Farmingdale’s Main Street on a quiet, Saturday morning before crowds hit the scene (Photo By Nicole Pelletiere)
FARMINGDALE, New York – Residents of the once-quaint Long Island town of Farmingdale, New York, are reportedly less than pleased with hipster-like businesses and party people encroaching on their neighborhood, which in 2013 had a master plan to have 375 units of housing built downtown over the course of 25 years, according to Newsday.
Farmingdale village Mayor Ralph Ekstrand told CBS New York there’s been “one hundred million dollars worth of development” in Farmingdale’s downtown area since the plan was set in motion.
The pace ended up being quicker, with over 250 units built since the plan’s approval, Newsday reported, spurring a backlash to the Long Island community’s plan to spur economic growth with a makeover.
Besides housing, young, trendy new businesses are bringing more tourism to Main Street, and along with it, pop-up construction sites to complete these building jobs.
Adrienne Esposito, who works with the Farmingdale-based non-profit, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, told CBS New York the new businesses and large crowds come with challenges. “Increased litter, a lot more congestion, a lot more truck traffic making deliveries and a lot of noise,” Esposito told the station in January.
Citizens Campaign is located on the now popular Main Street, where 13 vacant storefronts once stood, according to Farmingdale Village’s downtown master plan proposal, released in 2010.
A Flux Coffee shop customer and four-year resident of Farmingdale who declined to give his name told The Click he believes “older residents” of Farmingdale aren’t too pleased with the changes in their community.
Main Street is now populated with new bars, restaurants and shopping experiences. Eateries like “Whiskey Down Diner” and “The Meetball Place” welcome a slew of patrons while Lithology Brewing Co. holds events like Oktoberfest. SantaCon, the annual Santa Claus costume-wearing pub crawl, is also a new to Farmingdale’s Main Street.
Kevin Sowkey, a young barista at Flux Coffee, which opened its doors on Main Street in 2017, called the area “very up-and-coming.” This week, Newsday named Farmingdale one of the “Hangout Hotspots” for people in their 20s looking for a good time on Long Island.
“It’s my understanding that Farmingdale was not the nicest area the last five to 10 years,” Sowkey told The Click last week. “It’s more clubby now than it ever was before.”
New businesses aren’t all that’s popping up on Main Street. The Lofts, a modernized, luxury apartment building, completed construction in the last four years. The village’s master plan was originally to have 375 units of housing built downtown over the course of 25 years, according to Newsday, which reported that the pace ended up being quicker, with over 250 units built since the plan’s approval.
Since residents complained about the rapid growth, Farmingdale officials considered placing a moratorium on downtown development.
In reference to the news bars and restaurants, Chuck Gosline, a retired engineer from Farmingdale, asked at a Jan. 7 village meeting: “When is enough, enough?,” according to Newsday.
“To oversaturate the village with bars and restaurants isn’t fair to the folks who have been here for 20 years,” Gosline said, according to Newsday’s report in January.
Rundown areas like the hamlet of Baldwin, New York are looking to follow Farmingdale’s renovation plan in hopes of a similar success rate in revenue generated by the surge in tourism, according to The Long Island Herald.
“This will work for Baldwin,” Mayor Ekstrand told the publication in January. “If they’re transparent, and they listen to residents … there’s no reason why this can’t work.”