Interesting Facts About Long Island

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By Simone March

There are many interesting facts about Long Island not even its longtime residents know. Would you like to learn some fun facts about this fascinating and often misunderstood place and impress your friends? Here are some more or less-known facts about Long Island you may not be familiar with.

Long Island is bigger than you think

Even though young people are leaving Long Island, it is still America’s most populous island. In fact, it would be the 13th biggest state and the most densely populated one if it was a state. Being 118 miles long and 23 miles wide, Long Island is physically larger than the state of Rhode Island. Although the term “Long Island” refers only to Nassau and Suffolk counties, Brooklyn and Queens are both located on the west end of Long Island.

In 1985, U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Long Island is actually a peninsula. After the controversial and inaccurate ruling, the 45-mile-long Whidbey Island near Seattle named itself the longest island in the contiguous United States.

Woman on a beach at sunset
Surprising to many, Long Island is a beach destination.

Long Island traffic

Long Island is one of the world’s most accessible islands. Thirteen tunnels and nine bridges connect it with Manhattan and other NYC boroughs, which makes the daily commute easier for those who work in Long Island and live in other parts of the city and vice versa. Roads tend to get congested during the rush hour, though, due to the island’s unusual shape. The best way to get from Long Island to Manhattan, for example, is using public transportation because driving can be super stressful.

Celebrity Long Islanders

The list of celebrities from Long Island is never-ending. Some of the most famous names include Natalie Portman, Mariah Carey, Eddie Murphy, Alec Baldwin, Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Joel, Joe Satriani, Howard Stern, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Steve Buscemi, Lindsay Lohan, Rosie O’Donnell, Steve Vai, Billy Crystal and LL Cool J.

Popular bands from Long Island include Dream Theater, Twisted Sister, Blue Öyster Cult, Taking Back Sunday, Public Enemy and The Lemon Twigs. 

Cup of coffee
Long Islanders are crazy about coffee.

More interesting facts about Long Island

  • Did you know Great Neck had a mascot? It is a giant giraffe statue! 
  • Another interesting fact about Long Island is that it was known as “Nassau Island” before it legally changed its name to “Long Island.”
  • Frank Mundus, a Montauk-based shark fisherman, caught a 4,500-pound great white shark back in 1964. Mundus made headlines and caught the attention of author Peter Benchley whose work inspired the 1975 blockbuster Jaws directed by Steven Spielberg.
  • Long Island loves its coffee. 7-Eleven sells more coffee in Long Island than any other U.S. region, according to the company itself. In 2013, eight locations with the highest sales were in Suffolk County.
  • Long Island’s Montauk Point Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in the state of New York.
  • Long Island is the birthplace of the first video game. Physicist William Higinbotham invented the first video game called Tennis for Two in 1958. The game was created to entertain the Brookhaven National Laboratory’s visitors and was not sold commercially.
  • The Long Island Rail Road, the busiest commuter railroad in North America, is the country’s oldest railroad that still operates under its original name.
  • Long Island has more than 120 public school districts and more than 650 individual schools, six public universities and over a dozen private colleges.
  • Claudio’s Restaurant, the oldest same-family-run restaurant in the U.S., was opened in 1870 in downtown Greenport village on the North Fork. After staying in the same family for four generations, the restaurant got a new owner outside the family last year.
  • In the summer of 1957, playwright Tennessee Williams lived and wrote in the windmill on the Stony Brook Southampton campus. This local landmark is where he wrote his experimental play titled The Day on Which a Man Dies.
  • Long Island’s Gold Coast was the backdrop to Scott Fitzgerald’s renowned novel The Great Gatsby.
  • Few out-of-towners are familiar with Long Island’s beautiful shoreline full of stunning beaches.
  • Long Island has more than a dozen wineries and more than ten microbreweries.
  • Deep Hollow Ranch in Montauk was the country’s first working ranch.
  • The Hauppauge Industrial Park contains over 1300 companies that employ over 71,000 people, making it the largest industrial park on the East Coast.
  • One of the most interesting facts about Long Island is that it is home to America’s priciest ZIP code. The median selling price for 11962 (Sagaponack) is 8.5 million dollars.
  • Long Islanders are commonly accused of pronouncing their home “lawn guy land,” but few, if any, actually pronounce it that way.

Simone March is a freelance writer born and raised in New York City. She currently writes for professional moving companies based in New York, such as Dynamic Movers NYC. She usually explores travel, culture, real estate, as well as moving and storage related topics. Whenever she has a day off, she likes to go hiking or biking with her friends. 

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