Long Island is an island
located in southeastern New
York, United States, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean,
Long Island contains four counties, two of which are borough (Queens and Brooklyn) of New York City, and two of which (Nassau and Suffolk) are mainly suburban.
Numerous bridges and tunnels through Brooklyn and Queens connect
Long Island to the three other boroughs of New York City.
connect Suffolk County northward across Long Island
Sound to the state of Connecticut.
longest and the largest island
in the contiguous United
States, Long Island extends from New
York Harbor, and has a maximum width of between the northern
(Long Island Sound) coast and the southern Atlantic coast.
With an area of 1,401 square miles
), Long Island
is the 11th largest in the United States, and the 148th largest island in the
.The land area of Long Island is larger than
that of the state of Rhode
Island and larger than any U.S. territory except Puerto Rico.
Long Island had a population of 7,448,618 as of the 2000 census
, with the population
estimated at 7.7 million as of July 1, 2008, making it the most populated
island in any
U.S. state or territory. It is also the 17th most populous island in the
world, ahead of Ireland, Jamaica and the
Japanese island of Hokkaidō.
Its population density is .If it were a
state, Long Island would rank 12th
westernmost end of Long Island contains the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn (Kings
County) and Queens (Queens
County). The central and eastern portions contain the
suburban Nassau and Suffolk counties.
However, colloquial usage of the
term "Long Island" refers only to Nassau and Suffolk counties; the
more dense and urban
Brooklyn and Queens
are not usually referred to as "Long Island," since they are
politically part of New York City.
County is more developed than Suffolk County, with pockets of rural
affluence in the cliffs of the Gold Coast of the North Shore overlooking Long Island
Sound and the equally affluent 5 Towns community on the
South Shore hugging the Atlantic Ocean. South
Shore communities are built along protected wetlands and white sand beaches fronting on the
Atlantic Ocean and Outer Barrier Islands. Old money
time of the Revolutionary War
populated the island and still does to this day. American
aristocrats and European nobility in the Roaring Twenties
established large estates on the North Shore and in the 5 Towns
area in the South Shore. Today, many exist in their original state,
while others have been donated to the public as parks, arboretums,
universities and museums.
Owing to economic growth and the suburbanization of the
metropolitan region after World War II, Nassau was the fastest
growing county in the United States from the 1950s to the 1970s.
Suffolk County remains less congested despite substantial growth in
high technology and light manufacturing sectors since 1990.
far east sections, Suffolk remains small-town rural, as in Greenport on the North Fork and some of
the outward areas of The
summer tourism swells the population in those areas.
Long Island is known for its affluence and high quality of life.
According to the 2000
, Nassau County is the third richest county per
capita in New York State
, and the 30th richest in the nation.
Long Island's Nassau County has the second highest property taxes
in the United States.Suffolk County has redeveloped North Fork
potato fields into a burgeoning wine region. The South Fork is
known for beach towns, including the world-renowned Hamptons, and
for Montauk Point, home of Montauk Point Lighthouse at the eastern tip 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 (19,000 BC).
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.
The land to the south of this moraine to the South Shore is the
plain of the last glacier. Known as
the Hempstead Plains
, this land
contained one of the few natural prairies to exist east of the
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 like a
spine is the moraine left by the glaciers. Jayne's Hill, at 401 feet, is the highest hill along either
moraine; another well-known summit is Bald
Hill. The glaciers also formed Lake
Ronkonkoma, a kettle lake.
Long Island has a climate similar to other coastal areas of the
; it has warm, humid summers and cold winters. The
Atlantic Ocean helps bring afternoon sea breezes that temper the
heat in the warmer months and limit the frequency and severity of
thunderstorms. 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.
Average yearly snowfall totals range from approximately , with the
north shore and western parts averaging more than the south shore
and the east end. In any given winter, however, some parts of the
island could see up to or more. There are also some very quiet
winters, in which most parts of the island could see less than .
An Animated Map of a Nor'easter's Movement.
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, although despite this, some storms
have 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 1985, Hurricane Bob
in 1991 (brushed the eastern
tip) and Hurricane Floyd
(There is debate among climatologists
as to whether Hurricane Floyd
landfall as a Category 1 or as a very strong "almost hurricane
strength" tropical storm
official records note it as the latter.)
Long Island is one of the most densely populated regions in the
United States. As of the United States 2000 Census
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
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. As Suffolk
County has over twice the land area of Nassau County, the latter
still has a much higher population density. Combining all four
counties, 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 Switzerland and Israel.
Population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau Census 2000
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. Catholics are the largest
religious group, with non-affiliated in second place.
Long Island has a substantial Italian-American
population. There are
roughly 800,000 residents of Italian-American ancestry residing on
ethnicity, and religious groups on Long IslandSource for Race and
Ethnicity: 2000 Census
American Indian, Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific
Islander make up just 0.4% of the population of Long Island, and
have been included with "Other".Source for religious groups: ARDA
of % not
At the time of European contact
people (named the Delaware
Europeans) inhabited the western end of the Island, and spoke the
dialect of the Algonquian language family
. Giovanni da Verrazzano
was the first
European to record an encounter with these people when he entered
what is now New York Bay
eastern portion of the island was inhabited by speakers of the
language group of the same language family, indicative of their
ties to the aboriginal peoples
inhabiting what is now Connecticut and Rhode
western portion of Long Island was later settled by the Dutch,
while the eastern region was settled by English Puritans from New Haven, Connecticut, settling in Southold on October 21, 1640. The entirety of Long
Island came under English dominion in 1664 when the Dutch colony of
New Amsterdam was taken over by the
English and renamed New
In 1683, the English established the three
original counties on Long Island: Kings, Queens, and Suffolk.
During the American
, the island was captured from General
early by the
British in the Battle of Long
, the largest battle of the entire war. The island
remained a British stronghold until the end of the war, and was the
center of much of General Washington's espionage
activities due to the proximity to the British North American
military headquarters in New York City. After the British victory
on Long Island many Patriots
fled, leaving mostly
In the 19th century, Long Island was still mainly rural
The predecessor to the Long Island
began service in 1836 from the ferry terminal
(to Manhattan) through
Brooklyn to Jamaica in Queens, and completed the line to the east
end of Long Island in 1844. From 1830 until 1930, population
roughly doubled every twenty years, and several cities were
incorporated, such as the City of Brooklyn in Kings County, and
Long Island City
1883 completion of the Brooklyn Bridge, the only connection between Long Island and the
rest of the United States was by boat.
Other bridges and
tunnels followed, and a suburban character spread as population
increased. On January 1, 1898, Kings County and portions of Queens
were consolidated into The
City of Greater New York
, abolishing all cities and towns
within them. The easternmost of Queens County, which were not part
of the consolidation plan,separated from Queens in 1899 to form
In the 1920s and 1930s, Long Island began the transformation from
backwoods and farms to the paradigm of the American suburb
. Railroads made possible commuting suburbs
before construction of the Long Island Expressway and other major
roadways. Robert Moses
parkway projects to span the island, along with state parks for the
enjoyment of many. Gradually development started to follow the
parkways, with various communities springing up along the more
World War II, Long Island's population skyrocketed, mostly in
County and western Suffolk County.
People who worked and lived in New York
City moved out to Long Island in new developments built during the
post-war boom. The most famous post-war development was the
town of Levittown: the area became the first place to massively
reproduce houses on a grand scale- providing opportunities for GIs
returning home to start a family.
The immigration waves of
southern and eastern Europe, followed by more recent ones from
Latin America, have been pivotal in creating the diversity on Long
Island that many other American regions lack. These immigrations
are reflected in the large Italian
, Irish American
counties of Nassau and Suffolk have been long renowned for their
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.
Long Island has played a prominent role in scientific research and
in engineering. It is the home of the Brookhaven
National Laboratory in nuclear physics
and Department of
Energy research. In recent decades companies such as Sperry Rand, Computer Associates (headquartered in
Islandia), Motorola Enterprise
Mobility (now occupying the former headquarters of Symbol Technologies, previously a
Grumman plant in Holtsville), and OpenLink
Financial (headquartered in Uniondale), have made Long Island a center for the computer
industry. Gentiva Health
, a national provider of home health and pharmacy
services, also is headquartered on Long Island. Stony Brook
University of the State University of New York
conducts far-ranging medical and technology research.
Island is also home to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, which was directed for 35 years by James D. Watson
(who, along with Francis Crick
, discovered the double helix
structure of DNA
Long Island is home to the East Coast
largest industrial park, the Hauppauge Industrial Park. The park
has over 1,300 companies employing more than 55,000 Long Islanders.
Companies in the park and abroad are represented by the Hauppauge Industrial
.As many as 20 percent of Long Islanders commute to
New York City jobs.The eastern end of the island is still partly
agricultural. In the last 25 years, development of vineyards
on the North Fork became a major new
industry, replacing potato fields. Pumpkin farms have been added to
traditional truck farming
. Farms allow
fresh fruit picking by Long Islanders for much of the year.
Fishing continues to be an important industry,
especially at Northport and Montauk.
Government and politics
County and Suffolk County each have their own governments, with a County Executive leading each.
Map of Long Island showing county and
has a county legislature and countywide-elected officials, such as
district attorney, county clerk and county comptroller. The
in both counties have their own governments as well, with town
supervisors and a town council. Within Nassau, there are two small
incorporated cities (Glen Cove and Long Beach) with a combined population of about
Brooklyn and Queens, on the
other hand, do not have independent county governments.
of New York City,
both have Borough Presidents
largely ceremonial offices with little political power. The
shutdown of the city's Board of Estimate
due to a
Supreme Court decision declaring it unconstitutional, led to a
reorganization of the city government.
Indian reservations - Poospatuck
Reservation and Shinnecock Reservation located in Suffolk County are the home of Native Americans.
island place names are Native American in origin.
Law enforcement and crime
In 2005, Forbes
magazine listed Long
Island (Nassau & Suffolk counties) as having 2,042 crimes per
100,000 residents, less than half the US average.
Queens and Brooklyn are patrolled by the New York City Police
; Nassau has its own police department
, as does
. New York State Police
parks and parkways; several dozen villages and the two cities in
Nassau have their own police departments.
Both Nassau and Suffolk have a sheriff's office that handles civil
process, evictions, warrant service and enforcement, prisoner
transport and detention, and operation of the county jail. The
employs about 1,000 correction officers
and 100 deputy sheriffs and performs the above duties although
deputy sheriffs have full police officer powers and can make
arrests for any crime they come across.
Suffolk County Sheriff's
Office has approximately 900 correction officers and 260
deputy sheriffs and operates the two jail facilities in Suffolk
The deputy sheriffs in Suffolk County have 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. N.Y.S Court Officers
court houses for Long Island courts. Additionally, the Suffolk
County Sheriff's Department now maintains patrols along the Long
Island Expressway as well as Sunrise Highway. State parkways are
still patrolled by the New York State Police.
On March 28, 2008 Suffolk County, New York Comptroller Joseph
Sawicki and Keith Durgan proposed a plan that would make Long
Island (specifically, Nassau and Suffolk counties) the 51st state
of the United States of America.
Sawicki says that all the Long Island taxpayers' money would stay
on Long Island, rather than the funds being dispersed all over the
entire state of New York. The state of Long Island would include
over 2.7 million people. So far Nassau County executives have not
expressed interest in joining in the secession proposal, which
would need to be approved by the NY State Legislature.
major form of transportation serves Long Island, including John F.
Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and Long Island MacArthur Airport, multiple smaller airports, railroads, subways, and
several major highways.
There are historic and modern
bridges, recreational and commuter
, and ferries as well.The Long Island Expressway
, Northern State Parkway
, and Southern State Parkway
, all products
of the automobile-centered planning of Robert Moses
, make east-west travel on the
island straightforward, if not always quick.
There are currently ten road crossings out of Long Island, all
within New York City limits at the extreme western end of the
island. Plans for a Long Island
at various locations in Nassau and Suffolk Counties
have been discussed for decades, but there are currently no firm
plans to construct such a crossing.
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.
Primary and secondary education
Long Island's Nassau and Suffolk counties are home to 125
public school districts
containing a total of 656
. In contrast, all of Brooklyn and Queens are
served by the New
York City Department of Education
, the largest school district
in the United States. Long Island is also home to a number of
private and parochial schools.
Colleges and universities
Nassau and Suffolk counties are home to numerous colleges and
For colleges in Brooklyn and Queens, see List of
colleges and universities in New York City
Leisure and recreation
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 to
Indian to Bengali 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 an annual competition in which "mom
and pop" pizzerias compete to be named best on Long Island.
stores and delis are common. Some bagel
stores are Jewish-owned and approved as kosher. Long Island bagels
are considered some of the best in the world. Often more than one
deli can be found in a town.
Diners also abound on Long Island; many are Greek- and
German-owned, and many, depending on the business of the town, are
open all night, for late-night patrons.
Almost all major fast food and casual dining chains have a presence
on Long Island as well.
Long Island is home to numerous famous athletes, including hall of
famers Jim Brown
, Julius Erving
, John Mackey
and Carl Yastrzemski
. Others include Gold
Medalist Sarah Hughes
, D'Brickashaw Ferguson
, Billy Donovan
, Jumbo Elliott
, Mick Foley
, Matt Serra
, Vinny Testaverde
, Craig Biggio
, Frank Catalanotto
, Greg Sacks
, Steve Park
, Marques Colston
and Speedy Claxton
. Several current NHL Players
such as New York Rangers Christopher
and Matt Gilroy
as well as
Toronto Maple Leaf Mike Komisarek
Los Angeles King Rob Scuderi
raised on Long Island.
Ebbets Field, which stood in Brooklyn from 1913 to 1957, was the
home of the Brooklyn Dodgers
baseball team, 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
The Dodgers won their lone championship in
Brooklyn in the 1955 World Series
versus the Yankees. The Barclays Center is a proposed sports arena, business and
residential complex to be built partly on a platform over the
Yards at Atlantic Avenue, and is
intended to serve as a new home for the New Jersey Nets.
New York Mets baseball team now plays
at the new Citi
Field in Flushing,
Queens. Their former stadium, Shea Stadium was also home for (The New
York Jets football team from 1964 until 1983.
stadium is designed with an exterior facade and main entry rotunda
inspired by Ebbets Field. The Brooklyn
are a minor league
team, affiliated with the New York Mets. The Cyclones play at
Park just off the boardwalk on Coney Island in Brooklyn.
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
2001, the Long Island Lizards
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
Long Island is also home to the Long
Island Ducks minor league
team of the Atlantic League
Park, is located in Central Islip.
Basketball Association's Strong
play home games at Suffolk County Community
. 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
many local Volunteer fire
Island also hosts one of the four tennis
grand slams, the US
Open. Every August (September, in olympic years)
the best tennis players in the world travel to Long Island to play
the championships, which is held in the USTA
National Tennis Center, in Corona
Park, near the La Guardia Airport. The complex also contains the biggest tennis
stadium in the world, the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Music on Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk) is influenced by the
proximity to New York City and by the youth culture
of the suburbs
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 on
Long Island, especially in Nassau County, where population is
denser and more closely influenced by New York City.
Jones Beach Theater
Nikon at Jones Beach
is an outdoor amphitheatre
, located at Jones Beach
. 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
every year, and the stands are filled. People park cars along the
highway leading to the show, and others watch from the nearby
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 recognized by The National Association
of Music Education (MENC
), and host numerous
events, competitions, and other music-related activities.
musicians of the Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk County) music
scene include; Billy Joel, Pat Benatar, godfather of punk rock Lou Reed, Acestar, Paul Simon,Johnny
Ramone, Dream Theater, Debbie Gibson, Eddie
Money, new-age musician John Tesh,
Public Enemy, Mariah Carey, Busta
Rhymes, Shaggy, folk singer
Oscar Brand, Harry Chapin, De La
Bridge, Ashanti, Dee Snider, LL Cool J,
Lindsay Lohan, death metal band
D, Flavor Flav, EPMD, Rakim, Blue Öyster Cult, Stray Cats, Nine Days,
Vanilla Fudge, Marty Beller and Danny Weinkauf, Glassjaw, Taking Back
Sunday, Sam "Bluzman" Taylor, Straylight Run, Patent Pending, Nightmare of You, Latterman, From
Autumn to Ashes, Brand New, Bayside, The Sleeping,
The Rookie Lot, The Movielife, virtuoso guitarists Steve Vai, Stereo Skyline, Joe Satriani, and Lee
Ranaldo, and underground MCs Aesop
Rock and MF Doom.
Artists from the counties of Kings and Queens have been numerous.
artists from these counties
have included Jay Z
, Mobb Deep
, LL Cool J
, Mos Def
, Wu-Tang Clan
, the Beastie Boys
, They Might Be Giants, FolkArtist Art Garfunkel
, and A
Tribe Called Quest
Long Island gallery
Image:Mascot in winter.JPG|
Mascot Dock- Village of Patchogue
Image:Long Island New York.JPG|
Swan River Long
Port Jefferson ferry
Image:OLD FIELD LIGHTHOUSE 1 150 500.jpg|
Old Field lighthouse
Looking out from - Montauk
Verrazano-Narrows Bridge - Brooklyn to Staten Island
Image:FIRE ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE 1 150
Fire Island Light
Long Island Vineyards
Image:Citi Field Panorama.jpg|
Citi Field Queens, NYC
Image:Flushing Meadows Globe.jpg|
Corona Park Queens, NYC
Image:Stony Brook Harbor.jpg|
Stony Brook, New York
Image:2009 Jones Beach Airshow.jpg|
2009 Jones Beach
Image:Pano Robert Moses bridge.jpg|
The Fire Island Bridge
Image:STA JONES BEACH Crest.svg|New York/Long Island Coast
The Brooklyn Bridge
Image:Fire Island arial photograph
Image:Aerial view of Orient, Long Island,
- U.S. Census Bureau Census 2000
- The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA),
Year 2000 Report Churches were asked for their membership
numbers. ARDA estimates that most of the churches not reporting
were black Protestant congregations.
- Main campus is in Queens, branch campus in Suffolk County
University: Oakdale Campus