Long Island During The Cold War

Cold War: Long Island now available

Author Christopher Verga and veteran journalist Karl Grossman bring to life the often overlooked history of the Cold War era in Nassau and Suffolk counties with their new book, Cold War: Long Island, printed by Arcadia Publishing.

By the close of World War II, Long Island had transformed from a rural corridor to a suburban behemoth. The region became a nationally recognized manufacturing and innovation hub for the military and possessed one of the fastest-growing middle-class populations in the country. But behind the manicured lawns and cookie-cutter cape homes, locals were adapting to new Cold War conflicts and facing anxieties of a potential nuclear fallout.

United Nations Headquarters, Lake Success
Courtesy of Great Neck Library

“From the vacant buildings of Grumman and Republic Aviation, to the abandoned military barracks of Camp Hero, decades of myths have drowned out the truths of Cold War era Long Island,” Verga said. “Separating the popular urban myths from the truths inspires any historian.”

Secret nuclear missile sites and classified government laboratories were established on the outskirts of Suffolk County, often among unaware residents.

Soviet spy rings traversed across the Island, seeking to steal industry secrets and monitor military installations.

“Retelling this history reminds us that our innovation may be limitless, but our region’s environment comes with limitations,” Verga said. “Our region sent a man to the moon, built planes that broke the sound barrier, built one of the largest suburban developments and created an economic output bigger than multiple states. But while we became the envy of the world, damage to our water table through commercial pollution will create cancer clusters throughout our region.”

Chris Verga

Verga is an instructor of Long Island History and Foundations of American History at Suffolk Community College. His published works include Civil Rights Movement on Long Island (Images of America Series), Bay Shore (Images of America Series) and Saving Fire Island from Robert Moses.

Grossman is a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury. He founded and was the first president of the Press Club of Long Island. He was selected to be in the original class of its Long Island Journalism Hall of Fame. He has also been cited by it as “Long Island Journalist of the Year.”

Christy Hinko
Christy Hinko is a managing editor at Anton Media Group. She is a New York Press Association (NYPA) and Press Club of Long Island (PCLI) award-winning writer and photographer.

Leave a Reply

Discover

Sponsor

Latest

Nice Bus Riders And Employees Donate More Than $11,000 In Food And Cash To Island Harvest

Annual campaign supports Bethpage Turkey Drive for Island Harvest With nationwide inflation adding extra stress on those experiencing food insecurity during the upcoming holiday season,...

Happy 118th Anniversary New York City Subway System

On October 27, 1904, the Interborough Rapid Transit company opened the first subway line in New York City. It traveled nine miles from City...

Lecture On Long Island’s Gilded Age Set November 20

John LeBoutillier, Gertrude Whitney’s great-grandson, will present a lecture on “The Gilded Age: A Tour of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s Long Island Studio,” on Sunday,...

Jane Monheit’s Three Fave Vocalists

Jane Monheit is crazy about the holidays. The self-described “obsessed Christmas lady” admits that she, husband Rick Montalbano, Jr. and son Jack watched their...

A Conversation With The Smithereens’ Jim Babjak

The Smithereens are among a small number of groups whose music transcends time. Their new release, The Lost Album, showcases the band at their...

Get Updates Via Email

Enter your email to be updated with all the latest news and special announcements.

x