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Hempstead is a village located in the town of Hempsteadmarker, Nassau Countymarker, New Yorkmarker, United Statesmarker. It is sometimes referred to "Hempstead Village" to distinguish it from the town of Hempstead. Hempstead is one of the few Black and Latino majority neighborhoods on Long Island (along with Rooseveltmarker, Uniondalemarker, Freeportmarker and Wyandanchmarker). The population was 56,554 at the 2000 census.

Hofstra University is located on the border between Hempstead and Uniondalemarker.



In the fall of 1643, Robert Fordham and John Carman crossed the Long Island Soundmarker by rowboat to negotiate with the local Indians for a tract of land upon which to establish a new community or "town spot". Representatives of the Marsapeague (Massapequa), Mericock (Merrick), Matinecockmarker and Rekowake (Rockaway) tribes met with the two men at a site slightly west of the current Denton Green in Hempstead Village. Tackapousha who was the sachem (chief) of the Marsapeague was the spokesman for the other tribes. The Indians sold approximately 64,000 acres (260 km²), the present day towns of Hempsteadmarker and North Hempsteadmarker, for items worth less than $100 in today's market.

This transaction is depicted in a mural in Hempstead Village Hall, reproduced from a poster commemorating the 300th anniversary of Hempstead.

In the spring of 1644, thirty to forty families left Stamford, Connecticutmarker, crossed Long Island Sound, landed in Hempstead Harbormarker and eventually made their way to the present site of the village of Hempstead where they began their settlement. Subsequent trips across the Sound brought more settlers who prepared a fort here for their mutual protection. These original Hempstead settlers were Puritans in search of a place where they could more freely express their particular brand of Protestantism. The settling of Hempstead marked the beginnings of the oldest English settlement in what is now Nassau County. They established a Presbyterian church here. Today that Church is the oldest continually active Presbyterian congregation in the nation. By 1843, as written in a history compiled by Benjamin F. Thompson and published in that year, Hempstead Village had 200 dwellings, 1,400 residents, was connected to New York Citymarker by a Turnpike and a railroad, had dry soil, excellent water and pure air and was in short, the principal place of mercantile and mechanical business in this part of the country. The village of Hempstead was incorporated on May 6, 1853, becoming the first community in Queens Countymarker (Nassau County did not exist as a separate county until 1899) to do so.

Regarding the origin of the name "Hempstead", Hempstead founder John Carman was born in 1606 in Hemel Hempsteadmarker, Hertfordshiremarker, Englandmarker, on ancestral land recorded in the 2nd historic census of England (under Edward the First), the Rotuli Hundredorum (Hundred Rolls) AD 1273 as being owned by his direct ancestor Henry Carman. These same properties were on record continuously as being owned by Henry's descendants, through John Carman of 1606. John's wife Florence and her father, Rev. Robert Fordham, were from Surreymarker, England.

Several of Hempstead's original fifty patentees had Dutch surnames. In 1664, the new settlement adopted the Duke's Laws, an austere set of laws that became the basis upon which the laws of many colonies were to be founded. For a time, Hempstead became known as "Old Blue," as a result of the "Blue Laws".


St. George's Church circa 1734
As the years passed, the population of Hempstead increased, as did its importance and prestige. In 1703, St. George's Churchmarker received a silver communion service from England'smarker Queen Anne. George Washington and other prominent leaders of the Revolution often stayed in Hempstead. Right after he became President, George Washington made a tour of Long Island, stopping overnight at Sammis Tavern here (Nehemiah Sammis's 1683 Inn). Hempstead can boast of its share of celebrities. Eleanor Roosevelt lived here for a time as did Lionel Barrymore. Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, actually spent her summers here during her teen years. Her family had a summer estate in Hempstead. Peter Cooper, inventor and politician, was a Hempstead resident. He married a local girl and settled here during the mid 1800s. Cooper invented the steam locomotive and ran for President on the "Greenback" ticket. Charles A. Lindbergh, arguably the world's most famous aviator, spent quite a bit of time in Hempstead both before and after his epoch solo flight from nearby Roosevelt Field to Le Bourget Field in Paris, Francemarker on May 20, 1927. While living here, Christopher Morley was so enamored with the place that on the three hundredth anniversary of its founding wrote a beautiful essay in tribute. His first novel, Parnassus on Wheels, was written on a kitchen table at his Oak Street, Hempstead home in 1917. In 1704 the first stage coach on Long Island stopped to water its horses here.

During the American Revolution, Hempstead was a center of Britishmarker sympathizers or Tories, as they were known. The British attempted to occupy Hempstead after the Battle of Long Island and used St. George's as a headquarters as well as a place to worship. Judge Thomas Jones faulted a lax peace treaty for forcing the evacuation of the loyalists.

In March 1898, Camp Black was formed on the Hempstead Plains (roughly the shared location of Hempstead and Garden Citymarker), in support of the impending Spanish-American War. Camp Black was bounded on the north by Old Country Road, on the west by Clinton Road, and on the south by the Central Line rail. Camp Black was opened on April 29, 1898 as a training facility and a point of embarkation for troops.

In the 1800s Hempstead became increasingly important as a trading center for Long Islandmarker. In 1853 it became the first self-governing incorporated village. Many prominent families such as the Vanderbilts and the Belmonts built homes here, making Hempstead a center of Long Island society. Hempstead merchants established routes out to outlying farms, and served as a distribution point for many firms. Wagons would leave Hempstead loaded with tobacco, candy and cigarettes and return in a week to restock. Bakeries covered routes from Baldwin to Far Rockawaymarker daily. Butchers ran routes to Seafordmarker, Elmontmarker, Valley Streammarker, Wantaghmarker, East Meadowmarker, Creedmoormarker, East Rockawaymarker and Christian Hookmarker. Drugs, medicines, perfumes, extracts, aprons, children's coats and dresses and men's clothes were peddled about the country by Hempstead merchants. People came from all sections of Queens to purchase stoves, and there were few places outside Hempstead where stoves could be purchased. Hempstead was Nassau County's shopping center for more than two centuries. Hempstead has historically been the center of commercial activity for the eastern counties of Long Island. In Nassau County, all major county roads emanate from this village. It is indeed the "Hub" of Nassau County. During the 18th and 19th centuries, all stage coaches en route to eastern Long Islandmarker from Brooklyn passed through Hempstead. Today, twenty six bus routes and three interstate buses leave from the village every day. In addition, the Hempstead Branch of the Long Island Railroad has its terminal here. At one time, there were three railroad companies with terminals within the village.

Early Long Islanders made their living in agriculture or from the sea. Hempstead, with its' central location, became the marketplace for the outlying rural farming communities. It was a natural progression, as the surrounding areas developed from small farms into today's suburbia, that Hempstead Village would remain as the marketplace. Chain department stores such as Arnold Constable and Abraham & Straus called Hempstead home for many years. Hempstead's Abraham & Straus was the largest grossing suburban department store in the country during the late 1960s. Hempstead was Nassau's retail center during the 1940s through the 1960s. The advent of regional shopping malls such as the one at nearby Roosevelt Fieldmarker, the demise of nearby Mitchel Air Force Basemarker in 1961 as well as the changing demographics put the retail trade in the village into a downward spiral that it was unable to recover from during the recessions of the 1970s and 1980s. Recent years have seen the redevelopment of the village as a government center as well as business center. There are more government employees from all levels of government in the village than there are in the county seat in Mineola. The population rises during the day to almost 200,000 from a normal census of 50,000.


Hempstead has developed over the past three hundred and fifty years into the most populous village in the state of New York, with a population in excess of fifty thousand people. It is also the seat of government for the town of Hempstead, the largest minor civil division in the nation with over seven hundred thousand people. Hempstead is just as urban (at least with regard to population density and activity) as any major city. In stark contrast to the surrounding villages in the town and county, it is more densely populated than many American cities with exception to New York City, Cambridge, San Francisco, Boston, Paterson and Jersey City.

Retailers are once again showing interest in the village, and two large tracts of retail property have recently undergone redevelopment. The former Times Squares Stores (or TSS) property on Peninsula Boulevard and Franklin Street has been redeveloped as Hempstead Village Commons, a retail center including Pep Boys, Staples and Rite-Aid. The former Abraham & Straus department store on has recently undergone demolition and been replaced by a large retail development consisting of Home Depot, Old Navy, Stop & Shop and many other smaller establishments. A considerable infusion of state and federal funding as well as private investment have enabled the replacement of blighted storefronts, complete commercial building rehabilitations and the development of affordable housing for the local population. The replacement of the 1913 Long Island Railroad Hempstead Terminalmarker with a modern facility was completed in 2002 and a four-story, 112 unit building for senior housing, with retail on the ground level was completed at Main and West Columbia Streets in January 1998. Thirty two units of affordable townhouses known as Patterson Mews at Henry Street and Baldwin Road was completed and fully occupied in 1997.

In 1989, Hempstead residents elected James A. Garner (R) as their mayor. He was the first Black or African-American mayor ever elected to office in New York state. He served for four consecutive terms. In June 2003, Mayor Garner was elected to serve as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and in 2004, Garner was nominated by the Republican Party to challenge Representative Carolyn McCarthy of New York's fourth district. Although it was initially thought to be a potentially close race, he eventually lost 63% to 37%. Six months later, in March 2005, he was unseated as mayor by Wayne Hall (D), yet another Black (Jamaican-American) mayor elect. In 2009, Hall was challenged by Garner as well as Lance Clark, the village's first African-American judge, but was reelected.

Also elected in March 2009, was Tanya Hobson-Williams,the first African-American Female Village Justice of Hempstead.

Hempstead consists of several areas or neighborhoods that occasionally don't get along and have been known to be one of the main sources of much of the crime. Originally, there were only two sides of town, "The Heights" (Hempstead Heights) and "The Hills" (Hempstead Hills). Hempstead Heights is the area east of Clinton St and west of Westbury Blvd. Over the years, several new regions, or "turfs" have been established, including "Terrace" (also known as "TA" or Terrace Ave.), "Parkside", "Trackside" and "Midway","D-Block". A concerted effort to align all the communities has brought, at best, mixed results. Parkside and The Heights have been at odds since the mid-seventies and early eighties. Recently, the neighborhoods have begun to make peace but tensions are still tight.

Hempstead was also one of the first Long Island communities that had to deal with the Salvadoran gang, MS-13 or "La Mara Salvatrucha". The on going intra-violence this gang has exhibited has led to the formation of their arch-rivals, "SWP" or "Salvadorans with Pride".

There are fifty-seven religious institutions located in the village of Hempstead. They include a vast range of denominations, including, Roman Catholic,(Eastern Catholic)[ [Episcopal Church in the United States of America|Episcopalian]], Presbyterian, Orthodox, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran and other Christian churches, a Hindu temple, a Sikh Gurudwara, a Koreanmarker temple, a Hebrew Congregation and a host of storefront establishments.


Hempstead includes several secondary schools:

The Hempstead Schools were known for their lack of school buses. An ongoing problem regarding the Board of Education has led to charges of corruption and political cronyism, and has led to indictments for assortedlarcenies.

On February 4, 2009, the Hempstead school district officially renamed Ludlum Elementary School to Barack Obama Elementary School. Students at the school petitioned for the name change and the district approved the change unanimously in late November 2008. Obama Elementary is the first U.S. school to be named in honor of Obama.


Hempstead is located at (40.704962, -73.617363).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 3.7 square miles (9.5 km²), all land.


As of the census of 2000, there were 56,554 people, 15,188 households, and 11,178 families residing in the village. The population density was 15,366.1 people per square mile (5,933.6/km²). There were 15,579 housing units at an average density of 4,232.9/sq mi (1,634.5/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 29.68% White, 52.48% Black or African American, 0.53% Native American, 1.32% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 15.22% from other races, and 4.74% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 28.8% of the population.

There were 15,188 households out of which 38.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.0% were married couples living together, 27.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.4% were non-families. 20.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.41 and the average family size was 3.76.

In the village the population was spread out with 26.2% under the age of 18, 16.3% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 17.5% from 45 to 64, and 8.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.4 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $45,234 and the median income for a family was $46,675. Males had a median income of $29,493 versus $27,507 for females. The per capita income for the village was $15,735. About 14.4% of families and 17.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.7% of those under age 18 and 16.9% of those age 65 or over.

Points of interest

Notable residents

Residents (native or lived) about whom an article exists, by date of birth:

  • Walt Whitman (1819–1892; resident 1836–1838), poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist
  • Christopher Morley (1890–1957; resident a few years 1910s), journalist, novelist, essayist, and poet
  • Francis E. Dec (1926–1996; native, life resident, 29 Maple Ave), conspiracy theorist and cult "kook"
  • Walter Hudson (1944–1991; life resident), 4th most obese human, Guinness World Record for the largest waist
  • Julius Erving (born 1950), basketball star, lived in the village of Hempstead as a child for at least two or three years from around 1953 to 1955 or 1956
  • Rob Moore (born 1968; native), NFL football player
  • Method Man (born 1971; native)rapper and member of Wu Tang Clan
  • Prodigy (born 1974; native), rapper in duo Mobb Deep
  • Tavorris Bell (born 1978), former Harlem Globetrotter
  • A+ (born 1982; native and childhood), rapper, 1999 album Hempstead High
  • Dylan Sandas (born 1997, still living in Hempstead.) Won 1st place in the Nation in the NSSL (National Social Studies Leauge) Award in the 2007-2008 School Year and 1st in the school in the 2008-2009 school year at Sacred Heart School in North Merrick. (Was the First to do so in the school's 50 year old history.)

The Hempstead Wall of Fame

The 2005 Wall of Fame Inductees are The 2009 Wall of Fame Inductees are The Hempstead Wall of Fame is located in Kennedy Park, Hempstead. Off of Greenwich St. in Hempstead.


External links

Houses of Worship
  • Congregation Beth Israel of Hempstead

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