Suffolk County, New York sits on the far eastern end of Long Island. Much of Suffolk County retains its refreshingly rural atmosphere, though residents enjoy a swift commute to the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, located at the opposite end of Long Island. The dramatic waves of the Atlantic Ocean lap the shores of Suffolk County on one side, while the lovely and exotic Long Island Sound forms the other border. The far eastern land of Suffolk County splits into two peninsulas, the North Fork, known for fine vineyards and quaint bayside hamlets, and the South Fork, home to quiet beaches and rolling sand dunes.
Suffolk County divides into 10 separate towns and 2 Indian reservations, which shelter the Shinnecock and Poospatuck tribal people. The towns each include a number of villages and hamlets. All together, 176 communities comprise Suffolk County, from tiny, secluded seaside villages of less than 200 people, to bustling resorts towns of more than 200,000. Census 2000 recorded Suffolk County’s population as 1,419,369, with almost a 4% increase showing in the 2004 NY census estimate. The county extends over 2,273 square miles.
The western side of Suffolk County increases in population each year as New York City dwellers seek to escape the harried lifestyle within the city limits. The eastern portion continues to retain its slower, rural atmosphere. Suffolk County residents would like to split into two separate counties, and plans are tentatively under way to form Peconic County in the east. This would provide a fairer tax base for the rural dwellers.
The median household income reported in the 2000 Census was over $65,000, more than $23,000 above the national norm. Retail trade provides the most income for Suffolk County, known as a premier summer tourist destination. Many town and village populations double in the warmer months, as affluent NYC dwellers move to summer homes on the island.
Suffolk County is the site of the mammoth Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, a vital research center of nuclear energy and physics, operated by the US Department of Energy. Also found here is the crucial Plum Island Animal Disease Center, run by the USDA and the Department of Homeland Security. Three airports service Suffolk County: Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, Republic Airport in East Farmingdale and Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach.
Riverhead is Suffolk’s county seat. This agriculturally based town draws countless tourists during harvest time, to visit the many outstanding u-pick farms and vineyards. The town of East Hampton contains a large artist population and the oldest cattle ranch in the U.S., Deep Hollow Ranch. The historic village of Greenport, in the town of Southold, was once a vital whaling port. Today it is famous for its excellent seafood restaurants and quality nightlife. Fine art galleries and outdoor theaters await visitors, while a 40-foot carousel delights the young.
The town of Southampton is Suffolk County’s largest community on the eastern end, a thriving summer resort town. Babylon is western Suffolk’s largest town, with a population of almost 212,000. Babylon contains the barrier beaches of famous Fire Island, Cedar Island State Park and Oak Island. Other Suffolk County towns include Brookhaven, Huntington and Smithtown.
Suffolk County, New York provides quality living choices for people desiring proximity to New York City. This lushly fertile region with countless miles of coastline and quaint seaside villages welcomes newcomers and visitors each year. Full of historic sites and quiet coves, excellent school systems and fine colleges, Suffolk County is a great place to build a life in the state of New York.