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The History

Cross Currents: Life on the Water in Port Washington, NY

Local History

Located in Nassau County and the State of New York Port Washing is just 17 miles from New York City, Port Washington is easily accessible by car, train or boat.  It all began with the Matinecock Indians, who called the town “Sin. Sink” or “place of many stones.” In 1643, they sold the land to 18 English families from Stamford, Connecticut for a mix of kettles, wampum, lead, gun¬powder, cloth and clothing. The new owners called the land “Cow Neck” after the common pasture they all used. Later, they changed the name to Cow Neck Village and established dairy farming and fishing ventures.

In the 1870s Port Washington became an important sand-mining town; it had the largest sandbank east of the Mississippi and easy barge access to Manhattan. Some 140 million cubic yards of local sand were used for concrete for New York skyscrapers like the Empire State and Chrysler buildings, according to Mr. Kaiman, the supervisor. Fifteen years ago the sand mines were reimagined as Harbor Links, a golf course for North Hempstead residents.

What You Will Find

With rolling hills and a serpentine coastline in the northwest corner of Nassau County, Port Washington is studded with marinas, yacht clubs and golf courses.

The Great Neck peninsula is across Manhasset Bay to the west; Manhasset and Plandome are to the south; Roslyn lies southeast. Besides an unincorporated area of the Town of North Hempstead, Port Washington is home to four incorporated villages: Baxter Estates, Manorhaven, Port Washington North and Sands Point, plus part of the village of Flower Hill.

Main Street’s business and restaurant district runs down to Manhasset Bay from the post office on Port Washington Boulevard.

Did You Know

Mansion That Inspired 'The Great Gatsby' Reduces Price By $1 Million-0The mansion that inspired Scott F. Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” is located here in Port Washington, NY!  The home, located at 235 Middle Neck Road in Sands Point, sits on 5.3 waterfront acres in the prestigious village of Sands Point, which was the inspiration for the fictional town of East Egg in Fitzgerald’s novel.

In “The Great Gatsby,” Jay Gatsby lives in a mansion in West Egg, which was inspired by Kings Point, across the bay from socialite Daisy Buchanan’s East Egg estate.

Click here for a video tour of the mansion.