One of the wealthiest counties in America, Nassau County is situated on the western portion of New York’s Long Island and is home to about 1.3 million residents. Originally the eastern portion of Queens County, Nassau became its own entity in 1899. Mostly suburban in nature but with a number of heavily urbanized areas, the county is divided into two cities (Glen Cove and Long Beach) and three towns (Hempstead, North Hempstead, and Oyster Bay); the towns contain nearly twelve dozen picturesque villages and hamlets.
More than 100 sites in Nassau County sit on the National Register of Historic Places, ranging from grand old estates and notable gardens to light houses and post offices. But history isn’t the only thing this 452 square-mile county has going for it. Natural beauty is also apparent throughout the county. Along the south shore, beautiful white beaches are abundant, and in the north, the bluffs are the epitome of rugged beauty. This terrain provides a wealth of outdoor activities for residents and visitors to enjoy, especially during warm weather months.
Though Nassau County is outside the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, it’s easy to reach the city from anywhere in the county via the ultra-convenient Long Island Railroad, which has several lines that traverse the island, with dozens of stops in Nassau County.
Nassau County provides its residents with the best of both worlds. Many portions of the county are quite urban and, in addition, it’s easy to reach Manhattan from various parts of the county in just a short amount of time. On the other hand, the area has plenty of picturesque small villages and hamlets, expansive parks, and other suburban-like qualities to please those who seek wide open spaces. Just a short drive from anywhere in the county will land residents in one of these areas. Furthermore, the beaches and vineyards of neighboring Suffolk County are just minutes away.
As home to a large number of colleges and universities, parts of Nassau County have that college town feel and are ideal for young people. Adelphi, Hofstra, Briarcliff, New York Institute of Technology, and several others attract large numbers of students to the area each year and provide residents with the opportunity to enjoy intercollegiate sports and some top-notch music and theater performances.
Nassau County boasts literally hundreds of restaurants, running the gamut from casual and inexpensive to upscale and rather costly. Many take advantage of the bounty found on the island, including wines from neighboring Suffolk County, vegetables from farms that dot the landscape, and scrumptious seafood from the the surrounding waterst. These fresh ingredients have helped put a number of restaurants in Nassau County on the list of New York’s finest eateries.
The variety of cuisine is extensive and it’s possible to find just about any kind of ethnic eatery in Nassau County, including an abundance of Italian restaurants as well as Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, South American, Greek, and Indian eateries, and plenty of good old American steakhouses and seafood places.
Nassau County boasts an excellent Arts Council that keeps the culture of the county at the forefront of its efforts.
Museums are plentiful and Central Nassau County has its own “Museum Row”, which include The Cradle of Aviation Museum, African-American Museum of Nassau County, Nassau County Firefighters Museum and The Long Island Children’s Museum. The county also has its very own museum of art, located on the former Frick estate, which boasts an excellent collection of European and American art from the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Great Neck Arts Center provides a variety of performing arts events and also offers classes for children and adults in a wide variety of arts-related pursuits like acting, dancing, and more. In addition, there are several musical ensembles, theater companies, and other professional, semi-professional, and amateur groups in Nassau County to keep residents entertained. Often, well-known names in entertainment come to Nassau County to perform.
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