Townies: Those irresistibly drawn back to Port’s charm

Julia Bischoff, Features Editor

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For many seniors, as the first semester comes to a rapid close, we dream of getting away. We would like nothing more than to run off to a college far away enough and to discover new places and people. Many of us yearn for a new adventure, and for the chance to experience life like never before. Not many of us want to stay at home. 

“I think Port is a great place, but I don’t think I’d want to stay here. There’s just so many other places to go, and it’s really expensive,” said senior Francesca Karmen. 

Most students feel the same way. There is an entire world out there filled with an abundance of wonders and knowledge. It makes sense that, young people especially, want to travel to experience it. College, for many, is the perfect opportunity to do this. 

However, there is a group of people that have stayed in Port Washington a majority of their lives. These people go by the name “townies,” and some of them have never left Port, but most were drawn back for one reason or another. Although some may associate negative meanings behind this term, townies themselves are not offended and take pride in living in the town that they grew up in. 

“I don’t take offense to the term, it’s just who I am. Me and my family have lived here almost our whole lives, it’s just who we are,” said resident Mr. Chuck Betz. 

Mr. Betz went to high school at Saint Mary’s and has been in Port Washington for generations. His grandparents even worked in the sand mines.

There are plenty of reasons for people to want to live in Port.  The beautiful sunsets, delicious restaurants, waterfront views, and easy access to the city are just a few of the many reasons people love it here. We have a multitude of sites for hiking, boating, walks on the beach, and more. 

“I think a lot of kids take for granted that they live so close to the city, but are still able to access nature, go hiking, and just be outside,” said resident Ms. Amy Schiff.  

Ms. Schiff graduated from Schreiber in 1992 and went away for college. She enjoys living here because of the beautiful community and how close we are to nature. 

The Sands Point Preserve, Guggenheim Preserve, and Manorhaven Beach Park all offer residents easy access. There are plenty of options for people to be outside year-round, and it is a reason why many enjoy living here so much.  However, there is more to Port than just its great outdoors.  

“We have such a wonderful community. I think a lot of kids these days don’t realize how diverse of a community they have,” said resident Ms. Barbara Dietz.  “Schreiber is just a place where so many different people come together, and students are really fortunate to be able to learn from each other.”  

Ms. Dietz grew up here, but left to go to college in Boston.  She has lived in various other places around the island before coming back in 2006. One of the main reasons she says she returned is due to the town’s school district and easy access to the city.

Above all else, people appreciate the sense of community that is found in our town. The community is tight-knit and full of genuine, generous people. Our school district certainly is an aide in doing so. It is ranked as #33 best high school in New York State, and #224 nationally. It is one of the main reasons that people, especially those planning on having children, come back. Our schools teach us from a young age to care for our peers, and this is continued all the way up to the high school. This little bubble we’ve created makes it a great place to grow up and is the driving reason behind why many choose to return to Port.  

“We live in a beautiful town, and I would love to live here in the future. It is like we have our own special little corner of the world, and that’s something I’d miss,” said senior Nina Jawitz. 

As the product of two townies myself whose parents left but came back, I can see why so many of us may end up being drawn back. We should appreciate that we live in a beautiful town filled with beautiful people, and, as we look forward to our futures, not forget where we came from.  

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