Central Avenue (Five Towns)
Central Avenue is a road mainly in Nassau County on Long Island, New York, that spans four of the Five Towns along the Far Rockaway Branch of the Long Island Rail Road, to which it runs parallel. About a third of it is a popular business district that plays a central role in the social life of the communities in which it is located. The remaining residential districts are divided about equally between upscale single-family homes, condominiums, and downscale housing. Central Avenue is 3.1 miles long and runs from east-to-west through the communities of Woodmere, Cedarhurst, Lawrence, and Inwood. It begins intersecting Franklin Place in Woodmere and ends intersecting Mott Avenue, in Far Rockaway, Queens County. However, Beach 20th Street, its continuation from Mott Avenue until the beachfront, was a part of Central Avenue until 1917.
Using "Central Avenue" colloquially refers to the business district of Central Avenue. This section is just under a mile long and is located mostly in Cedarhurst and Lawrence, with a small section in Woodmere. It has always been an anchor of area life, and is the defining feature of Cedarhurst, a "shopping village". It features a vast number of restaurants and a large number of clothing stores, in addition to supermarkets, barbershops, pharmacies, etc. It also is the location of the Peninsula Public Library, St. Joachim Church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre and the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway High School. It is considered prime real estate territory, with very high store rental rates. As such, every side street along the strip holds many more stores. Because of the large Jewish population (mostly Orthodox and Charedi), many of the restaurants and food stores are kosher certified. However, several bars and Italian restaurants can also be found there.