Westbury is a very diverse village in North Hempstead that many Nassau County residents don’t speak about too much, but the area is home to large populations of Hispanic Americans, Caribbeans, and Arab Americans. Westbury used to be a Quaker community in the mid-1600s after Captain John Seaman purchased 12,000 acres of land from the Algonquian Tribe. Westbury was named by Henry Willis in 1675 after his hometown of Westbury, Wiltshire. The Quakers in the community freed all of their slaves in 1775 prior to the start of the Revolutionary War, and many of the village’s residents would later attend the Westbury A.M.E. Zion Church. Many British soldiers and Hessians inhabited homes in the area during the Revolutionary War, and the nearby hamlet of New Cassel took its name from the state of Hesse-Cassel where many of the Hessians lived.
By the time of the Civil War, many slaves settled in Westbury after traveling on the Underground Railroad, and by the late 1800s, many wealthy people began building mansions in Old Westbury. Supposedly, during World War II, approximately 20% of Westbury’s population served on the battlefield. Following the war, many Caribbean and Latin American families began to settle in the area, and today Westbury’s downtown is dominated by these cultures.
Westbury is home to Old Westbury Gardens, the former estate of businessman John Shaffer Phipps that was later converted into a museum. The mansion was built in the Carolean style by George A. Crawley, and the mansion contains a painting by John Singer Sargent of Mrs. Henry Phipps and Her Grandson Winston. Westbury is home to part of the 930-acre Eisenhower Park, previously known as Salisbury Park, which is larger than Central Park and contains the September 11th Memorial for residents of Nassau County. Other smaller parks in Westbury include the Westbury Community Center and Martin Bunky Reid Park. Westbury’s downtown is home to the Theatre at Westbury, which has featured performers such as The Doors, The Who, Frank Sinatra, and Bruce Springsteen.
Westbury’s restaurant scene is mostly divided between Old Country Road, with more upscale eateries, and Post Avenue, with more culinary diversity. Right on the border with Carle Place are eateries like Cafe Baci, serving classic Italian cooking, the world-famous Vincent’s Clam Bar, Havana Central, and Colombian restaurant Pollos El Paisa. Post Avenue is the location of popular eateries like Kabul Kabab House, serving Afghani cuisine, Punta Cana Dominican Grill, and village favorite Little Mexico. Post Avenue is also home to more obscure eateries like Nopal, a pupuseria, Deli Salvadoreño, and Rosita Mini Grocery Corp.