The East End of Long Island

I always love reading about food, especially local NY stuff. I live on Long Island, which is just east of NYC. I’m about 20 miles, maybe, east of Times Square. While most of Nassau County is suburban or wealthy estate land, the further east you go the more “country” it tends to be. There’s more open space, there’s larger and less expensive plots of land. There’s less of the density of modern day LI. Then, you hit the East End. The East End is kind of like a different state from the rest of LI and certainly from NYC. There’s farms and vineyards and dairies. It’s really a great place, and it keeps getting better for the most part. Of course, there is a push to limit development and preserve the place as much as they can. I hope it happens, but you know how money can change things.

The East End is broken into the North Fork and the Hamptons. The Hamptons are, well, the Hamptons. Money, fame, fabulous, all that. It’s a playground for NYC, and much of the world’s, wealthy from Memorial Day to Labor Day (while I don’t get why so short a time each year). Traffic on Fridays on the Long Island Expressway (LIE) can be lethal, so many take their helicopters. Each year a new crop of high-end restaurants and ultra exclusive clubs spring up. Madison Ave moves East, with all the haute shopping you could want. The beaches are quite beautiful and so are the sunbathers. It’s really an impressive, jealousy causing place that one day I’d love to own a home in.

The North Fork is about as different a place as can be, even though it’s about 20 minutes due North of the Hamptons. This is old school Americana, with a twist. While there are quaint towns and century old general stores, farm familes for generations and farm stands a-plenty, there’s also been a growing “foodie” movement with some new farm blood moving in. There’s also been an explosion of vineyards and wineries (since 1973 or so), close to 50 I think now. It’s not quite Napa, and it never will be (too small), but it’s really nice. Nice towns, places to eat, ultra fresh fish, good farms. It’s becoming a real destination, especially for those that are tired of the Hamptons scene.

So, yes, Long Island was the birth of the modern suburb. Yes, Long Island has all the same issues as most suburbs do. But Long Island is, well, long and has so many different areas and experiences.

This is a great article in Edible East End about a former Ohio-an turns Manhattanite turned North Forker. And if you’re into food, take a look at the rest of the site. I think it’s a good one. Enjoy. (Edible East End)

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