Oak Beach, New York

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Sails on the community beach at Oak Beach

Oak Beach is a small community located on the eastern end of Jones Beach Island, a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great South Bay of Long Island. The community is part of the town of Babylon in Suffolk County, New York, United States. The eastern part, the Oak Island Beach Association, is gated, whereas the western part is not. It is part of the Oak Beach–Captree census-designated place.

Oak Beach has been inhabited since at least the first decade of the twentieth century, when a U.S. Coast Guard lifesaving station was located there, though it could not be reached overland at that time. Prior to that, marsh bird hunters had kept shacks in the area. Ferry access from Babylon enabled cottages to be built and made more accessible by car after construction of Ocean Parkway, it was largely a summer community until the completion of the Robert Moses Causeway in 1951, which allowed much faster travel from the main part of Long Island. It has gradually evolved since then to where most residents live there year-round.[1]

The land is not owned by the residents, but is on long-term lease from the Town of Babylon. In the early 1990s, there was litigation by the state against extension of the lease. After much negotiation, including detailed environmental impact statements, the lease was renewed (currently through 2050), though with a ramp up in costs. In 2012 the Town of Babylon agreed to extend the current leases through 2065.

Although now entirely residential, Oak Beach was also the location of the popular but controversial Oak Beach Inn, which was closed in 1999 and was torn down in 2003, along with a small general store ("The Store") and bait/tackle/surf shop that closed a decade earlier. There is now a public park at the site. The "park" is unusual, in that it lacks any amenities other than a fishing dock and a single portable toilet. While the park encompasses over nine acres of land, there are but two trees and nearly 300 parking spots. In the warmer months the park - or rather the parking lot - collects an informal early Sunday morning motor rally, attracting local motorcycle and car enthusiasts.

On May 1st 2010 prostitute Shannan Gilbert disappeared after fleeing a client's house in the Oak Beach Association. In December 2010 while police were searching for Gilbert they found 10 dead bodies along the adjacent highway, some bodies being found in December 2010 & some in April 2011. Due to this the community attracted much public attention. The investigation is ongoing. ABC News says that the FBI is now officially on the case as of December 2015. Police reports and autopsy findings state the belief that it's the work of a single serial killer. In December 2011 the body of the original missing prostitute Shannan Gilbert was found in the marsh east of the community.

Coordinates: 40°38′21″N 73°17′18″W / 40.63917°N 73.28833°W / 40.63917; -73.28833


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