Doug Dwyer always had a tradition on St. Patrick’s Day where he would dig into his family’s photo archive and text over what was usually a black-and-white image of this clan’s long-ago Hicksville roots.
Long before Hicksville became a major New York City bedroom community and experienced the South Asian demographic shift of recent decades, it was an agricultural community. Hicksville’s fortunes went from making money for the pickle industry that was derailed by a cucumber blight that happened right before World War I, to switching to spuds and making profits via that crop before a 1940s potato blight allowed those same fields to be converted into post-World War II housing developments.
Dwyer, who now calls Garden City home and owns the Side Line Grill, is proud of his family’s origins, which can be traced to ancestors owning Dwyer’s Farm next to Holy Trinity High School on Route 106 and Dwyer’s Inn, across the street from St. Ignatius Church before it was torn down when Route 107 was widened.
As Dwyer is quick to point out, “I always remind my kids to remember their roots on St. Patrick’s Day, and in our family’s case, it’s potatoes.”