similarly preserved. Part of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s estate and her sculpture studio has been preserved and maintained by one of her grandchildren, Pamela Tower LeBoutillier, who currently resides there.
Changing the course of history – literally!
When Robert Moses was planning the Northern State Parkway, the powers of Old Westbury forced him to re-site it five miles (8 km) to the south. Once the parkway was completed, many residents found it to not be the eyesore they had been anticipating and regretted making their commutes more inconvenient than necessary. The residents, however, did not have to wait very long: The state was able to buy land from Charles E. Wilson, a former president of General Motors who needed to sell off his Old Westbury estate to pull himself out of financial crisis and relocate to the nation’s capital to serve in President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s cabinet. The land, which runs along an edge of the village, was used for Moses’ next project, the Long Island Expressway.
Population (2008) 5,283
Population Density 500.86
Education (Bachelors or Higher ) 64.9%
Median Household Income (2008) $206,026
Per Capita Income (2008) $90,021
Median House Value (2008) $2,100,751
New York Average $318,900
Click here to search for property in Old Westbury
The Local Scene in Old Westbury
Old Westbury Golf and Country Club sits on part of the 530-acre former estate of William C. Whitney, which also provided land for the New York Institute of Technology. The only other private golf club in the village is the Glen Oaks Club. The 650-acre estate of F. M. Ambrose Clark, a millionaire sportsman, is now State University College at Old Westbury.
Old Westbury Gardens has 160 acres of formal gardens, landscaped grounds and woodlands. It also has an extensive calendar of events, including concerts and lectures.
The village is known for its more than 30 miles of developed horse trails, which are maintained by the Old Westbury Horsemen’s Foundation. Builders are required to provide the foundation with a 10-foot-wide easement for horse trails around any newly developed property.
And then, of course, there is polo. The Meadowbrook Polo Club plays on Whitney Lane and Polo Drive throughout the summer.
Old Westbury Shopping, Dining & Culture
Wheatley Plaza in East Hills
Centrally located at the corner of Glen Cove Road and Northern Blvd. this beautifully maintained and manicured Shopping Center has a variety of shops and dining establishments. A national food emporium is the anchor store accompanied by financial institutions, Card & Gifts, clothiers and other assorted shops. Satisfy every need in one easy trip.
Americana Mall in Manhasset
A pure mecca of majesty located along Northern Blvd in Manhasset, most commonly know as the ‘Miracle Mile’. There is probably not an upscale shop, boutique or nationally recognized retailer anywhere on the east cost that comes close to the abundance of shops contained at this premier luxury shopper’s paradise.
Roosevelt Field in Garden City
Acres and acres of stores, shops and premier shops in an enclosed super mall. Once the largest mall in America, and still the largest on Long Island, it captivates and draws thousands of shoppers on a daily basis.
Old Westbury is served by three school districts: Jericho Union Free School District; East Williston Union Free School District; and Westbury Union Free School District.
Jericho has about 3,200 students in three elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. Of the 219 seniors who graduated from Jericho Senior High School last year, 218 passed the Regents exam, a state accreditation test, and 210 went on to four-year colleges.
East Williston has 1,800 students in an elementary school, a middle school and a high school. Of the 123 students who graduated from Wheatley School, the high school, 118 graduated with Regents diplomas and 107 went on to four-year colleges.
Westbury has about 3,800 students in four elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. Of the 149 students who graduated from Westbury High School, 100 graduated with Regents diplomas and 72 went on to four-year colleges.
Higher learning centers abound on Long Island with arts, technical and vocational institutions in addition to well-respected Community Colleges and Universities.
Old Westbury Travel Access
Convenient to major roadways and thoroughfares including the Long Island Expressway, Northern & Southern Parkway and Jericho Turnpike. Access in and out of Manhattan is also a breeze on the Long Island Rail Road where commuting by train into New York is the norm for many Islanders.
Major airports including JFK International, Laguardia and farther out but no less convenient, Islip’s MacArthur Airports.