8. Five Towns

Drive-In grocery in HewlettThe Barn in Hewlett is a drive-in grocery, seen in many towns through Long Island

The Five Towns are an informal group of five villages and hamlets on the South Shore in the Town of Hempstead, consisting of Cedarhurst, Lawrence, Woodmere, Inwood, and Hewlett. The grouping of the Five Towns dates back to 1931 with the creation of the “Five Towns Community Chest” as a means for charitable giving. Each one of the Five Towns has its own personality, but the Five Towns are said to mimic the North Shore’s historic Gold Coast with rather wealthy areas with a lot of history. The Five Towns also have one of the largest Jewish communities in New York state, with a number of Hebrew academics and Jewish institutions as well as publications like the Five Towns Jewish Times.

Commercial stretch in Hewlett in Five TownsOn the left is Woodro Kosher Deli in Hewlett

Much of the Five Towns still retains its rather rural character, especially in Lawrence with historic buildings like Rock Hall dating back to 1767. Back in the 1800s, many residents of the modern-day Five Towns were fishermen, and by World War I, the area had attracted many Italian and Albanian families. Inwood also was the home of the 1921 PGA Championship and the 1923 U.S. Open at the Inwood Country Club. Today, the area features a number of green spaces like Cedarhurst Park, Grant Park, and Inwood Park.

Hewlett School

The five towns each have their own downtown areas, all of which are rather lively everyday except Saturdays, as much of the population is observing Shabbat. In Lawrence on Central Avenue are Kosher options like Traditions Eatery and Prime Bistro Steakhouse, while further down the road in Cedarhurst are Cork & Slice, Chimichurri Charcoal Kitchen, and Doma Land + Sea. In addition to a number of Kosher eateries, Inwood features a hidden gem called Tropical Restaurant #5, which serves Ecuadorian fare. Hewlett is home to a number of community favorites like the sushi bar Xaga, Wall’s Bake Shop, and Da Nicola along Broadway, and further down Broadway in Hewlett are popular eateries like XO Sushi and Gotta Getta Bagel.