Bay Shore is a hamlet and a census-designated place (CDP) located in the Town of Islip, Suffolk County, New York, USA. It is situated on the south shore of Long Island, adjoining the Great South Bay. Bay Shore celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2008. The population of the CDP was 23,852 at the time of the 2000 census.
The hamlet’s name has changed several times. Early European settlers referred to the place as Penataquit and, earlier, Awixa; both names were used by the Native American Secatogue tribe. By the early 19th century it was renamed Sodom. When and why the name was changed to Sodom remains a mystery. In 1842 it was changed to Mechanicsville, then back to Penataquit in 1849. The name Penataquit proved unpopular because it was difficult to spell. The name of the post office was finally changed to Bay Shore in 1868.
The land that was to become Bay Shore was purchased from the Secatogue Indians in 1708 by John Mobray, a teacher, for “several eel spears”.
19th and early 20th centuries
Bay Shore became renowned in the late 19th century for its shopping district and resorts. With its convenient and appealing location along the Great South Bay and access to Fire Island, the hamlet became popular with affluent New Yorkers looking to escape the city. It was a tourist spot on weekends and during the summer, in large part because the newly built Long Island Railroad enabled easy access from Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Post-World War II development
The population of Bay Shore increased significantly after World War II: From the mid-1950s through mid-1960s, a wide variety of housing developments were constructed on farms and unused woodlands. Those developments were settled largely by working and middle class first-time home buyers from New York City.
Despite strains on the community and brought on by sudden, substantial growth, the hamlet remained sound. Main Street continued to be one of the region’s most popular shopping destinations.
1970s and 1980s
Bay Shore suffered a decline beginning in the late 1970s. Without a local government, residents were unable to make decisions that were instead left to the Town of Islip and Suffolk County. The population density and demographics shifted when rezoning permitted businesses, rental properties and multi-family dwellings where previously only single-family houses had been allowed. Many Main Street storefronts became dilapidated or vacant. The Cortland Hotel, along with other historic sites, was closed, the parks were unkempt, and many residents relocated. Construction of the South Shore Mall (currently Westfield South Shore) two miles north of Main Street took business away from the small businesses on Main Street. Deinstitutionalization caused psychiatric patients of the nearby Pilgrim State Hospital to be hastily relocated to rental housing downtown, often without sufficient professional support. With the opening of the county’s social services “mini-center” on Union Blvd, many residents witnessed an increase in crime, as indigents began wandering the streets and sleeping in public spaces and parks. Homes, businesses and restaurants on the waterfront fared better, partly because it’s an embarkation point for ferries to beaches on Fire Island.
Restoration and the hamlet today
Several attempts to restore Bay Shore were made since the 1980s. A large number of upscale townhouses and condominiums were built in gated communities on the grounds of old estates. The former Bay Shore Theater and one-time opera house was renovated and expanded into a YMCA. The redevelopment of Main Street is ongoing; efforts include new sidewalks, antique-style streetlights, new landscaping and restored parks. Main Street has regained much of its popularity. There are many attractive new restaurants, clothing boutiques and other stores and offices. The Bay Shore Beautification Society transformed an empty lot on Main Street into a meditation garden that has since been recognized for its excellent design.
A US Battleship was to have been placed at the Bay Shore Marina, but the water was deemed too shallow. Instead, a disused WWII torpedo was made into a monument. The aging bulkhead and other dock structures at the Marina were rebuilt. A new waterpark was built at the marina, along with new parking spaces, and a redone bath house and landscaping completed summer 2010.
The Bay Shore Public High School underwent extensive renovation and expansion from 2005 through 2008. The project has been noted for its close attention to architectural and historic detail.
Abandoned department stores at the Gardiner Manor Mall have been replaced by new ones, including a Lowe’s home improvement center. Defunct buildings in adjacent lots were demolished to make way for a new BMW dealership.
In 2008 and 2009 new condominiums were built next to the train station. Additionally, a pedestrian bridge was built over the tracks and the old underground tunnel between platforms was closed.
In Summer 2009, the derelict Bay Shore Roller Rink was demolished after sitting empty for a decade. It has been replaced by a two-story Lucille Roberts building.
Bay Shore continues to support greater socioeconomic, religious and ethnic diversity.
Historic mansions and estates
Though many architecturally impressive homes from that period remain, others have been subdivided, converted to commercial properties, or demolished.
West of downtown, extending into neighboring Brightwaters is the best-known section of extant, older mansions and large houses. During the 1920s, Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand, Gloria Swanson, Mae Murray and many of the Keystone Kops owned homes in Brightwaters. The Keystone Building, which housed Vitagraph Studios and was used as police headquarters in the films, still stands on Maple Ave.
At the east end of the hamlet (Mainly on Awixa, Penataquit and Montgomery Ave.s) are the W.H. Wray House, the Hulse House and the Gustavino Tile House, among others. There was the now-razed J.P. Morgan Estate, a large white mansion owned by the Johnson + Johnson family and a home shortly used by actress Zsa Zsa Gabor. . This peninsula was originally named Thurber’s Neck and then Penataquit Point. This area of three avenues and 3 side roads, residing between Awixa Creek and Orowac Creek, has its own website Awixa.com.
Since 1891, Bay Shore has been served by volunteer firefighters of the Bay Shore Fire Department. The department has a headquarters located on Fifth Ave, and two stations located on Union Boulevard and East William St. The Department also serves Brightwaters and West Bay Shore, and when needed, other surrounding towns. The Department has an extensive fleet of fire apparatus.
Bay Shore is served by the Bay Shore-Brightwaters Volunteer Rescue Ambulance. The department’s primary territory is Bay Shore and Brightwaters. The department has five ambulances in its apparatus.
Southside Hospital, which is part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, is located at 301 E Main Street in Bay Shore.
Bay Shore is accessible by major roads on Long Island such as:
- NY 27, known as Sunrise POW/MIA Highway
- NY 27A, Known by several names within the Bay Shore limits, including Main St., South Country Rd. and Montauk Hwy.
- Southern State Parkway/ Heckscher Parkway
- I-495 or Long Island Expressway via Sagtikos Parkway
- CR-50, Union Blvd. runs through Bay Shore, as bypass for Main Street
- CR-13, Fifth Avenue, runs from CR-4 (Commack Road) in Commack to Main Street in downtown Bay Shore.
- CR-57, Howell’s Road/ Bay Shore Road/ Third Avenue, runs from NY 231 in Deer Park, to CR-13 (Fifth Avenue) in Bay Shore.
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Bay Shore is a stop on the Montauk Branch of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). The north track brings travelers west, to New York City and the south track runs eastward, to Montauk. The stop is a popular link for visitors traveling to Fire Island.
Bay Shore has terminals for the Fire Island Ferries. They are located at the end of Maple Avenue and Shore Lane.
There are many bus stops in Bay Shore on different lines, these routes are provided by Suffolk County Transit. Most of the buses that run in the Bay Shore area are operated and maintained By Suffolk Bus Corp, a sister company to Suffolk Transportation Services, which provides school buses for the Bay Shore Union Free School District. Suffolk Transportation Services main headquarters is located on Moffit Blvd.
Bay Shore is located at 40°43′47″N 73°15′13″W / 40.72972°N 73.25361°W / 40.72972; -73.25361 (40.729857, -73.253722). Located on Long Island, it is 42 miles from Manhattan and 79 miles from Montauk. Bay Shore borders the village of Brightwaters to the west, North Bay Shore and Brentwood to the north, Islip to the east and the Great South Bay and Fire Island to the south.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 6.1 square miles (15.8 km2). 5.3 square miles (13.7 km2) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) of it (13.30%) is water.
Demographics of the CDP
As of the census of 2005, there were 18,000 people, 8,000 households, and 5,000 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 4,524.5 per square mile (1,747.5/km²). There were 8,639 housing units at an average density of 1,638.7/sq mi (632.9/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 71.99% White, 17% African American, 1% Asian, 0.1% Native American, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 7% from other races, and 3% from two or more races. Hispanics of any race comprised 19.86%.
There were 8,194 households out of which 33.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.8% were married couples living together, 15.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.5% were non-families. 25.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% were living alone and 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.1 and the average family size was 3.10.
The population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 96.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.0 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $50,155, and the median income for a family was $69,046 (these figures had risen to $70,140 and $80,931 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $49,878 versus $39,851 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $29,437. About 8.1% of families and 12.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.1% of those under age 18 and 8.1% of those age 65 or over.
Bay Shore Union Free School District
Bay Shore colors are Maroon and White, with black and gold accents. The mascot is the Marauder.
- Five elementary schools
- Mary G. Clarkson, grades PreK-2
- Brook Avenue School, grades PreK-2
- Fifth Avenue School, grades PreK-2
- Gardiner Manor School, grades 3-5
- South Country School, grades 3-5
- One middle school
- Bay Shore Middle School, grades 6-8
- One high school
Places of worship
- Bay Shore is home to several places of worship. Among them are The First Congregational Church, St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, Sinai Reform Temple, Unitarian Universalist Society of South Suffolk, the United Methodist Church (celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2010), Bethel A.M.E Church, Saint Luke’s Lutheran Church, and Calvary Baptist Church.
- First Lady Julia Gardiner Tyler was raised in East Hampton, New York and Bay Shore. Gardiner’s Park, Gardiner Lane, and Gardiner Manor Elementary School are all named in her honor.
- Thomas Adams: 19th century founder of the Adams Chewing Gum Company, now part of Cadbury plc, built one of the finest houses on Awixa Avenue.
- Patti Austin: The singer graduated from Bay Shore High School in 1968.
- Frank Boulton: Bay Shore High School alumni, President of Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, Owner and president of the Long Island Ducks.
- Charlie Chaplin owned a home in Bay Shore and cut the ribbon for the opening of Southside Hospital.
- Aristotle Dreher, rock musician and co-founder of the band Vaeda, was born in Bay Shore and graduated from Bay Shore High School in 1996.
- The Entenmann family of the famous Entenmann’s baked goods company lived in Bay Shore. Alumni of Bay Shore High School.
- Zsa Zsa Gabor briefly stayed in a house in Bay Shore, on historic Awixa Avenue.
- Amy Goodman, syndicated news broadcaster, columnist and author, grew up in Bay Shore.
- Juanita Hall (née Long): The acclaimed African American Actress best known as Bloody Mary in the stage and screen versions of South Pacific lived and died in Bay Shore.
- Henry Osborne Havemeyer: The 19th century sugar baron and art collector summered there through the 1900s and was an active member of the Bay Shore Yacht Club.
- Edward Francis Hutton: The founder of the E.F. Hutton & Co. brokerage company summered in Bay Shore in the early 20th century.
- Gustav Kobbé, opera expert and art critic, summered in Bay Shore and got killed by hydroplane while sailing on Great South Bay.
- Saul Kripke, philosopher and logician, was born in Bay Shore.
- James Todd Smith later known as LL Cool J: was born in Bay Shore in 1968.
- Harvey Milk: The former San Francisco Supervisor, gay rights pioneer and 2009 posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom graduated from Bay Shore High School in 1947.
- Joe Namath, football superstar, had a summer home in Bay Shore in the early 1970s.
- Mabel Normand had a house in Bay Shore.
- Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather and other novels and screenplays, lived and raised his family in Bay Shore.
- Judith Regan, book publisher, graduated from Bay Shore High School in 1971.
- Lilia Skala: The actress lived in Bay Shore in her later years.
- Erick Sermon: The rapper was born in Bay Shore.
- Spurgeon Tucker, 20th century painter of Long Island scenes and New York City celebrities
- John E. Thomas Sr.: The 1st African-American Police Officer in Suffolk County
Films with scenes shot in Bay Shore
- 1969: Last Summer, directed by Frank Perry. (Filmed there and on Fire Island in the summer of 1968.)
- 1983: The Hunger, directed by Tony Scott and starring Susan Sarandon, David Bowie, and Catherine Deneuve. (Exterior shots in introductory scenes.)
- 1988: Married to the Mob, directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Alec Baldwin. (Family home and other suburban scenes.)
- 2004: Birth, directed by Jonathan Glazer and starring Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, Danny Huston and Anne Heche. (Wedding scenes at the historic Sagtikos Manor.)
- 2008: What Happens in Vegas, directed by Tom Vaughan and starring Ashton Kutcher, Cameron Diaz, . (Ferry to/from Fire Island)
Information from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_Shore,_New_York