The summer will be unlike most others we have lived through. Travel abroad will be challenging, and even domestically some states have out-of-state quarantine orders. It’s a great time to discover New York State however, and as a follow-up to our popular article on 10 of Nassau County’s historic and beautiful places, we’re presenting Suffolk County now. Several members of the Untapped New York team are originally from Long Island, both Suffolk and Nassau counties, so these guides have been a personal treat for us to put together.
Suffolk County has a great deal to discover, from historic buildings from the 1700s to ethnic eateries rarely found in New York City to small parks and quaint downtowns. Suffolk County’s history is rich with stories of rebellion, industrialization, and preservation, and most of these sites can be found via historic walking paths. Here is our guide to ten places to discover in Suffolk County!
Argyle Lake in Babylon
Babylon is a village in the Town of Babylon on Suffolk County’s southern coast. Unlike many Nassau County villages, Babylon remained sparsely populated until nearly 1700, when Babylon began to harvest salt hay, often used to feed cattle. Supposedly, a woman named Mrs. Conklin was so unhappy living across from a tavern in the village that she compared it to the biblical city of Babylon, a symbol for sin and rebellion. Her house still stands on Deer Park Avenue, with a cornerstone reading “New Babylon, This House Built by Nat Conklin, 1803.”
Babylon played a significant role during both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, as a number of residents like Captain Joel Cook led troops. After the railroad was built in Babylon in 1867, the area became a resort town due to its proximity to Fire Island, constructing a number of hotels by the water. While working at the Argyle Hotel, a number of black workers formed the Babylon Black Panthers, considered to be the first professional black baseball team. Babylon is also home to one of the oldest African-American communities on Long Island, which grew following World War II and the Great Migration. Famous Babylon residents include Guglielmo Marconi and Robert Moses, whose statue on Main Street has recently become the subject of calls for removal.
Three buildings — The Babylon Library, Babylon old Town Hall (now home to the Babylon Historical & Preservation Society) and the Nathaniel Conklin House — are listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the village of Babylon. Babylon is home to Argyle Park, financed in part by Long Island Rail Road President, Austin Corbin, which was named for a town aristocrat who was the heir to the Dukedom of Argyll. The park is known for its large Argyle Lake, previously named Blythebourne Lake, as well as triple waterfalls and white-railed viewing areas. For a view of the Great South Bay and the Robert Moses Causeway, take a walk around the Babylon Village Docks. Right by Argyle Park is the village’s two main roads, East Main Street and Deer Park Avenue, that house a few dozens restaurants and shops.
Babylon has a rather diverse culinary scene, ranging from Cantonese to tapas. Popular Asian eateries in Babylon include Long Island Pekin, well known for its Peking duck and soup dumplings; Fancy Lee, a Pan-Asian restaurant specializing in sushi; and Monsoon, a rather upscale Asian fusion spot. Latin American eateries range from Swell Taco to Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar to NoaMar Markets, with a variety of products from Spain. American restaurants include The Brixton and Post Office Cafe, while Italian options include Molto Vino and Ristorante Gemelli. Other notable options include Ninja Ramen & Poke Bowl, Doughology, and Mexican spot Mamey.