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December 20th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

Times are changing in the early 'all-alike' suburb Levittown

Editor's note: This is part of a series of stories about the changing American suburbs.

By John D. Sutter, CNN

Levittown, New York (CNN) - As Polly Dwyer drove from Queens, New York, to "the boondocks" of central Long Island, she felt like she'd fallen off the face of civilization.

"My God!" she thought. "Where are we going?!"

She stared out the windows of her husband's 1940s Chevy, aghast at the potato farms and cabbage fields. How were they going to live all the way out there, 45 minutes from the city? She was a college student, after all, not a farmer. And what would this new-era community be like, anyway?

The word "suburb" didn't even exist back then, in the late '40s and early '50s. It was a concept they would help create in a new community called Levittown.

More than 60 years later, Dwyer - an 83-year-old who wears a short, Janet Napolitano-style haircut and a gold necklace that says "Polly" in cursive - is firmly rooted in Levittown, New York, the place heralded as the first true example of an American suburb.

The suburban, auto-based ideal Levittown created in 1947 has plowed its way across the United States, reproducing "like a strange, unnatural new life form," Esquire magazine wrote in the '80s, in copycat communities from Florida to Alaska.

These days, however, times are changing. It's not that the suburb is dead, but in an era of home foreclosures, environmental concerns and urban revival, some Americans are starting to turn their backs on the Levittown mold. These changes are beginning to show in Levittown, too, a place that still longs for the sense of community and purpose that it had at its inception six decades ago.

Dwyer and other Levittown pioneers say they'll stay here until they die. But here's the uncomfortable truth:

The Levittown they knew may fizzle out with them.

'Our own square plot of land'

They saw the ad in the newspaper. New homes for World War II veterans: "All Yours For $58!"

It was an opportunity they couldn't pass up.

When the couple arrived in Levittown to look at the new-era community, with its Monopoly houses arranged on a membrane of elbowing streets and cul-de-sacs, Polly Dwyer was pregnant with her second child and eager for a change.

After her husband returned from war, they'd moved in with his parents, who rented a two-bedroom apartment in Queens. "That would have been enough to kill anybody's marriage," she said, laughing. The idea that she could own a home - her own four walls, without the in-laws, without the city noise - "seemed too good to be true."

"It was heaven," she said of Levittown. "Heaven, heaven. Our own square plot of land."

Polly Dwyer has lived in the same Levittown house for six decades.

A salesman drove the couple through town. He showed them a model home, a Cape Cod, which was one of two types of houses that the Levitt brothers - William, the promoter, and Arthur, the architect - gave as options.

Each one was just like the next: On the outside, two eye-like windows, one on each side of the front door, gave the Cape Cods a kind, anthropomorphic appearance; and inside, designers squished two bedrooms, one bath, a kitchen, a living room and a staircase to an unfinished attic into a 750-square-foot package - the size of a modern apartment.

There were slight external differences. Homebuyers could choose from one of five colors and one of five window-arrangement patterns.
But they were so similar that Dwyer had to look at her first home only from the curb.
"We actually didn't see the inside of the house," she said. "We had seen the inside of another Cape, and they said, 'Well, it's exactly the same.' "

They put $100 down on the $8,500 house (about $75,000 in today's currency).

They got that deposit back upon closing.

A new home 'every 15 minutes'

Levittown emerged from a need in America.

Thousands of veterans returned home from World War II to find that they had no place to live. Some were so hard off, they took shelter in chicken coops and tool sheds.

"From foxholes to shacks," one protest sign read. "We had more room in foxholes."

William Levitt had the answer: cheap housing on the city's fringe. His family company, Levitt & Sons Inc., purchased potato farms in central Long Island, near the town of Hicksville, and started to work building a new America.

This "cocky, rambunctious hustler with brown hair, cow-sad eyes, a hoarse voice (from smoking three packs of cigarettes a day)" aimed to make his company the "General Motors of the housing industry," Time magazine wrote in 1950.

He developed a new method of home construction to make it happen, producing housing components - from the plumbing to pieces of the frame - and then assembling them on-site. Each Levitt & Sons construction worker had one of 26 specified tasks, and they did them over and over again, which increased efficiency.

"A new (home) was finished every 15 minutes," Time wrote.

From 1947 to 1951, Levitt built more than 17,000 homes in Levittown. The U.S. Federal Housing Administration encouraged the boom by backing the mortgages of returning veterans, allowing them to put virtually no money down.

That let Dwyer and her husband chase a new American dream.

"The all-alike place"

Right from the start, Dwyer was weirded out by the sameness of Levittown.

"I was not impressed, frankly," she said. "I said, 'Oh, they're all alike. Look at 'em!' And we were just going to go in the middle of the all-alike place?

"But you settled in slowly, and then it became my life."

Photographer Bill Owens' 'Suburbia,' 40 years later

For decades, the "all-alike place" has been a stand-in for the suburban experience.

Dwyer and other longtime Levittown residents remember a tight-knit and restrictive community, where everyone was young, everyone had kids and everyone helped each other out in times of need. When Fred Johs needed help with a down payment for the house he was renting in the 1950s, for example, neighbors stepped in to help.

That gesture is the reason the 88-year-old is still in a Cape Cod home today.

The community was puppeteered by Levitt, who banned fences, installed swimming pools and village greens (Levitt-speak for strip malls) and required lawn maintenance.

Dwyer recalls getting an anonymous postcard in her mailbox on a day when her husband had parked their car on the front lawn because it wasn't working.

She recalls it saying, "You're not supposed to put cars on the lawn. It looks bad for the neighborhood."

Dwyer learned to live in the confines of Levitt's world.

And over time, she started to prefer it.

"Everybody wanted to be like everybody else," she said. "I wasn't a free thinker. I was very comfortable. I looked like everybody else; the houses looked like everybody else's. I was happy that way. I'm the kind of person who gets the furniture the way they like it, and I never change it."

'I barely know my neighbors'

The changes started slowly: a home addition here, new siding there.

Now, Levittown barely resembles its past.

Nearly all of Levittown's homes - all of which started out as Cape Cods, with their box-like symmetry, or ranches, which were slightly more rectangular - have been altered almost beyond recognition. The homes have had their frames stretched, pulled, pumped and popped to the point that they look like Cubist-painting versions of their former selves, additions and alterations jutting out in every which way from the same starter models.

Dwyer painted her Cape Cod yellow, tacked on additions for things as large as new bedrooms and as small as solar water heaters and refrigerators.

This year, she added a porch on the front.

The change has had social as well as aesthetic ramifications. Levitt homes were so small that they forced people to socialize.

Now, with large homes and plenty of creature comforts, few venture outside during the day. "It's so different now," Dwyer said. "I barely know my neighbors."

Levittown, New York, pioneered suburban development in America.

There were financial consequences, too.

Marion Gilbert, an 86-year-old who moved to Levittown in 1949 and has been in the same ranch-style home since, worries that her family members will have to leave Levittown - perhaps all of Long Island, for that matter - because homes are so costly. These days, the commute into the city can take hours.

Her son-in-law and two of her grandchildren are out of work because of the Wall Street crash a few years ago. Right now, amazingly, all of her 15 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren live within a 10-minute drive of her home. But she fears that will change.
The suburban dream isn't the same for them, she said.

"It'll never happen again," she said of the suburban boom.

And that's too bad: "It was a much nicer way of living."

'They were all like me, unfortunately'

In other ways, Levittown has been a stalwart, resistant to change.

Dwyer, for example, has never has had a friend from a racial minority.

"They were all like me, unfortunately," she said of her friends in Levittown.

That's not as much her fault as it is the consequence of Levittown's original leases, which declared: "The tenant agrees not to permit the premises to be used or occupied by any person other than members of the Caucasian race."

Levittown was a white-only community. And it largely remains so today. Eighty-nine percent of Levittown residents identify as white, according to the Census's community profile on Levittown.

That bucks a national trend. In 1990, 19% of suburban residents were minorities; in 2010, that number is 35%, according to an analysis from the Brookings Institution.

"You might find more diversity in suburbs than in center cities in some places," particularly because immigrants are increasingly moving straight to the suburbs instead of to the inner city, said June Williamson, an associate professor of architecture at the City College of New York and author of the book "Retrofitting Suburbia."

Brookings' William Frey said suburbs used to be associated with the white middle class. That's no longer the case: "The suburbs are kind of a microcosm of America. It used to be, when you said you lived in the suburbs, you were telling somebody something about who you are demographically, and now you're not telling anything about who you are."

There are some signs that Levittown's white-only façade is cracking, too.

Younger residents have a larger minority contingent than older residents, according to 2010 Census data.

Several Asian- and Indian-owned businesses have opened on the fringe of town.

There aren't exactly racial tensions in Levittown, just a lack of understanding, said Lara Lineman, 24, who was adopted from Asia by white parents.

Kids teased her about her ethnicity when she was growing up, she said.

"Levittown is just mostly a white town, and people aren't used to that much diversity," she said, "at least not when I was growing up."

Dwyer recalled race being a hot-button issue in early Levittown.

A Chinese family created a stir when it moved onto her block in the 1960s.

"The next day, on either side, for sale signs went up," Dwyer said. "At the time, I must say, I was relieved they didn't move closer to me."
She's since changed her attitudes - or at least has tried.

The Attention Clinic

It's a hot issue in academia to think about what suburbs may become.

An upcoming exhibit at the New York Museum of Modern Art, called Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream, proposes several visions, including one that would integrate nature more sustainably into the suburbs and another that would try to make suburban neighborhoods denser.

Something has to change, said Barry Bergdoll, MoMA's curator for architecture and design, or we will "roll the suburban carpet across all the open land that is left."

"It's just irresponsible to have a model that encourages moving out onto green fields and leaving behind decaying rings of an ever-fattening tree," he said. "I'm interested in not just letting the path of least resistance exist. It's cheaper for a developer to build on virgin territory, but it's not cheaper for people to live on it or get to it."

This year, another group of designers descended on Levittown to imagine "a future suburbia" in the place where the concept was hatched.

Dwyer found all this "very strange," but she agreed to participate.

For a day, a designer named Claudia Linders turned Dwyer's Levitt home into an "Attention Clinic." Patrons sat in her living room and waited for a chance to receive advice, attention and/or hugs from Dwyer and two actors.

The idea was to make suburbia profitable rather than just a place where people live.

"They kept choosing me (for advice), I guess because I was older and wiser," Dwyer said, cracking a smile. "Because these actresses, they were beautiful."

All this attention confused Dwyer, who said she was happy to give out advice to strangers but felt somewhat unqualified to make life decisions for them.

One woman came to her in a panic, she said, asking whether she should stay with her current job or follow a whim and travel the country, which she's always wanted to do.

Dwyer's advice - brewed from decades of living in a community that values sameness and conformity over adventure and change - was to stick with what works:

"I'd say, 'Well, stay there.' "

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soundoff (263 Responses)
  1. Marion Knott.

    I started my teaching career in 1954 and I taught first grade at the Wisdom Lane Annex. I transferred to Lee Road in 1957. I have had many contacts with the Forest City kids who shared the annex with the Levittown kids but haven't connected with the Levittown kids as yet. I remember two cool kids, Madeline Toomey and Arthur Citryn. Hope they are ok. How many of you remember the Quonset Hut where I had a "dizzying" time hanging up the kids' work.

    April 23, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Stacey

    I'm from the south and have researched levittown for a while. I've enjoyed looking at google maps at how wonderful the neighborhoods are kept. These people really take pride in their community! I've talked to Polly Dwyer several times about levittown. I'm 50 and can't imagine living back then in such a great place. I've also noticed in real estate sites how many foreclosures. What a shame, such a nice place. If anyone knows Polly Dwyer tell her Stacey from the south said hello!

    August 16, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. louis itzkowitz

    great article,grew up on swing lane.great family place to raise children in the 60 s and 70 s.taxes way to high now.slate lane pool remember having picnics there with family cousins who used come visit from the city and use pool

    December 23, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  4. Gary

    I grew up in Seaford and my house on Meadow Lane was 6 away from going to the Seaford school district.Luckily I was in the Levittown school district. I have so many great memories from my two schools Salk and MacArthur (74).I am still friends with many of my teachers and was blessed with a great education and many friendships. I donated money to both of my schools as well as books, these funds were used for the sign at Salk as well as supplies and MacArthur used theirs for computers as well.Growing up there was at a different time in our countrys history. I had friends from many different ethnicities and religions,which taught me to be respectful and tolerent of all.All in all it was a great place to be from and grow up.

    December 22, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. Levittown2011

    It does not appear that anyone who has posted what has happened in Levittown or the current decaying condition that will lead to it's future death. The average taxes of a home in Levittown is currently 12,000 a year in 2011. The taxes of a Levittown home will be 20,000 a year in 2020. There are 17,286 homes in Levittown and over 2,000 of them are in some form of foreclosure today the highest of any town on Long Island. The town has lost most of it's retail business due to the high Levittown School District taxes which are currently a average of 8,500 of the 12,000 2011 taxes. The Levittown School District Teachers Union is currently in the 10th year of a average 7.5% raise each year which has or will double all their salaries in just 9 years. You hear about how teachers do not get a fair salary across america, that is true for every teacher that does not work in Levittown. The community asked the teachers union to take a pay freeze for the last 2 years and the teachers union only statement was that " They did not cause the economic crisis in America, why should we take a pay freeze? " The current yearly school budget is 200 Million a year. Of the 600 current teachers employed in Levittown 375 are paid a least 135,000 a year. The condition of the homes has declined over the last couple years due to the high cost of the taxes and you can drive down any street and view the homes that are falling apart before your eyes. The american dream is dead in Levittown and it has turned into the american nightmare. The fraud has been revealed that the school district does match up to exceed other surrounding school districts that have better education provided at lower cost to the homeowners in their towns. The teachers salaries make up 80% of the yearly school budget and as a current board member stated this year " I had to explain to my children that they will not have the same education that other children had in the past, they will has less and the community will pay more for it due to the teachers salaries that will always be increasing due to what has been done in the past." The teachers salaries and retirement add a 4% increase to the school budget each year. The new New York state law of a 2% school tax cap may save other school districts, but it came 10 years too late for Levittown. People have posted what the current price of a Levitt home is it is between 250,000 and 300,000 today but it was over 500,000 just 6 years ago when the real estate market was at it's peak.

    December 22, 2011 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Clarence

      12K a year in taxes? Time to leave. In 2004, we paid 15K (fifteen) cash, total price for our 3200sqft 2-story Victorian fixer-upper in a small Alabama town (Camp Hill). Taxes: 227.00 per year. You don't make as much money here, but with zero mortgage, we have more -disposable- income than if I made 150K in NYC or DC. Zero mortgage also meant paying off two years early the one vehicle that had a payment, and having zero loan or credit card debt. Not much for jobs, but a great place to retire, with Lake Martin 5 miles away, the big university town of Auburn 20 minutes away. There are two drugstore soda fountains in operation within 20 miles, and a working drive-in theater within 40 minutes. Clean, cheap and quiet. A few years back, my sister paid 21K cash for a 5BR in the Alabama farm country. Taxes: 55.00 annually, but the teachers drove the buses (no extra pay for that), moms volunteered (free) to cook and serve the school meals, you hauled your own trash to the dump, and everyone over age 14 is automatically on the volunteer fire department. Amazing what you can do with minimal Govt involvement and some self-sufficiency. Local MD visit here is 53.00 (total, not co-pay). Half the county paper is filled with family activities and kids sports, not crime statistics. My niece (age 30) closed on her 14K Atlanta suburbs foreclosure yesterday. No mortgage for her, either. Time for a change.

      December 22, 2011 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      12K per year? In sunny San Jose, California we're paying half that. 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2000 square feet, and gorgeous weather.

      December 22, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Steve Bergsman

    Earlier this year, I published a memoir/social history of the town called Growing Up Levittown: In a Time of Conformity, Controversy and Cultural Crisis, and the response was overwhelming from the baby boomers who grew up there and elsewhere on Long Island. It was a special place in a special time and whether we still live there or someplace else in the world, our years there created indelible, warmly-remembered imprints.

    December 21, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlie Elders

      Great book, Steve! I bought it last month.

      December 21, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Frank Casey

    Family moved to Center Lane when there was a potato farm across the street that eventually became Wisdom Lane School (a converted Quonset Hut). We had an extended family (8 people) living in the house and we were happy to be out of the city (didn't know any better). Mom used to push me and my brother out of the house to play with all our friends (there were many available) and tell us to be back in time for dinner. Had to go to Hempstead for real shopping or Bellmore for food shopping even though we had the Levitt version of strip mall down the street. Left in 1954 and have not really had much, if anything, to do with Levittown since but still have lots of fond memories of games and fights with friends.

    December 21, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ken B

    Levittown was the first fully planned suburban community – it was by no means, the first suburb. Not by a long shot.

    December 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • antiplanner

      Levittown wasn't even the first fully planned suburb. Try Llewellyn Park in 1857. Or Riverside in 1868. Or Country Club Estates in about 1910. Levittown became famous mainly because its low prices made it affordable to a new class of homebuyers, not because it was first in anything.

      December 22, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mike

    Grew up in Levittown in the 80s and 90s. No direct rail link to the City — so it remains surprisingly insular. White working-class, more like a midwestern town than someplace 30 miles from midtown NYC. Judging by the paths chosen by most of the kids I knew (who either moved out of state or have found success difficult) the place is not the best incubator of creativity or talent. Not a lot of diversity (still), and not a lot of doctors or lawyers coming out of it.

    December 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Irving

    My family was one of the first one hundred to buy a home in Levittown in 1947 on the GI Bill. I grew up there, graduated high school there (Division Ave.) and then left for college. I only came back for visits until my parents sold out and retired in 1979. The early years were okay but I went back for a look in the 1990's and saw how different it had become.

    December 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen Taylor

      Hi Irving, I love hearing about original Levittowners. My parent's rented from 1950-1953 with my two older sisters but never really was able to ask them about what it was like for them becasue my dad died young and my mom suffered from Alzheimer's before she passed. I was ten years younger than my sisters so I was born more than five years after they left. I had the priviledge of talking to a few elderly people who moved there in the late 40's and never tire of their stories. Are your parent's still alive and what was it like being part of one of the first 100 families? Where was your home in Levittown? Hope to hear from you. Thanks, Sincerely, Karen xo

      February 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Big Al

    Levittown was (and maybe still is?) the white trash capital of the northeast. I was four years old when family and I moved there and lived from 1968 to '71. To think of how and where the children of the place (my own age) learned such racial hatred and anti-semitism absolutely boggles the mind. To think of how five year olds used the "n" word or "dirty Jew" with such ease made me know that not everyone during that time wanted or taugh social change. When we left for a more upscale neighborhood, the housewife next door vented her anger and envy on my parents by cursing me out. I was eight.

    Levittown was poison.

    December 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jude

    From an empirical perspective, this article is incorrect in its claim that Levittown was the first suburb. Street car suburbs, such as Evanston and Oak Park near Chicago were built in the late 1800s. Residents used trains or street cars to commute into the city.

    Perhaps by providing a definition of what they consider a "suburb" the authors of the article can resolve this issue.

    As a side note, it would be interesting to see an article that explores the fate and paths of these even earlier locales.

    December 21, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Andy Hopkins

    I grew up in Levittown. When I was born in the late '50's, I lived on Grove Lane, we moved to Bucket Lane in the early '60's. I left in 1978. Levittown was a great place to grow up. It's funny, and quite special, how there is a unique bond amongst all Levittowners.

    If you went to Division Avenue High School, you couldn't avoid being molded by the late great, Mr. Jim Amen.
    He was one of the most influential coach/teachers to all of us.

    There were many gifted teachers and coaches that improved our lives, but I feel Mr. Amen was a real inspiration.

    I wasn't a 'model' youth by any means, but, as an adult, I continue to draw on the lessons learned from my role models in Levittown. A truly great place to be from.

    December 21, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. Tim504

    I wondered what streets they showed in the old picture. Using maps.google.com I found them. The 4-way intersection in the lower left corner is Saddle Ln and Knoll Ln. The two streets that curve into the middle of another street are Ring Ln (near bottom) and Chapel Ln. You have to rotate to Google 90 degrees counter clockwise to match the picture.

    December 21, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. kittycatcorn

    My ex-husband is from Levittown and his parents still live there. It always kind of weirded me out there, and the houses that have been "upgraded" the most usually look ridiculous.

    December 21, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  16. John

    you people need to stop making a massive political deal out of this article. the suburbs were just something that emerged from the american need for more housing. suburbs helped kick off the baby boom. at the time, it was a great opportunity for these people. if you had told them before the suburbs became a common place to live, that they could own their own home, a lot of them would laugh at the concept. It was a pretty sweet deal for a lot of the WWII vets and their growing families.

    December 20, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jo co

      I can't believe CNN has a news article about the fact that houses look different after 60 years.

      December 21, 2011 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
      • JKinOB

        I can't believe you thought the article was about the fact that houses look different after 60 years.

        December 21, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Rizzo

    I got off the long Island Rock in 1990 ,,, grew up in amity shores . ... Now live in Greenville SC Best Move I ever made .... They Tax the death out of the people on the island .. still Go Yankees

    December 20, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • frenchy

      Left L.I. in 94. Dad was laid off by Grumman Aerospace. I loved growing up there but can not see how anyone could afford it now.

      December 21, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Guest

    I like the slidey changey pictures
    Show more

    December 20, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Raeanne

    I grew up in Levittown! Here is a video tribute to this iconic suburb http://youtu.be/r2g45_AOp1o

    December 20, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  20. colt45

    To the Houstonian: To start with, the climate in the Northeast is much better overall. Cooler and less hunidity. And the entire northeast including New England is really beautiful. Nothing beats a crisp fall day with apples to pick and cider to drink. The sky is bright blue and the whole world is flaming orange, red and yellow with autumn leaves. And I haven't even gotten to winter, spring and summer.

    December 20, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Jared

    I still live on Long Island, In patchogue now. bought the house at 20k, now most of the homes are worth about 200-250 on my block. Back a few years ago before the bottom out, my block was going for almost 450 475. I wish I would have sold then =[

    December 20, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  22. EastvaleRezident

    Enjoyed the history of this article since i just bought my first home in a modern Levittown, a newly incorporated city called Eastvale, CA. It's just a trade-off I guess and not suitable for everyone. I trade 2+ hours a day in traffic for a large home, great schools, and safe neighborhood, all at a price I can afford. Car-pooling with my wife and paying for the toll roads make it bearable. Many of the early suburbs have already been engulfed into the city and that's what will eventually happen here. This used to be the "boonies" not that long ago but now it's changed. Oh and we hardly know our neighbors either, but those we've met seem to be decent folks. Probably won't be here when we're in our 80's though.

    December 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Justin

    I grew up near Levittown (Floral Park). The running joke was always to call kids from there 'levitrash', although the one's i met were alright. It was and still is almost all white, like most of LI. The only color they added to that place was the paint to their houses. What do you expect from a place (Long Island) that had Robert Moses develop and build the southern state parkway. He intentionally built the bridge overpasses too low for city buses to pass under, making it impossible to bus city kids to the great beaches/parks. I will make the assumption you all can guess what 'city kids' means. You won't read that in the officially history, but thats how it happened. Anyone who knows the area can tell you those underpasses are WAY low. Now you know why, if you didnt already. Anway, I grew up there as a minority and never had a problem, but i know plenty of others who didnt. Great article about the history. Its really weird if you ever go to another levittown in another state. You feel like your back on LI.

    December 20, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Long Island is definitely not mostly white.

      December 20, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Amy

        Long Island is much more diverse now than when I grew up in Levittown from 1956-72. The racial clause in the original deed was shameful, but sadly a creature of the times. I think the Fred Johs mentioned must be the dad of the President of my 1972 graduating class from MacArthur H.S., who has the same name. We're planning our 40th HS reunion next year, so it was fun to see this. I still live on Long Island, in Lido Beach now, and have several friends who live in Levittown. The Levitts did a pretty nice job of designing the place - the public pools, free to residents, were fabulous. Such great memories of riding our bikes there everyday in the summer with friends. The houses were set at different distances from the street, breaking up the monotony of the four styles - yes, there were two styles each of the original cape cod and ranch designs - of house. There were three other kids on my block in the "R Section" within 6 months of my age, and we all remain friends today - 55 years of friendship and great childhood memories.

        December 20, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Desertarea

      You are wrong on the reason for the height of the underpasses. The Parkway system was designed for passenger car traffic only. It was planned as a commuting system, not a delivery system. No vehicles with commercial plates were allowed to transit. That ruled out all trucks and buses. It was not designed to rule out buses only.

      December 20, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • Justin

        Okay, if you're willing to buy that i've got a bridge in brooklyn i'd like to sell you. I'm not saying the guy didn't do a tremendous amount for NYC and LI, i'm just stating that he wasn't exactly Mr. Civil Rights. I guess the argument could be made he didn't improve (i.e. add new parks, new apt. housing, new aesthitics) above 125th St. (Harlem) because they would be sreading themselves too thin? Even though he had projects for parks, bridges, highways, in every other part of NY and close surroundings. Sure, i'd be willing to buy that one too if you thought so. (sarcasm)

        December 21, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      Amy,

      I grew up in the "R" section too. I've always found it strange how a few of the streets are a Wantagh address.

      December 21, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  24. Don

    I lived in Levittown at the age of 3 in 1952 on Bayberry Lane. Anyone know the street? Perhaps we know one another.

    December 20, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      I lived off Wantagh Ave in 1959 at 3 years old, but we moved, so I don't remember exactly what the cross street was. I just remember a fire station right in our back yard, and the volunteer fire dept. That whistle would go off constantly! I did also live in Seaford for a number of years. Been in Nebraska since 1969!

      December 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • JA

      I currently live at the intersection of bayberry and robin. my parents moved to bayberry in 1983.

      December 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  25. macphile

    I live in the sprawlingest (yes, it's a word) city there is, let me tell you, and there has to come a point where we stop. People already have 1-hour commutes or more, all so they can have their perfect (cheaply built) house in good school districts. If they go much further, they'll be in the district of the next city over. Quality of life isn't just about keeping your kids away from the minorities and "teh gayz." It should also be about how much of your life you're spending in traffic jams and whether there's any nature left for your kids to see because you've bulldozed it all (just so you can complain when the neighborhood is "invaded" by wild animals). And those lawns...and those deed restrictions. It's all a blight. A blight, I say.

    December 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Mona in Tulsa

    Be smart; buy land out in the country, grow and raise your own food and go off-grid as soon as possible...the end is very near!

    December 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tr1Xen

      No it isn't... people have been saying that for centuries and we're all still here.

      December 20, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • vo1itw

        2 Peter 3

        1This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

        2That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

        3Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

        4And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

        5For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

        6Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

        7But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

        8But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

        9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

        10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

        December 20, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • Gruntled

        Hey, vo1itw – chill out.

        December 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • DoNotWorry

      The end is not near. Still a good idea to have a home that is paid off and a solid garden. Those who survived the Depression best were not the best little suck ups, but were the most independent of corporate jobs. True then, true now.

      December 20, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jim

        you got it my friend

        March 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  27. IndyMike

    You can buy nice homes in Indianapolis for $75,000. I lived in Los Angeles for many years and prices are awfully high. The median Indiana price is about $100,000. For $200,000 you can have an excellent home in an excellent neighborhood. There aren't that many communities with pricier homes than $300,000. And we top out in Carmel and Bloomington at about a million. Not too many of those in the state. I have a beautiful, hundred year old Dutch Colonial of brick and shingle in a historic area I bought as a fixer upper 14 years ago for $76,000. For a while they thought it was worth about $180,000. But I think in today's dollars $150,000 is all she would bring. My friends in Los Angeles will never live in a house so large and nice. They have to rent. I loved adventuring in LA. But I would never choose to invest in such over priced real estate. Indiana works for me.

    December 20, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • DoNotWorry

      Homes in the country are going for a paltry 30 thousand.

      December 20, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      That's really interesting. I grew up in the suburbs of NJ, and your "average" home was about a million. Mind you, they were very large, but that was the norm. (It was also heavily Catholic, so some just needed space for their 10 kids. Others just wanted space to... I dunno, just to have.) I know East Coast, esp NYC area is one of the most expensive places in the country, but I would think LA would be close behind. Guess not.

      December 20, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      You're comparing LA and Indiana – says a lot. Good grief, have you ever been anywhere? I can think of so many places (urban or otherwise) that are significantly better than either!

      December 20, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  28. shekon

    Interesting racial tone to sale of houses -here it is reverse. Morris county NJ we live in a $860k Toll Brother House and more than 50% of us are Indians or Chinese. rest white very few blacks or hispanics – maybe they are cleaning ladies or garbage collectors who knows

    We want some of the whites out from our enclave soon – their kids are wrthless scuums, bad grades in school, foul mouthed teenagers and spoiling the minds of our kids – who are into academics, music & arts and other constructive activities.

    Asian power now white folks – learn to obey your new masters soon!

    HAHAHAHAHAH How time changes everything!

    December 20, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Gee I hope you're "enclave" has Asian and Indian Firefighters to call when you're house goes up in smoke! But, I doubt it, considering you have no cahones whatsoever.

      December 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • wavejump1100

      dont speak too soon. a few years in affluent suburbs and your kids will be spoiled, pot smoking, binge drinking failures living in your basement until they are 30. just like their white friends. you dont actually think they are immune because of their former race do you? they will try to fit in and be like american kids. your nightmare is just beginning welcome to america. i grew up in morris county and was smoking pot by 13 outside our 100k (at that time) house next to the beautiful lake.

      December 20, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      Absolutely agree with Wavejump. Not sure where in Morris County you are, b/c I grew up there too and we had 2 blacks families in town, the rest white. It's not about heritage but just the fact that kids in the burbs have NOTHING to do. Arts and sports will only occupy their interest for so long, usually until puberty. Kids from every sort of background, strict parents or not, they ALL turned to drugs eventually. Yes, it will happen to your child, it's just a matter of whether you'll accept it and do something constructive about it, or live in the dark until your kid ODs.

      December 20, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • Karen Taylor

        Very sad that you and the wavejump ( I beleive that was their e-mail) person have this point of view. Had my share of wild days as a "suburb teen" but I can assure you that we ALWAYS HAD SOMETHING TO DO and neither myself nor anyone I grew up with are living in their parent's basement. There are always those in EVERY COMMUNITY who will end up like that but for my family, and those we all grew up with, everyone we knew went on to have successful lives. And I took care o my elderly parents before their deaths when they became ill becasue I appreciate what the "Greatest Generation" and my immigrant grandparent's before them sacrificed so I could have a better life. I hope you can appreciate my point of view. God bless.

        February 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • NBE

      I am guessing that you might be in "The Peaks" section of Jefferson Township.

      December 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Luke

    You Americans are stupid....or at least naive...You WERE the envy of the rest of the world! Your "culture" might not have been perfect but it was an inspiration for people living elsewhere...Your car obsessed culture in which the individual person could go where ever it chose was the symbol of freedom and in countries with heavy, dirty, mass communication it was the ultimate goal one was striving to achieve. Same with your big houses, far from the noise of the city, with big immaculate lawns. The Suburbs that were relentlessly promoted in American TV shows, movies, music and books and exported abroad as the symbol of American exceptionalism or cultural dominance. And you know what? In countries in which most people live in small little dirty apartments so densly build that you barely can fart without offending your neighbor those "american suburbs" were also envied and people longed for it. Everybody wanted to have its own "piece of land" far from the city....Yes...America WAS envy of the rest of the world but now...it's just a shadow of its former itslef..In the name of stupid wars, fighing invisibile enemy(terrorism), ever visible socialism and stupid enviroment protection laws you lost that envy...and it's just very sad....

    December 20, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wanda Hickie

      stick a sock in it, fool.

      December 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • DK

      I hope you go back to where ever it is you come from then.

      December 20, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • wavejump1100

      you are so mistaken. the EPA is what keeps our suburbs clean and beautiful unlike the cesspool of china and india. we can drink our water and breath without masks. the socialism you speak of is an important safety net that keeps the poor off the street begging for handouts like in some foreign countries. the war against terrorism is/was a giant mistake and mostly fabricated. i will agree with you there.

      December 20, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Right on Luke! I am an American, a vet, and a former owner of one of those at the time $9,500 homes. What I saw felt and believed in America is all but gone, a show of it's former self.

      December 20, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • Gary @Luke

        Oops! Sorry Luke... I posted to soon... I agree with some of what you say but socialism? And and stupid enviroment protection laws? man you are dumb! These laws are what is keeping America ahead of wherever yu are from, clean air and water, you got?

        December 20, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathi

      So does that mean YOU and YOURS won't be moving to America anytime soon?

      December 20, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • mlamanta

      go fu$%K urself

      December 20, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hope

      You are so right Luke. I used to be real proud of America and to be an American. Political greed and selfishness mirror our society. Few people take responsibility for their actions anymore. Education is bad, we are living the movie idiocracy and quickly falling.

      December 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • obbop

        "There's class warfare, all right, Mr. (Warren) Buffett said, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

        "There has been class warfare going on," Buffett, 81, said in a Sept. 30 interview with Charlie Rose on PBS. It's just that my class is winning. And my class isn't just winning, I mean we're killing them."

        "My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress." – Billionaire Warren Buffett, in a New York Times op-ed on Aug. 15.

        December 22, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  30. stringbean

    Everyone keeps on refering to her house as a dump, I don't see it. It look like a very nice house that has changed over the year and there are many who would love to live in a house like that. Too bad that you are all assuming that this Levittown is a dump without ever taking a look at it. How quickly we judge just to stir thing up. It really show just how ignorant you can be and how much time you have on your hands.

    December 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary @Luke

      Yes, nice house. It's been kept up and looks cozy and comfortable.

      December 20, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  31. F. Daniel Gray

    Ah me, the hypocrisy. "New homes for World War II veterans 'All Yours for $58." It was the American ideal, alright. Unadvertised, and here, unmentioned by Ms. Dwyer, was an agreed upon caveat, rigidly enforced. A "black" person (uh human being) whether having fought for the nation or not, was not permitted to set foot therein, unless they were,perhaps cleaning up the place. And, maybe not even then.

    And, for all the naive and uninformed: I'm not bringing up race. It exists in the persona of Ms. Dwyer. For she is living EVIDENCE of the conditions. WE like to talk about how the DPRK is so very isolated from the outside world. Surely Ms. Dwyer, figuratively speaking (for I don't personally know her thoughts), would be ignorant of the outside world which contained "other" people living their lives.

    December 20, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Mr. Gray. Im sure this woman didn't buy the house with the intention of offending you. If you know anything it should be that people of color were not even considered (in any equasion) until the 60's. That situation, I believe, has been corrected.

      December 20, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  32. TWood

    This is 2011 rehash of college entry-level sociology. The Levittown complex, a series of look-alike home comunities that flourished during the post-WWII days. Many of these communities still exist beyond Levittown. In my area two such neighborhoods or cities Greenbelt and Rockville, MD have these neighborhoods which still thrive. Perhaps this concept needs to be revived for the returning Vets of today. Let the govt divert war dollars to funding housing for this breed of soldier. JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!

    December 20, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Al Koholic

    The sad part is that the black and white house looks nice... Sad with all of our technology & skills & tools this is the best we can do. The house looked nice then turned into a dump. We as humans are no too smart & for the most part have no taste. Look at that dump! It took 83 years

    December 20, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Phil Mycrackin

    I like bangin hoes in the suburbs. They buy me things & like hummers.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  35. sol

    Yes, the government f the american dream with regulation. Thankfully, my grandfather left brooklyn in 1948 and made it overseas. Now I dont have to f worry about regulation or whine aobut 'sub-urbia'

    be rational–the future is gated communities–there is not 'community' or 'society'...just a bunch of f trying to get ahead by either playing the victim card or getting elected to congress or the executive branch.

    The equivalent of a bunch of mentally re-tarded third graders run america. So yea, I think thed solution is for everyone to give one big middle finger to everyone that wants to tell other people how to live, and if they keep at it, move–

    THERE ARE SEVERAL PLACES AROUND THE PLANET that are looking for professionals, america is not the only happy pie-

    they give you too much sh-t, you leave. GIVE ONE BIG MIDDLE FINGER to all the little angry faced third graders as the economy sours. They dont deserve your taxes. The f idiots can't get out of a cardboard box.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  36. ralph

    PoBoy, you're an idiot.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  37. SG

    This is painfully poor writing. Do you realize how many unemployed journalists there are in this world?

    December 20, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • stringbean

      would you happen to be one of them, because you comment is pointless. some people take a negative view of everything.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • wjmknight

      You're full of crap. I was hooked, and entranced by the report. It must be hard to read with your head up your ar$e.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • SG

        I didn't comment on the report. I think the information provided was insightful and effective. I am, however, not a fan of typos and constant mistakes. I am most certainly NOT a journalist. I am merely a lover of words. If I offer this world my brain as a canvas, use the proper paints. If I were a journalist, I would expect criticism when deserved. I would even go as far as to say that criticism motivates each of us to embrace our mistakes and grow. Every position in this world requires a body to fill it. It is our duty to make certain that we are right for the job. If not, WHY?

        Have a lovely day.

        December 20, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary @SG

      SG, what does what you say have to do with the article? Can you tell us?

      December 20, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  38. stringbean

    I grew up in Hicksville in a Levitt home that my father and mother bought when he returned form the war. It was a great place to grow up. We knew all our neighbors and were always out with the neigherhood kids playing kick ball. The pools were great and there was a ton of open space to play. We would go out and play, come home for lunch and go back out until the light come on. I only wish my kids could have such a nice community to grew up in where you felt safe and secure but now we are too figntened to let our kids go anywhere without supervision. We moved to Massachusettts when I was a sienior in High School and the neighernohood feel was not there. Even Billy Joel sang about the "Village Greens" in one of his songs, he too grew up in Hicksville. The houses may have started out all the same but it had a great community feel.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      I can't tell if the actual neighborhoods have gotten less safe, or if being in suburbia for a number of generations inherently makes people crazy and paranoid. I wasn't allowed to walk 3 houses down the street to my friend's without a flashlight at night. It's still has one of the lowest crime rates in NJ (not counting teenage drug use). Play dates were very regimented, TV was censored, check in via cell phone was mandatory, I'm not sure when or why the burbs got so silly.

      December 20, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      What wonderful memories! These could have been my own. "Come in when the street lamps come in" - what a throwback! I lived in Levittown as a young boy just beginning grade school. East Broadway Elementary - the school is still there! Looks the same on Google Maps as I remember it. I tried to find the house we lived in. I found the street, but not the exact house. As the article says, many of the homes look much different now. Was a much different time then (mid 60's). A good time. This was a trip WAY down memory lane, thanks!

      December 21, 2011 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
      • Jen

        Wow that was one I wasn't expecting to see in these comments! East Broadway!

        I went there too in the late 70's and early 80's.

        December 21, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  39. Jyuma

    As long as everyone realizes the suburbs were a plan by the oil companies to addict America to gasoline and get wealthy, we will be just fine.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • AG

      If thats how you feel, go live in a Soviet Bloc where your life is planned out for you. You can be equal to everyone else, no class warfare! I'm sure those OWS pansies like you would love that.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • anotherworldispossible

        AG, you're what is wrong with this country.

        December 20, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • rzzzll

        Seriously? There is no more Soviet bloc if you haven't noticed gramps. It collapsed 20 years ago, or are you just living under a rock?

        December 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  40. cmon man

    $75K for a single family house in 2011? Only if it's a dump needing 10's of thousands in repairs in an urban ghetto or if it is located in the sticks and over 30 miles away from the nearest over-$25/hr job.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • TWood

      You obviously did not interpret the sentence there. What it says is that the $5.8k equals $75k today, NOT the house price tag. Capice?

      December 20, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • chupacabra

        He didn't miss the point you did. You can't buy the same house new today for $75k. What is so difficult to understand?

        December 20, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Bob Berbowski

    I find it interesting that two Jewish brothers would strive to create a "racially pure" neighborhood in 1950.

    Talk about short term memory!

    December 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • ...

      This is really common in American history. For example the Irish immigrants in the South used to get dumped on all the time but they would turn around on dump on blacks. Its one of those things were people say "well at least we are not them" and then do all they can to keep that group suppressed.

      December 20, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • rzzzll

      You seem to forget that for most of American history that every ethnic group that has settled here and became more assimilated, climbing the socio-economic ladder. Once that happened, they started to identify more as "white" or "real" Americans, to become like everyone else. Not to mention the fact that many ethnicities had their own neighborhoods, towns, districts, ghettos in most cities and towns. People were obviously more racist or xenophobic then.

      December 20, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barbara

      In an interview, Levitt explained that he wasn't racist, he was a business man, and as a business man he would sell to anyone. However, the only way to get financing was to include that close.

      December 20, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • Barbara

        *clause I meant lol!

        December 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  42. sthflchk

    Not really about this story but about race which is being bandied about here. everyone, of any color, should read Black Metropolis, it tells the story of black Chicago (originally settled by a free black Frenchman, who knew?) while also telling the story of whites in Chicago and the North. It talks a lot about that clause in housing agreements and how it helped create all black neighborhoods. It was very enlightening. That book and Africanisms in America. If people (black and white) read these books I think a lot could be different with race relations. For instance, not only did white people discriminate against blacks but so did well off blacks. Also, Ebonics (I hated the term when they came out with it), when you compare Ebonics, linguistically, with native African languages there are clear similarities in usage and sentence structure. Educate don't hate.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Tim

    Ahh, suburbia! The place we love to hate just as we love to hate ourselves.

    December 20, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  44. edgar

    So it's still alright to live in racist neighborhoods/communities in America? No wonder America is so plagued with bigots and racissm, it's being promoted by these type of pathetic and stupid articles. The old lady is proud to talk about great and wonderful to be racist. REDICULOUS!

    December 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ridiculous

      How you spelled the word "ridiculous," was ridiculous.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Did you even read the article? Relax, buddy. Learn to spell while you're at it.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skeets

      Read the article idiot. It's not that way any more and she was not proud of the fact when it was so.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Saturn7

      for gods sake stop whining you moron.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jyuma

      How meaningless can anyone's opinion be, when all they offer to the discussion, is a comment about a word that is not spelled correctly?
      Talk about a waste of internet time.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  45. joe money

    I've read everything here and I have concluded: this is stupid. I'm going to sleep it off.

    December 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Jenster

    I live near Levittown and what people have done to those original Levitt houses is amazing. Huge kitchens and master suites, great rooms, beautiful landscaping. I'm not sure this article did the area justice. There are many "village greens" that are in fact, green open spaces and small parks, and there are several community pools. And while it is not the most integrated area, it is, as many of the surrounding LI towns are, definitely becoming more and more multicultural which is a good thing. I don't live in Levittown but it is one of the more affordable towns on LI and shame on all the snobs who say they could never live there. It is as safe as any other LI town, the schools are decent and it is commutable distance to the city. Most of the people take pride in their homes and it shows.

    December 20, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  47. TallyChick

    Very suprised that the article did not mention Levittown, PA, which is a suburb northeast of Philly! Same kind of homes built by the same folks around the same time....perhaps a few years later.

    December 20, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  48. alimonyjones

    @Lesley: If your family could make house payments, pay utilities, buy groceries while skimping on other "necessities", pay for health insurance and taxes on a parttime wage please let me know where you work. I can't do that in rural Alabama and I live alone, have limited needs and no agenda. You paint a lovely picture but I doubt it's realistic.

    December 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  49. NJ_Electrician

    Would people stop posting how you can still buy a great house for 75,000 if just tighten your belt, don't eat out, make your own clothes, blah, blah. Considering the US Median home price is still well over 160,000, the MAJORITY of Americans cannot find a home for anywhere close to that.

    December 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      You can get a nice house in a good, safe, public school on public transportation in the suburbs of Pittsburgh PA easily for 79k or less.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • B00bTube

      Two words: "Trailer house"

      December 20, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • local

        you are a idiot

        December 20, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ann

      Well, not in New Jersey, probably.

      I was out in a rather depressed area in northwest PA a few months ago, on business, and took a look at some listings. You could buy a palace there for $100K. I saw lots of houses for less than $75K, and even saw one for 19. Granted, who knows what was inside, but the exterior looked decent.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  50. NWeiner

    "Lost in suburbia hell where are we everything looks the same!" -Gone in 60 seconds

    December 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  51. C

    My family lived on Staten Island, where we lived in a community that was like a mini United Nations. A great learning experience for children and adults alike. Back then it was like living in the Catskills. It was great! We were a part of New York City, but we were more countrified. Then we saw the Verrazano Bridge being built on the Brooklyn side and my dad said, we've got to get out of here. We knew that our beloved Staten Island would go through some drastic changes, like the Staten Island Expressway, which we really didn't need.

    My parents looked on Staten Island for a home at first, because we loved it so much there, New Jersey and then Long Island for a house. Only Levittown was affordable for our young family and we would drive all the way out there to look at homes. The second home we looked at was the one. Beautiful flowering shrubs all around the border of the house, a living fence, yet not a fence. We had the apple tree in the front yard, the pear tree in the back yard.

    We moved to Levittown one summer so as not to interrupt the school year. On our first drive through our new neighborhood, we all noticed that something was strange and very wrong. As a little kid I even picked up on it as we drove down our block. What was it? Everyone was white, and even though we are white, we felt like we had moved to another planet altogether. It was weird. I never did like the sameness. I liked the interaction of different cultures and missed it terribly. It was wonderful. A great learning experience.

    On the upside of Levittown, it was so safe that children could go out by themselves and go on scavenger hunts, trick or treating, or selling girl scout cookies. We were all safe and sound. We had our Brownie, Girl Scout, Boy Scout and 4-H Club meetings there.

    The above article is wrong when it states that the village greens were actually just another name for strip mall. That isn't true. Yes there were a few stores, but it was a village green in the truest sense. There were pools, both kiddy and adult pools. We had ice skating in the winter. There was a park, the village green. One store had a soda fountain, sold stuffed animals and Mickey Mouse watches amongst other items. There was also Levittown Hall where my school's orchestra played a concert. The schools were very good.

    The homes were small, but Mr. Levitt made sure that the homes were built with the idea they could be and would be expanded one day, and they were. The homes also came with their very own fireplace. So, what the above article states about the Levitt houses not looking like they used to look, is exactly what Mr. Levitt had intended all along.

    December 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • mlamanta

      yes, the village greens that were like parks with just a few stores and the community pool. i lived in island trees, near the east green. no place better to grow up

      December 20, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  52. patNY

    Born and bred and still live on Long Island...there's a term we use to describe someone who's from Levitown...they're called Levit-trash...and for good reason. You couldn't pay me to live there!

    December 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • C

      Pat,

      I can honestly say that nobody and I do mean nobody who lived in Levittown were trash.

      We lived in a clean, wholesome and safe atmosphere, which is something you obviously never had. To put it mildly, you don't know what you're talking about.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      Completely wrong.
      There were not many trashy people at all in Levittown come the 80's because trash could not afford to move there.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gee

      Really?! Born and raised and still living in Levittown and NOT TRASH thank you!

      December 20, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  53. ron paul 2012

    I bet half of the people who read these blogs still think the dollar is backed by gold... Stop the abuse.
    Vote Ron Paul 2012

    December 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  54. ron paul 2012

    Stop US humiliation
    Stop the bilkers
    Empower the people
    Vote Ron Paul 2012

    December 20, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rufus Leeking

      LOL

      December 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Prefab_expert

      Ron Paul 2012? Almost like saying we would land on Mars in 12 months time.

      December 20, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ampmaaaaaaaaaane

      yessir. ron paul 2012 baby. screw EVERYONE (obama included) else

      December 21, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  55. Desertarea

    I was lucky to be able to retire at 39, have a sailboat built and spend the next 27 years cruising all over the world. It was a terrific life. I retired from cruising and live in a great desert town in a great house. I was lucky in investments, planned, and lived within my means. Now, how about many of the others I met and got to know, who were off "seeing the world". Many sold everything they owned to "follow their dream". Many have returned home to find they were left behind by inflation and a changing economy. They can not compete for jobs against younger workers in a new environment. They can never rent or own a home like they left. They will live in poverty for the rest of their lives. Every change in life has the potential to be bad, as much as it has the potential to be good. So, don't rush out and "grab life" and run. Be sure of what you are doing and not just act impulsively. Maybe you will be as fortunate as I have been. But, maybe not.

    December 20, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Teri

      Very well said. When it comes to finance, what you do in your younger years will affect you forever. Irresponsibility in your 20's will likely haunt you forever. It's just not worth it to run out and grab the latest electronic gadget. So what if your tv or cell phone isn't as nice as your coworker's/neighbor's/friend's. You'll have a much nicer retirement and less-stressful middle-age if you scale back on silly stuff like that.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rufus Leeking

      Maybe you will, but maybe you won't. Great advice, thanks.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  56. thebigB

    Hmm. Maybe I'm not understanding but I have some issues with this article. What about the San Fernando Valley in LA County? It was built up in the late1800 and early 1900s. Also, around 1909, the "Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company" acquired much of the land of the valley. So obviously the term "suburban" had been around before the 40s.

    December 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • goh

      Yes the problem is with your understanding. They said the word SUBURB did'nt exist until Levittown. You misundertand it as suburban. One is a noun, one is an adjective, ask a kid to tell you which one is which

      December 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  57. PoBoy

    "The tenant agrees not to permit the premises to be used or occupied by any person other than members of the Caucasian race." Interesting, since NY was supposedly a 'free' state and we had just witnessed one of the greatest bigoted atrocities the world had ever known in the Holocaust. I guess if we black folk weren't good enough to fight along side whites during the war, we certainly weren't good enough to live along side them. Unbelievable!

    December 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      I know, it's disgusting. I'm white, and cannot fathom treating anyone like that. Just shows how far as a nation we have come. I can understand prefering one culture over another, or being more attracted to one race over another, but I will never understand hating a race or thinking they are inferior. Human is human, plain and simple.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • HU

        We haven't come far at all. All white communities still exist, just not explicitly. Whites are now moving to "exurbs" to get away from the minority intrusion into their sacred suburbs.

        December 20, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Get over it. It was a long time ago, and letting this crap fester for 70 years is helping no one.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kellyw

        @Bill "Get over it. It was a long time ago, and letting this crap fester for 70 years is helping no one."

        This argument is so poor and usually held when a Black states something about existing or residual racism. It is OUR (yours and mine) history. You can't just start at a point and declare anything beyond it null and void. The commenter was making a comment on a story that did include a racist point of view. Tell the author to get over it, oh, wait, its part of the essence of the article. It described a detail about Levittown. The featured woman in the article is still trying to change her mind about race. Do you think she is alone? Broaden your horizons enough to know that while festering is not good, obliterating will not help either, its why we have history books. And, I wonder if we were talking about the Holocaust, would your comment be the same or "Get over it?".

        December 20, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      "Free" hardly means "equal." There's a reason the Civil Rights movement in the 60s was so historic and difficult- the issues had been simmering all over and the north was just as racist as the south.

      It's always a struggle over whether we need to keep our kids safe or sanitized- keeping them in nurseries their whole lives leaves them unable to deal with real issues as adults.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      This stuff interests me too. For some reason I was raised thinking America's racial problems pretty much ended with the civil war. But over time I have learned (not just from this article) that America was still essentially an apartheid nation just 50 years ago. Not even a life time. Who is this nation I thought I knew?

      December 20, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • NJ Levittowner

        My family moved into Willingboro NJ in 1966, the third levittown , built after levittown PA, by that time levitt wanted the minority population to be the same as thier population country wide, about 12% at that time, that was'nt good enough, during the so called civil rights movement someone sued levitt to open it up to anyone, black folks came from all over the country to buy a house in the boro, now the boro is 99% black, the pools are closed the schools are the most violent in the state, gangs rule the streets, few stores will open there because they get robed daily. White people dont move out of their homes because of someones skin color, they move because of their behavior, its not racist its survival.

        December 20, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skeets

      It was even worse in the south and for returning black veterans. Imagine having risked your life for a country that forced you to sit in the back of the bus, among other terribly indignities.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  58. d

    suck

    December 20, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  59. d

    Why not write some news. Just more drivel. This article has been written 50 times in the last 30 years

    December 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  60. df1chicago

    this story ends so sadly... if given the chance to see the world,why not take it? you only go around once... the advise the elder lady gave to stay put is terrible. the younger lady will end up regretting that...

    December 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Desertarea

      Don't be to sure. I was lucky to be able to retire at 39, have a sailboat built and spend the next 27 years cruising all over the world. It was a terrific life. I retired from cruising and live in a great desert town in a great house. I was lucky in investments, planned, and lived within my means. Now, how about many of the others I met and got to know, who were off "seeing the world". Many sold everything they owned to "follow their dream". Many have returned home to find they were left behind by inflation and a changing economy. They can not compete for jobs against younger workers in a new environment. They can never rent or own a home like they left. They will live in poverty for the rest of their lives. Every change in life has the potential to be bad, as much as it has the potential to be good. So, don't rush out and "grab life" and run. Be sure of what you are doing and not just act impulsively. Maybe you will be as fortunate as I have been. But, maybe not.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Will

    Want to know why young people aren't buying houses any more?

    "They put $100 down on the $8,500 house (about $75,000 in today's currency)."

    What house can you buy that'd even be habitable, and that's not in a slum or 50 miles away from the nearest city, for $75000? How much would a comparable house sell for on Long Island now, $350000? Forget buying a house if you have anything less than a graduate degree, much less if you're a blue collar worker. If you aren't a doctor/stock broker/lawyer/engineer, you're f(#*ked, no matter how hard you work..

    December 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • d

      Advice Wiil, work hard.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • obbop

        "Advice Wiil, work hard."

        My advice is to work smart.

        I worked "hard" for decades and created wealth for others.

        Perhaps if I had worked "smart" I might have created wealth for myself.

        Semantics.... yes.

        But, with thought, the truth I am attempting to convey may be revealed or, for those with the same or similar life experiences I have immersed within the working-poor socio-economic cohort, be readily apparent.

        "The USA needs ditch diggers also."

        Propaganda.

        Implanted tripe used by those who have created vast infrastructures created to ensure the continuous upward flow of wealth to the apex of the socio-economic pyramid-shaped hierarchy AND to corporate USA.

        "There's class warfare, all right, Mr. (Warren) Buffett said, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

        "There has been class warfare going on," Buffett, 81, said in a Sept. 30 interview with Charlie Rose on PBS. It's just that my class is winning. And my class isn't just winning, I mean we're killing them."

        "My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress." – Billionaire Warren Buffett, in a New York Times op-ed on Aug. 15.

        December 22, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      That is not true at all, I live in an area were housing is cheaper, I got a nice house for 70k, and payed it off really early but not spending my money on other things. It's all about priorities. If you want it enough, you will work for it and put off other things for it. In the long run, a house is cheaper then an apartment.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • KPMCO

      I think you're very sadly mistaken. My mother had a high school diploma, was divorced, and still saved to purchase her own home in Houston. I moved to Florida, and after 10 years of saving, and waiting for the right opportunity, I have also purchased my own home. I have a bachelor's degree in English...and have worked in call centers among other places, to earn a living. Stop thinking that you have to be extremely wealthy to own a nice home. I saved a lot...up to 20% of my income...didn't buy a lot of electronics or fancy clothes, new cars, or ate out as much as my friends do. I still socialize, but in simpler ways..a video, card games, pot luck social dinners. All things are possible, but you need to prioritize and make choices to achieve your goals.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Houstonian

      You can get a decent house in any Houston suburb for $75,000, today. Much more than 750 square feet too. The economy did not take as much of a hit as the rest of the country here, but it still took a hit. So, there are jobs here as well. I grew up on Long Island and now live in a Houston suburb. Not sure why so many people still stay in New York, when it is unrealistically expensive.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ziggy Stardust

        Houston is a dump with the worst weather on the planet next to the miserable jungle in Vietnam. They also appear to have no zoning there, you often see a body shop or dry cleaners next to a home in what appears to be a residential neighborhood. What hicks in the rest of the country don't seem to understand about living in the Northeast is the opportunity to make big money here. I worked in Venture Capital for 15 years in NYC, made a boatload of money, had a big house in CT, cars, the dream. Then it all came crashing down in 2008. I sold everything I could and moved to Wyoming where I now work as a tile setter (my dad tought me the trade when I was a kid) I couldn't be happier. I miss all the toys, but life is good. Wyoming is breathtakingly beautiful Houston is just breathtaking (FROM THE STENCH)

        December 20, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • John

        Try getting rid of that $300 computer phone, the $150/month text/talk/data plan, down grade to "just" the 3-30 Mbps internet access (about $50 saving), buy a coffee pot and save the $8 coffees 3 times a day......
        Oh, you might have to move to a different place to find a better paying job. I know, terrifiing to think you'd have to move away from your folks. Learn an actual skill instead of just hanging out after school.
        There are very many ways to get the house you want and can afford. Unfortunately, all those ways involve work of some sort, so most will just whine about how unfair life is.

        December 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lesley

      I'm a 23 year old homeowner. I live in a 1400 sq ft house on 2 acres with an inground pool in mid-Michigan. We paid $79,700 for it because the housing market is so bad in Michigan. I am an insurance agent and my husband is a factory worker (no degrees). The only reason none of my friends have a home is because THEY RUINED THEIR CREDIT. Even the ones with college degrees. Our house payment is $605 a month. I could work part-time and my husband could lose his job and we would still afford it. It's all about living within your means.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ann

        Good for you, Lesley! Congratulations!

        December 20, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rod C. Venger

      I've never made more than $7 an hour in my life...was retired by cancer in 1999...but picked up a nice home (to me) in a 30 year old subdivision in Colorado Springs back in 1986 for just under $50,000. Price have gone up but so have wages. If I sold my 850k home in L.A., 1700 sq ft, I could buy 4 of those here in Bryan Texas with the same money. This isn't a small town...Bryan/College Station together add up to close to 250,000 people. Dump your toys with their 2 year plans and save that money instead. Realize too that most of the US is nothing like NYC or LA. Oddly there's a link between liberal cities and absurdly high real estate. There's more to the US than the place you wake up to every morning. Opportunities are everywhere.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • RichP

      It is all a matter of priorities. We built and bought our home in 1985, had two kids, raised them, they just finished college and are out looking for jobs. My last new car was a 98 Jeep Cherokee that I am still driving at 380,000mi and one engine.
      As for Long Island, last time I looked there, my wife's family are all from that area, the taxes were more than half the mortgage but that's what comes with a corrupt govt and union dominated area.
      The Jersey shore was another example of an area that exploded in the 50's and 60's, 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage split level went for $25K in 59.
      I was always impressed what my wife's aunt and uncle did with their cape cod and even after a dozen trips out there I would still get lost in that maze of roads.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • JusDav

      Hey Will,

      Well, you do not have to live next to a million (or ten million) people to be happy and productive.
      I just purchased a home in the Midwest. Three bedrooms, one bath 1250 square foot with a 1150 square foot garage / shop.
      It is over a hundred years old, but in very nice shape. new thermo windows, vinyl siding.

      Cost 35000. Cost is only 200 a month with 5% down payment. HS diploma, average to lower average income.

      So, if you feel you deserve a quarter million dollar home / mansion, maybe you need to tone down your feelings a bit and join the real world.

      peace out
      JusDav

      December 20, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      actually, you are wrong about who can afford these houses. i live in another central long island suburb and i can tell you that the only people who can afford houses now are plumbers, electricians, any other skilled blue collar workers, and central american or south asian immigrants who are shopkeepers. most "white collar" people are earning far less money and can't afford to move here

      December 20, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marky

      Where we live (the Dallas area) housing is not terribly expensive. My daughter has a house that would cost about 80-85K, and the schools are very good, the shopping is great, and there is public transportation not only in our city, but pretty much anywhere in Dallas. She could live in a bigger, nicer house if they were more careful in their spending, but the one they have is 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom. They prefer to spend their money on traveling and "stuff"; their choice. People today also think they have to have 3000 sq. ft for 4 people, and back in the day, we grew up in 700 sq ft, and didn't think it was too small for 4 people. Focus on what you are spending on, and think about what your priorities should be.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      I can tell you the pricing on houses in Levittown went through the roof in the late 80's to mid 90's.
      I moved out of state and in the late 90's, my parents sold their house to be near me in PA. They sold for more than the 350,000 you put in your repsonse.

      It's rather disgusting with pricing of homes.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Uh, I'm a high school drop out and have already owned 3 homes. I now live in Orlando, work at home on my 3 dozen websites and will buy another home in 2012 before they go up again. How much you make or how successful in life you are depends on you, not what school you went to.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • John

        See, Bill learned a skill and became successful. Notice he is not occupying anything crying about how unfair it all is. Hell, if he keeps at it with his stated work ethics, he may become one of the 1%. A little published fact that the liberal media is trying to bury – 80% of the 1% started their own businesses, built them from the ground up. But we don't want people to think they can work hard an be successful. You must receive free hand outs!!!

        December 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Actually Will is right. I live 3 mins from Levittown. All of the houses are around $400k and the taxes average about $10k per year. Where Will is wrong is in regards to who actually live there. Its cops and teachers. They are the only ones that can afford it. Cops and teachers make 6 figures on Long Island. Thank you Unions. Notice all of the people replying to Will say they bought houses for $75k? Notice how none of them are from Blue states?

      December 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • Levittown2011

        I live in a Basic Levittown home My school tax bill is $ 8427 My county taxes are $ 3486 can you please add those 2 figures up to a total of $10K ? No it is $ 11,913

        March 22, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  62. danny

    There are some suburbs on the north shore of Nassau where I grew up that are still beautiful.

    December 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • AG

      No sh!t they're still beautiful Danny, the North Shore is where all the money is! Please don't think that communities like Roslyn, Glen Cove, Great Neck, Port Washington, Manhasett, etc. are like every other place.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Ravi in Aberdeen, NJ

    Levitt brothers built another 'Levittown' in Abaerdeen, NJ in Monmouth county. They look strikingly similar to Levittown in Long Island, NY. They were built around the same time, 1950's. My white neighbor had never seen a non-white until late 90's!

    December 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Prefab_expert

      While there may be some duplicated designs, the Levitt model is a good model that would lower construction of house by over 20%. A house can be built in 30 days with much less wasted raw material is always a cost-saving and good environment advancement. The US construction is too lazy to learn more from the Levitt model.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lukos

        You are clearly a chinese poster. Why don't you leave your slander at home and leave discussion of American communities to those who have first-hand knowledge of the US rather than regurgitate communist propaganda?

        December 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • Laughing Cow

        It is very apparent that you are uneducated on the DEVASTATING effect of the suburban model in todays society.
        It affected gender roles and pollution sky-rocketed because they through these homes up with NO regard to solar orientation and etc. It increased dependency on the car and was a nightmare for the family that had one car... which was almost everyone...
        Not only that it also decreased the amount of diversity in a given area which has added to more social problems in our communities

        December 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • KPMCO

        Actually...the Levitt model isn't bad. People complaining about it assume that everyone who buys one wants to work in the city. The suburbs have developed their own economies, business structures, schools and shopping, and other amenities. It allows smaller towns to grow and develop into more urbanized communities.

        As far as pre-fab construction. there is nothing wrong with it, so long as it abides by building codes. My home in Florida requires cinderblock framing for the ground floor...for hurricane resistance. Even though we're more than 50 miles from the coast, it's just the way it is here. Many people assume that something different is always bad. That's not the case. The house is gorgeous, with a nice stucco exterior, and nice finishes inside. It was still relatively affordable for a brand new house...and would have been less had I not had a porch, lanai, or extra room added.

        I agree that a LOT of new constructions are wasteful, and people worry more about getting granite counter tops, high end appliances, upgraded fixtures, etc....instead of getting something more functional and workable. That's what many people want, but they shouldn't be complaining when their mortgage is much higher than mine or can't afford their "dream house". Cookie cutter houses are fine if that is what is in your budget. I won't complain about them. :)

        December 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • Urban History

        Actually, I think the a major part of the whole Levitt phenomenom was that they invented this easy, fast way to build inexpensive homes. There was a huge housing shortage in the country at that time, and that problem could have been solved, and houses would have been less expensive today, had the concept been allowed to expand. However, the building industry was horrified at the idea of "prefabs," since 'it didn't want to have its profit margin cut, and worked to stifle the Levitt building concept by lobbying the government to enact legislation against "prefabricated".

        December 25, 2011 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
  64. CR

    I have lived in Levittown my entire life, when I got married I bought a Levittown Cape and we love it. The cookie cutter houses are gone, every single house on my block is different and people keep finding new ways to change them and make them more interesting looking. I for instance have three extension on my house. The houses are unrecognizable from the original box. It was a beginning and all towns have to start somewhere, and this one has come a long way.

    December 20, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  65. steve

    Aahh! The greatest generation. Gotta love em with their restrictive communities and racism. I am happy to see it go away...

    December 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donovan

      The Levitt's weren't part of that generation, but the one before it. The greatest generation is the only reason you're not speaking German right now and running a furnace for Jews. What have you done for humanity?

      December 20, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • Skip P

        Well stated! Thank you, you sound very wise.

        December 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • Adam smith

        The millions of Russians who lost their homes, children, and livelihoods might take offense to that. Contrary to the "Greatest Generation" myth the European population sacrificed a lot more than the average American in World War II. However, the phrase "We won the war" has gained popularity (Even though it's very exaggerated).

        December 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Strange history

    That's called MCMANSION...

    December 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • URDumb

      Do you have any idea what you are talking about? A McMansion that is not.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • what?

      McMansion? What part of 750 square feet sounds like a mansion to you? My GARAGE is about that size.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Child of Levittown

      Grew up in the original Levittown. There are no "McMansions" there. Never were. Never could be.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  67. musings

    Why CNN does not teach American Studies: The first suburbs were "Streetcar Suburbs" NOT car suburbs. I live in one, and believe me, it is mostly houses – but they are from the 1880's and they were purpose-built to coordinate with the streetcar (now subway) system. Los Angeles was built up in the same fashion long before everyone drove cars.

    So those songs about ticky tacky boxes – well that historical revisionism.

    December 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • PoBoy

      Not many people ready CNN for a history lesson. You should probably read a history book or go the History Channel website for that.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • vintage274

      I, too, was reared in the same streetcar suburb as my mother. Housing was a mix of single family and apartment buildings with many more trees than the city. Houses varied from some streets that contained row-type houses to others with spacious Victorians. Each of those suburbs had a main street with needed businesses, but most men went into the city or off to the industrial section for daily work. Our family home was built just after the change of the century. In the 1950s the "real" suburbs popped up out on the edge of the farms. They had no apartment buildings, no main streets. Each single family home had both a front and back lawn and a garage. They were typically smaller than the streetcar suburb houses, but boasted modern conveniences. Strip malls were the rage (though limited to one complex for evey ten or so communities) and contained a branch of at least one large downtown department store, a family shoe store, and a pharmacy of some sort. Large groceries were nearby, but not a part of the malls. In the 60s large indoor malls became the rage as well, and big cities boasted one in each georgraphical direction. Although Levittown is a suburban icon in America, it was not the model all over the country. The suburb I lived in as a teen in Pennsylvania (built in the 1940s) offered larger houses than the Levittown model (usually 3 bedroom) which were generally built of brick and offered in a vaiety of architectural styles - ranch, Cape Cod, two story, split level - carefully interspersed to add variety to the neighborhood.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drowlord

      Not a history lesson... journalism lessons. Wouldn't hurt them to do a LOT MORE on most of their stories to try and get facts straight.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • batjones

      I believe the note from Musings captures my initial thoughts on the first suburbs. Many of the communities in Bergen County were built around the railroad commuter trains that lead into New York City during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Some of the lines still exist. This article caputures a second wave of real estate boom after WWII.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Urbanista

      Yes and no, while the word suburb had existed for about a century to denote such a place, it did not really define a specific place to live for Americans until post-war. You either lived on the outskirts of the city proper (streetcar suburbs) or in an actual town outside the city (commuter town). The distance and general cost factor would have prohibited many people, even well-off, from considering the pre-war suburb. This is because then, most economic activity, jobs, retail, etc happened near the core (downtown). You also have to consider, today a suburb indicates a politically independent place with a large land mass, whereas back then many suburbs eventually were annexed into the major city.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Alex

    Patrick, you wrote:
    "Yes, before the late 60's, non-urban america was a wonderland for black families... I think it was in the 50's as well.

    December 20, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  69. Penny Nickels

    Is that a video camera on the roof at the far right of the 2011 photo? Looks like crime may have increased in Levittown too. Yep, times have changed.

    December 20, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Beelzel

      Good catch, but the shadow looks more like a TV dish. Just caught it (or maybe pohtoshopped out) at an extreme angle.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rod C. Venger

      There's a line going to it, black, barely visible, that leads me to think it's just a power/cable/telephone line junction. Another thought was a weather station.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stacy

      No, it's not a video camera, look again!

      December 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • AgathaMystery

      The post is in the original picture as well. I'm sure it's a stub of some sort to bring in electricity into the house.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Child of Levittown

      No. That's the pole the old television antennae used to be perched on.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fenceless

      I'm a current Levittown resident. Crime is not a problem at all in this neighborhood - safety is a major draw, in fact. Levittown is still known as a "blue-collar" neighborhood by Nassau County standards but it is very safe (home prices of only $350k and taxes of only $9k a year... what a bargain!) Nearly all powerlines are above ground in Levittown, and my cape (which looks just like the one in the picture), has the same wood post with powerlines going up the right side of the house. It's unsightly, but it's definitely not a video camera.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • Rod C. Venger

        Sorry but 9k/year in taxes isn't much of a bargain. We're $1200/year for 850k in L.A. and $400/year on $90k in another home in Texas.

        December 20, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • Fenceless

        Rod,
        It was sarcasm about the taxes ;) Ltown is taxed mercilessly, as is most of Nassau County.

        December 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • AG

        Rod, look up the term for SARCASM when you have a chance.

        December 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • Levittown2011

        Fenceless does not live in Levitton NY..

        I live in a Basic Levittown home My school tax bill is $ 8427 My county taxes are $ 3486 can you please add those 2 figures up to a total of $10K ? No it is $ 11,913

        March 22, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Jim P.

    "The word "suburb" didn't even exist back then, in the late '40s and early '50s"

    Yes it did. The word was in use in the 1890's certainly and possibly earlier. Heck, the Chevy Suburban has been made since the 1930's I think....1935 to be exact.

    Bad writer, no cookie!

    December 20, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  71. Penny Nickels

    "Levittown was a white-only community. And it largely remains so today. Eighty-nine percent of Levittown residents identify as white...."

    Sounds like a lily white community. Hope they aren't (too) racist.

    December 20, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Why do people have to bring up the race card in everything? Maybe look in the mirror and ask yourself who the racist person is.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • MHN

        "Why... bring up the race card..."

        Because it's a part of the history and fabric of the United States. Did you read the article? The original inhabitants of Levittown had to sign a lease that wouldn't even allow them to host a non-white family in their homes.

        Would you prefer to ignore the reality that motivates a lt of American opinion? I'm guessing yes because it makes you uncomfortable.

        December 20, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee S

      Most black neighborhoods have about the same ratio the other way around, but you dont hear us complaining.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • For real?

        Yeah, because you are dying to live there, huh?

        December 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Since 12.5% of the population is black, it sounds like it's an average mix for a town.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • AG

      Good one bigot! I live right next to Levittown and the whole area is as blue-collar middle class as it comes for a large metro area. The town next to me is predominately black (I live between them). Show me a town thats 50/50 black/white, right it doesn't exist. Most of the original houses have extensions and many of them are fairly new. I disagree that the suburbs are dying, they're just evolving but holding the same feel to them. In the past few years there was plans for a $3.8 BILLION buildup, which was completely shot down. The reason, we're Long Island not NYC, there's no place for mass buildup in the burbs.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Mike

    I live on Long Island and we looked in Levittown during the Real Estate boon... Everything was expensive. These homes are like human prisons. No light enters, because of the tiny windows. The design of these homes includes giant poles and fireplaces running upstairs in the most awkward places. Also the ceilings oar low and rounded, dormered on the second floor. Ugly Ugly Ugly. The town should be burned down.

    December 20, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • WCB

      This was the "best life" for its time. I grew up in a similar home in Cleveland in the 50's and we enjoyed it and our neighbors. So many people think they need a McMansion to raise a family and the question is why? All that money and house for what? Millions of people grew up in "Levittowns" and enjoyed the good life that it had to offer. Tear it down..why? Because it doesn't meet your preconceived idea of what a home is? This is part of the economic problem of foreclosure that wehave today–people living well beyond their needs and means.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • Beth

        Well said, well said!!

        December 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • kd

      I don't know what house you looked at in Levittown but the house I bought last year in Levittown looks nothing like that. Nor did any of the Levittown houses I looked at. I live in a basic Levit with no dormer or extension. And honestly if it wasn't for Levittown we probably would have moved out of state because we couldn't afford nor wanted a 6 bedroom house with the taxes being 12,000.The commute is easy into the city and town has everything we need. I would like to add that I was 24 years old when I bought my house and I have worked very hard for my house and I am very proud of owning my house, Along with many Levittown owners. So before you put down a whole town maybe you should take the whole picture into consideration and not base it off one experience.

      December 20, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • Barb

        In response to kd's comment about taxes being $12,000 a year and no one having mentioned it, I did allude to my property taxes tripling in Levittown in 3 years when Nassau County reassessed all the homes on L.I., and that's when I left. The high property taxes have everything to do with the salaries of school employees being the HIGHEST in Nassau County, on par with affluent neighborhoods like Great Neck. The superintendent of schools made close to 400K a year, retired at 80% of that, and when he dies, his wife continues to receive his pension. School taxes are the reason why Levittown is so expensive to live. I bought in the district for the schools, knowing they hire and pay for the best teachers. When my child graduated HS and then SUNY, I got out.

        December 22, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
      • Levittown2011

        On Drc. 22nd I mentioned it and more!

        It does not appear that anyone who has posted what has happened in Levittown or the current decaying condition that will lead to it's future death. The average taxes of a home in Levittown is currently 12,000 a year in 2011. The taxes of a Levittown home will be 20,000 a year in 2020. There are 17,286 homes in Levittown and over 2,000 of them are in some form of foreclosure today the highest of any town on Long Island. The town has lost most of it's retail business due to the high Levittown School District taxes which are currently a average of 8,500 of the 12,000 2011 taxes. The Levittown School District Teachers Union is currently in the 10th year of a average 7.5% raise each year which has or will double all their salaries in just 9 years. You hear about how teachers do not get a fair salary across america, that is true for every teacher that does not work in Levittown. The community asked the teachers union to take a pay freeze for the last 2 years and the teachers union only statement was that " They did not cause the economic crisis in America, why should we take a pay freeze? " The current yearly school budget is 200 Million a year. Of the 600 current teachers employed in Levittown 375 are paid a least 135,000 a year. The condition of the homes has declined over the last couple years due to the high cost of the taxes and you can drive down any street and view the homes that are falling apart before your eyes. The american dream is dead in Levittown and it has turned into the american nightmare. The fraud has been revealed that the school district does match up to exceed other surrounding school districts that have better education provided at lower cost to the homeowners in their towns. The teachers salaries make up 80% of the yearly school budget and as a current board member stated this year " I had to explain to my children that they will not have the same education that other children had in the past, they will has less and the community will pay more for it due to the teachers salaries that will always be increasing due to what has been done in the past." The teachers salaries and retirement add a 4% increase to the school budget each year. The new New York state law of a 2% school tax cap may save other school districts, but it came 10 years too late for Levittown. People have posted what the current price of a Levitt home is it is between 250,000 and 300,000 today but it was over 500,000 just 6 years ago when the real estate market was at it's peak.

        December 22, 2011 at 12:28 am

        March 22, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Uncle Owen

    Technically, shouldn't Plymouth MA be considered the oldest suburb in the US? It's a suburb of Boston and was settled in 1620.

    December 20, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Boston wasn't founded founded until 1630. And for a time, they were two seperate colonies. Massachusetts Bay Colony and Plymouth Bay Colony

      December 20, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • musings

      You're onto something in that Levittown was not the "first suburb". The suburbs were built in the late 19th century in coordination with streetcars tracks being sent out all over. It's how Henry Huntington of LA made his bread – LA was full of streetcar tracks the suburbs built on them. I live in Newton, Massachusetts – same story. Now the streetcars have largely been replaced in LA by freeways and more suburbia, and in Boston by the "T" which works with the subway system. But suburbia is NOT a fifties phenomenon. It's just that more recent immigrants thought so when they left their urban ghettoes.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Uncle Owen

        I park at Newton Highlands and take the D Green Line in to Fenway when I go to see the Sox play. The Boston T system is great, LA really should build something like it to cut down on traffic.

        December 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Errogant 2

      Plymouth was settled long before Boston, making Boston a suburb of Plymouth.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Barnacle Bill

    "They put $100 down on the $8,500 house (about $75,000 in today's currency)."

    Part of the problem in today's market is houses are way overpriced for what you get. Blame investors for driving prices up.

    "The tenant agrees not to permit the premises to be used or occupied by any person other than members of the Caucasian race."

    You would think that the nice Jewish boys would have learned from their own history about discrimination, and not blatantly ignored it. Tsk, tsk.

    December 20, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  75. HuntingtonLady

    Levittown is an armpit now. Hope all suburbs do not turn into it.

    December 20, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • cdw

      You obviously didn't grow up during hard times. That you could even make a comment like that is beyond me. I grew up in Cottage Grove, MN with the same type of scenario. The homes were built between 1955 – 1965. They were larger than the Levittown homes, we had 3 BR ramblers. About 1400 SF. We were classified as a suburb because we were located 25 miles south of St. Paul, MN. It was the best type of environment for raising families and socialization, unlike the uppity ones (like yourself) that thought just junk lived outside the St. Paul city proper. You should be ashamed.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • NNJ

        I love my Orrin Thompson home!

        December 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      I grew up in Levittown, my mom 82 still lives proudly in the house that she and my dad, a WWII Vet, bought together over 60 years ago. They raised six successful and productive children in the "armpit". Now she watches the many children being raised there today play in front of her house like her own kids did decades ago. Maybe the "armpit' really live in your heart.

      December 20, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  76. KCRick

    We all lived in the same kind of houses in the 50's. My version was in a Pittsburgh suburb. Our attic was finished and man was it hot up there in the summer. Used to put fans in both windows. You could not hide in that house. One TV, homework on the kitchen table, one bathroom, and if you were lucky an unattached garage for one car.

    December 20, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Marcus

      Exactly. And somehow, we survived and even thrived. Now these yentas need to have a 3,000 square foot house with 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms for 1 or 2 children. They won't consider less, even though they can't afford it. Gotta keep up with the Joneses...

      December 20, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
      • KPMCO

        I would not make assumptions like that Marcus. I am single, no children, and bought a 4 BR house. Know why? ROOMMATES! Do you realize how little I pay out of pocket every month for my mortgage and utilities? I put my extra money toward the principal to pay the house off faster. Sometimes it's not about keeping up with the Joneses. It's about financial realities and being smart enough to know what I am able to afford alone...and then maximizing it so I can pay it off as fast as I can.

        My roommates help with housework, maintenance, and even watching the dogs when I am not home. It's like a small family here. I expect to have this house paid off within 8-10 years if I can do it. Can you say that?

        December 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      Obviously the author was never in Levittown. The village green(still there) was(is) not a strip mall. A village green had(still has) 3 building . Back in the day there was a grocery store in 1, a drug store in another and deli,pizza parlor,bar in the 3rd. Behind the buildings was a sand fillled playground. Behind that was the community pool. As a kid you would go from the pool to the pizza parlor, get a slice and soda for 25cents,shoot some hoops and then head back to the pool. There were located all throughout Levittown, walking distance. Some village greens had a baseball field or bowling alley.

      December 20, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      Obviously the author was never in Levittown. The village green(still there) was(is) not a strip mall. A village green had(still has) 3 building . Back in the day there was a grocery store in 1, a drug store in another and deli,pizza parlor,bar in the 3rd. Behind the buildings was a sand fillled playground. Behind that was the community pool. As a kid you would go from the pool to the pizza parlor, get a slice and soda for 25cents,shoot some hoops and then head back to the pool. There were located all throughout Levittown, walking distance. Some village greens had a baseball field or bowling

      December 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  77. denise

    My parents moved to Levittown in 1953. 62 Sunrise Highway. About 7 years ago I drove back and saw a palatial two story addition added to the little cape cod. Only the house across the street looked the way the houses had been originally built. I remember walking to the green with my sister and mom to go to the swimming pool, and my sister and I walking by ourselves to the little grocery store on the green.

    December 20, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      I think you meant Sunrise Lane! haha my best friend growing up lived on that street.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  78. sam

    Cape Cods? LOL, none of the houses in Cape Cod look like that XD

    December 20, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      There are quite a few in the Brewster area that do or originally did. I don't doubt they were altered over time as the one in the article was, too.

      (her updates are adorable, IMHO).

      December 20, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • James Harrison - Saint Petersburg, FL

      I grew up on the Cape, what are you talking about?

      December 20, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  79. Hank Lauritsen

    One of many things that would not have happened without "Big Govt" backing. They are the job creater, behind our progress in my lifetime of depression kid, WWII vet, GI bill etc.

    December 20, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      While true, but the original idea was private business. The government played a reserve role, one that they did wonderfully at.

      December 20, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • musings

      Decisions were made after WWII to create a consumer society around suburbs, cheap gasoline and "national defense highways".

      But there were real suburbs long before most people drove cars: streetcar tracks were everywhere in LA and in the East they coordinated with commuter trains. This phenomenon dates back to the 1880's. I live in such a neighborhood and it still works much better than the one I grew up in, Anaheim, California (a typical 50's suburb).

      Suburbs would be great if there was a lot of public transportation that linked them efficiently with cities nearby. I love my Boston suburb and it is much simpler to get downtown than it is if you live in LA and have to sit in traffic on the freeway. I keep sampling and comparing the two since my family still lives in LA: Boston wins.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • RichP

        The downside of Boston is they need to teach the drivers to use those signals that come stock on cars and the rear view mirrors, not all of out of staters drive by ESP when we are up there. :-))))

        December 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  80. joe

    The house looked A LOT better in 1955. Why is the 2011 version filmed in Black and White, and how did they get such fantastic color in 1955?

    December 20, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • luvar

      Spike, comment below, has to be right. They've got it backwards.

      December 20, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      The 2011 picture IS color. The Cape Cod (B/W) was the 1955 version.

      December 20, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      The black and white is 1955

      December 20, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  81. Race Card?

    Blacks were making inroads into the suburbs as times were a changing in the late 50s-mid 60s. Then, with the blink of an eye, drugs began to tear the black family apart. As the corrupt culture of the late 60s started a downward spiral of dependence and fatherless households, the stream of blacks moving to and becoming part of suburbia crashed. Now, with a 70% rate of black children born out of wedlock, only the ones that break free from the shackles of the left-wing, liberal plantation of dependence have a shot of making it today. Thanx for nothing, welfare state America.

    December 20, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      Yes, before the late 60's, non-urban america was a wonderland for black families. Suburbs welcomed black families with open arms, and job opportunities were wide open for blacks! Black schools weren't underfunded at all, and blacks could ride a bus to any suburban school they chose to receive an equal education!

      December 20, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
      • Sarcist

        Whine Whine Whine! All you do is sit around and whine about how bad everything has been for black people! I am white and MY life has not been all that great so I don't want to hear it!

        December 20, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barnacle Bill

      Drugs were brought in by freewheeling free marketers looking to make a buck. They also targeted the black community because they also had an agenda to bring them down. Those free market capitalists didn't want black people moving into their all white neighborhoods, so they proceeded to wage class and race warfare on those least able to fight it. Anyone can blame one side for all of the ills of society. My analysis is more valid than yours, because I didn't blindly try to categorize everyone on the right side as being greedy, hypocritical free marketeers.

      December 20, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
      • Amy

        Because the ones least able to fight it means they don't know the word "no."

        December 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • PoBoy

      Amen! And all those right wing, Christian Conservative job creators with there new tax cuts, government subsidies and tax breaks started hiring all of us poor black folks, promoting us to jobs with pay equal to theres, allowed us to buy homes in the surburbs next to them and worship in their big churches. Then they took their country back and we all lived happily ever after!

      December 20, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Samskwirl

    Suburbs suck – citys suck too. That is all

    December 20, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Truth Detector

      That's not all. You suck. There, now we're done.

      December 20, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Barnacle Bill

      You suck. That is all.

      December 20, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
      • Alexo

        I prefer not to use words like "Suck" in this forum..

        December 20, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  83. spike

    Bass ackward.

    December 20, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  84. Max in NY

    CNN-you messed up the scroll bar for the age lapse of the house- scrolling to 1955 makes it look newer ya dopes.

    December 20, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • vintage274

      Reading skills needed. The caption clearly states that the original house was featured on a "black and white postcard." No matter how you scroll, the black and white house is the original.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • d

      CNN is dolts.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • PoBoy

      Pay attention and stop embarrassing yourself.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Max, I had no problem with viewing and understanding the photos.

      December 20, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  85. kgee

    That sure sounds "Christian" of you... I wonder what Jesus would of said to you at the Temple, the dinner table withthe tax collector etc. ... in my book you are NOT a Christian.

    December 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |