Long before Pong, the first video game was invented on Long Island. In 1958, "Tennis for Two" was unveiled at an annual visitors' day at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton. The game was crafted by nuclear physicist William Higinbotham and featured an analog computer with two controllers.
Home Depot shoppers in Commack might be surprised to see a 17th century cemetery in the parking lot. The land used to be part of the Burr Family Farm before becoming Brindley Airfield in World War I.
Long Island served as a drop-off point for Nazi saboteurs during World War II. Four German Nazis arrived by submarine on an Amagansett beach on the night of June 13, 1942. Coast Guardsman John Cullen, above, encountered the Nazis, who got away but were captured on June 27.
Arthur Rose Eldred, a member of Boy Scout Troop 1 in Oceanside, was the first scout in the United States to achieve Eagle rank (center). Here, he looks on as his son Willard "Bill" Eldred becomes an Eagle Scout on Oct. 27, 1944.
The Long Island Rail Road was chartered on April 24, 1834, and is the oldest railroad still operating under its original name in the United States. It is also the busiest commuter rail in North America, according to the MTA, transporting an average of 301,000 people each day. These commuters were aboard on April 24, 1950.
Robert Moses State Park in Babylon was the very first Long Island state park when it was signed into creation by former New York State Gov. Charles Evan Hughes in 1908. It was originally named Fire Island State Park.
The Gateway Performing Arts Center
Did you know that The Gateway Performing Arts Center on the eastern edge of Bellport Village was once a hotel? Harry C. Pomeran purchased 70 acres of land in 1941 with the intention of running a resort. After noticing his three children entertaining guests by singing and putting on skits, he decided to turn the space into a theater. The venue gave many notable Broadway performers their starts, including Tony Award-nominee Norm Lewis, who performed in "Once on This Island" at the Gateway, and John Lloyd Young, who appeared in "The Scarlet Pimpernel" before going on to win a Tony Award for his portrayal of Frankie Valli in "Jersey Boys. "
The Freedom Stone, the original 20-ton granite cornerstone for One World Trade Center, is in place off Motor Parkway at Moreland Street in Hauppauge. After security concerns forced the World Trade Center site plans to be reconfigured, the stone was trucked out to the industrial park.
Legally, Long Island is not an island, according to a 1985 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. It is part of mainland New York State. The ruling came as part of a decision in a case in which the federal government and the states of New York and Rhode Island had been fighting for control of Long Island Sound and Block Island Sound. While the states won the case, Long Island lost its island-ness. Read more.
Brooklyn Bridge opening
The official opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, on May 24, 1883, was marked by a gala celebration, including a parade led by the 21st president of the United States, Chester A. Arthur, and future president, New York Gov. Grover Cleveland. Long Island became connected to the rest of the United States when the Brooklyn Bridge opened. The bridge, which took 14 years to complete, cost $15.5 million and claimed more than two dozen lives, became the only land passage crossing between Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Louise Sciaccia of Kings Park plays her bingo cards at the VFW Hall on Church Street in Kings Park on April 14, 1982. Although the popular game of bingo has been played on Long Island for years, it was technically illegal here until 1958.
Comet Hale-Bopp is seen on April 3, 1997 at about 9 p.m. from the grounds of Custer Institute in Southold. The Custer Institute and Observatory in Southold, established in 1927, is Long Island's oldest public observatory. The institute is named after one of the founders, amateur astronomer Charles Elmer's wife May, who was the grandniece of Gen. George Armstrong Custer. May had been the gracious hostess at the weekly informal gatherings of the organized band of amateur astronomers who chose to call themselves the Custer Institute.
A 1932 prohibition photo of Nassau County detectives and police officers pouring out illegal whiskey in Long Beach. Long Island, with its bays, harbors and inlets, provided undercover locations for the illicit trade of bootlegging and rum running that undermined the 18th Amendment, which prohibited alcohol. In 1933, the ratification of 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment.
Several sitting presidents have gone trout fishing in the Connetquot River including Teddy Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant and Grover Cleveland (not to mention Civil War Union General William T. Sherman and Great Britain's Duke of Windsor). This photo was taken at the Connetquot River State Park in Oakdale on Oct. 23, 2002.
The sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, bought a home in Deer Park in 1835 and spent many summers there until his death in 1848. The boundaries of the Adams place are long forgotten, but it was somewhere in the vicinity of Adams Street, about a half-mile west of Deer Park Avenue. John Quincy Adams Elementary, named after him, opened in 1964 on Old Country Road in Deer Park.
Manny Pryos of Centerport beat 1-in-30 million odds twice by catching a blue lobster, similar to this one, in the Long Island Sound four months apart in 2002. A rare recessive gene causes blue pigmentation in about one lobster out of 4 million in the wild, experts say.
Albert Einstein vacationing in the summer of 1939, when he rented a cottage on Nassau Point and sailed his boat on Little Peconic Bay. During that summer, Einstein signed the famous letter to President Franklin Roosevelt, alerting him to new developments in nuclear physics that could lead to an atomic bomb. The letter is widely credited with setting in motion the Manhattan Project, the government effort to build an atomic bomb.
Mighty F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bombers were built at Republic Aviation in Farmingdale in the early 1960s with a mission to use tactical nuclear weapons if the Cold War ever went hot. Instead, several years later, they would be deployed to Vietnam. The original control tower in the background still stands at Republic Airport.
Almost 20,000 items are turned into LIRR's Lost and Found office every year. These items are seen in the LIRR Lost and Found office at Penn Station in Manhattan on May 9, 2008.
The Diocese of Rockville Centre, which oversees Nassau and Suffolk counties, is the sixth-largest diocese in the United States, serving a Catholic population of about 1.5 million. Despite its size, Long Island's churches were part of the Diocese of Brooklyn until 1957. Walter P. Kellenberg, the founding bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, is seen here with Nassau County Executive Eugene Nickerson in 1964.
Curious male eyes examined Nancy Wagner as she strolled into the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point in 1974. The prestigious institution was the first training academy in the United States to admit women. Wagner, along with fellow females Francis Yates, Terry Olsen Preston and Ivy Barton Suter, graduated in 1978. She went on to become the first female harbor pilot in U.S. history.
A popular misconception is that Elmont's name derives from the racetrack, Belmont Park, which is located there. That is false. The truth: Residents decided to change the name of Foster's Meadow to Elmont in 1882, more than 20 years before the track opened. Nor was the track named for Elmont; it was named after its developer, financier August Belmont. Pictured here is a horse in 1905, being used in Elmont to deliver beer to a tavern.
Did you know that the Brooklyn Nets once called Commack home? The Nets played at the Long Island Arena in Commack in 1968 when they were part of the American Basketball Association. After one season, the team moved to the Island Garden, an arena in West Hempstead. The team would later play at the Nassau Coliseum and northern New Jersey before landing at the Barclays Center in 2012.
Is publicity work? If so, elephants surely helped build the original Long Beach boardwalk. The animals were brought in to bring attention to the construction project. Whether the elephants performed labor is a subject of debate in the city. The boardwalk was finished with either a lot -- or a little -- help from elephants in 1914.
Theodore Roosevelt commuting from the Long Island Rail Road's Oyster Bay station on Aug. 18, 1901. The LIRR's first business plan had little to do with moving commuters to and from New York City. Did you know that the LIRR originally planned to offer train and steamboat service from Brooklyn to Boston? In 1848, the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad completed a route through the New England coast, ending the LIRR's original dream.
Hargrave Vineyard became Long Island's first vineyard in 1973, thus giving birth to what would become a wine region. Today, it's hard to find a wine store on Long Island that doesn't have a section dedicated to local products. According to the Long Island Wine Council's website, the region creates more than 500,000 cases of wine each year.
When vice presidential nominee Richard Nixon was under attack for misusing a political expense fund, he turned to a national television audience and admitted to only one campaign gift -- a dog named Checkers. That 1952 speech may have saved Nixon, who went on to serve as President Dwight Eisenhower's second in command. In 1968, Nixon would be elected president. As for Checkers? It died in 1964 and is buried at Bideawee Association Pet Cemetery in Wantagh.
Black professional baseball can be traced back to Babylon. Waiters and porters from the old Argyle Hotel in Babylon Village in 1885 made up what is believed to be the first all-black professional baseball team. The team was originally called the Athletics of Babylon, but a New Jersey promoter bankrolled them as the Cuban Giants. He billed them as Cubans because he didn't believe whites would watch blacks play.
Did you know that one of the first telegraphs in the United States was sent from a small shack on Long Island? This is a replica of the Marconi House, one of the first telegraph communication outposts in the United States. The actual house was originally in Babylon Village from 1992 to 1907, but was then moved to be a part of the RCA Corp. Today, the original 12-foot by 12-foot shack stands in Rocky Point.
7-Eleven's corporate headquarters are in Texas, but the chain's biggest fans are on Long Island. In 2013, eight of 7-Eleven Inc.'s top 10 locations by sales were in Suffolk County. Those numbers are staggering, especially when you consider that there are 7,800 7-Eleven locations in the United States.
Gene Okerlund is a WWE Hall of Famer and one of its great voices. But what does he have to do with Long Island? Well, his son, Todd, was a mid-round draft pick by the New York Islanders in 1982. Todd only played four games with the Islanders, as knee problems shortened his career.
That iconic structure you drive by at Jones Beach is not a monument. It is a water tower. Here, the full moon looms over it.
Before the Mason-Dixon Line, there was Old Country Road. During the Revolutionary War, northern Nassau County heavily favored independence from Great Britain. Meanwhile, the southern side of the county mostly supported English rule. Old Country Road became a border between the two sides, with thousands from the south fighting on the British side and facing charges of treason after the war ended.
The Gold Coast mansions in Glen Cove are well-known, but did you know that one of those structures, called Killenworth, would become a longtime retreat for Soviet delegations to the United Nations? Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev is seen here visiting Glen Cove in 1960.
Long Island's Franklin National Bank claimed to have created the nation's first drive-up bank window and also issued the country's first credit card. Unfortunately for Franklin, its record setting didn't end there. The bank's collapse on Dec. 9, 1974 was, at the time, the nation's largest U.S. bank failure. Seen here is the interior of the Franklin National Bank in Southampton on Dec. 6, 1973.
When Long Beach officials and former New York Rangers cut the ribbon signaling the 2013 grand reopening of the Long Beach Arena, which has been out of operation since Sandy, it also rekindled a historic connect between the city and the Broadway Blueshirts. Did you know the Rangers practiced at the arena for much of the 1970s? Star winger Steve Vickers lived in Long Beach during the 1970s and said "everywhere you went around Long Beach, people knew you."
The Great Hurricane of 1938
The Great Hurricane of 1938, better known as the Long Island Express, is considered to be one of the most powerful recorded hurricanes in history. With wind speeds of up to 109 mph, this storm created a path of destruction, leaving 700 dead, 63,000 homeless and billions in damages across LI and New England. The storm also permanently changed the local landscape by creating 10 new inlets on the East End — most notably, the Shinnecock Inlet in Moriches.
Did you know that the windmill on the campus of Stony Brook Southampton is considered a literary landmark? Tennessee Williams lived there in the summer of 1957, when he wrote the one-act play "The Day on Which a Man Dies."
Ducks drink at a puddle at Agawam Village Park in Southampton. The ducks may not know this, but the Indian name for Southampton is Agawam. That explains why there is also a Lake Agawam in the village.
Once known as Pearsalls Corners, the area was rechristened Lynbrook in 1894 when former Brooklyn residents reversed that city's syllables to give their new homeland a new name. Lynbrook has long said it is the only community in the nation with that name, thus the moniker Lynbrook USA.
Raynham Hall was the house of Robert Townsend, a spy for George Washington during the Revolutionary War. He was one of several spies for Washington in a group known as the Culper Spy Ring. Townshend posed as a merchant and a coffee shop owner as he obtained information from the British and kept his involvement with the ring a complete secret from his family. Townsend moved to Raynham Hall in 1790 following the death of his father, Samuel.
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton will host the 2018 U.S. Open Golf Championship. The club last hosted the event in 2004 when the Goose, Retief Goosen, won the tournament. Did you know that Shinnecock Hills, established in 1891, is the first private 18-hole golf club in the country?
The Grateful Dead are seen here playing the Nassau Coliseum on March 23, 1994. The legendary band has played the Uniondale arena more than any other music act -- 35 times. Billy Joel is next, at 33.
The 5,700-pound eagle that's perched at the Hicksville Long Island Rail Road station was one of 22 on the facade of the original Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan before much of it was demolished to make way for a new Madison Square Garden. The statue has lived in Hicksville since 1965 and was renovated in 2010.
If you've ever traveled on the eastbound side of the Long Island Expressway, you may have noticed that there's no Exit 47. But why? When the expressway was initially built, the exit was intended to serve as an extension of the Bethpage State Parkway. However, that idea was abandoned -- now, the once-to-be exit serves as a truck stop.
Phelps Lane Park, which hosts the Town of Babylon's Parks and Recreation Department headquarters, a pool, playgrounds, a pond and sports fields, only became a public park after the Stratford Country Club and Day Camp failed in the late 1950s. In 1960, the town bought the 25-acre North Babylon country club property.
The Suffolk Theater in downtown Riverhead, which was originally built in 1933, was once called the "Radio City Music Hall of Long Island." The theater closed in 1987, but was restored and reopened in March 2013.
The old ball game
Old Bethpage is recognized by the Smithsonian as the "birthplace of vintage baseball," with the first game of its kind played on the restoration grounds during a Civil War re-enactment in August 1979. Athletes who play vintage baseball follow historic rules and wear traditional baseball uniforms, similar to how the game was played in the mid-1800s.
There are two Robert Moses State Parks in New York. One is in Suffolk County with sandy beaches, lifeguards and a lighthouse. The other is on Barnhart Island in the St. Lawrence River, which is closer to Montreal than Malverne.
The Big Duck, which looms over Route 24 in Flanders, was originally built in 1931 by Riverhead duck farmer Martin Maurer as a place to sell his ducks and eggs. There were thousands of duck farms along the creeks and bays of Southampton from the late 1800s to the 1960s.
Today it's the SheltAir hangar at Republic Airport. In this photo is the airport's four-engine Rainbow reconnaissance, which was built to photo map Imperial Japan before an invasion that never happened. Only two were built before the dropping of atomic bonds ended World War II. Republic had hoped to build a fleet and sell them as fast civilian airliners but a glut of postwar slower, cheaper aircraft doomed the venture. It was considered one of Republic’s most elegant failures.
Today it's part of the Southampton library grounds, including an area where the library holds book sales. But two centuries ago, Cooper Hall was the home of famous whaler Captain Mercator Cooper, whose accomplishments include being the first sailor to set foot on the Antarctic. He did so in 1852, according to the New Bedford Whaling Museum in Massachusetts. Cooper died in 1872.
Long Island Sound
The Long Island Sound may be the calmer of the two bodies of water surrounding Long Island, but its economic value definitely creates some waves. According to the Long Island Sound Assembly, the Sound is worth around $9.2 billion to the local economy, fueled largely by the fishing industry, recreation and the large populations living close to its shores. Above, a view of the Sound during sunrise at Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park on July 10, 2012.
In 1936, Nazism was growing in Germany and Adolf Hitler was expanding the country's military might. He had supporters on Long Island as well — specifically Camp Siegfried in Yaphank, which claimed to be a summer camp. The camp was supported by the German-American Bund, and a brochure promised "You will meet people who think as you do." Nazi supporters are seen here in Yaphank in 1937.
Grumman technicians help build the Apollo lunar module in 1969. The Bethpage-built module made this reader proud.
The Great South Bay produced more than 700,000 bushels of clams in 1976. In 1977, almost two of every three clams consumed in the United States came from Long Island's clam grounds. The Town of Islip and Brookhaven together issued almost 6,000 shellfish permits in 1976 and 1977, many to part-timers and students. This 1995 photo shows clam boats in Centerport Harbor.
These horseback riders at Deep Hollow Ranch in Montauk are enjoying a trail on the first working ranch in the United States.That's right, the oldest ranch isn't in the American West or the heart of Texas. It's Deep Hollow Ranch, established in 1658.
Did you know that the original Fire Island Lighthouse, completed in 1826 at 74 feet, was a failure because it wasn't high enough? Thirty one years later, Congress approved $40,000 for a new, 168-foot-tall tower. Since 2006, the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society has owned and operated the iconic light.
This one goes under facts you thought you knew: For years the former Syosset Italian restaurant Christiano's was thought to be the motivation for Billy Joel's "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant." Joel now admits that the inspirations were two Manhattan eateries. But Long Island still is the centerpiece for the story, as Joel dedicated the song to Christiano's during a '70s performance at C.W. Post (now LIU Post) to hype up the crowd.
There's a famous story about how Englishman Richard Smith jumped on a bull, Whisper, and traced out the boundaries of Smithtown. It makes for a wonderful tale. It's also not true. But the legend lives on, and a 14-foot-tall bull, which was placed atop a concrete pedestal in 1941 at the intersection of Jericho Turnpike and Route 25A, remains the iconic symbol of the Suffolk County town.
Long Island's most historically significant shipwreck took place in Block Island Sound, not far from Montauk. On Jan. 24, 1781, during the Revolution, the 74-gun ship Culloden was caught in a nor'easter. Incredibly, the ship went aground at what is now Culloden Point, just north of Montauk and all 650 crew members survived and saved equipment before burning the ship to the ground.
Few know that Republic Aviation was a center of aircraft innovation in the years after the Cold War. They created experimental designs including this mock up of their XF-103 interceptor which, had it been built, would have sought out Soviet bombers heading for North America. While vision exceeded technology, it reminded the Air Force that Republic had aeronautical engineers thinking about "what's next."
Who are the Pittsburgh Condors? The American Basketball Association team was the first visiting team in Nassau Coliseum history, as they took on the New York Nets on Feb. 11, 1972. The Nets were led by future Hall of Famer Rick Barry, who scored 45 points in a 129-121 win over the extinct Condors in front of 7,892 fans.
Two cannons are nestled along a trail at Belmont Lake State Park in the Town of Babylon. Those cannons were captured from a British warship during the War of 1812 and placed in front of the family mansion by Mrs. August Belmont, the niece of the commodore who won the battle. While much has changed on the property, those cannons have never been moved.
These are some of the forty-seven Girl Scouts from Nassau County who were chosen to appear on millions of newly designed $2 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to be sold during the nationwide annual cookie drive that began on Jan. 16,1988. Meredith Finn, 10, of Floral Park, autographed yellow boxes of Trefoil shortbread cookies on which she appears holding binoculars in a camping scene.
The United Nations was based in Lake Success from 1945 until the cornerstone of the present UN building in Manhattan was laid in 1951. The UN headquarters, a complex with its easy-to-recognize main building the Secretariat, center, is seen here on July 11, 2013.
Nunley's Carousel and Amusements is seen here on the corner of Sunrise Highway and Milburn Avenue in Baldwin. The famous carousel closed in 1995, and Nassau County purchased and reopened it in 2009 on Museum Row in Garden City. Did you know Nunley's Carousel dates back to 1912 when it was installed on the Brooklyn waterfront in Canarsie's Golden City Park? Back then, it was called Murphy's carousel.
Yes, the Amityville Horror house is on Long Island. That, everyone knows. But did you know the original 112 Ocean Ave. address has been changed at least twice since the 1970s-era hauntings? The house number was changed to stop out-of-towners from stopping and staring at the house.
The Montauk Point Lighthouse is arguably the best known of Long Island's beacons, which dot the regional landscape. Did you know that the Montauk structure is also the first lighthouse in New York? Construction started on June 7, 1796, and was completed on Nov. 5, 1796.
Tim's Shipwreck Diner in Northport, which is housed in a steel rail dining car, arrived on a flatbed via the Long Island Rail Road in 1912. The 1997 film “In & Out,” starring Tom Selleck, Kevin Kline, Joan Cusack and Matt Dillon, was shot inside the diner for seven days.
Glen Cove was the first community on Long Island to have phone service, when Henry A. Roberts installed a private telephone line in his Glen Street drugstore in 1881. By 1889, Glen Cove had 17 phones. Pictured is a 1907 telephone.
The first edition of the NBC News investigation "To Catch a Predator" took place in Bethpage in 2004. It debuted as a "Dateline NBC" special called "Dangerous Web" and featured alleged predators coming to a home believing an underage teen was there alone, before being surprised by reporter Chris Hansen. The series set off a firestorm over journalistic ethics. Think tanks like Columbia Journalism Review weighed in, and ABC's "20/20" investigated the tactics of "To Catch a Predator," including the potentially troubling alliance between reporters and cops in the predator stings.