South Shore or North Shore—Which Shore Are You?


Once you get past the high taxes and traffic nightmares, Long Island is a pretty good place to make your home. Due to our size and shape, our island really has only two shores—the North Shore and the South Shore.

Because we are nestled between The Great South Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, we’re less than 20 miles from either shore. Long Islanders usually define themselves as being from the North Shore or the South Shore. Not quite sure what the folks in the middle call themselves, but on a sweltering summer day, do they head north or south to enjoy a natural water source? Most “Southshoreans” (is that even a word?) tend to favor the frantic ocean waves and the sand, while the residents of the North Shore may prefer the rocky terrain and the calmness of the bay waters.

Ok, I admit it; I’m a “Southshorean.” I’ve lived in Massapequa for more than 50 years and every beach I’ve ever been to consists of sand and waves. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent considerable time on the North Shore, specifically out in Greenport, and enjoyed just about everything it has to offer. I just don’t go in the water up there.

There are much better views of the sunset on the North Shore. Although there is traffic everywhere, it doesn’t compare to navigating the Hamptons on a summer weekend. You can even take your car on a ferry to Connecticut and avoid the hassles of getting to (and over) the Throgs Neck Bridge. When you look out over the Great South Bay, you can see civilization. On the South Shore, all you see is the horizon and the occasional barge that somehow doesn’t seem to belong there.

Just like the South Shore, there are hoity-toity restaurants and beautiful homes up north that most of us will never be able to afford. But we can dream, can’t we? They have Home Depots and Targets. They have Burger Kings and Subways. It’s not another planet, just a different region of this wonderful island.

You can take chartered fishing boats from the North Shore, just like you can from the South. There are comedy clubs and entertainment venues, schools and colleges. And if someone can tell me why there are way more wineries on the North Shore than the South Shore, I’d be interested to know. You would think they get the same climate up there as down here.
With all these similarities, why is there a need for our wonderful population to label themselves like a political party? It has to be the beaches.

The beaches are so totally opposite, it defies logic. When you think of an island surrounded by water, you assume it’s surrounded by the same water. Not here, not on Long Island. Our two shores are so diametrically opposed; they might as well be two different countries. Thanks to the constant battering of the ocean, the South Shore beaches provide soft sand and waves, along with the occasional jelly fish. The North Shore provides a rocky terrain with little sand that requires water shoes to navigate, and water that only slightly ripples.

Quite frankly, I don’t know how you “Northshoreans” can enjoy it up there. I am quite sure the high-end property values of the North and South shores are in the same ballpark, but on a sizzling summer day, would you rather be body surfing at Jones Beach or walking gingerly while trying not to kill yourself on a slippery rock at Sunken Meadow Park? Can you really compare Orient Beach State Park to Montauk when it comes to the beach?

I understand that the different shores make for different experiences. Some people like the water activities of the South Shore, while others enjoy the solitude of the North Shore. We’re not trying to declare a winner here. There are no bad choices on our beautiful island. There are pros and cons to each shoreline and every experience is different.

But when you get right down to it, between you and me, ours is better.

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