Long Island, New Jersey, and New York
November 23, 2004 2:55 PM   Subscribe

As a follow-up to the New Jersey/New York relationship question, in my ongoing attempt to grasp these complex regional dynamics, could someone explain to me how Long Island fits into the mix? I'm a Midwesterner, but have been to both NYC and Long Island and notice the general differences and similarities, but can't quite put my finger on what residents of each location think of each other.
posted by marcusb to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Long Island (pronounced "Lawn Guyland" in true New Yorkese) is a lot like how the other thread described New Jersey: big hair, flashier clothes and jewelry, slight tackiness.

There are upscale suburbs like Great Neck (inspiration for "West Egg" in "The Great Gatsby") and Roslyn and "the five towns" area, all of which are on the north shore or in the center of the island. There are more strip-mallish middle-class areas on the south shore, many of them were once planned cookie-cutter communities like Levittown, built in the 1950's for the post-WWII Baby Boom. Farther out in the more rural areas are farms, some of which have been bought up by developers to create the overrated phenomenon known as The Hamptons, which is a series of towns full of summer homes, way out on the end of south shore, populated by New Yorkers on summer vacation.

The Long Island accent, especially among women, is also one of the most obnoxious and grating accents known to mankind.
posted by Asparagirl at 5:08 PM on November 23, 2004

Oh, and residents of Westchester County, New York, just north of the city, look down on both Jersey and Long Island folks. We like to think we're lower key and more normal--suburbia done right.
posted by Asparagirl at 5:09 PM on November 23, 2004

Long Island (pronounced "Lawn Guyland" in true New Yorkese) is a lot like how the other thread described New Jersey: big hair, flashier clothes and jewelry, slight tackiness.

Not quite. The South Shore of Long island you've described pretty dead on, but the North Shore has more in common with Westchester - Lots of professionals, lots of money escaped from the city, etc.

The key difference between the Island and Jersey is in the youth culture. Kids from Jersey tend to develop an inferiority complex and deny it forever, or stay in Jersey and defy challenges vigorously. On the Island however, the overwhelming sense is not one of inferiority to the city, but Isolation from the rest of the world. Since there is literally no way off of the Island that doesn't cost money, we're trapped here, and as a result, there's a definite sense of a bubble. At the same time, it's much easier for folks like myself, who live in Western Nassau, to hop into Queens and NYC than it is for anyone from Jersey - the Island is kind of an inbetween point in many ways.

The other key thing to remember about the Island is that as long as someone is on Long Island, they hate it with a passion, and as soon as they leave, there is nothing they could be prouder of.

Also, Westchester is not more low key - it's more rural and richer. :P
posted by TTIKTDA at 5:46 PM on November 23, 2004

Also, crimewise, LI is just plain weird in the way that Texas and Florida are weird. Amy Fisher, Joel Rifkin, the Seacrest Diner, the Amityville horror, Colin Ferguson....
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:21 PM on November 23, 2004

To follow up un CunningLinguist...

The news recently has been obsessed with a "Turkey-throwing" incident.

In short, a bunch of high school kids threw a turkey out the window of a car, into oncoming traffic, hitting a woman in the face at high speed and causing her face permanent disfigurement.
posted by TTIKTDA at 7:49 PM on November 23, 2004

Long Island's principal reputation is a function of under-cultivated Brooklyn, Queens and Bronx children moving out to burbs: lack of cultivation on steroids, if you will.

Horrible place, imho, really worse than NJ, or even sterile Westchester; Robert Moses Materialism Hell without any mitigating circumstances.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:37 AM on November 24, 2004

(and, no, a populated beach which requires three or more hours to reach is not a "mitigating circumstance/factor).
posted by ParisParamus at 8:46 AM on November 24, 2004

FWIW, if, some day kids and/or a beautiful woman compell me to leave NYC, my vote for destination would probably be:

1. Nyack NY
2. one of the river towns in Westchester, just above NYC
3. Essex County, NJ;

But Long Island? Suicide would like be elected over that.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:59 AM on November 24, 2004

TTIKTDA's got it right, mostly, except that I think it's important to note that the turkey was frozen and the victim is (was?) comatoid.

There is certainly a Long Island Babylon (as opposed to Babylon, LI, an actual town) feel to the place -- it's idiosyncratic in a way most island cultures are, except it's just down the way from Manhattan. But Long Island still has a few perfect, vast, spectacular stretches of beach that remain incomparable.

Under-cultivated? That's a boorish turn of phrase, ugh. PP, I suspect you'll find Rockland County won't measure up either ... after all it's home to the largest concentration of cops and fireman in NY state, same kids fleeing the same boroughs. But do check out Piermont, just south of Nyack. I've got a shack on the river I'm hoping to unload, as soon as I cultivate the right striver ...
posted by thinkpiece at 9:24 AM on November 24, 2004

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