Long Island-derided by some as the home of Joey Buttafuoco, tacky tract housing, and big hair-has become a prime banking battleground.

Dime Bancorp, GreenPoint Financial Corp., Roslyn Bancorp, and Astoria Financial Corp. - the leading thrifts in the area-and bank holding company North Fork Bancorp are squaring off in what could shape up as a dramatic wave of consolidation.

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