Town of Brookhaven
About the Town of Brookhaven
Stretching from the North Shore to the South Shore of Long Island, the Town of Brookhaven encompasses eight incorporated villages and 50 unincorporated hamlets. Its population of 493,294 people makes it the most populous town in Suffolk County, and with so much to offer, it’s easy to see why. Located 50 miles east of the glitz and glamour of Manhattan and 60 miles west of the beautiful beaches of Montauk, the Town of Brookhaven is so large and bustling that it has something for everyone. It even has its public airport, Brookhaven Calabro Airport. (While no commercial flights land there, it is an option for private or chartered planes--and also features a cafe).
Brookhaven’s largest incorporated villages are Patchogue and Port Jefferson, but others include Belle Terre, Bellport, Lake Grove, Old Field, Poquott, and Shoreham. One shouldn’t overlook the 50 unincorporated hamlets, including Baiting Hollow (known for its winery), Lake Ronkonkoma, Shirley, Setauket (the town’s first settlement), and Yaphank.
The traditional downtowns of Port Jefferson and Patchogue--built up by the robust 19th-century shipbuilding industry--offer so much to residents and visitors alike. Port Jefferson’s waterfront views and nautical history make it the perfect destination for a Sunday afternoon stroll. Read more about the distinctive offerings of Port Jefferson.
Situated halfway between Manhattan and Montauk, Patchogue has much to offer. Residents and visitors alike delight in its well-maintained natural riverfront, while its world-renowned Blue Point Brewing Company features a tasting room of delicious Anheuser-Busch beers.
In 1843, the first railroad came to Brookhaven, and today the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) still serves the town, making it convenient for residents to commute to New York City, where many work. From the Ronkonkoma station, the commute is about an hour and twenty minutes and costs $391 for an unlimited monthly pass.
Although many residents work in the city, Brookhaven itself boasts impressive employers, leading to fulfilling careers for many. The top employers in the town are fixtures of the community and include Stony Brook University, the Internal Revenue Services (IRS), Sachem School District, and Brookhaven National Laboratory. While the median home value is $361,795, access to these large and well-known employers means that residents enjoy a median household income of $95,748.
The Town of Brookhaven has no shortage of educational institutions. It’s home to Stony Brook University, one of the highest-ranked universities in the SUNY system. With top-flight academics (including unique undergraduate research opportunities) and a range of residential living options as well as a full suite of services for commuter students, Stony Brook combines an academically rigorous curriculum with an open campus community. Located in Selden, Suffolk County Community College is an affordable option for students looking for a high-quality Associate’s degree close to home. With unique programs like American Sign Language Studies to Fire Protection Technology and more traditional options like Mathematics and Music, Suffolk has academic options to suit a wide range of career aspirations.
Another unique institution is the Brookhaven National Laboratory, which is a research center specializing in nuclear and particle physics that also conducts environmental and climate research. Run by the Department of Energy and located on the site of the former Camp Upton Army base, the lab employs 2,750 people. Founded in 1947 and situated on 5,300 acres, the lab hosts 4,000 visiting researchers each year and has produced discoveries that have led to seven Nobel Prizes.
After a long day of work or studying, residents can take advantage of the full range of recreation opportunities available in Brookhaven apart from the famous beaches and wineries. Splish Splash Waterpark in Calverton is a kids’ favorite, while the Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge Complex welcomes visitors to explore educational exhibits about the local wetlands, woodlands, and estuaries. Stony Brook Village Center is the perfect destination for shopping; having been conceived as a “living Colonial Williamsburg,” today it features a crescent-shaped line of shops that ring a central green space. Fire Island, known as the vacation destination of the Manhattan theater scene, is where SNL star Tina Fey spends her summers. It’s a fun and unique destination for a weekend getaway for everyone, not just thespians.
Those looking for event venues or restaurants should focus on the individual hamlet or village that best suits their needs. There are many standout options.
For those looking for a beautiful wedding venue, Windows on the Lake in Ronkonkoma offers a waterfront chapel, tropical gardens, and a waterfall. Most importantly, the venue caters to the needs of one bride at a time, ensuring that she will receive individualized attention. Bellport Country Club offers full-service catering and expansive views of the club’s golf course.
In terms of restaurants, diners who love seafood will want to take a look at the beautiful options in Port Jefferson, while those who enjoy other cuisines will find no shortage of options, from the Spanish and Mexican cuisine served at Don Quijote in Patchogue to the New American fare served at Country House in Stony Brook, which, true to its name, is housed in a house built in 1710.
Since it is so large, the Town of Brookhaven has been home to many notable people. Too numerous to list, they include such individuals as:
Louis Simpson: Born in 1923; a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and former resident of Setauket
Ward Melville: Born in 1887; a philanthropist and former resident of Old Field who donated 400 acres of land that would become Stony Brook University.
Alfred John Plastino: Born in 1921; a former resident of Shirley who was one of the most prolific artists for DC Comics in the 1950s