My last couple of posts have dealt with places of respite in the big city, namely Bryant Park and municipal pools, both highly appreciated during New York City summers. Today’s post deals with a summer activity which takes people out of the city; specifically, to Long Island, that skinny piece of land which juts out of New York state like a fish tale, or perhaps more like a lobster claw. To the south of the island is the Atlantic and to the north is the Long Island Sound, referred to by some as America's Mediterranean.
This island has always been a place some have called home. Just this week I began to wonder when it became a place that some call second home or summer home; when was it that city dwellers decided it was a worthy holiday destination? One of our oldest guide books to Long Island is The new Long Island: a handbook of summer travel which lists 1878 as a pivotal year for travel to Long Island, for reasons unnamed (anybody out there know why?). The Encyclopedia of New York City mentions that Long Island Rail Road service, established in the 1830's reached its peak of prosperity between the years of 1880-1914, perhaps a good indication of travel "out east." Artists, writers, the wealthy and the fragile of health have been drawn to Long Island for its beautiful natural landscapes, historic sites, and fresh salty air.
Anybody have plans to visit Long Island this summer? Since it has changed quite a bit over the last hundred years I would recommend some different guides, like Discovering Long Island: exploring great places from sea to sound, or Walks and Rambles on Long Island.