Suffolk County, New York

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Suffolk County
Montauk Point Light - Suffolk County NY.jpg
Flag of Suffolk County, New York.png
Suffolk County ny seal.png
Map of New York highlighting Suffolk County.svg
Location within the U.S. state of New York
New York in United States.svg
New York's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 40°56′N72°41′W / 40.94°N 72.68°W / 40.94; -72.68
CountryFlag of the United States.svg United States
StateFlag of New York.svg  New York
Named for Suffolk, England
Seat Riverhead
Largest Town Brookhaven
  Executive Steve Bellone (D)
  Total2,373 sq mi (6,150 km2)
  Land912 sq mi (2,360 km2)
  Water1,461 sq mi (3,780 km2)  62%
  Density1,637.0/sq mi (632.0/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districts 1st, 2nd, 3rd
Population is the official 2020 census count
Suffolk County, New York
Interactive map of Suffolk County, New York

Suffolk County ( /ˈsʌfək/ ) is the easternmost county in the U.S. state of New York. It is mainly located on the eastern end of Long Island, but also includes several smaller islands. According to the 2020 United States census, the county's population was 1,525,920 [1] making it the fourth-most populous county in the State of New York, and the largest outside New York City. Its county seat is Riverhead, [2] though most county offices are in Hauppauge. [3] The county was named after the county of Suffolk in England, from where its earliest European settlers came.


Suffolk County incorporates the easternmost extreme of the New York City metropolitan area. The geographically largest of Long Island's four counties and the second-largest of the 62 counties in the State of New York, Suffolk measures 86 miles (138 km) in length and 26 miles (42 km) in width at its widest (including water). [4] Most of the island is near sea level, with over 1,000 miles of coastline. [5]

Like other parts of Long Island, the high population density and relative closeness to New York City means that the economy has a mix of industry and science satellite to the city alongside more rural activities like agriculture, a fishery and tourism. Major scientific research facilities in Suffolk County include Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Huntington, and Plum Island Animal Disease Center on Plum Island. The county is also home to several major universities, including Stony Brook University and Farmingdale State College.


Sign referring to Suffolk County being founded in 1683 Suffolk County 1683.jpg
Sign referring to Suffolk County being founded in 1683

Suffolk County was part of the Connecticut Colony before becoming an original county of the Province of New York, one of twelve created in 1683. From 1664 until 1683 it had been the East Riding of Yorkshire. Its boundaries were essentially the same as at present, with only minor changes in the boundary with its western neighbor, which was originally Queens County but has been Nassau County since the separation of Nassau from Queens in 1899.

According to the Suffolk County website, the county is the leading agricultural county in the state of New York, saying that: "The weather is temperate, clean water is abundant, and the soil is so good that Suffolk is the leading agricultural county in New York State. That Suffolk is still number one in farming, even with the development that has taken place, is a tribute to thoughtful planning, along with the excellent soil, favorable weather conditions, and the work of the dedicated farmers in this region." [6]


Shinnecock Canal Shinnecock-locks.jpg
Shinnecock Canal

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has an area of 2,373 square miles (6,150 km2), of which 912 square miles (2,360 km2) is land and 1,461 square miles (3,780 km2) (62%) is water. [7] It is the second-largest county in New York by total area and occupies 66% of the land area of Long Island.

Suffolk County occupies the central and eastern part of Long Island, in the extreme east of the State of New York. The eastern end of the county splits into two peninsulas, known as the North Fork and the South Fork. The county is surrounded by water on three sides, including the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound, with 980 miles (1,580 km) of coastline. The eastern end contains large bays.

The highest elevation in the county, and on Long Island as a whole, is Jayne's Hill in West Hills, at 401 feet (122 m) above sea level. This low lying-geography means that much of the county is vulnerable to sea level rise. [5]


Suffolk County sits at the convergence of climate zones including the humid continental (Dfa) and humid subtropical (Cfa), bordering closely on an oceanic climate (Cfb). The majority of the county by land area is in the Dfa zone. Summers are cooler at the east end than in the western part of the county. The hardiness zone is 7a, except in Copiague Harbor, Lindenhurst, and Montauk, where it is 7b. Average monthly temperatures in Hauppauge range from 31.0 °F (−0.6 °C) in January to 74.0 °F (23.3 °C) in July, and in the Riverhead town center they range from 30.1 °F (−1.1 °C) in January to 72.8 °F (22.7 °C) in July, which includes both daytime and nighttime temperatures. PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State U On February 9, 2013, Suffolk County was besieged with 30 inches of snow, making it the largest day of snowfall on record in Suffolk. [8]

Climate data for Montauk, New York (1981–2010 normals)
Average high °F (°C)38.1
Daily mean °F (°C)32.3
Average low °F (°C)26.4
Average precipitation inches (mm)2.87
Source: NOAA [9]

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

View of western Fire Island from the top of Fire Island Lighthouse FI Lighthouse pan.jpg
View of western Fire Island from the top of Fire Island Lighthouse


Historical population
1790 16,400
1800 19,73520.3%
1810 21,1137.0%
1820 23,93613.4%
1830 26,78011.9%
1840 32,46921.2%
1850 36,92213.7%
1860 43,27517.2%
1870 46,9248.4%
1880 52,88812.7%
1890 62,49118.2%
1900 77,58224.1%
1910 96,13823.9%
1920 110,24614.7%
1930 161,05546.1%
1940 197,35522.5%
1950 276,12939.9%
1960 666,784141.5%
1970 1,124,95068.7%
1980 1,284,23114.2%
1990 1,321,8642.9%
2000 1,419,3697.4%
2010 1,493,3505.2%
2020 1,525,9202.2%
U.S. Decennial Census [10]
1790-1960 [11] 1900-1990 [12]
1990-2000 [13] 2010-2019 [1]

According to the 2010 U.S. census [14] there were 1,493,350 people and 569,985 households residing in the county. The census estimated Suffolk County's population decreased slightly to 1,481,093 in 2018, representing 7.5% of the census-estimated New York State population of 19,745,289 [15] and 19.0% of the census-estimated Long Island population of 7,869,820. [16] [17] [18] [19] The population density in 2010 was 1,637 people per square mile (633/km2), with 569,985 households at an average density of 625 per square mile (241/km2). However, by 2012, with an estimated total population increasing moderately to 1,499,273 there were 569,359 housing units. [20] As of 2006, Suffolk County was the 21st-most populous county in the United States. [21]

By 2014, the county's racial makeup was estimated at 85.2% White, 8.3% African American, 0.6% Native American, 4.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 1.8% from two or more races. Those identifying as Hispanic or Latino, of any race, were 18.2% of the population. Those who identified as "white alone", not being of Hispanic or Latino origin, represented 69.3% of the population. [22] In 2006, the county's racial or ethnic makeup was 83.6% White (75.4% White Non-Hispanic). African Americans were 7.4% of the population. Asians stood at 3.4% of the population. 5.4% were of other or mixed race. Latinos were 13.0% of the population. [23] In 2007, Suffolk County's most common ethnicities were Italian (29.5%), Irish (24.0%), and German (17.6%). [24]

In 2002, The New York Times cited a study by the non-profit group ERASE Racism, which determined Suffolk and its neighboring county, Nassau, to be the most racially segregated suburbs in the United States. [25]

In 2006, there were 469,299 households, of which 37.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.00% were married couples living together, 10.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.20% were non-families. 18.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.96 and the average family size was 3.36.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 26.10% under the age of 18, 7.60% from 18 to 24, 31.20% from 25 to 44, 23.30% from 45 to 64, and 11.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.80 males.

In 2008, Forbes magazine released its American Community Survey and named Suffolk County number 4 in its list of the top 25 richest counties in America. In 2016, according to Business Insider , the 11962 zip code encompassing Sagaponack, within Southampton, was listed as the most expensive in the U.S., with a median home sale price of $8.5 million. [26]

The median income for a household in the county was $84,767, [27] and the median income for a family was $72,112. Males had a median income of $50,046 versus $33,281 for females. The per capita income for the county was $26,577. Using a weighted average from 2009 to 2014 about 6.40% of the population were below the poverty line [22] In earlier censuses, the population below the poverty line included 2.70% of those under age 18 and 2.30% of those age 65 or over.

Racial groups, ethnicity, and religious groups on Long Island
compared to state and nation
of any
 % not
of % not
RaceEthnicityReligious groups
Nassau County 1,339,53273.
Suffolk County1,493,35080.
Long Island Total
(including Brooklyn and Queens)
NY State19,378,10265.715.
Source for Race and Ethnicity: 2010 Census [28]
American Indian, Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander make up just 0.5% of the population of Long Island, and have been included with "Other".
Source for religious groups: ARDA2000 [29] [30]

2020 Census

Suffolk County Racial Composition [31]
White (NH)967,33063.4%
Black or African American (NH)107,2687.03%
Native American (NH)3,1020.2%
Asian (NH)65,0194.3%
Pacific Islander (NH)2410.01%
Other/Mixed (NH)50,0013.3%
Hispanic or Latino 332,95922%

Law and government

United States presidential election results for Suffolk County, New York [32]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
2020 381,25349.30%381,02149.27%11,0131.42%
2016 350,57051.46%303,95144.62%26,7333.92%
2012 282,13147.48%304,07951.17%8,0561.36%
2008 307,02146.53%346,54952.53%6,2090.94%
2004 309,94948.53%315,90949.46%12,8542.01%
2000 240,99241.99%306,30653.37%26,6464.64%
1996 182,51036.13%261,82851.83%60,87512.05%
1992 229,46740.40%220,81138.88%117,67720.72%
1988 311,24260.51%199,21538.73%3,8930.76%
1984 335,48566.03%171,29533.72%1,2760.25%
1980 256,29457.00%149,94533.35%43,4169.66%
1976 248,90854.10%208,26345.27%2,8770.63%
1972 316,45270.34%132,44129.44%1,0050.22%
1968 218,02758.18%122,59032.71%34,1509.11%
1964 144,35044.37%180,59855.51%3850.12%
1960 166,64459.32%114,03340.59%2680.10%
1956 167,80577.64%48,32322.36%00.00%
1952 115,57074.58%39,12025.25%2620.17%
1948 75,51969.75%29,10426.88%3,6423.36%
1944 65,65067.59%31,23132.15%2530.26%
1940 63,71265.12%33,85334.60%2700.28%
1936 48,97058.07%33,07839.22%2,2872.71%
1932 40,24755.49%30,79942.46%1,4822.04%
1928 41,19965.07%19,49730.79%2,6194.14%
1924 31,45669.20%10,02422.05%3,9758.74%
1920 26,73773.10%8,85224.20%9852.69%
1916 12,74259.20%8,42239.13%3581.66%
1912 5,59528.47%7,87840.08%6,18231.45%
1908 10,68960.29%5,87733.15%1,1646.57%
1904 9,93757.19%6,79539.11%6423.70%
1900 9,58460.24%5,71135.90%6153.87%
1896 9,38866.60%3,87227.47%8375.94%
1892 7,00149.29%6,27444.17%9286.53%
1888 7,16750.23%6,60046.26%5003.50%
1884 5,87645.85%6,42950.17%5103.98%

Suffolk County had long been a Republican bastion in the State of New York. U.S. Congressman Rick Lazio, who opposed Hillary Clinton in the 2000 Senate race, was from Suffolk County. However, in the 1990s the county more toward the Democrats. In 2003, Democrat Steve Levy was elected county executive, ending longtime Republican control. In 2001, Democrat Thomas Spota was elected District Attorney, and ran unopposed in 2005. Although Suffolk voters gave George H. W. Bush a victory here in 1992, the county voted for Bill Clinton in 1996 and continued the trend by giving Al Gore an 11-percent victory in the county in 2000. 2004 Democratic candidate John Kerry won by a much smaller margin of one percent, in 2008 Democratic candidate Barack Obama won by a slightly larger 4.4 percent margin, 52%-47%.

In 2016, Republican candidate Donald Trump won Suffolk County by a 6.9 percent margin, becoming the first Republican to carry the county since 1992. It was the only large county (over 200,000 voters) in the State of New York that Donald Trump won. [32] In 2020, Trump again won Suffolk County; this time, however, it was decided by just 232 votes out of nearly 800,000 votes cast, making it the closest county in the nation in terms of percentage margin, and representing nearly a seven-point swing towards the Democratic ticket of former Vice President Joe Biden and junior California senator Kamala Harris. In percentage terms, it was the closest county in the state, although Ontario County and Warren County had narrower raw vote margins of just 33 and 57 votes, respectively. Suffolk was one of five counties in the state that Trump won by less than 500 votes. With Tarrant County, Texas and Maricopa County, Arizona flipping Democratic in 2020, Suffolk was the most populous county in the nation to vote for Trump.

Suffolk County is represented by three New York congressional districts: the first, and parts of the second and third. The third is held by the Democratic Party, while the first and second are held by Republicans. Lee Zeldin represents the first district, which includes almost half of the county, from Smithtown to Montauk, including The Hamptons and Riverhead. The second district is represented by Republican Andrew Garbarino, and includes parts of southern Suffolk and Nassau counties. The third district is largely split between Nassau County and Suffolk counties, and is represented by Tom Suozzi. A Democrat, Suozzi won the seat vacated by Steve Israel in 2016 after Israel declined to seek re-election.[ citation needed ]

Map showing Long Island's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Congressional districts after redistricting in 2012. Portions in red are within Suffolk County. Long Island--Congressional Districts 2012--In Suffolk County.svg
Map showing Long Island's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Congressional districts after redistricting in 2012. Portions in red are within Suffolk County.

As a whole both Suffolk and Nassau counties are considered swing counties. However, until 2016 they tended not to receive significant attention from presidential candidates, as the state of New York has turned reliably Democratic at the national level. In 2008 and 2012, Hofstra University in Nassau County hosted a presidential debate. Hofstra hosted the first debate of the 2016 presidential election season, on September 26, 2016, making Hofstra the first college or university in the United States to host a presidential debate in three consecutive elections. The presence on the 2016 ticket of Westchester County resident Hillary Clinton and Manhattan resident Donald Trump resulted in greater attention by the candidates to the concerns of Long Island. Trump visited Long Island voters and donors at least four times while Clinton made one stop for voters and one additional stop in the Hamptons for donors.

County Officials
 Sheriff Errol D. Toulon Jr. Dem2018–Present
 District AttorneyRaymond A. TierneyRep2022–Present
 County ClerkJudith A. PascaleRep2006–Present
 ComptrollerJohn M. Kennedy Jr.Rep2015–Present

Suffolk County Executives

H. Lee Dennison County Executive Building in Hauppauge Dennison-building-dog.jpg
H. Lee Dennison County Executive Building in Hauppauge
Suffolk County Executives
H. Lee Dennison Democratic 1961–1973
John V.N. Klein Republican 1973–1979
Peter F. Cohalan Republican 1979–1986
Michael A. LoGrande* Republican 1986–1987
Patrick G. Halpin Democratic 1987–1991
Robert J. Gaffney Republican 1992–2003
Steve Levy** Democratic 2004–2010
Steve Levy** Republican 2010–2011
Steve Bellone Democratic 2012–present

* Appointed to complete Cohalan's term

** Levy was originally elected as a Democrat, but became a Republican in 2010.

Suffolk County Legislature

The county has 18 legislative districts, each represented by a legislator. As of 2022, there were 10 Republicans, 7 Democrats, and 1 Conservative.

Historical composition of the Suffolk County Legislature

District2022-2023 Legislature2020-2021 Legislature2017-2018 Legislature2015-2016 Legislature2014-2015 Legislature2012-2013 Legislature2010-2011 Legislature2008-2009 Legislature2006-2007 Legislature2004-2005 Legislature
1 Al Krupski (D)Al Krupski (D)Al Krupski (D)Al Krupski (D)Al Krupski (D)Al Krupski (D)Edward P. Romaine (R)Edward P. Romaine (R)Edward P. Romaine (R) Michael J. Caracciolo (R)
2 Bridget Fleming (D)Bridget Fleming (D)Bridget Fleming (D)Bridget Fleming (D)Jay Schneiderman(DPO) (I)Jay Schneiderman(DPO) (I)Jay Schneiderman(DPO) (I)Jay Schneiderman (I)Jay Schneiderman (R)Jay Schneiderman (R)
3 James Mazzarella (R)Rudy A. Sunderman (R) / James Mazzarella (R) after May 25, 2021Rudy A. Sunderman (R)Kate M. Browning (WF) Kate M. Browning (WF) Kate M. Browning (WF) Kate M. Browning (WF) Kate M. Browning (WF) Kate M. Browning (WF) Peter O'Leary (R)
4 Nicholas Caracappa (C)Thomas Muratore (R) / Nicholas Caracappa (C) after February 11, 2020Thomas Muratore (R) Thomas Muratore (R) Thomas Muratore (R)Thomas Muratore (R)Thomas Muratore (R)Brian Beedenbender (D) Joseph T. Caracappa (R)Joseph T. Caracappa (R)
5 Kara Hahn (DPO)(D)Kara Hahn (DPO)(D)Kara Hahn (MajL) (D) Kara Hahn(MajL) (D)Kara Hahn (D)Kara Hahn (D) Vivian Viloria-Fisher (D)Vivian Viloria-Fisher (D)Vivian Viloria-Fisher (D)Vivian Viloria-Fisher (D)
6 Sarah Anker (D)Sarah Anker (D)Sarah Anker (D) Sarah Anker (D)Sarah Anker (D)Sarah Anker (D) Daniel P. Losquadro (R)(MinL) / Sarah Anker (D) for 2011 Daniel P. Losquadro(MinL) (R)Daniel P. Losquadro(MinL) (R)Daniel P. Losquadro(MinL) (R)
7 Dominick Thorne (R)Robert Calarco (PO) (D)Robert Calarco (DPO) (D) Robert Calarco(DPO) (D)Robert Calarco(MajL) (D)Robert Calarco(MajL) (D) Jack Eddington (I)Jack Eddington (I)Jack Eddington (D) Brian X. Foley (D)
8 Anthony Piccirillo (R)Anthony Piccirillo (R)William J. Lindsay III (D) William J. Lindsay III (D)William J. Lindsay III (D) William J. Lindsay(PO) (D)William J. Lindsay(PO) (D)William J. Lindsay(PO) (D)William J. Lindsay(PO) (D)William J. Lindsay(PO) (D)
9 Samuel Gonzalez (D)Samuel Gonzalez (D)Monica R. Martinez (D)Monica R. Martinez (D)Monica R. Martinez (D) Ricardo Montano (D)Ricardo Montano (D)Ricardo Montano (D)Ricardo Montano (D)Ricardo Montano (D)
10 Trish Bergin (R)Tom Cilmi (MinL for 2020) (R)Tom Cilmi (R)Tom Cilmi (R)Tom Cilmi (R)Tom Cilmi (R)Tom Cilmi (R) Cameron Alden (R)Cameron Alden (R)Cameron Alden (R)
11 Steven J. Flotteron (R)Steven J. Flotteron (R)Steven J. Flotteron (R) Thomas F. Barraga (R)Thomas F. Barraga (R)Thomas F. Barraga (R)Thomas F. Barraga (R)Thomas F. Barraga (R)Thomas F. Barraga (R) Angie Carpenter (R)
12 Leslie Kennedy (R)Leslie Kennedy (R)Leslie Kennedy (R) Leslie Kennedy (R) John M. Kennedy, Jr.(MinL) (R) / Leslie Kennedy (R) after March 30, 2015John M. Kennedy, Jr.(MinL) (R)John M. Kennedy, Jr. (R)John M. Kennedy, Jr. (R)John M. Kennedy, Jr. (R)John M. Kennedy, Jr. (R)
13 Robert Trotta (R)Robert Trotta (R)Robert Trotta (R)Robert Trotta (R)Robert Trotta (R) Lynne C. Nowick (R)Lynne C. Nowick (R)Lynne C. Nowick (R)Lynne C. Nowick (R)Lynne C. Nowick (R)
14 Kevin J. McCaffrey (PO)(R)Kevin J. McCaffrey (MinL for 2021) (R)Kevin J. McCaffrey (MinL) (R)Kevin J. McCaffrey(MinL) (R)Kevin J. McCaffrey (R) Wayne R. Horsley(PO) (D)Wayne R. Horsley (D)Wayne R. Horsley (D)Wayne R. Horsley (D) David Bishop (D)
15 Jason Richberg (D)Jason Richberg (D)DuWayne Gregory (PO) (D) DuWayne Gregory(PO) (D) DuWayne Gregory(PO) (D)DuWayne Gregory (D)DuWayne Gregory (D)Elie Mystal (D) / DuWayne Gregory (D) since July 29, 2008 Elie Mystal (D)Elie Mystal (D)
16 Manuel Esteban (R)Susan A. Berland (MajL after Spencer arrest)(D)Susan A. Berland (D) Steven H. Stern (D)Steven H. Stern (D)Steven H. Stern (D)Steven H. Stern (D)Steven H. Stern (D)Steven H. Stern (D) Allan Binder (R)
17 Tom Donnelly (D)Tom Donnelly (D)Tom Donnelly (D) Louis D'Amaro (D)Louis D'Amaro (D)Louis D'Amaro (D)Louis D'Amaro (D)Louis D'Amaro (D)Louis D'Amaro (D) Paul J. Tonna (R)
18 Stephanie Bontempi (R) William R. Spencer (MajL Until Arrest)(D) William R. Spencer (D) William R. Spencer (D)William R. Spencer (D)William R. Spencer (D) Jon Cooper (D)Jon Cooper (D)Jon Cooper (D)Jon Cooper (D)

Republicans controlled the county legislature until a landmark election in November 2005 where three Republican seats switched to the Democrats, giving them control. In November 2007, the Democratic Party once again retained control over the Suffolk County Legislature, picking up one seat in the process. In November 2009, the Republican Party regained the seat lost in 2007 but remained in the minority for the 2010-2011 session. In November 2011, the Democratic Party maintained control over the Suffolk County Legislature picking up one seat that had been held by an Independence Party member. In November 2013, the Republican Party gained the 14th district seat, but remained in the minority until 2021, when the GOP flipped the county legislature, picking up three seats with incumbents Robert Calarco (the sitting Presiding Officer) and Susan Berland (the sitting Majority Leader) losing their bids for re-election. [33] [34]

During the 2020-2021 session, 7th district legislator Robert Calarco served as Presiding Officer, a position he was elected to in 2020, 5th district legislator Kara Hahn served as Deputy Presiding Officer. 18th district legislator William Spencer served as Majority Leader for the Democrats until his arrest for soliciting prostitution in a drugs for sex scandal. [35]

Law enforcement

NY - Suffolk County Sheriff's Office.png

Police services in the five western towns (Babylon, Huntington, Islip, Smithtown and Brookhaven) are provided primarily by the Suffolk County Police Department. The five "East End" towns (Riverhead, Southold, Shelter Island, East Hampton, and Southampton), maintain their own police and other law enforcement agencies. Also, there are a number of villages, such as Amityville, Lloyd Harbor, Northport, and Westhampton Beach that maintain their own police forces. In an unusual move, the Village of Greenport in 1994 voted to abolish its police department and turn responsibility for law and order over to the Southold Town Police Department.

After the Long Island State Parkway Police was disbanded in 1980, all state parkways in Suffolk County became the responsibility of Troop L of the New York State Police, headquartered at Republic Airport. State parks, such as Robert Moses State Park, are the responsibility of the New York State Park Police, based at Belmont Lake State Park. In 1996, the Long Island Rail Road Police Department was consolidated into the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police, which has jurisdiction over all rail lines in the county. Since the New York state legislature created the New York State University Police in 1999, they are in charge of all law enforcement services for State University of New York property and campuses. The State University Police have jurisdiction in Suffolk County at Stony Brook University and Farmingdale State College.

Suffolk County Police boat on Fire Island Suffolk County New York Police Boat on Fire Island.jpg
Suffolk County Police boat on Fire Island

The Suffolk County Sheriff's Office is a separate agency. The sheriff, an elected official who serves a four-year term, operates the two Suffolk County correctional facilities (in Yaphank and Riverhead), provides county courthouse security and detention, service and enforcement of civil papers, evictions and warrants. The Sheriff's Office is also responsible for securing all county-owned property, such as county government office buildings, as well as the campuses of the Suffolk County Community College. As of 2008, the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office employed 275 Deputy Sheriffs, 850 corrections officers, and about 200 civilian staff.

Suffolk County has a long maritime history with several outer barrier beaches and hundreds of square miles of waterways. The Suffolk Police Marine Bureau patrols the 500 square miles (1,000 km2) of navigable waterways within the police district, from the Connecticut and Rhode Island state line which bisects Long Island Sound [36] to the New York state line 3 miles (5 km) south of Fire Island in the Atlantic Ocean. Some Suffolk County towns (Islip, Brookhaven, Southampton, East Hampton, Babylon, Huntington, Smithtown) also employ various bay constables and other local marine patrol, which are sworn armed peace officers with full arrest powers, providing back up to the Suffolk Police Marine Bureau as well as the United States Coast Guard.

This includes Fire Island and parts of Jones Island barrier beaches and the islands of the Great South Bay. Marine units also respond to water and ice rescues on the inland lakes, ponds, and streams of the District.

In February 2019, legislator Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) put forward a resolution to recover salary and benefits from James Burke, the county's former police chief. [37] [38] Burke had pled guilty to beating a man while in police custody and attempting to conceal it, and the county had paid the victim $1.5 million in a settlement; it had also paid Burke more than $500,000 in benefits and salary while Burke was concealing his conduct. [38] [37] Trotta said that the faithless servant doctrine in New York common law gave him the power to claw back the compensation. [38] The Suffolk County Legislature supported the suit unanimously. [39] The following month Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone signed the bill.

Also in February 2019, a court ruled against the Suffolk County jail in the case of a former inmate who was denied hormone replacement therapy by the jail's doctors. Documents introduced in the trial indicate 11 other inmates were also denied treatment. [40]


Cohalan Court Complex, Central Islip CI-Courts.JPG
Cohalan Court Complex, Central Islip

Suffolk County is part of the 10th Judicial District of the New York State Unified Court System; is home to the Alfonse M. D'Amato Courthouse of the Federal U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York; [41] and has various local municipal courts. The State Courts are divided into Supreme Court, which has general jurisdiction over all cases, and lower courts that either hear claims of a limited dollar amount, or of a specific nature. [42] [43] Similarly, the local courts hear claims of a limited dollar amount, or hear specific types of cases. The Federal Court has jurisdiction over Federal Claims, State Law claims that are joined with Federal claims, and claims where there is a diversity of citizenship. [44]

Supreme Court

  • The Suffolk County Supreme Court is a trial court of unlimited general original jurisdiction, but it generally only hears cases that are outside the subject-matter jurisdiction of other trial courts of more limited jurisdiction. The Suffolk County Clerk is the Clerk of the Court of the Supreme Court.
  • The main courthouse for the Supreme Court is in Riverhead, which has been the court's home since 1729. The original courthouse was replaced in 1855, and that courthouse was expanded in 1881. [45] The courthouse was damaged by fire and rebuilt in 1929. In 1994, a new court building was added to the complex. This Courthouse was dedicated as the "Alan D. Oshrin Supreme Court Building" on August 1, 2011. [46]
  • The Supreme Court also shares space in the Cohalan Court Complex in Central Islip [47] with several other courts and county agencies. Matrimonial actions are heard in the Supreme Court, and those matters are generally heard in the Supreme Court section of the Cohalan Court Complex.

Other Superior Courts

  • The Suffolk County Court is a trial court of limited jurisdiction. It has jurisdiction over all of Suffolk County, and is authorized to handle criminal prosecutions of both felonies and lesser offenses committed within the county, although in practice most minor offenses are handled by the local courts. It is the trial court for felonies, or where a person is indicted by a Grand Jury in Suffolk County. The County Court also has limited jurisdiction in civil cases, generally involving amounts up to $25,000. The County Court is in the Cromarty Court Complex Criminal Courts Building in Riverhead.
  • The Suffolk County Surrogate's Court hears cases involving the affairs of decedents, including the probate of wills and the administration of estates, guardianships, and adoptions. The Surrogate's Court is in the County Center in Riverhead.
  • The Suffolk County Family Court has jurisdiction over all of Suffolk County in petitions filed for Neglect & Abuse, Juvenile Delinquency/Designated Felonies, Persons in Need of Supervision, Adoption, Guardianship, Foster Care, Family Offense (Order of Protection), Custody & Visitation, Paternity, Support Matters (Child & Spousal), Consent to Marry. The court also has a Juvenile Drug Court and Family Treatment Court. Individuals, attorneys, and agencies may initiate a proceeding in the Family Court with the filing of a petition. The Suffolk County Family Court is in the Cohalan Court Complex in Central Islip [47] and maintains a facility in Riverhead. Case assignment is dependent upon the geographical location of the parties.

Local courts

The District Court and the Town and Village Courts are the local courts of Suffolk County. There are more than 30 local courts, each with limited criminal and civil subject matter and geographic jurisdictions. The local criminal courts have trial jurisdiction over misdemeanors, violations and infractions; preliminary jurisdiction over felonies; and traffic tickets charging a crime. The local civil courts calendar small claims, evictions, and civil actions.

  • Suffolk County District Court has geographic jurisdiction over the 5 western towns of Suffolk County (Babylon, Brookhaven, Huntington, Islip & Smithtown). The Criminal division of the Suffolk District Court is in the Cohalan Court Complex, Central Islip, and includes Domestic Violence Courts, Drug Court, and a Mental Health Court. The Civil division is divided up in the 5 "outlying" courthouses in Lindenhurst, Huntington Station, Hauppauge, Ronkonkoma, and Patchogue. Civil actions may be filed up to $15,000, and small claims actions up to $5000. Actions are commenced by filing with the court. Summary proceedings under the RPAPL are filed in the district where the property is located.
  • The Town Courts of East Hampton, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Southampton, and Southold have geographic jurisdiction over the 5 eastern towns of Suffolk County. Each town maintains a courthouse where judges hear criminal cases (including a regional Drug Court) and civil actions. Civil actions are commenced by serving a summons and complaint for claims up to $3,000, and small claims actions are heard up to $3000. Summary proceedings under the RPAPL are filed in the town where the property is located.
  • The Village Courts of Amityville, Asharoken, Babylon, Belle Terre, Bellport, Brightwaters, Head of the Harbor, Huntington Bay, Islandia, Lake Grove, Lindenhurst, Lloyd Harbor, Nissequogue, Northport, Ocean Beach, Old Field, Patchogue, Poquott, Port Jefferson, Quogue, Sag Harbor, Saltaire, Shoreham, Southampton, Village of the Branch, West Hampton Dunes, and Westhampton Beach have geographic jurisdiction within each incorporated village. Criminal and civil subject matter jurisdiction varies in each court.

Most non-criminal moving violation tickets issued in the 5 west towns are handled by the Traffic Violations Bureau, which is part of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, not the court system.



Colleges and universities

Stony Brook University SUNY SB MaibAlley.JPG
Stony Brook University
St. Joseph's University St Joseph's College Patchogue Campus.jpg
St. Joseph's University

School districts

School districts (all officially designated for grades K-12) include: [53]



Radio stations

Television stations

Suffolk seashore

Fire Island Lighthouse was an important landmark for many trans-Atlantic ships coming into New York Harbor in the early 20th century. For many European immigrants, the Fire Island Light was their first sight of land upon arrival in America.

Fire Island Lighthouse Fire island lighthouse.jpg
Fire Island Lighthouse

The Fire Island Inlet span of the Robert Moses Causeway connects to Robert Moses State Park on the western tip of Fire Island.

The Great South Bay Bridge, the first causeway bridge, had only one northbound and one southbound lane, was opened to traffic in April 1954. The span of 2 miles (3 km) across Great South Bay to Captree Island features a main span of 600 feet (200 m), with a clearance for boats of 60 feet (20 m).

After crossing the State Boat Channel over its 665-foot (203 m)-long bascule bridge, the causeway meets the Ocean Parkway at a cloverleaf interchange. This interchange provides access to Captree State Park, Gilgo State Park and Jones Beach State Park.

Fire Island National Seashore F I W SEASHORE.jpg
Fire Island National Seashore

The Fire Island Inlet Bridge continues the two-lane road, one lane in each direction, across Fire Island Inlet to its terminus at Robert Moses State Park and The Fire Island Lighthouse. Robert Moses Causeway opened in 1964.

Suffolk County has the most lighthouses of any United States county, with 15 of its original 26 lighthouses still standing. Of these 15, eight are in Southold township alone, giving it more lighthouses than any other township in the United States.

Secessionist movements

At various times, there have been proposals for a division of Suffolk County into two counties. The western portion would be called Suffolk County, while the eastern portion of the current Suffolk County would comprise a new county to be called Peconic County. Peconic County would consist of the five easternmost towns of Suffolk County: East Hampton, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Southampton and Southold, plus the Shinnecock Indian Reservation.

The proposed Peconic County flag showed the two forks at the east end of Long Island separated by Peconic Bay. The star on the north represents Southold. The stars on the South Fork represent Southampton and East Hampton. Riverhead is at the fork mouth and Shelter Island is between the forks.

The secessionist movement has not been active since 1998.

The End of the Hamptons: Scenes from the Class Struggle in America's Paradise, by Corey Dolgon (New York University Press, 2005 [54] ) examined the class roots of the secessionist movement in the Hamptons. In his review, Howard Zinn wrote that the book "[t]akes us beyond the much-romanticized beaches of Long Island to the rich entrepreneurs and their McMansions, the Latino workers, and the stubborn indigenous residents refusing to disappear. The book is important because it is in so many ways a microcosm of the nation." [55] The book won the Association for Humanist Sociology's 2005 Book Prize and the American Sociological Association's Marxist Section Book Award in 2007.

Finance and taxation

Suffolk County has an 8.625% sales tax, compared to an overall New York State sales tax of 4%, consisting of an additional 4.25% on top of the state and MTA assessment of .375% [56]


In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic first affected the county. As of December 12, 2020, there are a total of 73,281 cases and 2,153 deaths. [57]


The Montauk Lighthouse is a landmark of Suffolk County, New York. MONTAUK POINT LIGHT 1 150 500.jpg
The Montauk Lighthouse is a landmark of Suffolk County, New York.
Municipalities of Suffolk County Suffolk County, NY, towns and villages.svg
Municipalities of Suffolk County

In the State of New York, a town is the major subdivision of each county. Towns provide or arrange for most municipal services for residents of hamlets and selected services for residents of villages. All residents of New York who do not live in a city or on an Indian reservation live in a town. A village is an incorporated area which is usually, but not always, within a single town. A village is a clearly defined municipality that provides the services closest to the residents, such as garbage collection, street and highway maintenance, street lighting and building codes. Some villages provide their own police and other optional services. A hamlet is an informally defined populated area within a town that is not part of a village.

A map outlining the villages (grey), hamlets, and CDPs of Suffolk County. Suffolk County Municipalities Map.jpg
A map outlining the villages (grey), hamlets, and CDPs of Suffolk County.

Figures in parentheses are 2019 population estimates from the Census Bureau. [58]


Villages (incorporated)

Census-designated places (unincorporated)

Gardiners Island

Gardiners Island, Suffolk County, New York Gardiners island 2007.jpg
Gardiners Island, Suffolk County, New York

Gardiners Island is an island off eastern Suffolk County. The Island is 6 miles (10 km) long, and 3 miles (5 km) wide and has 27 miles (43 km) of coastline. The same family has owned the Island for nearly 400 years; one of the largest privately owned islands in America or the world. In addition, it is the only American real estate still intact as part of an original royal grant from the English Crown.

Robins Island

Robins Island is an Island in the Peconic Bay between the North and South folks of eastern Suffolk County. It is within the jurisdiction of Town of Southold in Suffolk County, New York. The Island is 435 acres (1.8 km2) and presently undeveloped. The island is privately owned and not accessible to the public.

Indian reservations

Two Indian reservations are within the borders of Suffolk County:


The county includes a lot of roadways and other public transportation infrastructure. The local Suffolk County Legislature oversees funding and regulations for the infrastructure. [5] In 2019, the legislature required all new projects to account for future climate change caused sea level rise. [5]

Major highways


Several airports serve commuters and business travelers, most notably Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, Republic Airport in East Farmingdale and Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach.

Public transportation

Suffolk County is served by Suffolk County Transit. Long Island Rail Road, the Hampton Jitney, and Hampton Luxury Liner connect Suffolk County to New York City.

Notable people

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Riverhead (CDP), New York</span> Hamlet and census-designated place in New York, United States

Riverhead is a census-designated place (CDP) roughly corresponding to the hamlet by the same name located in the town of Riverhead in Suffolk County, New York on Long Island. The CDP's population was 13,299 at the 2010 census.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Riverhead (town), New York</span> Town in New York, United States

Riverhead is a town within Suffolk County, New York, United States, on the north shore of Long Island. Since 1727, Riverhead has been the county seat of Suffolk County, though most county offices are in Hauppauge. As of the 2020 census, the population was 35,902. The town rests on the mouth of the Peconic River, from which it derives its name. The smaller hamlet of Riverhead lies within it, and is the town's principal economic center. The town is 166 miles (267 km) southwest of Boston via the Orient Point-New London Ferry, and is 76 miles (123 km) northeast of New York City.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Smithtown, New York</span> Town in New York, United States

Smithtown is a town in Suffolk County, New York on the North Shore of Long Island. It is part of the New York metropolitan area. The population was 116,296 at the 2020 Census.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brookhaven, New York</span> Town in New York, United States

The Town of Brookhaven is the most populous of the ten towns of Suffolk County, New York, United States. Part of the New York metropolitan area, it is located approximately 50 miles from Manhattan. It is the only town in the county that stretches from the north shore to the south shore of Long Island. It is the largest of New York State's 932 towns by area, and the second most populous after the Town of Hempstead.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Peconic County, New York</span> Hypothetical new county on Long Island, New York

Peconic County is a proposed new county on Long Island in the U.S. state of New York that would secede the five easternmost towns of Suffolk County: East Hampton, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Southampton and Southold, plus the Shinnecock Indian Reservation.

Montauk Highway is an east–west road extending for 95 miles (153 km) across the southern shore of Long Island in Suffolk County, New York, in the United States. It extends from the Nassau County line in Amityville, where it connects to Merrick Road, to Montauk Point State Park at the very eastern end of Long Island in Montauk. The highway is known by several designations along its routing, primarily New York State Route 27A (NY 27A) from the county line to Oakdale and NY 27 east of Southampton. The portion of Montauk Highway between Oakdale and Southampton is mostly county-maintained as County Route 80 and County Route 85.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">North Shore (Long Island)</span> Area along Long Islands northern coast

The North Shore of Long Island is the area along the northern coast of New York's Long Island bordering Long Island Sound. Known for its extreme wealth and lavish estates, the North Shore exploded into affluence at the turn of the 20th century, earning it the nickname the Gold Coast. Historically, this term refers to the coastline communities in the towns of North Hempstead and Oyster Bay in Nassau County and the Town of Huntington in Suffolk County, although the town of Smithtown east of here is also known for its affluence. The easternmost Gold Coast mansion is the Geissler Estate, located just west of Indian Hills Country Club in Fort Salonga, within the Town of Huntington.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">South Shore (Long Island)</span>

The South Shore of Long Island, in the U.S. state of New York, is the area along Long Island's Atlantic Ocean shoreline.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Area codes 631 and 934</span> Area codes for Suffolk County, New York, US

Area codes 631 and 934 are the telephone area codes in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) for Suffolk County, New York on Long Island. Area code 631 was created in 1999 in a split from 516; and 934 was added as an overlay in 2016. Communities within the area include Babylon, Huntington, Islip, Smithtown, Brookhaven, Riverhead, Southampton, Southold, Shelter Island, and East Hampton.

The 1st congressional district of New York is a congressional district for the United States House of Representatives in eastern Long Island. It includes the eastern two-thirds of Suffolk County, including most of Smithtown, as well as the entirety of the towns of Brookhaven, Riverhead, Southold, Southampton, East Hampton, and Shelter Island. The district encompasses extremely wealthy enclaves such as the Hamptons, middle class suburban towns such as Selden, Centereach and Lake Grove, working-class towns such as Mastic, Shirley, and Riverhead and rural farming communities such as Mattituck and Jamesport on the North Fork. The district currently is represented by Republican Lee Zeldin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">New York State Route 27A</span>

New York State Route 27A (NY 27A) is a state highway extending from Massapequa in Nassau County to Oakdale in Suffolk County on Long Island, New York, in the United States. Its two most prominent components are Merrick Road and Montauk Highway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Suffolk County Transit</span> Public transportation in New York

Suffolk County Transit is the provider of bus services in Suffolk County, New York on Long Island and is an agency of the Suffolk County government. It was founded in 1980 as a county-run oversight and funding agency for a group of private contract operators which had previously provided such services on their own. While the physical maintenance and operation of the buses continue to be provided by these providers, other matters ranging from bus purchases to route and schedule planning to fare rules are set by Suffolk Transit itself.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anthony Palumbo</span> American politician

Anthony Howard Palumbo is an American Republican Party politician who currently represents the 1st district of the New York State Senate. He previously served as a member of the New York State Assembly.


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    1. Via Google Books (New York Public Library).

Coordinates: 40°56′N72°41′W / 40.94°N 72.68°W / 40.94; -72.68