Thursday, November 18, 2004

Long Island

Long IslandI have lived on Long Island my entire life. I often wonder what the impression of Long Island is of people who have never been here.

What Long Island really is all about is difficult to pin down. It's hard to even agree on what Long Island is. Ask someone from the area and they will tell you that Long Island is Nassau and Suffolk county. A person from Brooklyn would never consider themselves a "Long Islander". But physically, Long Island encompasses four counties including parts of NYC. Going west to east they are Brooklyn and Queens which are part of New York City, and Nassau and Suffolk. The entire island is 118 miles long (it is a long island, the longest adjoining the continental US) of which 85 miles is Nassau and Suffolk. At its widest point, the island is about 20 miles wide. Living on Long Island, it is very easy to forget that you live on an island (at least until you want to get off it).

The population of Long Island is larger than most cities. Including Brooklyn and Queens there are about 8 million people on Long Island. The population of Nassau and Suffolk is about 2.8 million. Generally, the further east you go, the less populated the island is (except for the Hamptons in the summer). For those who are interested, the population density of Nassau County is 4,655/mi²!

Long Island is often thought of as a "bedroom community" for New York City and to some extent that is still true although most people on Long Island don't work in NYC. Long Island is made up mostly of single-family detached houses. Median household income on Long Island is pretty high (although the cost of living is high) and the education system is generally excellent. Many top-ranked colleges are on Long Island. Many top-ranked hospitals are here as well.

The weather on Long Island tends to be moderated somewhat by our proximity to the ocean but we have definitely have four distinct seasons. Did I mention we have 1,180 miles of shoreline including some of the nicest public beaches in the country?

Some Info about Long Island:

Long Island History

Wikipedia - Long Island

Special bonus picture from my front door:
My Block

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tom, thanks for the introduction to Long Island. I've lived in the midwest my entire life and have yet to visit the northeastern US.

I would have guessed that Long Island would be like what I see of NYC on TV. I would have guessed that Long Island looked like Times Square. If asked, I would have said that Long Island was probably 20, maybe 30, miles long. My only view of it has been from a map. Guess I didn't bother looking at the scale. I also did not realize that part of Long Island is NYC and part isn't.

Now I know if I travel the island from west to east, I'm going to go through Brooklyn, Queens than Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Helen said...

Thomas,
Your blog comes up really beautiful on my Nokia mobile (unlike mine :( ) unfortunately couldn't post a comment via the mobile over the weekend. I remember a photograph of Long Island I saw in childhood of nice (not ostentaious) boats moored along the beach with long established(decades) gardens of big houses spilling on to the beach. The two times I flew to New York I don't recall seeing the island from the air - probably too early in the morning for me - and I never thought to visit the Island as it seemed to be a place where nothing dastardly happens and nothing ever will, and a sea-tossed ferry crossing to undergo. On the other hand I did visit Alcatraz. Long Island beautiful as it is has no 'history', right ? ;)

Tom P. said...

Helen, if you flew to Kennedy or LaGuardia airports then you have been to Long Island! Both those airports are in Queens. If you had turned the other direction away from Manhattan, you would have been "out to the island".

The "Long Island History" link gives some history.

Some of the houses along the north shore of the island (especially in Nassau County) are magnificent estates built by the rich robber barons from NYC. Vanderbilt, Chrysler, Woolworth, Phipps, Guggenheim all had huge estates. CW Post College was built from some of the former mansions along the north shore:

http://www.liu.edu/cwis/cwp/library/exhibits/goldcoas.htm

Helen said...

Queens and Brooklyn I remember but had no idea they were on Long Island. It didn't seem to be a fact widely advertised to tourists.
My knowledge of the area hasn't changed since the time I did a little research of the area a decade ago following a job offer from one of the better establishments. Actually , the research I did was based on the information they gave. Queens and Brooklyn were described as cheap, commutable and roach infested. The affordable parts of Long Island were only reachable by ferry. I don't think the tube went further in to the island then. They wouldn't raise the pay offer and I dropped it. Looking back , six months in Queens or Brooklyn probably wouldn't have killed me and I have lived in worse areas in London but seeing as I still don't use the tube in Queens or Brooklyn......Carry on from 'Bonfire of The Vanities', more likely.

Tom P. said...

Queens and Brooklyn are like most areas of NYC... there are very expensive neighborhoods (multi-million dollar homes) and very cheap neighborhoods and everything in between. There are affordable areas in all of NYC although Manhattan has become a bit pricey. I am not aware of Brooklyn and Queens being any more roach infested than any other typical metropolitan area.

Ferries to Long Island from NYC is a new one for me. It is true that the subway doesn't go beyond Queens but the Long Island Rail Road does. I took the railroad for 17 years (1979-1996) when I worked in Manhattan. The Hicksville station was my home station.

Elblog said...

HA! Your post brought back a lot of memories. Hicksville is where my wife discovered IKEA, to which we would travel about every 60 days from Danbury, CT, down through White Plains, the Throgs Neck bridge (I think!), the LIE to Hicksville. We never really explored any further east, that was enough driving for me. I was impressed at how quickly "the city" dropped off into "the burbs", perhaps that was just a freeway sort of observation. I agree and understand the island statement - getting on and off can be half the fun!
Nice photo of the neighborhood.

Helen said...

Cool, Thomas.
Perhaps the ferries went from Manhattan to further up the mainland.

Tom P. said...

The Staten Island Ferry is no doubt what you are thinking of. This is the ferry from the southern tip of Manhattan to Staten Island.