Sandy Hook

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Sandy Hook, New Jersey
Sandy Hook NJ aerial.jpg
Sandy Hook seen from an airplane (looking west) on its approach to JFK
Map showing the location of Sandy Hook, New Jersey
Map showing the location of Sandy Hook, New Jersey
Sandy Hook
Coordinates40°27′11″N 73°59′42″W / 40.4530°N 73.9950°W / 40.4530; -73.9950Coordinates: 40°27′11″N 73°59′42″W / 40.4530°N 73.9950°W / 40.4530; -73.9950
Offshore water bodiesAtlantic Ocean (to the east)
Shrewsbury River (to the west)
Elevation7 feet (2 m)[1]
Length6 miles (9.7 km)
Width0.1 to 1.0 mile (0.16 to 1.61 km)
Area2,044 acres (827 ha)
Depth250 to 300 feet (76 to 91 m)[2]
Formed byWisconsin glaciation period
AgeLast Glacial Maximum ("LGM"; ≈25,000 years old)
OperatorNational Park Service
DesignationBarrier spit
Sandy Hook, part of the Gateway National Recreation Area

Sandy Hook is a barrier spit in Middletown Township,[3] Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States. The barrier spit, approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) in length and varying from 0.1 to 1.0 mile (0.16 to 1.61 km) wide, is located at the north end of the Jersey Shore. It encloses the southern entrance of Lower New York Bay south of New York City, protecting it from the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The Dutch called the area "Sant Hoek", with the English "Hook" deriving from the Dutch "Hoek" (corner, angle), meaning "spit of land".[4]

Most of Sandy Hook is owned and managed by the National Park Service as the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area.

Description[edit]

Sandy Hook as seen from the top of Navesink Twin Lights, Highlands, New Jersey

Geologically, Sandy Hook is a large sand spit or barrier spit, the extension of a barrier peninsula along the coast of New Jersey, separated from the mainland by the estuary of the Shrewsbury River. On its western side, the peninsula encloses Sandy Hook Bay, a triangular arm of Raritan Bay. The 2,044-acre (8.27 km2) peninsula was discovered by Henry Hudson,[5] and, historically, Sandy Hook has been a convenient anchorage for ships before proceeding into Upper New York Harbor.

Sandy Hook is part of Middletown Township, although not contiguous with the rest of the Township. Because the peninsula is also federal enclave, Middletown and the federal government have a Concurrent jurisdiction. The community of Highlands overlooks the southern part of the hook.

Sandy Hook is owned by the federal government. Most of it is managed by the National Park Service and U.S. National Park Service rangers as the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area. The eastern shoreline consists of public beaches: North Beach, Gunnison Beach, and South Beach. The southern part of the spit consists of public beaches, fishing areas. The peninsula's ocean-facing beaches are considered among the finest in New Jersey and are a popular destination for recreation in summer when seasonal ferries[6] bring beachgoers from its various docking points including NYC. Gunnison Beach is one of the largest clothing optional beaches on the East Coast.[7][8]

Sandy Hook Lighthouse is located within the fort grounds, as is the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST), a magnet high school, part of the Monmouth County Vocational School District. At the entrance to Fort Hancock is Guardian Park, a plaza dominated by two Nike missiles. Some of the buildings of Fort Hancock are closed to the public because their structural integrity in decay, and to preserve it's profile for future visitors (in line with U.S. NPS mission statement [1]). A proposal was recently accepted to allow adaptive reuse of some of the buildings in Fort Hancock for private use. This partnership will hopefully help these historic structures to be maintained more effectively.

There is a vocational school that is located further north on the peninsula abbreviated as M.A.S.T., The Marine Academy of Science and Technology. The school was greatly damaged by Hurricane Sandy late 2012, and restored the subsequent year.

Military history[edit]

The defunct U.S. Army post Fort Hancock at the north end of the peninsula is open to visitation by the National Park Service. The Sandy Hook Proving Ground was used by for many years—beginning after the Civil War until 1919, when the facility was moved to Aberdeen, Maryland—and was later the site of a Nike missile defense installation. The Sandy Hook Nike station is one of a very few stations that are still intact. Almost all of the fort's gun batteries are closed to the public due to their hazardous condition. The exceptions to this are Battery Potter and Battery Gunnison. Battery Potter is open frequently for tours on the weekends, as well as Battery Gunnison which is being restored by volunteers and has two six-inch (152 mm) M1900 guns installed; the weapons were placed there in 1976. Guided tours show visitors a Nike missile, the missile firing platforms, and a radar station with 1960s-era computers. A Civil War-era 20-inch Rodman gun is also in the park; this was an experimental gun that was the largest type produced by either side of that war.

North of Fort Hancock on the western part of the "hook" is an active station of the United States Coast Guard. This is one of the original Life Saving Stations built in 1848 at a site "on bay side, one-half mile south of point of Hook." The site was changed several times through the years due to a change in land or at the request of the War Department, which owned the land.[9] This area is administered by the Department of Homeland Security and is closed to the general public.

Tourism and recreation[edit]

The beaches along the Atlantic shore of Sandy Hook—North Beach, Gunnison Beach and the Southern Beaches, A, B, C, D, E—feature parking lots, lifeguards, rest rooms and seasonal concession stands. They do not permit pets on the beaches yearly after March 15. Nude or partially nude sunbathers may be encountered at Gunnison Beach, again it is clothing optional.[5] In contrast, the western shore includes vast acres of sand and trails and a paved path without life guards or rest rooms. These stretches are favored by cyclists and kite surfers, and leashed dogs are permitted.

While within Sandy Hook some laws and regulations are different. Day trippers need be aware of the jurisdictional differences; Sandy Hook falls under 36 CFR (code of federal regulations) , United States Code, as well as New Jersey State Code in instances where federal laws do not pertain. In Sandy Hook a misdemeanor could be a federal crime while outside the park it was a minor infraction.

All of Sandy Hook's regulations can be reviewed inside of the Park's Compendium.

Accommodations near Sandy Hook include bed and breakfasts such as the Sandy Hook Cottage and Seascape Manor, as well as Grand Lady by the Sea, and Nauvoo at Sandy Hook, which are all located in Highlands. Dining options have changed drastically since Superstorm Sandy, which destroyed the island's only eating location, the Sea Gulls' Nest Deck Restaurant. On the peninsula, various food trucks can be found and nearby is the locally known Bahr's Landing, Moby's and Something Fishy.[5]

Local activities include the Sandy Hook All Woman Lifeguard Tournament in July, boat rentals for fishing, parties and tours, and paved path for biking, rollerblading, and walking. The Henry Hudson Trail accessible from Highlands, NJ., which stretches nine miles (14 km) from Aberdeen to Atlantic Highlands and is wheelchair accessible.[5]

The northern tip of Sandy Hook is the traditional finish of the 16.1 mile Ederle, now Ederle-Burke, Swim, which runs from the Battery at the tip of Manhattan Island through the Narrows and into Lower New York Bay. The first successful swim occurred in 1913, when New York lifeguard Alfred Brown came ashore in 13 hours, 38 minutes. As a prelude to her English Channel triumph, Gertrude Ederle swam the same course in 1925, finishing in 7 hours, 11 minutes.

Transportation[edit]

The road that connects to Sandy Hook is Route 36. The road to the peninsula branches from Route 36 at the northern end of Sea Bright becoming Hartshorne Drive within the park. The Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge crosses the Shrewsbury River and carries the road traffic of Route 36 from Highlands in the west to Sea Bright in the east, near the entrance to Sandy Hook.

A bicycle path parallels the motor road. The SeaStreak ferry serves Sandy Hook from Manhattan in summertime.[5][10][11]

Climate[edit]

1981 - 2010 monthly climatic averages for Sandy Hook Beach, Monmouth County, New Jersey. Elevation 5 feet. Humid subtropical climate (Cfa).

Sandy Hook Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Ann
Avg High Temp 39 °F 42 °F 49 °F 58 °F 68 °F 78 °F 83 °F 82 °F 75 °F 64 °F 54 °F 44 °F 61 °F
Avg Low Temp 26 °F 28 °F 34 °F 43 °F 53 °F 62 °F 68 °F 68 °F 61 °F 50 °F 41 °F 32 °F 47 °F
Avg Dew Point 23 °F 24 °F 29 °F 38 °F 49 °F 60 °F 65 °F 65 °F 59 °F 47 °F 38 °F 28 °F 44 °F
Avg Precip 3.4" 2.6" 3.7" 4.0" 3.7" 3.9" 4.6" 4.0" 3.6" 3.7" 3.4" 3.8" 44.4"
Estimated Average Seasonal Snowfall (Nov - Apr) ≈ 20"

Dew Point / Humidity Chart

Dew Point Humidity
≥ 75 °F Extreme
70 °F - 74 °F High
65 °F - 69 °F Moderate
60 °F - 64 °F Slight
≤ 59 °F Comfortable

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sandy Hook". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  2. ^ "Coreholes Reveal Glacial and Postglacial History at Sandy Hook" (PDF). Unearthing New Jersey. Trenton, NJ: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. 11 (1): 3. 2015. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  3. ^ Greenfield, Beth (August 5, 2005). "Sandy Hook, So Close to Manhattan, So Far Away in Spirit". The New York Times. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  4. ^ "The Atlantic World: Dutch Place Names / De Atlantische Wereld: Plaatsnamen". Dutch Place Names. Library of Congress. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e Rounds, Kate, ed. (2010). "The Shore Next Door". Palisade - Hoboken & Beyond. Hudson Reporter Assoc., LP. 4 (3): 38–39. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  6. ^ "Sea Streak". Sea Streak. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  7. ^ Trebay, Guy (September 2, 2001). "All Undressed and So Many Places to Go". New York Times. Retrieved August 21, 2007. Crowds are also increasing these final summer days at Blacks Beach near San Diego, at Mazo Beach on the lower Wisconsin River and at Gunnison Beach in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, a dress optional sand strip run by the National Park Service that was recently deemed by the Clean Beaches Council, an environmental group, one of the top 10 beaches in the United States.
  8. ^ Flam, Faye. "Clothing optional may not be way of historical human", The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 17, 2006. Accessed June 17, 2007. "Sandy Hook boasts the biggest nude beach along the Atlantic. The clothing-optional part is called Gunnison Beach ...."
  9. ^ "Station Sandy Hook, New Jersey" (PDF). U.S. Coast Guard History Program. United States Coast. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  10. ^ "Sea Streak". Sea Streak. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  11. ^ "American Princess Cruises". Newyorkbeachferry.com. Retrieved December 17, 2012.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Northernmost
Beaches of New Jersey Succeeded by
Highlands