The coastal community of Sayville radiates historic charm and friendliness. You feel as though you have gone back in time as you stroll the tree-lined downtown streets, where the historic buildings house boutiques, restaurants and other local businesses. Known for its bay-front beaches, marinas and lively sense of community, Sayville combines old-fashioned allure with modern convenience. The town's nearly 17,000 residents enjoy coming home to the relaxing lifestyle of a waterfront community while staying connected to one of the world's busiest cities.
The hamlet of Sayville lies within the town of Islip on the south shore of Long Island, approximately 62 miles east of Manhattan and 67 miles west of Montauk. West Sayville and Oakdale border it on the west, Bohemia lies to the north, and Bayport sits to its east. On its south side, Sayville fronts the Great South Bay, which has strongly influenced its development, spirit and lifestyle throughout its history.
Restaurants & Nightlife
A walk through Sayville's downtown area reveals a host of local restaurants with flavors for every palate. For traditional American fare, check out Cricket's on Main Street. You may have to wait in line to get into this local favorite due to its enduring popularity. Family-owned and operated for 25 years, Cricket's relaxed atmosphere makes it perfect for a family dinner or watching a game with friends. The menu touts freshly made, consistently good basic food at reasonable prices. Try the fish and chips or the grilled liver and bacon, and wash it down with a beer from the wide selection available.
Enjoy a family celebration or night out with special friends at Buteras. This Italian eatery prepares meals family style, with platters serving two or more people, but the kitchen also happily serves half portions. The chicken meatball lasagna, sole with crab meat, and shrimp Parmesan regularly earn rave reviews. If you save room for dessert, try the almond amaretto cake or tiramisu to round out your meal.
For a change of pace, dine at Blackbird's Grille, featuring cajun- and creole-inspired dishes in a warm, open dining room. Start with the Mud Bug Boil appetizer, a bowl of spicy crawfish steamed with garlic, white wine and lobster consomme. For your entree, sample the Cajun crawfish and cream, featuring bow-tie pasta with a creamy sauce and big pieces of crawfish, or the blackened tilapia with sweet potato wedges and sautéed spinach.
After dinner, catch a movie at the Sayville Cinema. This four-screen theater shows the latest movies in a retro setting complete with throwback prices. A few bars, such as The Portly Villager and The Half Penny Pub, beckon to night-time revelers, but for dance clubs and live entertainment, venture to one of the other nearby communities. When your favorite performers come to town, catch them at the 15,000-seat Nikon Theatre in nearby Jones Beach.
History & Culture
Founded in 1761 as a farming community, Sayville was originally known for timber and oysters. It flourished as a resort after the railroad arrived in 1868, and visitors flocked to the Great South Bay beaches. Sayville became part of the “Hidden Gold Coast” on the south shore of Long Island, where the wealthy built lavish estates. Following World War II, the population in the area exploded as it became a bedroom community for New York City.
You can get a sense of this history at the Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville, which celebrates the baymen, shell fishermen and marine history of the area. The property includes a museum, an old oyster house, an early baymen's cottage and a working restoration shop.
Every August, the Museum hosts the Long Island Seafood Festival featuring lobster, clams, chowder, roasted corn and more.
The Islip Art Museum in nearby East Islip showcases contemporary art, and the museum's Carriage House workspace allows artists to explore experimental art. While Sayville does not host any professional theater companies, you can catch live performances at nearby venues such as the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts and the Gateway Playhouse in Bellport.
Take advantage of Sayville's walkable downtown area where wide sidewalks lead from shop to shop. Park your car on the street free of charge, but check the signs for time limits to avoid getting a ticket. You will need a car if your errands take you beyond downtown.
You can easily navigate the roads around Sayville once you know that Montauk Highway becomes Main Street in downtown and Railroad Avenue becomes Lakeland Avenue north of town. Three major roads run east and west on Long Island from New York City, connecting towns and villages on the south shore: Sunrise Highway, the Long Island Expressway and the Southern State Parkway.
Other transportation options include local bus service through Suffolk Transit, connecting Sayville to other Long Island towns. The Sayville Ferry, located on River Road, takes travelers to several communities on Fire Island. The trip across the Great South Bay takes about 20 minutes.
Several taxi companies serve the Bay Shore area, but you may want to call for one rather than trying to hail one on the street. Uber does not offer service in Sayville. The flat terrain makes biking easy, but use caution as there are no bike lanes.
The railroad that first brought visitors to Sayville still plays an important role in the life of residents, taking them to Manhattan in about 1 1/2 hours from the Sayville stop on the Long Island Rail Road's Montauk line. The railroad covers the entire 118-mile length of Long Island and criss-crosses its 20-mile width, connecting towns throughout the island.
The cost of living in Sayville sits at approximately 52 percent higher than the national average and 25 percent higher than the New York state average. A one-bedroom apartment rents for about $1,300. Commuting one way on the train to Manhattan's Penn Station costs $17.50 for a peak fare ticket purchased in the station and $12.75 for an off-peak ticket. You can also buy a monthly pass for $363. Gas prices run approximately 11 percent higher than the national average. If you go out for a beer in Sayville, expect to pay about $6 per bottle.
Shopping in Sayville's old-fashioned downtown on Main Street and Railroad Avenue features unique stores intermingled with well known chains such as Walgreen's and Starbucks.
Be sure to stop at the Seafarer Gift Shop to browse the largest selection of handmade sea glass jewelry anywhere on Long Island. The store also sells home decor, books and other items, all with nautical themes.
Browse the fabrics at Patchworks Quilting Gallery, a Sayville staple for 29 years. In addition to material, Patchworks sells notions, sewing machines, kits and patterns. The shop also holds classes for beginning quilters.
Reminiscent of an old-time five-and-10, Four Star Home Store contains almost any household item imaginable. It also sells candles, picture frames and women's accessories.
A little further away from downtown, national chain stores dominate the Sayville Plaza shopping center, Sun-Vet Mall in Holbrook and the South Shore Mall in Bay Shore. You can also go bargain hunting for designer retail items at the outlet shopping centers in Deer Park and Bellport.
When you need to stock your fridge and pantry, head to Super Stop & Shop on the edge of the downtown area. King Kullen in nearby Blue Point and Pathmark in Holbrook provide addition grocery options. For fresh produce, head to the Sayville Farmers Market on Saturdays from 8 am to 2:30 pm between June and mid-November. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, you'll find local breads, jams and jellies, fish, pickles and flowers.
Residents and visitors alike enjoy the many outdoor recreational activities available in and around Sayville. In the heart of town, between Gillette and Candee Avenues, lies Gillette Park. This small community park includes a reflective garden dedicated to the victims of September 11th. The park's graceful gardens, walkways made from personalized stones and memorial benches make it a great place to reflect or just relax on a quiet afternoon. The Pamela Raymond Performance Pavilion in the park hosts local events throughout the year.
A sportsman's paradise, Sayville not only backs up to the Great South Bay but also lies close to Fire Island. Favorites local spots for a day in the sun include Atlantique, Benjamin and Islip Beaches. At the Robert Moses State Park on Fire Island, Sayville residents swim, fish, picnic or take the kids to the playground. You can also play golf at the 18-hole golf course located there. The park does not allow pets, and you must pay $8 to $10 per car to enter, depending on the day of the week.
Visit Heckscher State Park's 1,600 acres in East Islip to see stunning views of the Great South Bay and Fire Island. The park provides access to the bay, so visitors can swim, kayak, canoe, paddle board and more. The park is free to enter, and dogs are allowed. It includes large open fields for soccer, cricket and lacrosse as well as shady picnic groves and four miles of paved trails for bikers, joggers and walkers.
Take your four-legged friend out to play at the Cherry Avenue Dog Park in West Sayville. The park has 1.5 enclosed acres with a 4-foot high chain link fence and separate areas for large and small dogs. It includes running water to wash your pet and free parking for more than 30 cars, but bring your own waste disposal bags.