The first settlers arrived in 1658 in the region known as the Hempstead Plains. Many of the early settlers were Quakers.
Westbury's Jericho Turnpike, which provides connection to Mineola and Syosset as well as to the Long Island Expressway (or LIE), was once a trail used by the Massapequa Indians. As far back as the 17th century, it served as a divider between the early homesteads north of the Turnpike and the great plains to its south. Today, it serves as a state highway complex.
In 1657, Captain John Seaman purchased 12,000 acres (49 km2) from the Algonquian Tribe of the Massapequa Indians. In 1658, Richard Stites and his family built their homestead in this area. Theirs was the only family farm until an English Quaker, Edmond Titus, and his son Samuel, joined them and settled in an area of Hempstead Plains known to us today as the Village of Westbury. In 1675 Henry Willis, also an English Quaker, named the area "Westbury", after Westbury, Wiltshire, his hometown in England. Other Quaker families who were also seeking a place to freely express their religious beliefs joined the Tituses and Willises. The first Society of Friends meeting house was built in 1700. The early history of Westbury and that of the Friends are so interconnected that they are essentially the same.
These settlers, like many other landowners throughout the colonies, owned slaves. In 1775, compelled by their religious beliefs, the Quakers freed all 154 African-Americans that they owned. Many of these freed men and women built their own homesteads on the open land near the sheep grazing pastures. Their new community consisted of farms and dairies. In 1834, with Quaker assistance, they and their descendants built the New Light Baptist Church. Now known as the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the building still stands on the corner of Union Avenue and Cross Street.
The outbreak of the American Revolution disrupted Westbury's tranquility. From the beginning of the war until 1783, British soldiers and German-speaking mercenaries occupied local homes, confiscated livestock, and cleared the woods for firewood for the troops. With the close of the war, Westbury received its third group of settlers, the Hessians, mostly from Hesse-Cassel in the Holy Roman Empire, who chose not to return to their home country. Instead, they remained in an area now known as New Cassel, a name chosen in honour of the part of Hesse from which most had come.
By 1837, the Long Island Rail Road had built through Westbury. Schedules from March 1837 mention a stop at Westbury, but by June list Carle Place instead, with schedules from 1842 listing both. In 1840, the first public school was built. The railroad made it easier for German, Italian, Irish and Polish immigrants to work Westbury's farms and in 1857, St. Brigid's Parish was founded.
At the same time more African-American families came to the area via the Underground Railroad. For some, Westbury was only one stop on the way to Canada, but several stayed in this area after being harbored in secret rooms in the homes of the Quakers. In the years after the Civil War, until near the turn of the century, the few stores that comprised the small village around the railroad depot, were mainly black owned.
The Village moved from its agricultural setting in the late 19th century when the very wealthy began to settle and build mansions. This area is now known as Old Westbury. Post Avenue soon became a commerce center to serve the surrounding estates. Various estate workers began to move in as well. Streets were mapped out and constructed. Post Avenue received electricity in 1902 and in 1914 a water company was founded.
From the 1850s to the 1900s, Westbury's population and ethnic diversity began to rise as many people of Irish, Italian and Polish origins continued to settle. New Cassel began to be developed in the first quarter of the 20th century.
In 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field, a couple of hundred yards south of downtown, for the history-making flight to Paris, marking probably the most famous event tied to Westbury.
In response to a rumor that northern Westbury planned to incorporate, thereby leaving the southern part without a name, residents collected enough petitions for third class incorporation in 1932. The Village included Grantsville, the section south of Union Avenue around A.M.E. Zion church, but did not take in New Cassel, since the few families that lived there thought it would only unnecessarily increase their taxes.
In 1938, the Northern State Parkway was constructed and in 1940, Roosevelt Raceway. In 1941, the Second World War began. Westbury sent 1,400 persons to serve the country. This was 20% of the community's population, making it the highest percentage of any comparable community in the United States.
In the mid-1950s, Westbury virtually ran out of undeveloped land and with it came the end of the building boom. In 1940, Westbury listed its population at 4,525. By 1960, Westbury's population had grown to 14,757, according to the census data for that year. Many Caribbean and Latin American families began to settle during this time and in the decades that followed.
On the 8th September, 1974, Crosby, Stills & Nash performed at the Roosevelt Raceway.
As the birth rate declined, people married at a later age and the high cost of buying a home prevented many people from assuming a mortgage in the 1970s, Westbury again underwent change. Today, the Village's population remains over 15,000 and is rich with ethnic and racial diversity.
Westbury is located at 40°45′32″N 73°35′17″W.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2), all of it land.
In addition to Westbury Village itself, unincorporated regions surrounding its borders also use the Westbury name, including New Cassel, Salisbury (South Westbury) and parts of Jericho. For example, the world-famous Westbury Music Fair performing venue (now known as the NYCB Theatre at Westbury), located in the Westbury postal zone, is part of the Jericho hamlet.
The region is grouped under the name Greater Westbury, a region that also includes organizations with common interests, such as those in Carle Place, New York to the south and Old Westbury, New York to the north. The school districts that serve the Greater Westbury region, based on the boundaries, are Westbury (including New Cassel), Carle Place, East Meadow, East Williston and Jericho. The only homes zoned for East Meadow Schools are actually located in the Hamlet of Salisbury, which is in the Town of Hempstead.
Westbury School District students attend Westbury High School. Westbrook Preparatory School is a special school located in the village.
Westbury is a very diverse community, made up of Italian-Americans, African-Americans, Arab-Americans, Indian-Americans, and Hispanic Americans. Many of the Hispanics are of Salvadoran origin. Many of the Italian-Americans in the village trace their origins to the town of Durazzano in Southern Italy, and are closely related. A great number still reside on the Hill across from Saint Brigid's Church. The nickname for the Village, "A Community for All Seasons," was adapted after The Greater Westbury Community Coalition ran a slogan contest shortly after the 1966 release of the Oscar-winning Best Movie-- “A Man for All Seasons.” The film was about Sir Thomas More who was portrayed as a man of the utmost principle. The winning slogan: “A Community For All Seasons” was a take-off on the movie’s title and was meant to suggest that Westbury was a good place to live, a place that stood for accepting people of all sorts, a community that embraced diversity.
As of the census of 2010, there were 15,146 people, 4,638 households, and 3,441 families residing in the village. The population density was 5,979.0 people per square mile (2,304.2/km2). There were 4,714 housing units at an average density of 1,976.1 per square mile (761.5/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 61.62% White, 22.65% African American, 0.1% Native American, 4.72% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 6.0% from other races, and 3.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino were 18.85% of the population.
There were 4,638 households out of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.5% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.8% were non-families. 19.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.07 and the average family size was 3.49.
In the village, the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 97.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.9 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $84,375 and the median income for a family was $97,992. Males had a median income of $41,844 versus $36,316 for females. The per capita income for the village was $28,018. About 3.6% of families and 5.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.4% of those under age 18 and 4.6% of those age 65 or over.
Westbury is served by the Main Line of the Long Island Rail Road with connection to Penn Station, Hicksville and Port Jefferson. It is also served by the following bus routes operated by Nassau Inter-County Express:N22: Jamaica - Hicksville via Hillside Avenue & Prospect AvenueN22X: Jamaica - Hicksville via Hillside Avenue & Prospect AvenueN24: Jamaica - Hicksville via Jericho Turnpike & Old Country RoadN35: Westbury - Baldwin
Westbury hosts New York TRACON, the approach control for several neighbour airports, including JFK, Newark and LaGuardia.
The village is served by the Westbury Public School District. However Westbury High School is technically located in neighboring Old Westbury.
The nearest tertiary educational institution is the State University of New York at Old Westbury.Bud Anderson, Major League Baseball Player, Attended Clarke High School, WestburySarah Ban Breathnach, authorNeil Cavuto, FOX Business Network anchor and executiveMichael Cimino, Academy Award-winning film director of The Deer Hunter, attended Clarke High School, Westbury.Kevin Conroy, The voice of Batman in Batman the animated series and Justice LeagueArthur Dobrin, author and professor at Hofstra UniversityPaul Hewitt, Head Men's Basketball Coach at George Mason UniversitySkip Jutze, Major League Baseball player - Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals.Ron Klimkowski, Major League Baseball Player, Attended Clarke High School, WestburyBill O'Reilly, Fox News talk show hostDJ Rekha, Credited for starting New York's South Asian bhangra sceneJoe Satriani, virtuoso guitarist, composer, producer and guitar teacherSpann Watson, Tuskegee Airman, was a longtime resident of WestburyDoctor Dré, Co-host of Yo! MTV Raps with Ed Lover and Radio DJ.Solitary Man filmed two scenes in Westbury.