Imagine a quiet oceanfront community with powdery, white sand beaches, wonderful restaurants, a thriving cultural scene, and all of this less than an hour away from Midtown New York City. Look no further than Long Beach.
Long Beach is a city in Nassau County located on a namesake island, which forms part of the Outer Barrier off Long Island's South Shore. The city is surrounded by Reynolds Channel to the north, east and west, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south..
Long Beach's Past
Long Beach's first inhabitants were the Algonquian-speaking Rockaway Indians, who sold the area to English colonists in 1643. While the barrier island was used by baymen and farmers, no one lived there year-round for more than two centuries. In 1849 Congress established a lifesaving station after 62 people perished when the barque Mexico, carrying Irish immigrants to New York, ran ashore on New Year's Day.
Austin Corbin, a builder from Brooklyn, was first to attempt to develop the island as a resort. He formed a partnership with the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to finance the New York and Long Beach Railroad Co., which laid track from Lynbrook to Long Beach in 1880. That same year, Corbin opened Long Beach Hotel, a row of 27 cottages along an 1,100-foot strip of beach, which he claimed as the world's largest hotel. In its first season, the railroad brought 300,000 visitors to Long Island. On July 29, 1907, a fire broke out at the Long Beach Hotel and burned it to the ground.
In 1906, William Reynolds, a 39-year-old former state senator and real estate developer, entered the picture. Reynolds had already developed four Brooklyn neighborhoods (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Borough Park, Bensonhurst and South Brownsville) and Coney Island's Dreamland, the world's largest amusement park. He gathered investors, acquired the oceanfront from private owners and the rest of the island from the Town of Hempstead in 1907 and planned to build a boardwalk, homes and hotels.