Are You In? A Look at New York's Gated Communities

Tranquil gated communities in quiet suburban condo developments are probably not the first things that spring to mind when you think about New York City and its outlying boroughs. The city is known for brownstones, high-rises, and skyscrapers but there are indeed gated communities, some of which are more than 100 years old.

Communities like Sea Gate in Coney Island, date back to 1892, and Breezy Point in Rockaway, date back to the early 1900s - but those were more the exception than the rule.

Then, between 1970 and 1996, the number of units in gated communities in the U.S. zoomed up from less than 5,000 to around 19,000, according to "Fortress America: Gated Communities in the United States," by Edward J. Blakely and Mary Gail Snyder (Brookings Institution Press, 1997). Many have popped up on Long Island, and others within the city's outer boroughs, such as Bay Bridge in Bayside, built in 1982, and the newly-built Magnolia Court in Ozone Park.

The Draw

Many gated communities offer more than homes - they offer clubhouses, swimming pools and other amenities, just like many non-gated suburban condo developments. An online ad for The Villages at Mt. Sinai Homes, a gated community in Suffolk County, reads, in part, "A 5,100-square-foot clubhouse, fitness center, tennis courts and a swimming pool will provide an array of entertainment in an unbeatable location. Enjoy `Resort at Home' living while we take care of your maintenance needs, including lawn care and snow removal."

There are many types of gated communities. Of the ones within the city that we've mentioned, for example, Sea Gate and Breezy Point mainly consist of private houses, while Bay Bridge and Magnolia Court are condo developments.


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  • Gated communities are outlawed in some parts. As they should be. Fear, exclusivity and antisocial attitudes are not desirable in an evolved society.