stunk to high heaven

Napeague, New York

Napeague is a census-designated place (CDP) in Suffolk County, New York, United States. The population was 223 at the 2000 census.

It is located on a very narrow, low lying strip between the Atlantic Ocean and Gardiners Bay that was flooded in the Great Hurricane of 1938. It is wedged between Napeague State Park on the west and Hither Hills State Park on the east.

Napeague derives its name from the Montaukett name for "land overflowed by the sea.

In the summer of 2007 Ralph Lauren made national headlines over a photo shoot on the Napeague beach dubbed by the New York Post as "Lauren’s D-Day Assault." According to reports eight Land Rovers that were part of the shoot sped at 50 miles per hour past the string fences forbidding driving by the endangered piping plover nests on the beach. Despite pleas for criminal prosecution (including complaints about the tent on the beach that did not have a permit) no criminal proseuctions have been brought.

Landmark Structures

Three large landmark structures are in the hamlet: the Mackay Radio Tower, the Art Barge, and the Promised Land Fish Factory.

MacKay Radio Tower

The Mackay Radio Tower is the last of two towers (originally high apart) that was used to transmit international point to point radio communications starting in 1927. At the height of World War II the tower was used for responding to upwards of ten SOS calls a day from ships at sea.. The tower had somebody onsight 24 hours a day but the actual transmissions were keyed from Southampton (village), New York.

The towers toppled during the Great 1938 Hurricane.

At 12:35 pm. on January 28, 1961 an American Airlines Boeing 707 Flight 1502 (Flagship Oklahoma) with an engine on fire nosedived over the towers before crashing about off the Napeague coast killing all six aboard. The plane had been on a training flight from Idlewild Airport. An often repeated story says the plane clipped one of the towers but the New York Times account of the crash says it just missed the towers

An engine from the plane fell just north of the towers into Napeague Harbor and remains in the harbor with fishermen noting that they still snag their nets on it.

It was the third major airliner crash in the New York City metropolitan area in six weeks.

On December 16 in the 1960 New York air disaster a United Douglas DC-8 and a TWA Lockheed Super Constellation collided over Miller Army Airfield on Staten Island with the DC-8 crashing into the Park Slope neighborhood and the TWA plane crashing at the airfield killing all told 134.

On January 19, 1961, an Aeronaves de Mexico DC-8 crashed on takeoff into Rockaway Beach Boulevard from Idlewild in a snow storm killing four – although 102 of the 106 passengers and crew escaped.

The Mackay towers were decommissioned in 1984 and its underlying land is part of Napeague State Park. One of the towers was torn down. The remaining tower is used for miscellaneous purposes now. Its flashing white lights are visible throughout coastal areas of East Hampton.

Art Barge

The Art Barge is the home of the Victor D'Amico Institute of Art. D'Amico was Director of Education for the Museum of Modern Art from 1937 until 1970. In 1955 the Department had begun art classes at Ashawagh Hall in Springs, New York. D’Amico looking for a permanent home worked with local baymen to dock a barge at its current location just northeast of the Mackay Towers. It was originally called Kearsarge, a Native American word meaning "place of heaven.” However the popular name of art barge stuck. A second story was added later. The barge now operates June through September.

Promised Land Fish Meal Factory

The large shed of the Promised Land Fish Meal Factory was a plant that focused on process Menhaden fish for fish meal. It processed between 20 million and 30 million fish a year during the season from June to October and had its own Long Island Rail Road siding . It was owned by Otis Smith. After a drop in the supply of menhaden Smith closed the plant in 1969 (along with plants at Lewes, Delaware and Crab Island, New Jersey) . The plants were consolidated at Port Monmouth, New Jersey.

The plant is now temporarily used by Fish Farm-Multi Aquaculture Systems which raise fish.

It is part of the Napeague State Park and is the subject of an ongoing court battle about whether it should be used as a port for the Cross Sound Ferry for a car ferry service between East Hampton and Connecticut.


Napeague Bay is also a World Renown Kiteboarding destination. With flat waters and wind often, Napeague is a great spot for beginners as well as advanced riders. Cosmic Kites are amongst some of the kite schools in the area that offer year round lessons as well.


Napeague is located at (40.995109, -72.074882).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 10.6 square miles (27.3 km²), of which, 3.9 square miles (10.0 km²) of it is land and 6.7 square miles (17.3 km²) of it (63.22%) is water.

At the end of the last ice age, Napeague was submerged under the sea. (At that time, Montauk was an island on its own in the Atlantic.) In the intervening several thousand years, ocean currents, or littoral drift, filled in this space with sand, giving rise to Napeague.

The main settlement in Napeague is the small community of Lazy Point, also known as "Promised Land". It acquired this nickname, according to local lore, because of the menhaden plant located there in years gone by, which "stunk to high heaven".



As of the census of 2000, there were 223 people, 105 households, and 64 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 57.4 per square mile (22.2/km²). There were 624 housing units at an average density of 160.7/sq mi (62.1/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 97.31% White, 0.90% African American, 1.35% Native American, and 0.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.73% of the population.

There were 105 households out of which 17.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.0% were non-families. 33.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.12 and the average family size was 2.59.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 15.2% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 23.3% from 25 to 44, 32.3% from 45 to 64, and 22.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females there were 108.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 107.7 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $44,688, and the median income for a family was $48,333. Males had a median income of $37,500 versus $31,875 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $23,403. About 9.7% of families and 13.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.0% of those under the age of eighteen and none of those sixty five or over.


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