Known as the “City by the Sea,“ Long Beach has the distinction of being one of only two cities on Long Island. Located just south of Long Island on the Long Beach Barrier Island, the politically independent and self-governing city lies within the borders of the Town of Hempstead.
Approximately 33,000 residents call Long Beach home. Ranked as the 24th most densely populated community in the United States, fewer than 40% of the homes are detached houses. Less than a mile wide from ocean to bay, and about three-and-a-half miles wide, Long Beach has a number of neighborhoods including the West End, the East End, the Canals and North Park. Once a popular summer resort town, Long Beach later became a bedroom community for commuters to Manhattan, just 28 miles away.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Nagahama, which means “long beach” in Japanese, has been selected by the Zagat Guide as the number one restaurant on Long Island. Regulars rave about the fresh sushi and sashimi and the friendly service. Some of the most popular special rolls on the menu are the Chanukah roll (yellow tail and tuna topped with fresh salmon) and the Crazy Jake (jake, crab, shrimp, flying fish eggs, cucumber and scallions, rolled in sesame seeds). The restaurant also serves main dishes, including tempura, teriyaki and katsu.
Unique and cozy, Sugo Café serves a varied menu that runs the gamut from salads to pastas to ribs to lobster. The modern, funky red and black décor has its critics, but most agree that the food delivers. Among the favorites are the raw bar with oysters, clams with shrimp, chicken meatballs, chopped salad topped with champagne vinaigrette, the BBQ duo of ribs and chicken, and lobster ravioli in a tomato tarragon sauce. But be sure and save room for the signature dessert known as the Sugookie, a gooey, warm chocolate chip cookie served in an individual iron skillet and topped with vanilla ice cream. Sugo also has a late night menu and drink specials, as well as live music on weekends.
For a taste of the Caribbean, Corazon de Cuba brings Latin flavors to food, drinks, entertainment and recreation. This small but inviting brick-walled space may be a bit loud, but the food makes up for the decibel level. Classic Cuban standouts include the ropa vieja, a shredded skirt steak with onions, bell peppers and plum tomatoes. Other patrons opt for the picadillo: ground beef, potatoes, onions, and bell peppers sauteed with garlic plum tomatoes, olives and raisins Other popular dishes include the fish tacos and the homemade emapanadas.
Long Beach has a vibrant nightlife. If you are looking for a good ol’ neighborhood bar, look no further than JW Trainor’s, known for its convivial bartenders, positive vibe and Friday night beer pong tournaments. The Park, Long Beach’s largest sports bar, has 40 flat screen TVs showing every sports event as it happens, and a live DJ on Fridays and Saturdays. Biddy Mulligans, an Irish pub across the street from the LIRR station has great happy hour specials every day from 12pm – 7 pm, trivia night on Wednesdays, karaoke on Fridays and live music every Saturday.
History & Culture
One of the more established communities on Long Island, Long Beach was founded in 1880. When the Long Island Rail Road arrived two years later, it became a vacation resort offering both an ocean side and a bay side. During the 1940s, the city was the residence of choice for a number of celebrities including Humphrey Bogart, Jack Dempsey and John Barrymore.
The Long Beach Historical Museum, housed in one of the original, Craftsman-style Estates of Long Beach summer residences, presents archived documents, pictures, artifacts and memorabilia. Docent-guided house tours and neighborhood walks, which highlight the city’s historic architecture, are also available. Every Saturday from May through October, Arts in the Plaza showcases locally handcrafted art and live musical performances. Other annual events include a boardwalk arts and crafts show, beach tennis tournaments, the Long Beach International Film Festival and free summer concerts on the beach.
Most definitely a city built for walking, Long Beach has a lighted, 2.25 mile boardwalk, perfect for a leisurely stroll or fitness walking both day and night. In warmer weather, the adjacent 3.5 mile white sand beach also appeals to walkers. The two primary downtown shopping areas are also welcoming to pedestrians. Although there are not currently bike lanes on any of the main thoroughfares, a section of the boardwalk has been set aside for cyclists.
Commuters to Manhattan generally rely on the Long Island Rail Road, which has a station at Park Place and East Park Avenue. The terminus of the Long Beach branch, the trip to Penn Station takes just under an hour. The Department of Transportation operates a 24-hour municipal bus service with five routes, as well as trolley and para-transit service. Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) has two bus routes that originate in Long Beach and travel to the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City and to Far Rockaway via Rockville Centre and Atlantic Beach. Given its proximity to the beach, Long Beach residents have nearly a 30-minute drive to the Southern State Parkway, which runs through both Nassau and Suffolk Counties and intersects with the Belt Parkway for travel to Queens, Brooklyn and beyond.
Although Uber is not currently an option on Long Island, there are several taxi and car services in the area. Long Beach Independent Taxi, located right next door to the LIRR station, operates 24 hours a day. People also rely on Long Beach City Taxi and Long Beach Taxi to take them to and from the train station, around town, or to nearby JFK and LaGuardia airports. The major car rental companies do not have offices in Long Beach, but there are offices in neighboring areas like Island Park and Oceanside. It is possible to live in Long Beach without owning a car; those residents who do have their own vehicles are hesitant to use them with parking at a premium. Parking permits, which are valid at both the LIRR station and at 11 municipal lots throughout the city, are available through the City Clerk’s office.
The cost of living in Long Beach comes in close to 42 percent higher than in the rest of New York and 73 percent higher than in the rest of the nation. The one-way peak fare from Long Beach to Penn Station via the Long Island Rail Road will set you back $12.50, while an unlimited monthly ticket weighs in at $276. There are a number of apartment buildings in the city, as well as apartment rentals in private homes. The median rent for a one-bedroom residence in Hewlett runs approximately $3,500 per month. Gasoline prices are 24 percent higher than the national average, while beer prices at local watering holes average around $8 a bottle.
The City of Long Beach has two primary shopping areas; one is along Park Avenue and the other along West Beech Street.
Just as would expect in a beach community, Long Beach has several surf shops. Family owned and operated for more than 30 years in a loft-like 1928 brick warehouse, Long Beach Surf is located only two minutes from the beach. The shop stocks more than 300 surfboards and offers the latest in apparel, accessories and footwear. Surfboard rentals are also available.
Josef-Rose Originals began as a custom handbag design house in 1981. After having a retail business in Deal, New Jersey for 16 years, owners Susan and Diana relocated to Long Beach, where they carry handbags, belts, wallets, travel items, Brighton jewelry and gifts. Josef-Rose also sells custom designed, one-of-a-kind bags and belts, and is the exclusive retailer for Diana Gisele custom beaded and enameled bags. The shop is known for amazing customer service, and because of Susan’s extensive experience with leathers, she can provide expert advice on the construction and care of all leather goods.
The Blue Bungalow is a neighborhood hideaway on West Park Avenue, selling unique gifts, home décor and accessories. Many of the items are hand-crafted by owners; Liz is known for her custom crafted beach writings while Jeanne creates coastal artwork. They also sell the perfect accents for any beach home, such as decorative sea shells, driftwood, pillows, frames and more.
When it’s time to stock the pantry, Long Beach residents have several large supermarkets within the city, including Waldbaum’s and Key Food. Bob’s Natural Foods has been part of the Long Beach community since 1975, making it Long Island’s oldest independent natural foods store. The store carries natural and organic products in the grocery, body care and vitamin departments, as well as a wide selection of gluten free foods. A café in the rear of the store serves 30 different smoothies made with juices, soy, rice, nut or seed milks and frozen fruit. The café also offers fresh organic vegetable and wheatgrass juices, tasty wraps and salads. The Kennedy Plaza farmer’s market, in front of Long Beach City Hall, operates on Wednesdays and Saturdays from May through November and both outside and inside City Hall on Saturdays from December through February. Vendors sell fresh, regional products including produce, dairy products, meat and fish, herbs, plants, baked goods, nut butters, pasta, fair trade coffee, gluten free products, handcrafted soaps, and much more.
Ocean Beach Park is the official name of the beautiful white sand beach that borders the Atlantic Ocean. Open to residents and non-residents alike, beach passes, available for the day or the season, are required to enter the park. There are numerous access points, as well as a wide variety of licensed food vendors along the beach and the boardwalk.
The City of Long Beach Recreation Center offers something for everyone, including recreation programs and athletics, adult leagues, fitness groups and special events. The campus includes a municipal swimming pool, a year-round indoor ice arena, turf fields, basketball courts, a roller hockey rink, fishing pier, boat launch, skate park, dog run and the boardwalk promenade. Residents can pay a monthly membership fee to use the facilities or opt to pay a daily rate. In addition, the city operates seven playgrounds throughout Long Beach including the Clark Street playground featuring swings, slides, a rope-climbing station, sprinklers and a children’s splash park area.