3. Garden City
Stewart Avenue in Garden City features many unique, grand homes
Garden City, primarily in the Town of Hempstead, is one of Nassau County’s most historical areas, with plenty of landmarks as well as a more modern downtown. Unlike many other settlements in the county, Garden City was established by a millionaire, Alexander Turney Stewart, as a means of erecting tenement houses, public charities, attractive buildings, and extensive roads.
At the time, Hempstead Plains was sparsely populated, and Stewart saw an opportunity to develop the area, especially with the construction of the Garden City Hotel. It cost Stewart $150,000 to build the original hotel, and McKim, Mead and White designed a new one in 1895, which burned down four years later. The hotel has featured guests like John F. Kennedy, Margaret Thatcher, and Hillary Clinton. Garden City soon became home to a number of major companies like publisher Doubleday, Page, and Co., and many Victorian and more modern homes were constructed.
Charles Lindbergh actually departed on his solo transatlantic flight from Roosevelt Field in Garden City, which would later become the Roosevelt Field Mall. Unfortunately, Garden City’s Merillon Avenue Station was also the location of the 1993 Long Island Rail Road shooting, in which Colin Ferguson murdered six people and wounded nineteen others.
In addition to Roosevelt Field Mall, Garden City is still home to around 50 A.T. Stewart Era Buildings built from 1871 to 1893, including St. Paul’s School and the Apostle Houses, each with around 16 rooms. Another of those buildings in the Cathedral of the Incarnation, built in the Gothic Revival style. The village is also home to the remains of the Mitchel Air Force Base, which was decommissioned in 1961. In addition to housing Adelphi University, Garden City is also home to Museum Row, which includes the (currently closed) Long Island Children’s Museum, the Nassau County Firefighter’s Museum, and the Cradle of Aviation Museum. The village is also home to a number of parks including Community Park, Edgemere Park, and Stewart Field.
Garden City’s downtown is mainly centered around a few blocks of Franklin Avenue and features a rather diverse array of food options. Perhaps best known in Garden City is Waterzooi, a Belgian bistro and oyster bar popular for their variety of Moules Pots, or mussels prepared in everything from creamy lobster sauce to tarragon champagne broth. Garden City is not the most affordable dining destination in the county, but the village features a selection of Italian, American, and Japanese eateries, with notable eateries including Plancha Tapas and Wine Bar, Revel Restaurant and Bar, and Smok-Haus.