North Shore (Long Island)

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The bluffs of the North Shore

The North Shore of Long Island is the area along Long Island's northern coast, bordering Long Island Sound. The North Shore has a history of affluence, most notably at the turn of the 20th century, which earned it the nickname "the Gold Coast".[1] Historically, this term is used only in reference to the Long Island coastline in the towns of North Hempstead, Oyster Bay, and Huntington, in Nassau and western Suffolk County. The easternmost certified Gold Coast Mansion is the Geissler Estate, located just west of Indian Hills Country Club in Fort Salonga, within the Town of Huntington.[2][3]

Being a remnant of glacial moraine, the North Shore is somewhat hilly, and its beaches along the Long Island Sound are more rocky than those on the flat, sandy outwash plain of the South Shore along the Atlantic Ocean. Large boulders known as glacial erratics are scattered across the area.[4]

Gold Coast[edit]

Thanks to the late 19th century spread of the private estates of Vanderbilts, Roosevelts, Whitneys, Charles Pratt, J. P. Morgan, F. W. Woolworth, and others in areas where rocky terrain is more productive of pretty views than crops, the North Shore has a long-held reputation of elegance. Many stately old homes can be found there, and an "old money" atmosphere pervades. Some of the largest or most prominent ones, such as Castle Gould (known as Hempstead House under the ownership of Daniel Guggenheim) in Sands Point, Sagamore Hill, Vanderbilt Museum, Alexander P. de Seversky Mansion, and Oheka Castle still exist but are no longer private homes. There are many articles, books and films depicting Gold Coast Mansions.

In popular culture, the North Shore is perhaps best known as the setting of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel The Great Gatsby, which centered on the area's wealth and the aspiration of the title character to be accepted as a part of its society. The novel's "West Egg" and "East Egg" were fictionalized versions of the real North Shore villages of Kings Point and Sands Point, respectively. The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille is a work of fiction set in the area. The distinctive upper class speech pattern known as Locust Valley lockjaw takes its name from the North Shore's Locust Valley area. The aristocratic cachet persists despite suburban infill converting much of the North Shore into commuter towns.

Due in no small part to its Gilded Age lineage, the western stretch of the North Shore is considered the more fashionable of Long Island's coasts. Once the island splits into two forks at its east end, the North Shore becomes largely rural, and hence the last semi-authentic bastion of pre-Levitt middle class life on Long Island. This area, known as the North Fork, contrasts starkly with the Manhattan-ized South Fork's Hamptons. Once the home of Long Island's duck farms, since the 1980s the North Fork has reinvented itself as a major center for the production of wine. The North Fork terminates at Orient Point. The Block Island Ferry departs Greenport, also the eastern terminus of the Long Island Rail Road. The North Fork also provides the quickest access route to fashionable Shelter Island, an enclave on Peconic Bay, which is world-renowned for its scallops.

Cities, villages, neighborhoods, and hamlets[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Long Island". Classical Excursions. Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "Port Washington Patch". Planck LLC d/b/a Patch Media. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "Makamah Beach & Geissler's estate, in Fort Salonga". Advameg, Inc. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Geology of Long Island". Garvies Point Museum. Retrieved 25 November 2012. 

External links[edit]