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Manhasset Bay

Location: Great Neck, Manhasset, and Port Washington, NY

Anchor Site(s): Manhasset Bay and Mitchells Creek

About the Site: This Stewardship Area was once called the “shellfish garden of New York City” because of its large oyster and clam beds. Today, Manhasset Bay serves both commercial and recreational boaters and is a productive area for marine finfish. Mitchells Creek drains directly into the bay and is the last remaining undeveloped wetland habitat which is especially important since the bay has experienced significant wetland loss over the past century due to various causes. The shoreline of Manhasset Bay consists mainly of residential area and offers magnificent views of the landscape and wildlife.  Access to the Bay is provided via the North Hempstead Town dock, many marinas and yacht clubs, and public parks that surround the Bay.



Ecological Importance

  • All waters of Manhasset Bay area have been designated by the New York State Department of State as a Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat.
  • This Stewardship Area provides nesting areas for least tern, a threatened bird species in New York, as well as osprey. It has been designated by the National Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area.
  • Mitchells Creek consists of 30 acres of wetlands, most of which are saltwater marsh with some brackish wetlands inland of the creek.
  • This Stewardship Area provides significant nursery and feeding habitat for striped bass, bluefish, winter flounder, menhaden, and other forage species.
  • This Stewardship Area is one of five major waterfowl winter areas on the North Shore of Long Island.
  • The Manhasset Bay watershed, or drainage basin, covers 9,947 acres and discharges about 37 million gallons of freshwater  into the bay every day.
  • The bay contains about 9 billion gallons of water.
  • Due to the high amount of boating activity, New York State designated Port Washington/Manorhaven as a Concentrated Area of Marine Development.
  • Manhasset Bay was used for fishing and shellfish harvesting by the Algonquin Matinecock tribe for thousands of years and was the largest oystering harbor on the North Shore of Long Island in the 1800s.

Recreational Opportunities

  • Visit Port Washington and Manorhaven, villages that have been designated as a New York Center of Concentrated Marine Development due to the high amount of boating activity.
  • Launch a boat or kayak  from Manorhaven Park or the Town of North Hempstead Town Dock in Port Washington from the specially designed kayak floats. Manorhaven Park has a public boat launch and there are several marinas and yacht clubs in Manhasset Bay, which is one of the busiest boating harbors along the North Shore of Long Island.
  • View wildlife that seek refuge in the tidal flats and intertidal marsh areas in the Bay during both the summer and winter seasons.
  • Visit one of the Nassau County parks that surround the bay.

Dive Deeper

  •  Manhasset Bay Protection Committee                                                                           The website of the Manhasset Bay ProtectionCommittee and learn how it works to restore and protect Manhasset Bay and the surrounding watershed.
  • The Blueway Trail
    This article in the Patch describes a proposed  water trail for kayakers from Hempstead Harbor to Manhasset Bay.
  • Least Tern
    This fact sheet from NYSDEC provides details about the least tern, a federally endangered and state threatened bird species that is found in this Stewardship Area.
  • The Knickerbocker Cup                                                                                            Founded in 1982, the Knickerbocker Cup at Manhasset Bay Yacht Club is a Grade 2 International Match Race, with ISAF* ranked teams from around the globe competing one-on-one in a round-robin series, then in rounds until a winner is determined. Entry into the event is by invitation only, with only approximately 40% of the teams requesting an invitation invited to compete. The winner of the Cup receives an invitation to compete in the Argo Group Gold cup for the King Edward VII Trophy in Bermuda.

Places to Visit

  • Manorhaven Beach Park  has a beach, picnic areas,  boat ramp, kayak launch and racks, newly renovated swimming pool, playground, tennis, and basketball courts all right along Manhasset Bay.
  • Whitney Pond Park is located at the southern end of Manhasset Bay and offers a pond that attracts a variety of birds and wildlife as well as recreational opportunities with the basketball, handball, and tennis courts that are onsite.
  • Manhasset Valley County Park offers play fields.
  • Stannards Brook Park recently restored, featuring an open stream corridor, walking paths and natural play and education areas.
  • The BayWalk, is a  proposed 1.8-mile walk from the Town Dock to Manorhaven Beach Park. But an almost one-mile segment along the coast, The Town Dock to Port Washington North section, is now accessible with a walking and biking trail, public art work, maritime artifacts, interpretive signage, public fishing dock and spectacular views of the bay.
  • The Science Museum of Long Island is located in Leeds Pond Preserve.

Get Involved/Events

  • See Port Washington’s Calendar of Events for more information on what’s happening around Manhasset Bay.

Credits and Sources

  • Jennifer Wilson-Pines, Manhasset Bay Protection Committee. Telephone interview in 2012.
  • Town of North Hempstead website. Available at

Return to the main Stewardship page

Did You Know?

  • The Manhasset Bay watershed, or drainage basin, covers about 9,950 acres large and about 37 million gallons of freshwater drains into this Bay every day.
  • Due to the high amount of boating activity, New York State designated Port Washington/Manorhaven as a Concentrated Area of Marine Development.
  • For thousands of years Manhasset Bay was used for fishing and shellfish harvesting by the Algonquin Matinecock tribe. Port Washington was the largest shellfishing port on the North Shore of Long Island in the late 1800s.
  • Manhasset Bay is host to the highly prestigious Knickerbocker Cup, an international sailing competition.

Manhasset Bay

  • Leeds Pond wetlands at high tide with a view of the sandbar and osprey roost in the background. (Photo by Jennifer Wilson-Pines)
  • Manorhaven Town Park and Beach. (Photo by Jennifer Wilson-Pines)
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