Molly Smith Metzler on Port Washington

Molly Smith Metzler set Cry it Out in Port Washington, where she moved while pregnant. Here’s her description of the city in the play’s stage directions.

We are in suburban Long Island, in the city of Port Washington. Port Washington is an affluent, sleepy city with excellent public schools. Commuters are at Penn Station in just 35 minutes on the LIRR, so it’s a very popular destination for New Yorkers who have families and want to rent/buy bigger homes.

Port Washington is comprised of many small villages. This play takes place in the village of Manorhaven, which is directly on the ocean, heavily populated and, depending on the block, either middle class or quite rundown. This block is somewhere in between.

The streets of Manorhaven are crammed with two-family duplexes, some brand new and flashy, some old and decrepit. The new ones mostly have Manhattan-transplants living in them; the decrepit ones mostly have “Lifers” living in them—people who have been renting for generations (sometimes under Section 8 housing codes). Accordingly, there’s a lot of socioeconomic diversity here.

Manorhaven also abuts one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the whole country, Sands Point, which is up on a cliff, literally looking down over Manorhaven. A bunch of New York Yankees have houses up there, and it’s the model for West Egg in The Great Gatsby. Just crazy huge wealth.

Interestingly, the same school bus takes the Manorhaven kids and the Sands Points kids to the same excellent public school in September.