Photos of the Long Island Sound

Issues & Actions

Mt. Sinai – Port Jefferson Harbors

Location: Mt. Sinai and Port Jefferson, NY

Anchor Site(s): Mt. Sinai Harbor, Port Jefferson Harbor, Cedar Beach, and McAllister County Park

About the Site: Both Port Jefferson Harbor and Mount Sinai Harbor make up this Stewardship Area on the North Shore of Suffolk County. The Stewardship Area consists of open water, tidal flats, salt marshes, and barrier beaches.

Initially called “Drowned Meadow,” Port Jefferson was settled in the 1600s and is now a densely populated area with a deep-water harbor. The Port Jefferson area was once covered in marshlands, but now village shops sit nestled along Main Street. During the 1800s, most of the beach could not be seen as the area was covered in massive ship-building infrastructure, which was only second in size to the Brooklyn shipyard during the steel age. What is today referred to as Pirate’s Cove is a man-made area which was once used for the production of cement.

Mount Sinai includes the largest North Shore beach in the Town of Brookhaven, and provides access to Long Island Sound for both commercial and recreational use. Mount Sinai Harbor is 455-acres in area, consisting of salt marsh, mudflats, and open water. Within the harbor is the Town of Brookhaven Park, Cedar Beach, which includes two bathing beaches, a town marina, and a nature center. Soft shell clams, hard clams, oyster, and mussels are all found within the harbor.

Ecological Importance

  • This Stewardship Area is designated as a New York State Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat and is part of the National Coastal Barrier Resources System.
  • Port Jefferson Harbor provides important habitat for several species of marine fish, such as bluefish, Atlantic silversides, Atlantic menhaden, northern puffer, striped bass, blackfish, and winter flounder.
  • The habitat provides for American oysters and hard clams, and much of the area is open seasonally or conditionally as it is an important shellfish producing area. For more information, see “Recreational Opportunities” below.
  • The fish and wildlife habitat in and around the harbor is diverse, consisting of open water, tidal flats, salt marshes, and barrier beaches.

Recreational Opportunities

  • Launch your boat in Port Jefferson Harbor at its public boat ramp for a saltwater fishing adventure.
  • Visit the new Maritime Explorium which hosts a variety of classes for children as well as their regular exhibits.
  • Learn more about Port Jefferson and its history at the Port Jefferson Village Center.
  • Visit Port Jefferson’s Harborfront Park to sit back and gaze upon the harbor, or launch a kayak from the beach and peruse the harbor shore.
  • Hop on the ferry for a day trip to Connecticut, or drive your vehicle aboard for fun and faster travel to the New England area from the Port Jefferson Ferry.
  • Fish along the pier, explore the nature center or beach, dock at the marina, or play on the basketball courts at Cedar Beach in Mount Sinai harbor.
  • Launch your boat or kayak or park and view the harbor at Satterly Landing in Mount Sinai Harbor.

Dive Deeper

  • Horseshoe Crab Training
    A horseshoe crab spawning survey is conducted each year to monitor the abundance of horseshoe crabs in New York, which aids the state in the conservation and management of this species.
  • Long Island Seaport and Eco Center (LISEC)
    Long Island Seaport and Eco Center worked to manage and save the property of the Port Jefferson Village Center. Today, LISEC works to conserve Long Island Sound and preserve Long Island’s maritime heritage.
  • Cedar Beach
    Cedar Beach at Mount Sinai Harbor offers places to go for a swim, launch a kayak, catch some rays or simply enjoy the view of the Sound.
  • The Port Jefferson Harbor Education & Arts Conservancy
    The Conservancy is a volunteer organization that raises funds and secures grants to increase the knowledge and appreciation of local history, cultural arts, marine life, recreational sports and educational experiences.

Places to Visit

  • Port Jefferson Village is a bustling village sitting on the edge of Port Jefferson harbor. Shop, dine, explore the night life, or learn about the history of the area along Main Street and the Harbor’s coast.
  • McAllister County Park offers 115 acres right on Long Island Sound. Sight local water birds and sunbathe on the beach at the park.
  • The Chandlery Building
    The Chandlery Building teachers visitors about the Bayles shipyard during Port Jefferson’s ship building era, now home to the Maritime Explorium.

Get Involved/Events

Field Notes

Credits and Sources

  • Lauren Hubbard, Maritime Explorium. Field visit and interview in 2012.
  • Tom Carrano, Town of Brookhaven. Field visit and interview in 2012.
  • “New York State Citizen Guide”¬†Web site. Available at http://www.nysegov.com/citguide.cfm?ques_id=1066

Return to the main Stewardship page

Did You Know?

  • The Port Jefferson Village Center is powered by geothermal energy, using solar energy trapped in the ground to heat and cool the building.
  • Port Jefferson was settled in the 1600s, and was originally called “Drowned Meadow” as the area was covered in marshlands.
  • Mount Sinai is one of the few large, undeveloped embayments remaining on the North Shore of Long Island.
  • The Setauket Yacht Club offers sailing instruction for adults and children.

Port Jefferson Harbor

Mount Sinai harbor

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