Monday, January 3, 2011

Hempstead Lake Park Homes II

As a follow up to the previous post, the view above is another photo of the Hempstead Lake Park Homes development and highlights one of its most beautiful and attractive features - its private lake, located just off Colonial Drive near the Woodfield Road entrance. Developer Reuben Hillman took advantage of the fact that Schodack Brook, a rivulet fed by a natural spring, ran through his property. As a result, he carved out of it a man-made lake with a 50 foot beach for private recreation of the homeowners. The wooden bridge above was built by Hillman and a newspaper reporter for the Brooklyn Eagle was so struck by the beauty of the scene that he called it "a slice of old Connecticut transplanted to Long Island" and "suggestive of Shakespeare's Garden of Arden".

Schodack Brook, like its sister rivulets Pine Brook to the west and Horse Brook to the east, was once a continuously flowing stream that originated somewhere in the Hempstead Plains - a sandy barren at the center of the Island. It then meandered its way through West Hempstead before forming a series of small ponds in Lakeview. In the 1960s, the installation of sewers across Nassau County caused a dramatic drop in groundwater levels and thereafter our local streams no longer flowed continuously without the help of rainwater runoff, and many of the lovely ponds that once graced our landscape are now mere shells of what they once were. In some cases, such as with Pine's Pond in Malverne and Johnson's Pond in West Hempstead, the body of water was deliberately drained to make way for development. In other cases, such as with the ponds formed along Schodack Brook, the ponds are dying a slow death by asphyxiation. Below is a "now" view of Hempstead Lake Park Homes' private pond as it looks today.

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