Editor’s note: This article is part of a series in which Newsday attempts to answer questions from Long Islanders about life on the Island. If there’s a question you want us to answer, send it to us here.
Where is the exact geographic center of Long Island?
The short answer: It’s in Farmingville, but we dug even deeper than that.
The long answer: The Island is about 105 miles long from the Nassau-Queens border to Montauk and 23 miles at its widest distance north to south at the Nassau-Suffolk border, according to Ross Baldwin, the Geographic Information Systems Manager for Southampton Town.
To calculate the center, cartographers use an application called a geographic information system, according to Suffolk County cartographer, Carl Lind.
Using this software, the county created maps marking Farmingville as the geographic center of Long Island — excluding Brooklyn and Queens — during a census it conducted in 2010, according to Lind. They also found that the center of Suffolk County is somewhere on the grounds of Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, and that the center of Nassau County is in East Garden City.
Newsday asked a representative from Long Island Geographic Information System, an organization of GIS professionals, to use the software to find the center of the Island on a street level.
According to the organization, the middle of Nassau and Suffolk counties is just south of Ridgewood Avenue, north of Sycamore Avenue and most likely on Jane and Ralph Swanson’s “little peace of heaven.”
The map provided to Newsday drops a pin on Ridgewood Avenue, east of Blue Point Road, which Baldwin said was the most specific the computer model could get.
But when shown the map, Keith Falkowski, who lives on the north side of the street, was convinced he could identify the lot.
Falkowski, 48, walked across the street and banged on his neighbor’s door.
“You always thought you were the center of the world,.” Falkowski said excitedly to Ralph Swanson as he opened the door. “Well it turns out you’re the center of the Island.”
The Swanson’s three-bedroom home sits on about three-quarters of an acre with a steep driveway and a lush backyard with a shed, fire pit and a strip of manicured lawn where Ralph practices his putting.
Though the couple has lived there for nearly 37 years and are natives of nearby Lake Ronkonkoma, the news that they were sitting on the middle -- or very nearly the middle -- of Nassau and Suffolk counties came “as a very big surprise,” Jane said.
“It’s just not something I’ve ever thought about -- our little palace,” she said.