During the rollicking 1980s, the Long Island counties of Nassau and Suffolk brimmed with economic optimism. Shopping malls, commercial real estate projects and new homes sprouted from the island's western border with Queens to its eastern tip at Montauk Point.

But the aftershocks of the 1987 stock market crash slowly destabilized the economies of these two affluent suburbs of New York City, where many Wall Street executives had bought opulent homes and summer cottages in the Hamptons.

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