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14 Things to Know About Living on Long Island

Considering moving to Long Island? Spanning four counties, Long Island makes up part of New York City‘s harbor and the southern border of Long Island Sound. Home to one of the oldest commuter railroads in America, famed Long Island Iced Tea, and the Belmont Stakes, Long Island is a fantastic place to call home. Here are 14 things to know about Long Island!

Long Island Is Bigger than You Think

Skyline view of Long Island mid-day. Photo by Instagram user @ericsamuels2

Photo via @ericsamuels2

Long Island, affectionately known as “Strong Island” to residents, is the 1,400 square mile island jutting from the coast of New York City. This “long” island lives up to its name—at 120 miles long and only 23 miles across at its widest point, it’s the largest island connected to the contiguous United States. However, with an estimated population of 7.64 million people, Long Island makes up over one-third of New York State’s population! Also, living on Long Island doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be living in one city. Although Long Island City does exist, it’s only one of the many towns among Long Island‘s four counties. Kings County covers the Brooklyn area, while Queens County befittingly covers Queens, so although they’re both boroughs of New York City, they’re located on Long Island. Nassau County and Suffolk County take up a majority of Long Island, with each containing smaller villages and towns rather than busy city blocks—including the popular New York vacation spot, The Hamptons, in the south fork of Suffolk County. So, whether you’re looking for big-city living or a small-town vibe, you can get it all when you move to Long Island!

Living on Long Island Is Worth the Cost

Long Island is home to some of the wealthiest zip codes in New York, with some even beating out New York City zip codes. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for New York families or singles and young professionals to find an affordable home. With 13 towns and 95 different villages, anyone can find housing on Long Island within their budget. Housing costs in Roosevelt are only slightly higher than the median of New York State, with 71% of residents owning their homes. Riverside offers a cost of living 6% lower than the U.S., and affordable home prices 74% below New York’s average. North Bellport is another budget-friendly option for residents living on Long Island, with a median home value of $251,300, which is 12% lower than New York State’s. Plus, North Bellport’s unemployment rate is lower than both the national and New York average at 3.7%. Long Island families will appreciate Massapequa for its safety, low unemployment, and incredible public schools. Crime rates in this Nassau County area are 64% lower than the U.S. average, and the Massapequa School District has a high school graduation rate of 94%.

Find a Job in Any Industry

Downtown shot of Long Island skyscrapers at mid-day. Photo by Instagram user @oneboerum

Photo via @oneboerum

Over one million professionals live on Long Island and commute to New York for work, but there are plenty of great job opportunities in major industries like healthcare and social assistance, professional and business services, or manufacturing. Fortune 500 companies like IBM, Henry Schein, and J.P. Morgan have offices on Long Island. Long Island is also home to the headquarters of New York’s largest healthcare provider, Northwell Health, as well as Mount Sinai Health System and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Film and photography are constantly evolving on Long Island at the headquarters of Canon USA, while employees at Altice USA develop internet, TV, and phone access. Adelphi University offers research and teaching opportunities as a faculty member, and at Hofstra University, you can find positions like administration or coaching.

Travel by Plane, Train, or Automobile

Long Island railway and train in fall. Photo by Instagram user @ifindtrains

Photo via @ifindtrains

With so many Long Islanders commuting to the Big Apple, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of great public transit options for getting on and off the island. The most popular option among Long Island commuters is the busiest railroad in North America, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), with an average of 385,400 professionals riding their 735 trains daily. However, if you’re driving, you can use one of the many bridges or tunnels that connect Long Island to the mainland. Take your mind off the drive for a bit by hopping on the Cross Sound Ferry for a scenic ride from Long Island’s Orient Point to the mainland in New London, CT. If you’re working and living in Long Island, bus lines like the Nassau Inter-County Express and Suffolk County Transit provide convenient transportation throughout most of the area. And if you catch a travel bug and want to venture out further, fly to wherever your heart desires from Long Island MacArthur Airport, LaGuardia Airport, or one of the busiest airports in the U.S., JFK International Airport.

Attend Incredible Long Island Universities

Similar to professionals living in Long Island, students can commute to great New York City schools like NYU or Columbia for their education, but there are also plenty of great universities in Long Island. Major in Health Service Preparatory Studies, Business, or Psychology at Stony Brook University. Get a degree in Radio and Television, Finance, or Accounting at Hofstra University. Attend the award-winning Adelphi University for undergraduate programs in Biology or Business and graduate programs in Nursing. Apply to St. John’s University in Queens for one of the best undergraduate programs in Insurance. Cultivate your creativity with a degree in Architecture, Graphic Design, or Illustration at Pratt Institute. Become a Shark at Long Island University, which offers amazing healthcare programs the New York Metropolitan area. Or join LIU’s global campus to study in eight or more countries.

There’s a Long Island Museum for Everyone

Art pieces by women artists at Nassau Museum. Photo by Instagram user @nassaumuseum

Photo via @nassaumuseum

Long Island is full of interesting art, history, and science museums! Head to eastern Long Island to visit the Montauk Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in New York State. Attend a lecture series, boating class, Halloween boat-burning ceremony, or learn about famous shipwrecks in the area at the Long Island Maritime Museum. Explore AR, VR, 3D printing, and other interactive STEAM-oriented exhibits at the Long Island Science Center. Admire the night sky at the observatory or consider enrolling your kids in a hands-on museum workshop at the Vanderbilt Mansion, Museum, & Planetarium. Immerse yourself in aviation and military history by watching fully functional historic aircraft take flight at The American Airpower Museum. Learn about African American culture, traditions, and art through exhibits like Black Royals and the Women of NASA at the African American Museum of Nassau County. Or walk through the outdoor sculpture garden, create in the art studio, and view rotating art exhibits at the Nassau County Museum of Art.

Check Out Amazing New York Performing Arts

Multiple performing artists in black and gray striking poses. Photo by Instagram user @mnelements

Photo via @mnelements

With several hamlets, villages, and towns, Long Island is home to incredible performing arts venues that bring in artists from all over the country! See touring musicians, comedians, and tribute bands at The Paramount. Enjoy a dinner and a show in restored Art Deco movie theater Suffolk Theater. Sign your kids up for education programs at Smithtown Performing Arts Center. Get tickets for a classical dance or music exhibition at The Space at Westbury. Host a private event or see a public show from the rafters at Stereo Garden. Catch premiere Broadway shows at one of Long Island’s newest theaters, Argyle Theatre. Or enter into the Rough Draft Festival, Emerging Choreographer Series, or live master classes at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center.

Live on a Kid-Friendly Island

Kids of all ages can enjoy fun in the sun at these Long Island family attractions! Ride the Wave Swing and Sports Tower with your little ones, or send the big kids on the Turbulence Coaster at Adventureland. Traverse the adventure courses or individual activities like zip lining, bungy jumping, or rope swinging at WildPlay Jones Beach. Check out the Touch Tank and Penguin Encounter, or ride the Atlantis Explorer Tour Boat at the Long Island Aquarium. Watch a sea lion feeding or visit the Aviary and Wild Side exhibits at the Queens Zoo. Let your kids play and create art with interactive exhibits like Sound Showers and Bubbles at the Long Island Children’s Museum. Or walk through the Sensory Garden or enroll your kids in STEAM programs like Little Sparks and Junior Roboticists at Long Island Explorium.

Enjoy the Outdoors All Year

Beach walk and ocean at sunset. Photo by Instagram user @alexacaromedia

Photo via @alexacaromedia

With mild winters and cool summers, the Long Island climate is perfect for enjoying outdoor recreation all year! Swim, fish, and explore the boardwalk on the beaches at Jones Beach State Park, Beach Park, or North Hempstead Beach Park, and enjoy watching out for harbor seals during the winter. Hike, camp, and golf during the summer and cross country ski during the winter in state parks like Heckscher State Park, Bethpage State Park, and Trail View State Park. Explore the outdoor flora and fauna or tour the estate halls at Planting Fields Arboretum, Bayard Cutting Arboretum, or Old Westbury Gardens. Or dance the weekend away at events like Freestyle Feast and the Long Island Music Fest at outdoor venue Long Island Community Hospital Amphitheater.

Spend Your Summer at Belmont Park

Nestled on the border of Queens County and Nassau County spans 650 acres of one of the greatest and oldest racecourses in America. Opened in 1905, Belmont Park is home of the third and longest leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes. Visitors can take in over a century of Belmont Belmont history and tradition from magnificent statues of notable racehorses to the murals and artwork adorning the walls of the facilities. Head to the Long Island town of Belmont to join in on the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival and meet world-class racehorses, take photos in the winner’s circle, or enjoy the official Stakes cocktail, The Belmont Jewel. Or bring the family to enjoy events like Super Saturdays and Breeders’ Cup Day during the Fall Meet at Belmont Park.

Long Island Is a Pro Sports Fan’s Paradise

New York Islanders hockey team celebrating on the ice. Photo by Instagram user @ ny_islanders

Photo via @ny_islanders

Long Island lives up to New York’s baseball legacy with a plethora of professional sports teams. Dress warm when going to a New York Islanders (NHL) hockey game at UBS Arena. Get into lacrosse with the New York Lizards (MLL) at James M. Shuart Stadium. Find more lacrosse with New York Riptide (NLL), as well as a Long Island Nets (NBA G League) basketball game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Cheer on the New York Cosmos (NISA) at Mitchel Athletic Complex or the Long Island Rough Riders (USL) at Cy Donnelly Stadium. Watch tournaments held by the Long Island Golf Association, including the Long Island PGA Championship in the spring. Or enjoy America’s pastime at a Long Island Ducks (ALPB) game in Fairfield Properties Ballpark or a New York Mets (MLB) game in Queens at Citi Field.

Get All the East Coast Eats

There is definitely no shortage of restaurant options when you’re living on Long Island! Sample a classic New England Clam Chowder, Swordfish Steak Platter, Famous Ipswich Clams, and more Long Island seafood at Bigelow’s. Head to Michelin-rated Mexican cantina Casa Enrique for Tostadas de Jaiba, Pozole de Mi Tia, and Mole de Piaxtla. Visit one of the best restaurants on Route 110 and try Bisnonna’s Chicken or Steak & Shrimp Scampi at The Refuge. Buy gourmet meats at the butcher or eat meals like the Dry-Aged Porterhouse, Prime New York Strip, or Dry-Aged NY Shell from the steakhouse at Off the Block Kitchen & Meats. Grab a family meal to-go or sit in for amazing Italian food in Long Island and order White Truffle Ravioli, Chicken Gismunda, or Potato Crusted Grouper from Crabtree’s Restaurant. Or take a date to La Plage and savor the Pan Seared Fluke, Slow-Braised Pork Osso Bucco, or Pappardelle Pasta while seated beachside.

Take a Trip to Long Island Wine Country

Concentrated in the North Fork of Suffolk County is Long Island Wine Country. Join the Wine Club and try Dr. Dan’s 2020 Gewürztraminer or a Summer Blush at Pindar Vineyards. Visit the Mattituck Tasting Room and partake in an educational tasting series in the Private Barrel Cellar at family-owned and operated Macari Vineyards. Attend Jazz in the Vines and pair Buddy Boy Pizza with your wine selection at Jamesport Vineyards, a Long Island winery with food! Enjoy courtyard tastings while taking in the Long Island weather at Long Island winery, Lenz. Sip your drinks while listening to outdoor live music in The Backyard or stay inside the renovated farmhouse’s tasting room at Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard. Try your Long Island wine four ways—by the bottle, can, box, or keg—at Bridge Lane Wine. Sample the NV Frizzante or White Pinot Noir at The Winemaker Studio, or visit the sustainable Shared Table Farm run at Anthony Nappa Wines.

End Your Day the New York Way

Overlapping part of the City That Never Sleeps, it’s no surprise that Long Island nightlife is full of exciting and lively entertainment. Visit the weekend happy hour for a Demon Time, El Tiburon, or Tiger King at the Doha Bar & Lounge in Queens. Sing your heart out with Saturday night Karaoke or compete in classic arcade games on Long Island’s south shore at The Lizard Lounge. Book a Bar or Bat Mitzvah or sweet sixteen party at sophisticated event venue, Vienna of Roslyn in Roslyn Heights. Take in the community art decorating the Velvet Lounge while you sip on a glass of Shiraz wine or Brooklyn Blast beer on Long Island’s north shore. Try the Toasted Lager, Imperial Sunshine, or LIIT in a brewpub near the Patchogue Bay, Blue Point Brewing. Unwind at the Long Island City or on Rockaway Beach taproom locations of Rockaway Brewing Company and enjoy a Porch Life Czech Pilsner or a DJ Jellyfish Wheat IPA. Head to the south shore of Long Island for the Suite, Suburb, and Smack Dab brews from Barrier Brewing Co. Sample cuisine from local food trucks and order beers like No Egrets Pale Ale and Western Waters IPA from Fifth Hammer Brewing Company.

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