It was only fitting that with our special Working Waterfront issue, which will be released the middle of next week, we included a profile of the tiny neighborhood of New Suffolk.
The community’s connection to the working waterfront is a unique one.
While it’s been home to many boatyards and marinas over the years, it holds the rare distinction of having also been a submarine base. In fact, from 1899 to 1905 New Suffolk was home port for the USS Holland, the United States Navy’s first commissioned submarine.
Everything about New Suffolk is small, rare and special. The hamlet itself is tucked away along the road less traveled.
Unlike most communities across Long Island, New Suffolk features no major east-west thoroughfare (unless you want to count the bucolic New Suffolk Avenue). Instead, it sits well south of Cutchogue, far removed from the hustle and bustle of Main Road and Route 48.
Those fortunate enough to spend any time in New Suffolk immediately recognize its charming beauty in the unique architecture of the homes and the variety of waterfront views.
New Suffolk has fewer than 350 full-time residents, many of them second-home owners, and boasts one of New York’s tiniest school districts. About 15 elementary students attend classes inside the community’s iconic red schoolhouse.
A largely singular place, it features just one (gorgeous!) public beach, one shop — the appropriately named Summer Girl emporium — and a small post office so adorable it will make you wish email had never been invented.
If New Suffolk has more than one of anything, it’s restaurants — and they’re both worth checking out. Legends, now in its 25th year in business, boasts perhaps the North Fork’s best neighborhood bar and a menu that stacks up well against those at some of the area’s better restaurants. The newer Case’s Place is a formidable waterfront seafood option.
The nonprofit New Suffolk Waterfront Fund, which owns the property where Case’s Place is located, is a shining example of a community investing in the place it calls home. The group raised money from local residents to preserve the 3.5-acre waterfront parcel, which is also now home to a community garden and marina.
The waterfront is also a great place to catch the Wednesday evening sailboat races around Robins Island.
If you visit New Suffolk on just one day of the year, make it the Fourth of July, when the entire community comes out for a quaint parade that embodies the small-town values of the country whose independence we celebrate on that day.
New Suffolk is far from a self-contained community — you’ll have to go someplace else for your milk and bread — but it occupies a unique corner of the North Fork, where the pace is even slower than everywhere else and the sun seems to shine just a tiny bit brighter.
NAMES & NUMBERS
Booth’s Neck and Robins Island Neck
Settled: 17th century
Area: 0.54 square miles
ZIP Code: 11956