Monday, November 14, 2005

Long Island Geography

The geography of Long Island can be quite confusing, even to Mr. Long Island and other current residents, let alone to those who live in other parts of the country and have never been to the area. Thus, the following ...

For a good town-by-town map showing all the villages and hamlets in each of LI's 13 towns, read on:

Each year, LIPA, as successor to LILCO, publishes a report (the report is published by LIPA, but is written by KeySpan, previously known as LILCO) updating the census population numbers (by using people-per-electric meter ratios) for all the 293 communities on Long Island.
There are 2 cities and 13 towns (as well as 2 Indian reservations) in the bi-counties and the 13 towns (3 in Nassau and 10 in Suffolk) are further sub-divided into 95 villages (incorporated municipalities) and 196 hamlets (unincorporated areas), yielding 293 communities (2 + 95 + 196 = 293).

Nassau County / Suffolk County Totals:

The heart of this 40-page report are maps of each of the 13 towns (3 in Nassau, 10 in Suffolk), showing the true borders of all villages and hamlets (not the postal zone borders) in each town. The facing pages list which communities are villages or hamlets and their populations. (You'll find villages and hamlets that you never knew existed because they are in some other community-named postal zone.)

To help you understand these different geographic terms, a NYS Geographic Glossary with the NYS definitions of county, city, town, village, hamlet and postal zone is at the end of the article
The Geography Maven considers this the best resource available in understanding the geography and governmental organization of Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
You can download a copy of the 2004 edition of the LI Population Survey by going to:

If you will be so kind, please let the Geography Maven know what you think of this report by leaving comments here after you have downloaded and reviewed it.

NYS Geographic Glossary:
....Cities, Towns, Villages, Hamlets and Postal Zones in New York State
New York State is divided into counties.

A county is a municipal corporation, a subdivision of the state, created to perform state functions; a "regional" government. All counties are divided into cities, towns and Indian reservations.

A city is a unique governmental entity with its own special charter. Cities are not sub-divided, except into neighborhoods, which are informal geographic areas.

A town is a municipal corporation and encompasses all territory within the state except that within cities or Indian reservations. Towns can be sub-divided into villages and hamlets.

A village is a general purpose municipal corporation formed voluntarily by the residents of an area in one or more towns to provide themselves with municipal services. The pattern of village organization is similar to those of a city. A village is divided into neighborhoods, which are informal geographic areas.

A hamlet is an unincorporated area in one or more towns that is governed at-large by the town(s) it is in. A hamlet is divided into neighborhoods, which are informal geographic areas.

Postal Zone "City" and "Town"
A postal zone "City" and "Town" is an administrative district established by the U.S. Postal Service to deliver the mail. Postal zone "City" and "Town" may not (but are encouraged to) conform to municipal or community borders. Thus, postal zone location does not always determine city, village or hamlet location.

Please be aware: In many areas of New York State, the problem of non-conforming postal zones leads to a situation where the majority of places have a different community name in their mailing address than the community where that place is actually located.

- Article contributed by Geography Maven

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