Port Washington: Essential Things Parents Must Know

Port Washington: Essential Things Parents Must Know

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Rolling hills, mature trees, a true downtown centered on a Main Street filled with a large number of restaurants, boutiques, galleries, and services, and a charming variety of residential neighborhoods and housing options define Port Washington: a hamlet in the Town of North Hempstead of approximately 15,846 people, tucked away on a peninsula on Long Island’s North Shore.

Bordered by the Long Island Sound on one side and Manhasset Bay on the other, and just 17 miles from New York City, or 38 minutes by rail, Port Washington is located close to neighboring towns Manhasset, Great Neck, and Roslyn.

Port Washington encompasses the incorporated villages of Sands Point, Baxter Estates, Port Washington North, Manorhaven and Flower Hill, all of which take advantage of the community’s highly ranked schools, police force, post office, and the Port Washington Public Library, which is ranked among the top 2 percent of libraries nationwide.

The Matinecock Indians were the Peninsula’s first settlers, naming the town "Sint Sink" or "Place of Many Stones." In 1643, they sold the land to 18 English families from Stamford, CT for wampum, lead, gun powder, kettles, textiles, and clothing. The new owners renamed the land "Cow Neck" after the common pasture they shared. During the mid-1800s, shellfishing became an important industry, as did sand mining. Most of the sand that was used to make the cement that built New York City was mined in Port Washington. A stagecoach began bringing Port Washington residents into New York City in 1830, and in 1898, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) established a depot, making Port Washington attractive as a bedroom community for NYC commuters. In the 1930s, Pan Am seaplanes took off from Manhasset Bay.

Fun Fact: Sands Point/Port Washington is F. Scott Fitzgerald's East Egg to Kings Point/Great Neck’s West Egg in the landmark novel, The Great Gatsby.
 

Neighborhoods in Port Washington

Incorporated Village of Sands Point

Northernmost part of Port Washington and also encompassing Forest Drive and Harbor Acres areas (slightly south). Accessed by Shore Road (which changes name to Sands Point Road) and/or Port Washington Boulevard (also known as Route 101, which changes name to Middle Neck Road). Variety of house styles. Some waterview or waterfront. All single-family with minimum 1 acre zoning.
 

Morewood Oaks

Adjacent to the northern part of Sands Point and walking distance to Manorhaven elementary school. Accessed by Shore Road (Sands Point Road). Mostly split-levels. All single-family. Destination neighborhood with no through-streets. Benefits from having elementary school with playground on the block.
 

Soundview

Accessed by the Shore Road or Middle Neck Road, convenient to shopping, dining and movies. Development built in 1960s on site of former sand pits. Variety of house styles including split levels, splanches, high ranches and Colonials. Best overall value in Port Washington. Part of Incorporated Village of Port Washington North. The John Phillip Sousa elementary school is located just west of the Soundview neighborhood.
 

Incorporated Village of Manorhaven

Bordering Sands Point at the northwest, and with wonderful community beachfront, pool, picnic areas, tennis and racquet ball courts, and more. Accessed by Shore Road. Variety of house styles including single- and multi-family dwellings, apartments, condos, and townhouses—some on the water. Manorhaven Boulevard offers restaurants and stores.
 

Manhasset Isle

Part of Incorporated Village of Manorhaven. Further south along and accessed by the Shore Road. Variety of house styles including bungalows, single- and multi-family dwellings and Tom’s Point cooperatives. Some waterview or waterfront. Neighborhood includes some commercial business, a school, and restaurants.
 

Incorporated Village of Baxter Estates

Situated between Main Street and the Shore Road and bordered on one side by the charming Duck Pond. Accessed by Main Street or Shore Road. Most locations are walk-to-train. Variety of house styles including Colonials, Tudors, Mediterraneans, Contemporaries, Victorians. All single-family.
 

The Terrace

Accessed by Port Washington Boulevard, southwest of Main Street, or by Valley Road via Shore Road. Variety of house styles including Colonials, ranches, split-levels, and Cape Cods. Majority are single-family. This neighborhood is home to both the John J. Daly and Guggenheim Elementary Schools.
 

Eastern Crest

North of Main Street and accessed by Port Washington Boulevard or Irma Avenue (off Main Street). Walk to Main Street. Mixture of ranches, Cape Cods and Colonials. All single family. Colloquially known as the “Girl Streets” (Linda, Annette, Jeannette, and Irma).
 

Harbor Hills

North of Main Street along Sandy Hollow Road, accessed by Port Washington Boulevard or Shore Road. Split-levels and ranches primarily. All single-family. Colloquially known as the “Boy Streets” (Glen, Francis, Lewis, and Roger).
 

Beacon Hill

Northeast of Main Street, accessed by Port Washington Boulevard which branches off to become Beacon Hill Road. Many locations are walk-to-train. Variety of house styles including mostly Colonials, some Mediterraneans, Tudors, Cape Cods and the occasional ranch. All single-family. Beacon Hill has a private beachfront association with tennis (membership required).
 

Monfort Hills

Adjacent to Beacon Hill and northeast of Main Street, accessed by Port Washington Boulevard which branches off to become Beacon Hill Road. Walk to train and schools. Mostly Colonials. All single-family.
 

Highfield Estates

Walk-to-train and schools. Adjacent to southern end of Montfort Hills. Accessed by Port Washington Boulevard. Variety of house styles including split-levels and Colonials.
 

The Park Section

South of Main Street accessed by Port Washington Boulevard. Some locations walk-to-train. Mostly Colonials, Dutch Colonials, Victorians and “traditional” older houses on typically smaller lots.
 

Salem

South of Main Street accessed by Port Washington Boulevard. Many locations are walk-to-train. There are sections of Salem that are characterized by different house styles: North Salem has mostly split levels; South Salem has mostly Cape Cods and Colonials built on slabs (no basements) and is home to the South Salem Elementary School; New Salem on the east side of the Boulevard has mostly Colonials, some ranches, and the occasional Cape Cod (more traditional style homes); and on the west side of the Boulevard (behind the PW Police Station) are Cape Cods, Colonials, splits.
 

Mitchell Farms

Just south of Town Dock and at edge of lower Main Street. Some locations are walk-to-train. One of Port Washington’s older sections. Mostly Colonials; some with water views.
 

Port Washington Estates

Immediately south of Main Street and off Mackey Avenue. Walk-to-train. Variety of house styles including Colonials, Tudors, Victorians, Cape Cods, Mediterraneans (stucco), and some contemporaries. All single-family. Private beach association with mooring available (with membership).
 

Port Washington Heights

Adjacent to PW Estates, with its own neighborhood association and beach association (with membership). Active historic district, houses include Colonials, Victorians, etc. Many locations walk-to-train.
 

The Village

Streets off Main Street primarily to the north, also south. All walk-to-train. Variety of house styles, mostly Colonials, Dutch Colonials, cottages, etc.
 

The “Presidents’ Streets”

West of Mackey Avenue and South of Main Street. Variety of mostly older homes including Colonials and Victorians. Note: not all streets named for U.S. Presidents (e.g. Webster). All locations walk-to-train.
 

Bayview Colony

South of Main Street along Plandome Road, waterfront community with beach, pool, tennis, and mooring with dues. Originally developed in 1926 with five original Colonials; newer homes include Victorians, contemporaries, colonials, and ranches. Some houses are direct waterfront. All are single-family.
 

Beachway Estates

South of Main Street along Plandome Road, waterfront streets with own beach rights (membership). Variety of house styles including Colonial, split-level, etc.
 

Manhasset Bay Estates

South of Main Street, along Plandome Road with beach access (with membership) across Plandome Road. Diverse house styles including Colonials, Tudors, Mediterraneans, Contemporaries, Victorians, splits, capes, etc.
 

Incorporated Village of Flower Hill

Southernmost area of Port Washington (Flower Hill also encompasses Manhasset and Roslyn), accessed by Port Washington Boulevard to the east (Country Estates) and the west (Country Club). Mostly Colonials. Generally, with the exception of Sands Point, Flower Hill offers Port Washington’s larger property sizes.

 

Schools in Port Washington

Port Washington Union Free School District has 5,238 students total in grades pre-Kindergarten and K-12. There are five elementary schools that go through 5th grade, one middle from 6th-8th grade, and one high school from 9th-12th grade.
 

Public Schools in Port Washington 

  • Manorhaven Elementary School
  • John Philip Sousa Elementary School
  • John J. Daly Elementary School
  • South Salem Elementary School
  • Guggenheim Elementary School
  • Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School
  • Paul D. Schreiber High School


Average district spending per student is $25,633. In addition to offering a rich academic program, the district is know for its strong extracurricular and athletic programs. The graduation rate is 96 percent and student-to-teacher ratio is 12:1. The District boasts an average SAT score of 1920 and ACT score of 30. Schreiber prides itself on its impressive roster of college destinations for its grads including the Ivy League schools and other eminent institutions such as Stamford, Northwestern, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, and more.
 

Private and Religious Schools in Port Washington

Private School in Port Washington

The Vincent Smith School, a private day school for students in grades 1-12 dedicated to providing a small, nurturing and supportive setting for students with learning disabilities.
 

Religious Schools in Port Washington

  • St. Peter of Alcantara, grades K-8
  • Chabad Academy of Science and Humanity, grades pre-K- 7
  • Port Washington Christian School, grades K-10


Transportation in Port Washington

Trains in Port Washington

One of Port Washington’s main attractions is its proximity and accessibility to New York City, just 17 miles away. The LIRR provides 38-minute express service on its Port Washington Branch to Penn Station. There are at least two trains per hour with additional trains during rush hours and special times. Unlike some other LIRR lines, the Port Washington line offers non-stop, no changeover service. Because Port Washington is the terminus, you always get a seat in the morning and you can fall asleep on the way home—the conductor will give you a gentle nudge when it’s time to get off!

Parking is available at the train station (with permit and daily fee) but gets filled early. If you plan to take a train after 7:30 a.m. on weekdays, you will likely park in one of the town’s other commuter lots (also with permit and daily fee), none of which is more than 3 blocks from the station. Some commuters elect to rent private parking spots from local residents and businesses, or to take one of the local taxi services Deluxe Transportation or Madison Taxi.
 

Buses in Port Washington

There is a commuter bus that leaves from Manhasset’s Christopher Morley Park (ample parking) and has stops in Midtown and the Wall Street area.
 

If you prefer to drive to New York City, there is direct access via the Long Island Expressway, the Northern State Parkway, or via a myriad of other roads and bridges. There is also bus services available within Nassau County.
  

Things to Do With Kids in Port Washington

Indoor Fun in Port Washington

Dolphin Bookshop & Cafe

A fun place to browse not just for books, but also toys, games, music, gifts, and other merchandise. Grab a coffee and pastry in the kid-friendly adjacent cafe while enjoying your new purchase. The Dolphin is known for its readings and signings by distinguished authors such as J.K. Rowling, Eric Carle, and other notables.
 

Haven Art

Studio availabile for walk-ins or register for classes and art camp! Haven Art offers a blend of personalized instruction and open studio time for drawing, painting, printmaking, needle arts, ceramics, pottery, and more.
 

SoulShine Art Studio

Free-form art classes and art camp with a focus on drawing, painting, beading, mixed media, and more. Private lessons and parties available.
 

Little Chefs

Little Chefs Cooking School provides a great value and experience for children ages 2-15 offering cooking classes, parties, and playdates. Mommy and me options are available.
 

Port Washington Public Library

The library has a brand new and exciting kids’ space with toys, books, mommy and me programs, music, special events, and more. Story time programs include read-alongs, songs, finger plays, and movement rhymes. Another bonus: The PWPL offers a museum pass where members can access free admission to a number of musueums including the Natural History Museum, Long Island Children's Museum, Cradle of Aviation Museum, and more.
 

Port Washington Skating Center

Indoor ice skating rink open all year round for recreation and instruction.
 

Shooting Stars Sports

Indoor soccer and lacrosse lessons and clinics for boys and girls ages 18 months to 6 years. Sessions are 45 minutes long.
 

Unlimited Sports Action

Spectacular year-round indoor facility offering semester-long classes with rolling admissions, clinics, mommy and me, and birthday parties. Sports include baseball, basketball, flag football, lacrosse, soccer, and volleyball. Special needs programs available. Private lessons and small group classes are also available.
 

Port Washington Tennis Academy

Internationally renowned training ground for tennis legends offers private and group lessons, clinics and camp.
 

The Sands-Willets House

Dating back from the early 1700s, the Cow Neck Historical Society maintains the Sands-Willets House as a museum and educational center. Tours of the house are offered on the first and third Sunday of every month, through October, from 2-4pm and at other times by appointment. Docents dressed in period costume, kid-friendly crafts and hands-on activities like apple pie making are available for group tours.

Sands Willets House

The Sands-Willets House has 18 rooms, 11 of which are furnished and open to the public. 


Sands Point Preserve Tours of Falaise

Tour the former Gold Coast mansion of Harry Guggenheim by reservation Thursday-Sunday, 12-3pm in May through mid-November. Entrance by guided tour only beginning at Castlegould Visitor Center.
 

Bach to Rock

Provides music lessons, group classes, parties, music camps, glee club, rock bands and more for students of all ages and all skill levels. Early childhood classes for toddlers and preschool children, and mommy and me programs are available.
 

Parent Resource Center

Mommy and me and drop-off classes including yoga, mini-ninja, and more. There are also birthday parties, special events, summer camp, vacation workshops, and drop-off babysitting.
 

Landmark on Main Street

Landmark on Main Street is a not-for-profit community center that enhances the spirit and enriches the lives of Port Washington residents and neighbors through many wonderful programs and productions for children and adults including Berenstain Bears Live!, Bubble Time, and the Super Scientific Circus.
 

Movie theaters in Port Washington include:

  • Bowtie Cinemas
  • Soundview Cinemas


Martial arts in Port Washington include:

  • Elite Martial Arts & Kickboxing
  • World Taekwondo Academy
  • Tokey Hill Martial Arts

 
 Dance programs in Port Wasington include:

  • Danceworks New York
  • Berest Dance Center
  • The Dance Arts Center

 

Outdoor Fun in Port Washington

Harbor Links

Public golf course with 18- and 9-hole courses, driving range, and a mini golf course that is fun for the little ones.
 

Kostal Paddle

No stand up paddle-boarding experience is necessary, and it is fun for all ages. Offering private lessons, group lessons, eco tours, sunset tours, and stand up paddle yoga.
 

Long Island Boat Rental

Boat rentals, guided boat rides with the captain, boating lessons, yacht charters, and more.
 

John Phillip Sousa Memorial Band Shell

Evening waterfront concerts in Sunset Park on the shores of Manhasset Bay appropriate for kids and adults such as “Kidstock” and the 1910 Fruitgum Company. Also, family-friendly movie nights on alternate Friday evenings appropriately dubbed “Cinema by the Bay.”
 

Port Washington Farmers’ Market

This farmers' market is the only completely organic market in New York State. The market is open on Saturday mornings, June through October from 8am-12pm and has something for everyone.
 

Port Youth Activities

PYA is a nonprofit organization providing youth athletics activities in a variety of sports for all children in the community. They hold programs at Lions Field and many venues throughout the community.
 

Parisi Speed School

For ages 7 and older, Parisi offers speed camps and sports conditioning training as a foundation for success in athletics.
 

Pro Soccer Kids

Pro Soccer Kids works to make learning soccer simple, safe, enjoyable, and fun for children ages 3 and older with after school and weekend programs, birthday parties, and group or individual activitie, including parent and child soccer.
 

Walking History Tours with the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society

Guided 90-minute walking tours of Port Washington's historic Bay Walk shoreline explore the fascinating history of early Port Washington including shell fishing, sand mining, aviation, the yacht clubs, the tidal mills, the restaurants, and the many hotels.
 

Parks in Port Washington 

Manorhaven Beach Park and Pool

Manorhaven Beach Park provides outdoor recreation activities such as basketball, tennis courts, handball, horseshoe pits, and racquetball and bocce courts. Picnic areas, boat ramp, standup paddle-boarding, kayaking, skate park, and playground. Recently renovated and reopened, the Manorhaven Pool Complex features a 25,000-square-foot main pool area with lap swim area, general swim sections, zero depth entry for children and beginners, as well as two giant water slides and separate kiddie pool with state of the art play features, like palm tree fountains.

Manorhaven Pool

Manorhaven Pool features two giant waterslides


North Hempstead Beach Park (Bar Beach)

Perfect for a close beach trip with 34 acres of sandy beach and recreational activities. Features include a fishing pier, boat ramp, bathhouse, concession area, playground, basketball court, volleyball court, shuffleboard, horseshoe pit, picnic area and 1-mile promenade for residents who want to walk or jog along the waterfront.
 

Pine Street Park

This neighborhood park offers a fenced in shaded playground, basketball courts, and a baseball field.
 

Sands Point Park and Preserve

Truly a local treasure, a beautiful preserve that spans over 200 acres of land and offers a great place to picnic, hike through wooded trails including a kid-friendly trail, relax on the sandy beach, or explore one of the mansions formerly owned by the Guggenheims. Special events for children and adults occur throughout the year and are posted on the website.
 

Blumenfeld Family Park

Two playgrounds equal twice the fun plus aqua park/spray ground, open during summer months.
 

Flower Hill Park

Has a fenced-in playground, perfect for toddlers and brand new “exploratorium” climbing dome. New basketball courts recently added, too.
 

Playgrounds in Port Washington

Each of the five elementary schools has a playground.

In addition, there are playgrounds at:

  • Blumenfeld Family Park
  • Pine Street Park
  • Manorhaven Park
  • North Hempstead Beach Park
  • Flower Hill Park

 

Annual Events for Kids in Port Washington

Harborfest

Town Dock, lower Main Street, Port Washington

26-years and going strong, annual early summer family friendly day of fun and excitement on Port Washington’s Town Dock featuring Children’s Fun Park, Model Boat Regatta, musical entertainment, cruises on the Bat, art in the park, crafts, food and more!
 

Pride in Port Parade

Main Street at Bellevue Avenue, Port Washington

Held annually on a Saturday in September with pre-parade music beginning at 11am at the train station, the parade starts in the middle of town and heads up to Campus Drive. Cheer on your favorite local groups! Fun for all.
 

Shopping in Port Washington

One of the many charming things about Port Washington is its lack of strip malls, large shopping centers and national big box stores. Instead, we are very fortunate to have some truly special local retailers who are dedicated to providing a special experience to residents of our special town. Some notable stores include:

Dolphin Bookshop

Since 1946 Dolphin Bookshop has distinguished itself as a more than a bookstore, a magnet for visitors from Manhattan to Montauk, and a gathering place for children’s programs, book club meetings, fundraisers, art shows, concerts and more.

Dolphin Bookshop

Dolphin Bookshop has hosted book readings and signings by many distinguished authors, including J.K. Rowling.

 

Entree

High-spirited, on-trend independent women’s contemporary clothing boutique showcasing today’s popular designers.
 

Julianne NY

With a focus on the customer, Julianne offers a hand-picked, curated collection of exquisite and cutting edge women’s clothing and accessories via a very personal, high-service experience.
 

Painting with Flowers

An enchanting boutique offering quality home decor and special items to discerning Port Washington shoppers for 26 years.
 

Whit & Whim

“Port Washington’s little shop with a big heart”, showcasing one of a kind, fair trade, hand made, vintage and modern items and giving its profits to local charities.
 

White + One Home

Specializing in home decor, interior design, drapery, upholstery and the well chosen item that makes a room, or is the perfect gift.
 

Sands Point Shop

Family owned business started in Italy in the 1800s and carrying on the tradition of showcasing fine jewelry, accessories, leather goods, and home decor for a discerning clientele.
 

Falconer’s

Providing the freshest, most elegant flowers and gifts in Port Washington since 1924.
 

Glen Bradford

Award winning “life inspired” fine jeweler and greater of magnificent treasures.
 

Houses of Worship in Port Washington

Churches in Port Washington

  • St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (Episcopalian)
  • Lutheran Church of Our Savior (Lutheran – ELCA)
  • 1st Church of Christ Scientist Port Washington (Christian Science)
  • United Methodist Church of Port Washington (Methodist)
  • Faith Korean Church of Long Island (Presbyterian)
  • Our Lady of Fatima (Roman Catholic)
  • St Peter of Alcantara (Roman Catholic)
  • Bible Church-Port Washington
  • New York Philadelphia Presbyterian Church (Presbyterian)
  • Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church (Greek Orthodox)


Synagogues in Port Washington

  • Temple Beth Israel (Conservative)
  • The Community Synagogue (Reform)
  • Port Jewish Center (Reform)
  • Chabad of Port Washington (Orthodox)
  • Chevrat Tefillah (Conservative) 


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