Valley Stream has come a long way since the Prohibition era, when it was known for its speakeasies and was affectionately called “Rum Junction.” Locals today describe their town, located near the Queens border, as a large community of about 36,000, many of whom are families that have lived here for decades. The median value of a house or condo was about $421,000 in 2009, more than double the value in 2000, according to City-Data.com.
“Valley Stream has become a more diverse community. When my mom lived here, it was predominantly Italian,” says Kerri Itgen, 22, whose family owns Itgen’s Ice Cream Parlour & Restaurant (211 Rockaway Ave). Young adults are also beginning to move to the area, attracted by its short distance to Long Beach and the South Shore beaches, as well as to New York City, she explains.
“This is a cute little town that reminds me of Mineola with its little stores [along Rockaway Ave.],” says Vivian Perlman, 34. She and her husband Daryl, 38, are always on the lookout for kid-friendly locations for the family, like the 8,000-square-foot Children’s Safari interactive indoor playground (6 Rockaway Ave.).
Some local info to get acquainted with the area.
» Gotta get some shoes, some dog food, a muffler? Chances are you’ll find them all at the gigantic Green Acres Mall on Sunrise Hwy (2034 Green Acres Mall).
» Take a hike along the stream for which Valley Stream is named. The waterway starts at the Valley Stream State Park and runs through the adjacent Arthur J. Hendrickson Park. These parks are bordered by West Merrick Rd., Fletcher Ave., Southern State Pkwy., Corona and North Franklin avenues (516-825-4128).
» Check in on the past at the Pagan-Fletcher Restoration, a museum in a historic house that was built around 1840. Open Sundays and by appointment (143 Hendrickson Ave., 516-872-4159).
» Tawk amongst yourselves on March 29 as the Valley Stream Book Club discusses “Lit: A Memoir” by Mary Karr. Registration required at the Henry Waldinger Memorial Library (60 Verona Pl., 516-825-6422).
» Catch the Easter Bunny on April 23 at The Children’s Safari (6 Rockaway Ave., www.thechildrenssafari.com).
» Steve Buscemi and Edward Burns are among the famous folks who grew up in Valley Stream.
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