Sea Cliff Real Estate

It is only a square mile in area, but they discovered that space had been put to excellent use. In addition to beaches, vistas and parks, they found Gothic and Victorian “painted ladies,” quaint Arts and Crafts cottages, and good schools.

Though increasingly upscale of late, Sea Cliff retains its aura as a bohemian outpost in the midst of cookie-cutter suburbia — an artists’ haven of sorts.

WHAT YOU’LL FIND Sea Cliff, in the Town of Oyster Bay, hugs the shoreline south of Glen Cove and north of Glenwood Landing. It is bounded to the east by Glen Cove Avenue and the unincorporated areas of Glen Head.

Among its roughly 2,000 residences, the village has cottages, bungalows and smaller Victorians with granny porches packed together along narrow streets at its heart, and larger Gothic and Victorian homes built into hillsides with commanding water views.

Fifty-four buildings have local landmark status, and 29 of those are also on state and national registries, including Village Hall and the English Tudor-style fire department.

Strict architectural-review and zoning requirements are viewed as a safeguard of the old-time ambience. “We are pretty controlling,” said Bruce Kennedy, the mayor. “We are trying to enjoy the same quality of life we have been enjoying for 125 years.”

Recent improvements include a new boardwalk connecting the business district and the waterfront — long overdue, in some residents’ view, as the last one was destroyed in the hurricane of 1938. Also, new streetlights and a village square clock have been added on Sea Cliff Avenue. And public and private foundation money was recently allocated for a $175,000 covered outdoor arts pavilion at the beach for live performances, Mr. Kennedy said.

The postwar part of the village, on its eastern fringes, is home to a mix of Capes, colonials, split-levels and the occasional contemporary.

WHAT TO DO Memorial Park, also known as Hippie Park, has an unobstructed view of Hempstead Harbor. On summer Thursday nights, its concerts (lemonade and cookies provided) draw a crowd. On Friday evenings the music revs up at Sea Cliff Beach. Harry Tappen Beach has a swimming pool, a playground, small boat launches and a 272-slip marina. The Sea Cliff Museum, in a former parsonage adjacent to Village Hall, is open on Sunday afternoons. The five-acre Clifton Park has ball fields. Central and Prospect Parks have playgrounds.

THE SCHOOLS Sea Cliff is part of the well-regarded North Shore School District, which has 2,876 students and also draws from neighboring Glen Head, Glenwood Landing and Old Brookville. There are three kindergarten-through-fifth-grade schools in total, but village children attend the Sea Cliff Elementary School, then North Shore Middle and High Schools, both in Glen Head.

SAT averages in 2009 were 553 in reading, 587 in math and 550 in writing, versus 485, 502 and 478 statewide.

THE COMMUTE All but one morning and one evening rush-hour Long Island Rail Road train between Sea Cliff and Pennsylvania Stations transfer at either Jamaica or Mineola. The transfer ride takes about an hour, the express ride a few minutes less. A monthly pass is $204, discounted 5 percent if bought online.

Sea Cliff is 23 miles from Midtown Manhattan. The drive via the Long Island Expressway takes about 45 minutes, or an hour in heavy traffic.

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