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Bay shore, NY

Explore Bay Shore, NY's rich history

March 12, 20244 min read


Bay Shore is a hamlet in the Town of Islip, New York, United States. It is situated on the south shore of Long Island, adjoining the Great South Bay. The population of Bay Shore was 29,244 at the time of the 2020 census.


Bay Shore is one of the older hamlets on Long Island. Sagtikos Manor, located in West Bay Shore, was built around 1697. It was used as a British armed forces headquarters at the time of the Battle of Long Island during the Revolutionary War. President Washington stayed at the Sagtikos Manor during his tour of Long Island in 1790.

The land that would become Bay Shore proper was purchased from the Secatogue Native Americans in 1708 by local school teacher John Mowbray for "several eel spears.".

The hamlet's name has changed over time. Early European settlers referred to the area first as Penataquit and later as Awixa; both were names used by the indigenous Secatogue. For reasons never documented, the name was changed in the early 19th century to Sodom. In 1842, there was a further name change to Mechanicsville, then a return in 1849 to Penataquit. The name Penataquit proved unpopular because it was difficult to spell, and the name of the hamlet and post office was changed to Bay Shore in 1868.

19th and early 20th centuries

Bay Shore became renowned in the late 19th century for its shopping district and resorts. The rural hamlet became popular with affluent New Yorkers looking to escape the city to the white-sand beaches of the Great South Bay and the fishing villages of Fire Island. It was a tourist spot on weekends and during the summer, in large part because the newly built Long Island Rail Road enabled easy access from New York City. During World War I, it became the headquarters of the First Yale Unit, a United States Naval Air Reserve unit.

Post-World War II development

The population of Bay Shore increased significantly after World War II. From the mid-1950s through the mid-1960s, a 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 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

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 vacant. Construction of the South Shore Mall, two miles north of Main Street, took business away from the small businesses on Main Street.

Work to restore Bay Shore has been ongoing since the 1980s. 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 were 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 in 2007, which has since been recognized for its excellent design.

A US battleship was to have been placed at the Bay Shore Marina. However, the water was deemed too shallow, and instead a decommissioned WWII torpedo was converted into a monument. The aging bulkhead and other dock structures at the marina were rebuilt. Over the summer of 2010, a new water park was built at Benjamin Beach, which sits adjacent to the marina, with a renovated bath house and new landscaping.

Abandoned department stores at the Gardiner Manor Mall were razed to make new use of the property. Most of the old mall and adjacent buildings were replaced by new commercial and retail spaces, including a Lowe's home improvement center, a Target, and a BMW dealership.

In 2008 and 2009, new condominiums replaced dilapidated housing next to the train station. Additionally, a pedestrian bridge was built over the tracks, and the old tunnel between platforms was closed.

Bay Shore CDP is located on the South Shore of Long Island, approximately 42 miles (68 km) from Manhattan and 79 miles (127 km) from Montauk.

The village of Brightwaters is west of Bay Shore, east of West Bay Shore, and south of a portion of the Bay Shore CDP. The Great South Bay is to the south. The village separates Bay Shore proper from West Bay Shore.


Bay Shore Union Free School District serves the area, with Bay Shore High School as the local high school. In addition, Bay Shore Parochial School of St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church (of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre) offers elementary education covering grades K–8 courses and curriculum. It opened in 1921.


Bay Shore has terminals for the Ferries to Fire Island, serving Atlantique, Dunewood, Fair Harbor, Kismet, Ocean Bay Park, Ocean Beach, Point-O-Woods, Saltaire, and Seaview, and smaller hamlets. They are located at the southernmost end of Maple Avenue. Some daily ferries to Atlantique also make a stop at the Bay Shore Marina, which is across the canal from the Maple Avenue ferries.

Source: Wikipedia


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