The Indian Princess statue overlooks Lake Ronkonkoma on Portion Road.

The Indian Princess statue overlooks Lake Ronkonkoma on Portion Road. Credit: James Carbone

THE SCOOP A place of legends, this hamlet has been undergoing one of Long Island's most dramatic changes, with a $1 billion development partly finished, another mega development in the wings and a trash-to-treasure lake.

"I think it's going to be a bustling community," said longtime local Michael DelRosso, vice president of the Ronkonkoma Chamber of Commerce.

The Station Yards project, which spans 53 acres, steps from the Ronkonkoma Long Island Rail Road station, will bring more than 1,400 apartments, retail, commercial space, parking lots and a center courtyard with an amphitheater for live entertainment.

Under review, the $2.8 billion Midway Crossing imagines a convention center, hotel, a life sciences center and retail space.

One can't miss the hamlet's namesake, the Island's largest body of freshwater. Legend says an American Indian princess drowned herself over an unrequited love and drags a man to his watery end each year. In the early 1900s, wealthy racing enthusiast William Kissam Vanderbilt II built the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway to the lake for his own pleasure, paving the way for the rich to put up pavilions for summers at the shores.

Larry's Landing sports panoramic views of Lake Ronkonkoma. Credit: Newsday/James Carbone

In recent decades, the lake was a major dumping ground until 2016, when annual cleanups, led by the Lake Ronkonkoma Historical Society and the Lake Ronkonkoma Improvement Group, turned it into a magnet for picnics and gatherings. There's even a new "lake keeper" job created by Suffolk County to help clean the waters.

"You'll see some of the most spectacular sunsets you've ever seen," said Joyce Sorrese, curator of the historical society's museum and one of the lake's frequent sunset watchers.

Locals tout the hamlet's central location and transportation options, from the Long Island MacArthur Airport to the Long Island Expressway. It's an hour by train to Manhattan, an hour by car to the vineyards and about 15 minutes to Long Island Sound and the South Shore.

Smithtown Boulevard cuts across Lake Ronkonkoma and houses many of...

Smithtown Boulevard cuts across Lake Ronkonkoma and houses many of the community's stores and eateries. Credit: James Carbone

The community draws first-time home buyers, because $500,000 can nab a three-bedroom, two-bath house with a basement and room for a pool, said Debbie Carpluk, an associate broker at Keller Williams Realty.

"Most of the people that are buying now were actually brought up here," she said. "They know what they grew up with and that's what they want to have for their families."

Homes on Cheryl Drive in Lake Ronkonkoma, which local real...

Homes on Cheryl Drive in Lake Ronkonkoma, which local real estate agents say draws first time homebuyers. Credit: James Carbone

CONDOS AND CO-OPS There are no condos or co-ops on the market.

SALE PRICES Between Dec. 1, 2022, and Nov. 30, 2023, there were 40 home sales with a median sale price of $545,000, according to OneKey MLS. The low price for that period was $335,000 and the high was $960,000. During that period a year earlier there were 68 home sales with a median sale price of $492,500. The price range was $245,000 to $700,000.

OTHER STATS

Population 18,214

Median age 42.1

Median home value $540,000

Monthly LIRR ticket from Ronkonkoma $378

School districts Sachem (95.2%), Middle Country (90.3%), Smithtown (97%)

Libraries Sachem, Middle Country, Smithtown

Transit Suffolk County Transit Routes 4, 51, 52a, 52b

ON THE MARKET

$524,999

This $524,999 Lake Ronkonkoma home has a new roof with...

This $524,999 Lake Ronkonkoma home has a new roof with solar panels. Credit: Irene Renna, EXP Realty

This 1955 Cape underwent a renovation in 2019 with new hot water heater, gas burner, white fence around the yard and new roof, which is still under warranty and has solar panels. The eat-in kitchen was also renovated the same year and features granite counters. Out of the four bedrooms and 1½ baths, the master suite is on the first floor. Taxes are $7,641. Irene Renna, EXP Realty, 631-291-2180.

$499,990

This $499,990 Lake Ronkonkoma home sits on 0.16 acre.

This $499,990 Lake Ronkonkoma home sits on 0.16 acre. Credit: Charles Weinraub

This 1954 Cape has four bedrooms, two baths, an eat-in kitchen and separate laundry room. There’s a full, unfinished basement, a fenced-in back yard and a detached one-car garage. Taxes are $8,034. A contract is pending. Kenneth Olson, HomeSmart Premier Living Realty, 917-828-1857

$449,999

This $449,999 Lake Ronkonkoma home has three bedrooms.

This $449,999 Lake Ronkonkoma home has three bedrooms. Credit: Signature Premier Properties

A starter home, this 1950 ranch has three bedrooms, one bath, an eat-in kitchen, a formal dining room and a basement. The detached one-car garage is part of a fenced-in yard that has in-ground sprinklers. Taxes are $6,873. Michael McLean, Signature Premier Properties, 631-375-3667

RECENTLY SOLD

$399,000

Smith Rd.

Style Ranch

Bedrooms 2

Bathroom 1

Built 1930

Lot Size 0.12 acre

Taxes $3,969

+/- List price -$0

Days on market 36

$550,000

Pleasure Ave.

Style Exp Cape

Bedrooms 4

Bathrooms 2

Built 1960

Lot size 0.23 acre

Taxes $9,264

+/- List price +$51,000

Days on market 73

$960,000

Union Ave.

Style Victorian

Bedrooms 6

Bathrooms

Built 2010

Lot size 0.52 acre

Taxes $13,363

+/- List price -$40,000

Days on market 189

ON ONEKEY MLS

Number of listings 7

Price range $385,000 to $649,000

Tax range $6,873 to $11,564

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