- This article is about Long Island in New York State. For other uses, see Long Island (disambiguation)
Image of Long Island taken by NASA.
Long Island, part of New York State, is an island off the North American coast, some 118 miles (190 km) long, and from 12 to 20 miles wide, extending from New York Harbor into the North Atlantic Ocean. To the north of the island is Long Island Sound, which separates it from the coast of Connecticut and Rhode Island. To the south are the Great South Bay, South Oyster Bay, and Jamaica Bay, which are actually lagoons, protected from the Atlantic Ocean by a string of narrow barrier islands, most notably Fire Island. The island separates into two forks at the eastern end, known as the North Fork and South Fork.
On the western part of Long Island are the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens; east of them are Nassau and Suffolk counties. Most New Yorkers reserve the term "Long Island" or "the island" for Nassau and Suffolk counties only. Some others also consider Queens (with its neighborhood Long Island City) and sometimes even Brooklyn, to be part of "Long Island".
Geologically, the island is formed of two spines of glacial moraine, consisting largely of gravel and loose rock over deeply-buried bedrock, formed during the two most recent pulses of the Wisconsinan glaciation, with a sandier outwash plain beyond. Technically speaking, the island is actually a peninsula separated from the mainland by the East River, a tidal estuary of the Hudson River. The eastern end of the island is still partly agricultural, now including many vineyards as well as traditional truck farming. Fishing also continues to be an industry, at Northport and Montauk.
Since World War II, however, 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. The South Fork contains the area known as the Hamptons, which also experienced a population boom after World War II.
The Long Island Rail Road, Long Island Expressway, and Northern and Southern State Parkways, all products of the automobile-centered planning of Robert Moses, make east-west travel on the island straightforward, if not always quick.
Long Island is home to numerous colleges, including Stony Brook University, Southampton College, Hofstra University, and SUNY-Old Westbury. It is also home to the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League.
Long Island is one of the most densely populated regions in the United States. In the 2000 census, the population of the Nassau-Suffolk region totaled 2.78 million people; the total population of Long Island, including Brooklyn and Queens, was more than 8 million.
New York City boroughs on Long Island:
For a list of communities in Nassau County, see Nassau County cities and towns.
For a list of communities in Suffolk County, see Suffolk County cities and towns.
Articles about individual communities
This is an incomplete list.
Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55