This article is about Long Island, the island in the United States. There is also a Long Island in the Bahamas, a Long Island in Turkey, the town of Long Island, Virginia, and several Long Islands in Canada

Long Island is an island in southeast New York, USA. It has an area of 1,377 square miles (3,567 km²) and a population of 7,448,618 as of the United States Census, 2000 census, with the population estimated at 7,559,372 as of July 1, 2006, making it the largest island in the continental 48 contiguous U.S. states and the most populated in any U.S. state or territory. It is the 17th most populous island in the world, ahead of Ireland, Jamaica and the Japanese island of Hokkaido. Its population density is 5,470 people per square mile (2,110 per km²). True to its name, the island is much longer than it is wide, jutting out some 118 miles (190 km) from New York Harbor, with only from 12 to 20 miles (32 km) between the southern Atlantic coast and Long Island Sound. The Native American name for Long Island is Paumanok, meaning "The Island that Pays Tribute" — more warlike tribes in the surrounding areas forced the relatively peaceful Long Islanders to give tributes and payment to avoid attacks.

The westernmost end of Long Island contains the boroughs of Brooklyn (Kings County) and Queens (Queens County), and the central and eastern portions contain Nassau and Suffolk counties. However, colloquial usage of the term "Long Island" or "the Island" refers only to the suburban Nassau and Suffolk counties; the more urban Brooklyn and Queens are not always thought of as being part of Long Island, as they are politically part of New York City, though geographically they are on the island. Despite Long Island having a population of over 3 million people, there are only two cities located east of New York City: Long Beach and Glen Cove.

Nassau County tends to be the more urbanized and congested county, with pockets of rural affluence in the cliffs of the Gold Coast of the North Shore overlooking the Long Island Sound and the equally exclusive Five Towns and "Atlantic Beach" that reside along the Atlantic Ocean in the South Shore. Suffolk County tends to be more spaced, less built up, and even rural in the far east sections, such as The Hamptons and Greenport.

Long Island is known for its affluence and high quality of life. According to the 2000 Census, Nassau County is the second richest county per capita in New York State (behind New York County, which is coterminous with the New York City borough of Manhattan) and the fifth richest in the United States. Suffolk County is known for beach towns, including the world-renowned Hamptons, and for the most eastern part of the Island, Montauk Point, home of Montauk Lighthouse.

Long Island is also known for its strong middle class accenting a strong dedication to hard work, suburban homeownership, investment in schools and education and people who are strongly committed to family living and local community events. Many of these are second (or third) generation families who had originally come from Brooklyn and Queens, seeking the space and tranquility of the early suburbs. In particular, a strong Brooklyn orientation remains among many of these families. Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk) has the second highest property taxes in the United States.


Long Island has a climate similar to other coastal areas of the Northeastern United States; it has warm, humid summers and cold winters, but the Atlantic Ocean helps bring afternoon sea breezes that temper the heat in the warmer months and limit the frequency and severity of thunderstorms.

However,severe thunderstorms are not uncommon, especially when they approach the island from the mainland areas of the Bronx, Westchester County and Connecticut in the northwest. Some thunderstorms can be extremely severe and tornadoes, though very rare, are possible. In September 1998, a small tornado hit Lynbrook; in August 1999, an F-2 tornado hit parts of Mattituck, in August 2005, a small tornado hit Glen Cove; one year later in August 2006, a small tornado hit Massapequa in Nassau County, and parts of Amityville, which straddles Nassau and Suffolk counties but is officially located in Suffolk County. On July 18, 2007, an F-1 tornado hit Islip Terrace and on September 27, 2006, a rare waterspout was seen over the Long Island Sound near Port Jefferson. In the wintertime, temperatures are warmer than areas further inland (especially in the night and early morning hours), sometimes causing a snowstorm further inland to fall as rain or mixed precipitation on the island.

Measurable snow falls every winter and in many winters one or more intense storms (called a Nor'easter) produce blizzard conditions with snowfalls of 1–2 feet (30–60 cm) and near-hurricane force winds.

Long Island temperatures vary from west to east, with the western part of the island warmer on most occasions than the east. This is due to two factors: one because the western part is closer to the mainland and the other is the western part is more developed causing what is known as the "urban heat island" effect. The eastern part is cooler on most occasions due to the Atlantic Ocean and the Long Island Sound and it being less developed. On dry nights with no clouds or wind, the Long Island Central Pine Barrens in eastern Suffolk County can be almost 20 Fahrenheit degrees cooler due to radiational cooling.

Long Island is somewhat vulnerable to hurricanes. Its northern location and relatively cool waters tend to weaken storms to below hurricane strength by the time they reach Long Island. Despite this, some storms had made landfall at Category 1 or greater strength, including two unnamed Category 3 storms in 1938 (New England Hurricane of 1938) and 1944, Hurricane Donna in 1960, Hurricane Belle in 1976, Hurricane Gloria in 1985, Hurricane Bob in 1991 (brushed the eastern tip), and Hurricane Floyd in 1999. (There is debate among climatologists as to whether Hurricane Floyd made landfall as a Category 1 or as a very strong "almost hurricane strength" tropical storm. The official records note it as the latter.)

Many other storms crossed the island directly at tropical storm strength, including Hurricane Bertha in 1996 and Hurricane Charley in 2004. In September 2006, the remnants of Hurricane Ernesto swept through the area, causing several temporary power outages on parts of the island.


Long Island, as part of the Outer Lands region, is formed largely of two spines of glacial moraine, with a large, sandy outwash plain beyond. These moraines consist of gravel and loose rock left behind during the two most recent pulses of Wisconsin glaciation some 21,000 years ago (18 000 BP). The northern moraine, which directly abuts the North Shore of Long Island at points, is known as the Harbor Hill moraine. The more southerly moraine, known as the Ronkonkoma moraine, forms the "backbone" of Long Island; it runs primarily through the very center of Long Island, roughly coinciding with the length of the Long Island Expressway. Most of the more level land south of this moraine to the South Shore is the outwash plain.

Eventually, the glaciers melted and receded to the north, resulting in the difference between the North Shore beaches and the South Shore beaches. The North Shore beaches are rocky from the remaining glacial debris, while the South Shore's are crisp clear outwash sand. Running along the center of the island almost like a spine is the moraine left by the glaciers. (Bald Hill is the highest point along the moraine.) The glaciers also formed Lake Ronkonkoma, a kettle lake.

The island's tallest natural point is Jayne's Hill near Melville, with an elevation of 400.9 feet (122.2 m) above sea level. Long Island is separated from the mainland by the East River — actually not a river, but a tidal strait.

Long Island contains a series of sand and gravel aquifers, geologic formations which can hold, transmit and yield water in usable quantities. All of Long Island's water supply comes from underground water held in aquifers. Stacked one on top of the other like layers in a cake, three major and one minor aquifer make up the Long Island aquifer system. In sequence from shallowest to deepest, the Long Island aquifers are: the Upper Glacial, the Magothy and the Lloyd Aquifers. All Long Island aquifers receive their fresh water from precipitation which takes from 25 to 1,000 years to migrate through the layers to the aquifers, which hold roughly 70 trillion US gallons (260 km³) — enough to flood the entire surface of Long Island with more than 300 feet (90 m) of water — and can withstand long droughts that dry up surface-water reservoirs like the ones that supply New York City. Almost four million gallons each day are taken from beneath Nassau and Suffolk Counties, providing the primary source of water for the resident population. While most homes are on a municipal water system, there are still many areas where homes have their own wells to provide them with water. Due to contamination associated with development, the concern over preserving the quality of Long Island's groundwater has become the single most important factor limiting the region's growth.


Population trend
Year Inhabitants
1790 37,108
1800 42,097
1810 48,752
1820 56,978
1830 69,775
1840 110,406
1850 212,637
1860 379,788
1870 540,648
1880 743,957
1890 1,029,097
Year Inhabitants
1900 1,452,611
1910 2,098,460
1920 2,723,764
1930 4,103,638
1940 4,600,022
1950 5,237,918
1960 6,403,852
1970 7,141,515
1980 6,728,074
1990 6,861,474
2000 7,448,618

Long Island is one of the most densely populated regions in the United States. As of the United States 2000 Census, the total population of all four counties of Long Island was 7,448,618. New York City's portion of the census was 4,694,705, with Brooklyn's population at 2,465,326 and Queens having 2,229,379 residents. The combined population of Nassau and Suffolk counties was 2,753,913 people, Suffolk County's share at 1,419,369 and Nassau County's at 1,334,544. Nassau County had a larger population for decades, but Suffolk County surpassed it in the 1990 census as growth and development continued to spread eastward. Combined, Long Island's population is greater than 38 of the 50 United States. If it were an independent nation, it would rank as the 96th most populated nation, falling between Sweden and Israel.

As of the 2000 census, the racial makeup of the island was 57.16% White, 21.18% African American, 0.36% Native American, 9.06% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 8.17% other races, and 4.01% from two or more races. 17.82% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau Census 2000 [1] show that non-whites are in the majority in the two urban counties of New York City, while whites are in the majority in the two suburban counties of Nassau and Suffolk:

  • Kings County: 41.2% white, 36.4% black, 19.8% Hispanic/Latino, 7.5% Asian, and 0.4% American Indian/Native Alaskan.
  • Queens County: 44.1% white, 25.0% Hispanic/Latino, 20.0% black, 17.6 Asian, and 0.1% American Indian/Native Alaskan.
  • Nassau County: 79.3% white, 10.3% Hispanic/Latino, 10.1% black, 4.7% Asian, and 0.2% American Indian/Native Alaskan.
  • Suffolk County: 84.6% white, 10.9% Hispanic/Latino, 6.9% black, 2.4% Asian, and 0.3% American Indian/Native Alaskan.
Religious groups on Long Island
County Population
2000 census
% not
of % not
- mostly black
Source: ARDA[1]


Farm islandEdit

Early colonial figures on the island include Wyandanch, William "Tangier" Smith, Captain William Kidd, Lion Gardiner, and Captain John Underhill. The western portion of Long Island was settled by the Dutch, while the eastern region was settled by English Puritans from Massachusetts. Long Island was the scene of several witch hunts, including one involving the daughter of Lion Gardiner in East Hampton.

During the American Revolutionary War, the island was captured by the British early on in the Battle of Long Island and had a notable loyalist influence, especially in Hempstead. Yankees in northern and eastern parts were more inclined to Rebel sentiments. The island remained a British stronghold until the end of the war. Close ties with England (since colonization and even after independence) may account for the similarities between English accents and the New York Accent, most notably the non-rhotic pronunciation.

19th Century Long Island was rural and agricultural, except in parts of Kings (Brooklyn) and Queens counties, which were consolidated into "The City of Greater New York" on May 4, with an officially celebrated date of January 1, 1898 (Kings and Queens Counties survive as county names). The easternmost 280 square miles (725 km²) of Queens County, which rejected consolidation into New York City, formed a separate county. "Nassau", one of several names by which the island was once known, was revived to represent the newly established county. The figurative "separation" of Brooklyn and Queens from Long Island in popular usage must have begun around this time, since the Battle of Long Island and Long Island City (both nowadays in "The City") both allude to their geographical location on the island.

Long Island was the home of several prominent Roosevelts, such as author Robert Roosevelt, and the summer home of his nephew, President Theodore Roosevelt, who made his home at Sagamore Hill on the North Shore of Nassau County - on the outskirts of Oyster Bay, and Theodore Roosevelt's son Quentin, for whom Roosevelt Field was named. Long Island was also the home of the Vanderbilt family.

When road racing was banned, one of the Vanderbilts opened the Long Island Motor Parkway in 1908 from Kissena (Queens) to Lake Ronkonkoma. This limited access motor highway was one of the first in the world.

Immigrants spilling over from New York City have made comfortable lives on Long Island. The immigration waves of Southern and Eastern Europe have been pivotal in creating the diversity on Long Island that most other American regions lack. These immigrations are reflected in the large Italian American and Jewish-American populations. Typically the immigrants lived in the more urban western parts of the island, and their children and grandchildren farther east. Late 20th Century immigrants often arrived directly in Nassau County and other suburban areas.

Strong IslandEdit

Suburbanization came modestly to Long Island in the early 19th century when reliable steam ferry service allowed prosperous Wall Street workers to get to new Brooklyn Heights homes in time for dinner. After the American Civil War, streetcar suburbs sprawled out onto the outwash plain of central and southern Kings County, bringing annexation with them. Trolleys also brought workers from other parts of western Queens to Long Island City jobs. After the turn of the century, elevated and subway trains allowed masses of workers to commute to Manhattan jobs from Queens and eastern Brooklyn, which offered cheaper and larger housing but were far beyond reasonable walking distance. The Long Island Rail Road played only a limited role in this process, and automobiles had little relevance yet.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Long Island began the transformation from backwoods and farms to the paradigm of the American suburb. With Robert Moses, various parkway projects began to span the island, along with various state parks, Jones Beach being the most famous, "the crown jewel in Moses' State Park System". Long Island quickly became New York City's retreat - with millions of people going to and from the city to the new state parks. As the years wore on, development started to follow the parkways, with various communities springing up along the more travelled routes: (the Southern State Parkway, the Northern State Parkway, and, in the 1960s, the Long Island Expressway).

After World War II, Long Island's population skyrocketed, mostly in Nassau County and western Suffolk County, as people who worked and lived in New York City moved out to Long Island in the new developments built during the post-war era boom. The most famous post-war development was the town of Levittown. Positioned along the Wantagh Parkway in the area formally known as Island Trees, the area became the first place to massively reproduce houses on a grand scale- providing great opportunity for GI's returning home to start a family.

After the success of Levittown, other areas modeled what some people criticize as "suburban sprawl" and Nassau County became more densely populated than its eastern counterpart, Suffolk County. As the years wore on into the 1960s and 70's however, sprawl sent development east of the county line- with areas such as Deer Park and Commack seeing rapid development. As you drive out east along routes such as New York Route 27 (Sunrise Highway) along the south shore or New York State Route 25 (Jericho Turnpike) or New York State Route 25a you will see development start to spread out, even turning back to the potato and sod farms that once were east of and including towns such as Mount Sinai. Long Island always has a shortage of land, and with real estate prices always on the rise, it is expected to see urban sprawl approach even the farms of Riverhead and beyond. The island has a dependency on cars, since mass transit systems aren't as developed as they are in cities like New York, and many suburbs have no railroad station.

Long Island and 9/11Edit

Long Island was hit hard by the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. Many people who live there commute to Manhattan for work every day. In the days after the attacks, it was common to see cars parked for days in the parking lots of Long Island Rail Road stations that belonged to victims of the attacks. On a per capita basis, the village of Garden City lost the largest number of people in the attacks. Also, many of the firefighters called in to assist in evacuation efforts or quelling the underground fires that occurred after the Twin Towers fell were from Long Island.

Aviation historyEdit

Long Island is important in the history of aviation. It was the home of the Roosevelt Airfield in Garden City, Nassau County. From this airport, Charles Lindbergh took off on his historic 1927 nonstop Orteig Prize flight from the New York City area to Paris, France. But Roosevelt Airfield was closed in 1951, and its land is now the location of commercial development, including a shopping mall, Hofstra University, and numerous mid-density housing developments.

Long Island was also home to several historic aerospace companies. Farmingdale-based Republic Aviation, for instance, manufactured the famed P-47 fighter aircraft during the World War II period. Grumman Aircraft, with operations in Bethpage and Calverton, produced the F-14 U.S. Navy fighter during the 1970s and 1980s, and was also the chief contractor on the Apollo Lunar Module that landed men on the moon. They received the contract on 7 November, 1962, and ultimately built 13 lunar modules (LMs). One is on display at the Cradle of Aviation Museum at the former Mitchel Air Force Base on the Hempstead Plains of Long Island.

Another important historic Long Island airport was Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. Established in the early 1930s, it was New York City's first commercial airport, and it was also a terminus of historic flights by Amelia Earhart, Roscoe Turner, Wiley Post, and Howard Hughes. Its runways were closed in the 1970s, and it is currently part of a wildlife refuge.

In 1996, tragedy struck Long Island, as TWA Flight 800 exploded over water off the coast of the small hamlet of East Moriches. 230 people were killed in the disaster. A monument to those lost now stands at Smith Point County Park on Fire Island in Suffolk County.


The counties of Nassau and Suffolk have long been renowned for their affluence. With median home prices rising in excess of $400,000 USD, Long Island has a very high standard of living with residents paying some of the highest property taxes in the country because of the desire to have the best schools in the world. Such affluence is especially pervasive among the hamlets and villages on the North Shore of Long Island and among opulent pockets of the South Shore. Contrasting the affluence in the nation's other wealth renowned counties such as Orange County, California, Nassau and Suffolk Counties do not tend to be of the parvenus. Statistics from U.S. census concurs with this notion, as most affluence has been traced to inheritance on Long Island; subsequently Long Island affluent are sometime referred to as old money.

Long Island is home to some of the most expensive houses in the country. In fact, the most expensive residence in the country is Three Ponds in Bridgehampton. Long Island is home to the luxury communities of the Hamptons, Cold Spring Harbor and Lloyd Harbor in Suffolk County, and Cove Neck, Oyster Bay Cove, Laurel Hollow, Sands Point, Brookville, Old Brookville, Upper Brookville, Muttontown and Manhasset in Nassau County. Long Island is also home to the second largest private residence in the country, the Otto Kahn estate, known as OHEKA. Otto Kahn was a famous Long Islander who built the second largest private home in the United States, in the style of a French Chateau.

Long Island has long benefited from its proximity to New York City. During the 1930s, Long Island began developing industry of its own. From about 1930 to about 1990, Long Island was considered one of the aviation centers of the United States, with companies such as Grumman Aircraft having their headquarters and factories in the Bethpage area. Grumman has long been the source of top warplanes for the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps, as seen in the movie Top Gun and numerous WW-II naval and Marine Corps aviation movies. Prominent WW-II Grumman aircraft included the F4F Wildcat and F6F Hellcat fighters, and the TBF Avenger bomber, flown by hundreds of U.S. and Allied pilots, including former President George H.W. Bush.

Long Island is home to the first Trans-Atlantic radio broadcast, made in Rocky Point New York to Paris, France.

Long Island has played a prominent role in scientific research and in engineering. It was the home of the Grumman Aircraft factories where all the Apollo program Lunar Module spacecraft were built; and it still is the home of the Brookhaven National Laboratories in nuclear physics and United States Department of Energy research. All of this makes Long Island one of the leading high-technology areas in the world.

In their early decades, aerospace related companies were concentrated on Long Island, especially in Nassau County in the Bethpage area. Over the years, it also diversified to other locations. The company did very well during WW-II as military demand skyrocketed; it specialized in high technology devices such as gyrocompasses, analog computer-controlled bombsights, airborne radar systems, and automated take-off and landing systems. As the reader can see, these were jumping-off points into the multibillion-dollar annually aviation electronics business. During the Cold War decade of the 1950s, part of Sperry Gyroscope was moved to Phoenix, Arizona, and soon thereafter became part of the Sperry Flight Systems Company. This was to try to preserve parts of this vital defense company in the event of a thermonuclear conflagration. Both on Long Island and in Arizona, Sperry continued to excel at aviation electronics — avionics, and it also provided avionics systems for such NASA programs as the Space Shuttle.

In recent decades companies such as Sperry Rand and Computer Associates, headquartered in Islandia, have made Long Island a center for the computer industry. Gentiva Health Services, a national provider of home health and pharmacy services, also is headquartered in Long Island.

Nevertheless, the eastern end of the island is still partly agricultural, now including many vineyards and pumpkin farms as well as traditional truck farming. Fishing also continues to be an important industry, especially at Northport and Montauk.

Since World War II, Long Island has become increasingly suburban and, in some areas, fully urbanized. Levittown was only the first of many new suburbs, and businesses followed residential development eastward.

Long Island is home to the East Coast's largest industrial park, the Hauppauge Industrial Park. The park has over 1,300 companies, and employs over 55,000 Long Islanders. Companies in the park and abroad are represented by the Hauppauge Industrial Association.

A growing entertainment industry presence can also be found on the Island. Most recently producer Mitchell Kriegman established Wainscott Studios in Water Mill where the PBS children's show, “It's a Big, Big World”, is shot.

Government and politicsEdit

Nassau County and Suffolk County each have their own governments, with a County Executive leading both. Each has a county legislature as well as other countywide-elected officials, such as district attorney, county clerk and county comptroller. The towns in both counties have their own governments as well, with town supervisors and a town council.

Brooklyn and Queens, on the other hand, do not have independent county governments. As boroughs of New York City, both have Borough Presidents, largely ceremonial offices with little political power since the shutdown of the city's New York City Board of Estimate due to a Supreme Court decision which declared it unconstitutional and lead to a reorganization of the city government.

Politically, Nassau and Suffolk were long controlled by the Republican Party. Republican presidential candidates won both counties from 1900 until 1988, with the exception of the 1912 victory of Woodrow Wilson and the Lyndon Johnson landslide of 1964. In 1972, Richard Nixon won Nassau, Suffolk and Queens and came within 14,000 votes of winning heavily Democratic Brooklyn. In 1992, the suburban counties split, with Nassau voting Democratic and Suffolk voting Republican; however, since 1996, both counties, along with Brooklyn and Queens, have been Democratic, although sometimes by fairly close margins. In 2004, John Kerry won Suffolk County by just under 14,000 votes. The close 2004 margins followed a large Gore win in Nassau and Suffolk in 2000, and many observers think the 2004 results were more of a reflection from a 9/11 bump Bush received through portions of the NY Metro area (as his numbers jumped quite a bit from 2000 in Staten Island, Rockland County and parts of New Jersey as well) rather than a reversal of the Democratic trend. In 2000, Senator Hillary Clinton lost both Nassau and Suffolk to Republican Rick Lazio, who had previously served as a congressman from Suffolk County. While the 2004 results did show a much stronger showing for Bush across Nassau and Suffolk County it did not hurt Democrat Charles Schumer and his re-election bid in the area. Schumer won both Nassau and Suffolk in a landslide receiving close to 70% of the vote in both counties. Republican Governor George Pataki won both Nassau and Suffolk in all three of his victories.

In 2001, Nassau County elected Democrat Thomas Suozzi as county executive and Democrats took control of the county legislature, marking the first time Democrats had full control over county governments. Republicans still held on to the District Attorney's office and Town of Hempstead town government, which has not had a Democratic majority on the town council or held the town supervisor position in close to 100 years. In 2003, Suffolk County followed suit, elected Democrat Steve Levy as county executive.

The 2005 election saw Nassau move further into Democratic hands. Denis Dillon, the Republican Party District Attorney of Nassau County for over thirty years, lost his re-election bid to the Democrat Kathleen Rice. The Republicans also lost the Town of Brookhaven, long known as a bastion of Republican corruption and patronage on the Island. As a result, many critics and residents had begun to refer to Brookhaven as "Crookhaven". Republican corruption and the ensuing scandals, indictments, resignations and convictions helped usher in Democrat Brian Foley's as Brookhaven town supervisor. The Suffolk County sheriff's race also resulted in a Democratic win. For the first time in years, Democrats once again control the Suffolk County Legislature. In 2006, for the first time ever, Democrats will control a majority of government offices in both counties including county executives, legislatures, and district attorneys.

In 2006, Long Island continued its Democratic trend, helped by a strong Democratic win nationwide, Democrats Eliot Spitzer and Hillary Rodham Clinton won Long Island in a landslide in the Governor and US Senate race. Democratic Comptroller Alan Hevesi, despite being scandal-ridden, won Long Island and Democrat Andrew Cuomo won all of the island's counties in the Attorney General race, with Republican Jeanine Pirro narrowly losing in Suffolk. Republican Peter T. King held on to his Congressional seat in a race against Nassau County Legis. Dave Mejias by a 56%-44% margin, even as two other New York Republican Congressmen lost their seats upstate and one open Republican seat flipped to the Democrats. His 12 point margin of victory was less than half his margins in past elections.

Much of the traditional edge Republicans have had in the New York State Senate is due to dominating elections for these offices on Long Island, but the election of a Democrat to replace Michael Balboni in 2007 for the 7th District on Nassau County's North Shore demonstrated a recent weakness at that level of government as well.

On the western side, both Brooklyn and Queens are reliably Democratic, although Queens became that way fairly recently, having still been politically volatile through the 1980s. This is mainly a consequence of the recent changes in Queens demographics, that used to be a white-middle-class suburban county, and is now one of the most diverse places in the United States.

Five of New York's 29 congressional districts are located on Long Island. Of them, the Republicans only represent one; Peter T. King of Seaford represents the United States House of Representatives, 3rd Congressional District, which includes most of eastern Nassau County and parts of southwestern Suffolk County. The other four districts are represented by Democrats.

Law enforcement and crimeEdit

In 2005, Forbes magazine listed Long Island as having 2,042 crimes per 100,000 residents; the lowest crime rate and less than half the US average [2].

Long Island is patrolled by the New York City Police Department, Nassau County Police Department, Suffolk County Police Department, New York State Police and several dozen local police departments.

Both Nassau and Suffolk have a sheriff's office that handles civil process, evictions, warrant service and enforcement, prisoner transport, courthouse security and detention, and operation of the county jail. The Nassau County Sheriff's Department employs about 900 sworn officers and only performs the above duties although deputy sheriff's have full police officer powers and can make arrests for any crime they come across. The Suffolk County Sheriff's Office has 1,300 sworn officers and in addition to the above duties also has a full service patrol unit including K9, Aviation, SWAT, and Marine divisions as well as a Criminal Investigation Division and various other special details and assignments.

Nassau and Suffolk County are often noted for having some of the highest police officer salaries in the country. The county jail in Nassau has been probed by the Federal government for prisoner abuses, including death.


Long Island is the location of three large airports with regularly scheduled commercial jet airline service. These are the John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, both in Queens County (in New York City), and the Long Island MacArthur Airport, (sometimes referred to as the "Islip Airport"), a smaller airport in Suffolk County. This is the only airport in Nassau or Suffolk counties with regularly scheduled commercial flights, handling about 2 million passengers a year.

Long Island is also important in the history of aviation. It was the home of the Roosevelt Airfield - an airfield in Garden City, Nassau County. From this airport, Charles Lindbergh took off for his historic 1927 non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean to Paris, France. Roosevelt Airfield was closed in 1951, and commercial developments built there, including Roosevelt Field Mall.

Another important historic Long Island airport was Floyd Bennett Field in Kings County (in New York City). Established in the early 1930s, it was New York City's first commercial airport, and it was also a terminus of historic flights by Amelia Earhart, Roscoe Turner, Wiley Post, and Howard Hughes. Its runways were closed in the 1970s, and most of it is currently part of a wildlife refuge.

The Long Island Rail Road, Long Island Expressway, Northern State Parkway, and Southern State Parkway (the latter three all products of the automobile-centered planning of Robert Moses) make east-west travel on the island straightforward, if not always quick. Indeed, locals refer to Long Island Expressway as "The World's Longest Parking Lot".

Until the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883, all travel to Long Island was by boat. The first trains to connect Long Island to Manhattan were elevated rail lines that travelled over that same bridge.

The MTA Long Island Bus provides bus transportation throughout Nassau County and the western portions of Suffolk County. Suffolk Transit provides bus transportation throughout Suffolk County. Travelers heading to or from Kennedy Airport may use AirTrain to connect with the Long Island Rail Road in Jamaica or the New York City subway system at Howard Beach.

For a less stressful ride, one only needs to travel east across Long Island to the "Twin Forks". These two peninsulas offer a long and ambling journey far removed from the hustle and bustle of suburbia and the city further west. Indeed, even after one reaches the end of Long Island Expressway in Riverhead, it is another 45 minute drive along New York Middle Country Road to reach the eastern end of the North Fork at Orient Point, and over an hour along Sunrise and Montauk Highways to reach Montauk Point at the end of the South Fork.

The Long Island Rail Road is the busiest commuter railroad system in North America, carrying an average of 282,400 customers each weekday on 728 daily trains. Chartered on April 24, 1834, it is also the oldest railroad still operating under its original name.[3]

Colleges and universitiesEdit

Nassau and Suffolk counties are home to numerous colleges and universities, including:


  • Branches of the State University of New York
    • Stony Brook University
      • including Stony Brook Southampton campus
    • SUNY College at Old Westbury
    • Farmingdale State College
    • Nassau Community College
    • Suffolk County Community College
  • Other
    • United States Merchant Marine Academy


  • Adelphi University
  • Briarcliffe College
  • Dowling College
  • Five Towns College
  • Hofstra University
  • Katharine Gibbs School, Melville
  • Long Island University
    • Long Island University C.W. Post Campus
  • Molloy College
  • New York Institute of Technology
  • Polytechnic University
  • Saint Francis College (Brooklyn)
  • Saint John's University (Queens)
  • Saint Joseph's College (Suffolk Campus)
  • Touro Law Center
  • Watson School of Biological Sciences
  • Webb Institute

Leisure Edit

Public beaches Edit

Long Island is well known for its many public beaches. They include:

  • Jones Beach (Nassau County) - one of the most famous in the world
  • Atlantic Beach: a private beach on a southern barrier island in Nassau County
  • Coney Island (in Brooklyn)
  • The Rockaways (in Queens)
    • Rockaway Beach
    • Far Rockaway
  • Robert Moses State Park (Suffolk County)
  • Main Beach, East Hampton
  • Nickerson Beach in Nassau County
  • Long Beach
  • Cedar Beach
  • Sunken Meadow State Park, Kings Park in Suffolk County
  • Town of Islip Beaches: Islip, East Islip, West Islip, Bayport and Ronkonkoma Beaches, Sayville Marina Park, Benjamin Beach at Bay Shore Marina, and several along the barrier beach of Fire Island, including Atlantique, Kismet, Dunewood, and Fair Harbor
  • Town of Babylon Beaches: Gilgo Beach, Cedar Beach, and Overlook Beach
  • Town of Brookhaven Beaches: West Meadow, Cedar, Shirley, Shoreham, Stony Brook
  • Town of Hempstead Beaches at Point Lookout and Lido
  • Town of North Hempstead Beaches: Bar Beach and Hempstead Harbor
  • Town of Oyster Bay Beaches: Tobay, Stehli, Centre Island
  • Town of Riverhead beaches, including Iron Pier Beach
  • Town of Southold Beaches
  • Town of Smithtown Beaches: Short Beach, Long Beach, Callahan's Beach
  • Huntington Beaches: Asharoken, Centerport, Crab Meadow, Crescent, Gold Star Battalion, Hobart, Fleets Cove, West Neck
  • Southampton Town Beaches: Tiana, Ponquogue, and various others on Dune Road and Gin Lane
  • Smith Point County Park (Suffolk County)
  • Cupsogue Beach (Suffolk County)
  • Montauk Point State Park

Resort areasEdit

Fire Island National Seashore, which is a long barrier island off Long Island's South Shore, is a hot spot for tourists, especially during the summer. The Village of Ocean Beach is the most populous community on Fire Island. There are restrictions on automobile use and the island is not accessible by car (except for one small westerly portion), requiring passage by one of numerous ferries or other watercraft.

The Hamptons, in eastern Long Island's Suffolk County, is one of the area's most popular summer destinations. Parts of the Hamptons are well known for being a playground for the rich, and are frequented by residents of New York City during the summer months for weekend getaways. This has given rise to the terms "House in the Hamptons" or "Hamptons summer share."

The Garden City Hotel is near to several train stations, to the Roosevelt Field Mall, and to three golf courses. As well, Splish Splash, one of the worlds leading water parks, can be found in Suffolk County

Country clubs and sporting clubsEdit

Long Island is home to numerous country clubs, polo clubs, golf clubs, and many other private recreational organizations, including:

  • Bretton Woods Country Club (Coram)
  • The Bridgehampton Polo Club (Bridgehampton)
  • Brookvile Country Club (Glen Head)
  • Cherry Valley Country Club (Garden City)
  • Cold Spring Harbor Country Club (Cold Spring Hills)
  • The Crescent Beach Club (Bayville)
  • Crest Hollow Country Club (Woodbury)
  • Deepdale Golf Club (Manhasset)
  • Garden City Country Club (Garden City)
  • Garden City Golf Club (Garden City)
  • Glen Head Country Club (Glen Head)
  • Engineers Country Club (Roslyn)
  • Hamlet Golf and Country Club (Commack)
  • The Hamlet Windwatch Golf Club (Hauppauge)
  • Huntington Country Club (Huntington)
  • Huntington Crescent Club (Huntington)
  • Lake Success Country Club (Great Neck)
  • Moments Golf Club (Elmont)
  • Nassau Country Club (Glen Cove)
  • Nissequogue Point Beach Club (Smithtown)
  • Northport Yacht Club (Huntington)
  • Old Westbury Country Club (Old Westbury)
  • Port Jefferson Country Club at Harbor Hills (Port Jefferson)
  • Roslyn Country Club (Roslyn Heights)
  • Rockville Links Country Club (Rockville Centre)
  • Sayville Yacht Club (Blue Point)
  • Seawane Country Club (Hewlett Harbor)
  • Smithtown Landing Country Club (Smithtown)
  • South Fork Country Club (Amagansett)
  • Towers Country Club (Floral Park)
  • Westhampton Country Club (Westhamp)
  • Westhampton Yacht Squadron (Remsenburg)
  • Woodbury Country Club (Woodbury)
  • Strathmore Vanderbuilt Country Club (Manhasset)


Both Nassau and Suffolk County are home to thousands of restaurants, many of them top quality. As New York is known as a melting pot, every kind of restaurant from Mexican to Hungarian can be found. These specialty restaurants are often family owned.

Small family-owned pizzerias are ubiquitous. It is not uncommon for a town on Long Island to have several different pizzerias, each with its own distinct flavor. The Long Island Pizza Festival & Bake-Off is annual competition where mom and pop pizzerias compete to be named best on Long Island.

Bagel stores and delis are also extremely common. Some bagel stores are Jewish owned and approved as kosher. Long Island bagels are considered some of the best in the world. At least one (and often more than one) deli can be found in a town. Some are open very late, most are not.

Diners also abound on Long Island and many depending on the business of the town are open all night, for late night patrons.


Long Island is home to numerous famous athletes, including hall of fames Jim Brown, Julius Erving, John Mackey and Carl Yastrzemski. Others include Jumbo Elliott, Boomer Esiason, Vinny Testaverde, Craig Biggio, Frank Catalanotto and Speedy Claxton.

Club Sport Founded League Venue
Long Island Rough Riders Soccer 1994 United Soccer Leagues Mitchel Athletic Complex
New York Islanders Hockey 1972 National Hockey League Nassau Coliseum
Long Island Lizards Lacrosse 2001 Major League Lacrosse Mitchel Athletic Complex
New York Titans Indoor lacrosse 2007 National Lacrosse League Nassau Coliseum/MSG
New York Dragons Arena Football 1995 Arena Football League Nassau Coliseum
Long Island Ducks Baseball 2000 Atlantic League Citibank Park
Strong Island Sound Basketball 2005 American Basketball Association Suffolk County Community College
New York Mets Baseball 1962 Major League Baseball Shea Stadium
Brooklyn Cyclones Baseball 1999 New York-Penn League KeySpan Park

Ebbets Field, which stood in Brooklyn from 1913-1957, was the home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who decamped to California after the 1957 season to become the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers won several National League penants in the 1940s and 1950s, losing several times in the World Series — often called Subway Series — to their Bronx rivals, the New York Yankees. The Dodgers won their lone championship in Brooklyn in the 1955 World Series versus the Yankees. The Brooklyn Nets Arena is a proposed sports arena, business and residential complex to be built partly on a platform over the Atlantic Yards at Atlantic Avenue, and is intended to serve as a new home for the New Jersey Nets.

The New York Mets play at Shea Stadium in Flushing in Queens. Plans have been announced for a new stadium, Citi Field in Willets Point in the parking lot of the current stadium, to be completed for the 2009 baseball season. The new stadium is designed with an exterior facade and main entry rotunda inspired by Ebbets Field. The Brooklyn Cyclones are a minor league baseball team, affiliated with the New York Mets. The Cyclones play at KeySpan Park just off the boardwalk on Coney Island.

Nassau County is home to the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League and the New York Dragons of the Arena Football League, who both play at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale. Long Island has been a hot spot for outdoor lacrosse at the youth and college level, which made way for a Major League Lacrosse team in 2001, the Long Island Lizards. The Lizards play at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale. The longest dirt Thoroughbred racecourse in the world is located in the Nassau County community of Elmont at Belmont Park.

Long Island is also home to the Long Island Ducks minor league baseball team of the Atlantic League. Their stadium, Citibank Park, is located in Central Islip. The American Basketball Association's Strong Island Sound play home games at Suffolk County Community College. The two main rugby teams are the Long Island RFC in East Meadow and the Suffolk Bull Moose in Stony Brook. It also has a professional soccer club, the Long Island Rough Riders, who play at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale. The Rough Riders have won two national championships, in 1995 and 2002.

Another category of sporting events popular in this region are Firematic Racing events, involving many local Volunteer fire departments.


Modern music has a long history on Long Island, as the island has long been part of US history and is near the most populous city in North America, yet is located in the suburbs and as such is strongly influenced by youth culture. Psychedelic rock was widely popular in the 1960s as flocks of disaffected youth travelled to NYC to participate in protest and the culture of the time. R & B also has a history in Long Island, especially in Nassau County, where population is denser and more closely influenced by New York City (Queens and Brooklyn).

Famous musical artists have roots in Long Island. For example, superstar diva Mariah Carey was born and raised in Huntington in Suffolk County. R&B singer Ashanti grew up in Glen Cove, Paris-based singer-songwriter Elliott Murphy was raised in Garden City (the song "Garden City" describing his teenage years is included in the album Murph the Surf) and Billy Joel is from Hicksville in Nassau County.

Billy Joel's debut solo album, Cold Spring Harbor, was a reference to the Long Island town of the same name. Many compositions by Billy Joel pertain to life on Long Island, particularly his youth. Examples include the songs "Keepin' The Faith", "Captain Jack", "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" and most notably "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant", which names local eateries and hangouts. The restaurant itself is believed to be Christiano's in Syosset, New York. Also, the song "Movin' Out" is a highly identifiable song for Long Islanders. Its commiseration of the increasing cost for living on Long Island has its protagonists working too hard just to "move up", all too familiar to this island's inhabitants. The songs "No Man's Land" and "Downeaster Alexa" lament the increasing development of the island, the latter song specifically referring to the eastern island and its effect on the fishing industry.

The pioneering heavy metal/psychedelic rock group Blue Öyster Cult came together around Stony Brook University, releasing hits such as "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", "Astronomy", and "Godzilla". Eddie Money was a graduate of Island Trees High School in Levittown. In addition, the progressive metal band Dream Theater has most of its members stemming from Long Island, including John Petrucci, John Myung, and Mike Portnoy. World-known drummer John Miceli, who plays with Meat Loaf, and formerly with Blue Oyster Cult, is from Port Jefferson. He currently resides in St. James, which is the hometown of singer/songwriter Axella Johannesson. Television and film composer Roy Harter currently resides in Manhasset. Leslie Wunderman of Baldwin, better known as the diva Taylor Dayne, had an abundance of hits in the late 1980s and in the early 1990s. Some of the members of The Good Rats hail from Baldwin. Four-time Grammy Award winner, Pat Benatar, grew up in Lindenhurst. Brian Setzer (Stray Cats, The Brian Setzer Orchestra), Lee Rocker (Stray Cats) and Dee Snider, the lead singer of Twisted Sister, all hail from Massapequa, where Stanley Drucker (principal clarinetist, New York Philharmonic) resides with his wife, clarinetist Naomi Drucker.

Long Island is known for producing some of the most popular acts in hip-hop and rap music. Grammy winning rap group De La Soul came from Amityville, Public Enemy and Flava Flav from Roosevelt, Busta Rhymes from Uniondale, underground rapper Aesop Rock from Northport, Bad Boy-associated acts Black Rob and Craig Mack grew up Brentwood, and Rakim from the Eric B. & Rakim rap duo hails from Wyandanch.

Modern music in Long Island includes indie music, which has rapidly grown in popularity, particularly in Suffolk County where the local emo and hardcore punk scene continues to grow. It has been felt nationally by the moderate success of local bands such as Glassjaw, Head Automatica, Quinn, Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Straylight Run, The Movielife, I Am the Avalanche and From Autumn to Ashes selling Gold albums nationwide. Many churches and synagogues, as well as VFW Halls and community centers constantly house underground shows, affording cheap entertainment and an underlying sense of "scene community". Ska and pop punk bands also have an impressive following, with bands like Patent Pending, Jeff Orlick's Ex-Planets, High School Football Heroes, the long-since disbanded Edna's Goldfish, SGT and Arrogant Sons of Bitches topping the list of crowd pleasers. It is a self-serving "business", so to speak, and most bands that are known on the island spill over into adjoining regions such as New Jersey and Connecticut. Rising bands Envy On The Coast, Pristine Cadre, The Adventures Of..., As Tall As Lions, WD-39, Greyscale, and Bayside also hail from Long Island. Pioneering technical death metal band Suffocation come from the Farmingdale area in Nassau County.

Jones Beach State Park is a popular place to view summer concerts, with new as well as classic artists performing there during the summer months at its outdoor venue. It hosts a large Fourth of July fireworks show every year, and the stands are filled. People park cars along the highway leading to the show, and others watch from the nearby beaches.

In 2003, a group of local business people/music lovers, led by Rich L'Hommedieu, the publisher of a paper called Long Island Entertainment, began meeting to create a Long Island Music Hall of Fame. The organization was incorporated as a not for profit corporation in July of 2005. It held its first inauguration ceremony in October of 2006, inducting prominent musical Long Islanders from various genres and eras. Plans for the future include the creation of a physical space for a museum of Long Island music history that will also serve as a multimedia resource center, an educational facility and outreach program, and a venue for musical performance.

Long Island is also known for its schools' music programs. Many schools in Suffolk County have distinguished music programs, with high numbers of students who are accepted into the state-wide All-State music groups, or even the National All-Eastern Coast music groups. Both the Suffolk County and Nassau County Music Educator's Associations are both recognized by MENC, and host numerous events, competitions, and other music-related activities. Many colleges are also well-recognized for their rich music programs, such as Stonybrook University and C.W. Post.

Tourism of Long Island towns and villagesEdit

Tourism is a good part of the Long Island economy in certain regions. Tourism thrives primarily in the summer because of the natural beauty, parks and beaches in Long Island along with the warmer weather of summer. Regions of Long Island that are large tourist attractions are the North fork on the east end of Suffolk County, which is known for fishing villages, quaint towns, ferries across to Connecticut or other northern states, and for the world famous wineries. The South fork is primarily known for similar features including golf, equestrian, boating, surfing, and fine dining in the Hamptons and Montauk. The village of Patchogue is also host to one of the finest archaic theatres of its class, the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, which is also the official home theatre of the Atlantic Wind Symphony.

Villages are significant additional source of tourism for the Island. Some of the tourism is from local Long Islander's simply visiting nearby friendly villages. Examples of well developed villages that attract surrounding communities are Huntington Village, Northport Village, Islip Hamlet, Port Jefferson Village, Sayville, & Cold Spring Harbor in Suffolk County. Roslyn Village, Great Neck, The City of Long Beach, The City of Glen Cove, Massapequa Park and Rockville Centre, Garden City are popular Nassau County Villages.


  • The 179 fire agencies in Nassau and Suffolk combined have more fire trucks than New York City and Los Angeles County put together.
  • Characters in the comic book Marvel Universe from Long Island include:
  • At least three members of the superhero team the X-Men: Archangel (real name Warren Worthington and previously called Angel) is from Centerport; Iceman (comics)|Iceman (real name Bobby Drake) from fictional Fort Washington (unrelated to real-world Port Washington); and Dazzler (real name Alison Blaire) from fictional Gardendale.
  • Siblings Susan Storm Richards (the Invisible Woman) and Johnny Storm (the Human Torch) of the superhero team the Fantastic Four lived in a fictional Long Island town, Glenville, early in their careers.
  • In the DC Comics universe, the 1970s Teen Titans superhero team was headquartered in a Farmingdale club named Gabriels Horn. The writer of the series, a Farmingdale native, based it upon an insurance building that he could see from his bedroom window as a young man.
  • Fictional characters Joe & Frank Hardy, known as The Hardy Boys in the famous series of detective stories in both books and television, are from Bayport, Long Island.
  • Fictional characters Ross and Monica Geller and Rachel Greene from Friends (NBC, 1994-2004), were from Long Island.
  • The first documented video game was invented on Long Island, in the Brookhaven National Laboratory, as an attraction for visitors to use to pass the time.
  • On the television series Prison Break, the enigmatic General "Pad Man" conducts work at the Basil Island Research Facility, located in Long Island.
  • Currently, the tallest building on Long Island is the 360-foot-high Stony Brook University Hospital, located in Stony Brook, New York.
  • Long Island has been mentioned on the Animated comedy Futurama many times, for example; on the Mother's day episode, Fry comes back to the House and says "It's worse than we thought, they've taken Suffolk County".
  • The 2004 movie " Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet takes place on Long Island. Specifically in Rockville Centre and Montauk.

See alsoEdit

  • Brooklyn
  • List of famous Long Islanders
  • Nassau County
  • Queens
  • Suffolk County
  • Geography and environment of New York City
  • Newsday
  • Long Island Association
  • Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant
  • Long Island Marathon


  1. The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA), Year 2000 Report Churches were asked for their membership numbers.

External linksEdit

Adapted from the Wikipedia article, "Long Island", used under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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