As residents of Long Island, we are indeed fortunate. With scenic beauty beyond description, there is also one of the finest infrastructures in the United States.
First, the infrastructure. Most of our elementary and high schools are world class. We have dedicated teachers and parent volunteers across the island who involve themselves in the PTA and school boards. The result is better schools. The community spirit provided by local schools is contagious -- even though some might argue to merge school districts. Part of Long Island's character flows directly from the community pride of local schools.
Beyond schools, we have some of the finest hospitals in the world. Medical care of the highest quality is available right around the corner or just down the street. And the religious network on the island is anchored by wonderful churches and temples in just about every one of our towns. Institutions of higher learning also abound on Long Island with some 19 colleges and universities offering high quality education.
One of Long Island's challenges relates to getting around to all of our beautiful parks, golf courses, schools, shopping malls and churches. Traffic, at times, comes to a standstill. While the Long Island Rail Road provides access to the city for the 200,000 plus people who work there, Long Islanders still favor traveling by car.
And I doubt that more buses or people movers will make much of a dent in our obsession with the automobile. We like to live in our own houses and are independent enough to travel in our own cars.
Putting the traffic aside, there are many places to visit on Long Island where the scenic beauty is absolutely unparalleled. Our ocean front, from the Queens border to Montauk, has to be one of the finest stretches of beaches in the world. The boardwalk at Jones Beach can provide, even in fall and winter months, a place you should not fail to visit.
Further east, on both the North and South forks, are miles upon miles of flat farm fields bordered by groves of trees. With the grapes, potatoes, corn, tomatoes, ornamental shrubbery and sod, Suffolk County boasts the largest cash crop of any county in New York State and third in the entire nation. A fall visit to the East End can be, not only interesting, but rewarding with fields of plenty for your harvest table.
From the rolling hills of the North Shore Long Island and Sound views to small portions of the preserved Hempstead Plains, and from the beauty of formal gardens to the cultural beauty of our museums, Long Island has it all.
Have you taken the time lately to appreciate and participate in what makes this such a great place to live? If you haven't, why not take the time now to plan some local trips -- on Long Island!