Long Island and New York City seem intrinsically linked, with many Long Island residents commuting into the city for work each day. But the island itself stretches nearly 120 miles east from the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. So just how far away is Long Island from the Big Apple? The distance varies depending on where you measure from.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Long Island is approximately 10-30 miles from New York City depending on the location. Brooklyn and Queens directly border Long Island, while distances stretch to 30 miles from Manhattan to the far eastern end of the island.

Brooklyn and Queens Border Long Island

Long Island, a popular destination for both residents and tourists, is bordered by the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. This geographical location makes it easily accessible to those living in New York City.

Long Island Begins at the East River

Long Island begins at the East River, separating it from the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. This river acts as a natural boundary, creating a clear distinction between the urban landscape of the city and the more suburban feel of the island.

The East River, with its iconic bridges and stunning views, serves as a beautiful entryway to Long Island.

Bridges and Tunnels Connect Long Island to the Boroughs

Long Island is conveniently connected to the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens through a network of bridges and tunnels. The most well-known bridge is the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which spans the Narrows and connects Staten Island to Brooklyn.

This bridge provides a direct route to the southern tip of Brooklyn, allowing easy access to Long Island.

Another important connection point is the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, which connects Manhattan to Queens. This tunnel serves as a gateway to eastern Long Island, offering a convenient route for commuters and travelers alike.

In addition to these major connections, there are several other bridges and tunnels that provide access to Long Island from different parts of the city. These include the Throgs Neck Bridge, the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, and the Cross Island Parkway.

Distance from Manhattan Ranges from 10 to 30 Miles

The distance between Long Island and New York City varies depending on the location within Long Island. The closest point on Long Island to Manhattan is at the western tip, where the distance is approximately 10 miles. This area includes neighborhoods such as Long Island City and Astoria in Queens.

As you move further east, the distance from Manhattan increases. The central part of Long Island, including areas like Hempstead and Mineola, is around 20 miles away from Manhattan. Finally, the easternmost part of Long Island, which includes towns like Montauk, is approximately 30 miles from Manhattan.

Western Tip of Long Island is Closest

If you’re looking for the shortest distance between Long Island and New York City, the western tip is your best bet. With a distance of around 10 miles, it offers convenient access to Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs.

This proximity makes it a popular choice for commuters and those looking for a quick getaway from the city.

The western tip of Long Island is home to vibrant neighborhoods, diverse cuisines, and iconic landmarks such as the Queensboro Bridge and Gantry Plaza State Park. Whether you’re looking to explore the cultural scene, enjoy waterfront views, or simply unwind, this area offers a great blend of city and suburban living.

The Island Spans Nearly 120 Miles East

While the western tip of Long Island is closest to Manhattan, it’s worth noting that Long Island itself spans a significant distance eastward. From the western tip to the easternmost point in Montauk, Long Island covers nearly 120 miles.

This means that there is a wide range of communities, landscapes, and attractions to explore along the way.

As you venture eastward, you’ll encounter charming towns, beautiful beaches, and picturesque vineyards. The Hamptons, located on the South Fork of Long Island, are renowned for their upscale lifestyle, stunning beaches, and celebrity sightings.

On the North Fork, you’ll find scenic wineries, farm-to-table dining, and quaint villages.

Whether you’re looking for a day trip from Manhattan or planning a longer getaway, Long Island’s diverse offerings and varying distances from the city make it an exciting destination to explore.

Driving Times from NYC to Long Island Destinations

Reaching Brooklyn and Queens is Fastest

For those looking to venture from New York City to Long Island, the driving times can vary depending on the destination. When it comes to reaching Brooklyn and Queens, the good news is that the driving time is relatively quick.

On average, it takes about 30-45 minutes to drive from Manhattan to Brooklyn or Queens, depending on traffic conditions and the specific neighborhood you are heading to. This makes it convenient for New Yorkers who want to explore the vibrant neighborhoods of Brooklyn or enjoy the diverse food scene in Queens.

Brooklyn, known for its trendy neighborhoods like Williamsburg and DUMBO, offers a plethora of attractions and activities. From artisanal cafes and boutiques to iconic landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge, there’s something for everyone.

Queens, on the other hand, is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, with neighborhoods like Flushing and Astoria offering a wide array of international dining options.

Further Destinations Take Over an Hour

If you’re looking to venture further into Long Island, be prepared for longer driving times. Destinations like the Hamptons or Montauk, located on the eastern end of Long Island, can take over an hour or more to reach from New York City, depending on traffic conditions and the time of year.

During the peak summer season, when many New Yorkers flock to the beaches and resorts of the Hamptons, the travel time can be longer due to increased traffic.

However, the scenic drive along the Long Island Expressway (LIE) or the Montauk Highway offers breathtaking views of picturesque landscapes, charming towns, and stunning beaches. The Hamptons, known for its luxurious estates and celebrity sightings, is a popular summer destination for those seeking a beach getaway.

Montauk, on the other hand, is a laid-back coastal town known for its surfing spots and stunning lighthouse.

It’s worth noting that driving times can vary depending on the time of day and the day of the week. Rush hour traffic in and out of New York City can significantly impact travel times. Planning your trip accordingly and using traffic monitoring apps or websites can help you navigate the roads more efficiently.

Pro tip: Consider taking public transportation if you prefer to avoid driving or if you’re planning to visit popular tourist destinations in Long Island. The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) offers convenient train service from New York City to various destinations in Long Island.

Long Island Railroad Links to New York City

Rail System Runs East from Penn Station

The Long Island Railroad (LIRR) is a vital transportation link connecting Long Island to New York City. The rail system runs east from Penn Station, located in the heart of Manhattan. With its extensive network of tracks and stations, the LIRR provides a convenient and efficient mode of transportation for commuters and travelers alike.

The LIRR offers multiple lines that serve different parts of Long Island, including destinations such as Jamaica, Hicksville, and Ronkonkoma. These lines provide frequent service throughout the day, allowing commuters to easily travel to and from New York City for work or leisure.

The distance between Penn Station and various destinations on Long Island can vary, but on average, the journey takes approximately 40-60 minutes. For example, traveling from Penn Station to Ronkonkoma, which is located towards the eastern end of Long Island, typically takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes.

The LIRR is known for its reliable and punctual service, making it a popular choice for daily commuters who rely on this transportation option to get to work in the city. With comfortable seating, onboard amenities, and frequent departures, the LIRR ensures a pleasant and hassle-free journey for its passengers.

Commuter Culture Developed Around LIRR

The Long Island Railroad has played a significant role in shaping the commuter culture on Long Island. Over the years, many towns and communities have developed around LIRR stations, catering to the needs of commuters traveling to and from New York City.

These communities offer a wide range of amenities, including shopping centers, restaurants, and entertainment venues, providing convenience and entertainment for both residents and visitors. The proximity to the LIRR stations has made these areas highly desirable for individuals who work in the city but prefer to live in the suburban environment of Long Island.

Furthermore, the LIRR has contributed to the growth and development of businesses along its route. Many companies have chosen to establish their offices or headquarters near LIRR stations, taking advantage of the accessibility and convenience the rail system offers.

This has led to job opportunities for local residents and boosted economic growth in these areas.

Proximity Shapes Long Island’s Character

Long Island, located just east of New York City, is shaped by its close proximity to the bustling metropolis. The island’s relationship with the city has had a profound impact on its culture, economy, and way of life.

Many Residents Commute to New York City Jobs

One of the defining features of Long Island is the large number of residents who commute to jobs in New York City. The island’s convenient location allows for a relatively easy commute, with many residents taking advantage of the efficient public transportation system.

This daily influx of workers has created a vibrant and diverse workforce, contributing to the economic growth of both Long Island and New York City.

According to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, over 200,000 Long Island residents commute to jobs in New York City every day. This represents a significant portion of the island’s population and highlights the strong connection between the two regions.

Long Island Has an Urban-Suburban Mix

Despite its proximity to New York City, Long Island maintains a unique blend of urban and suburban characteristics. While there are densely populated areas and bustling city centers, there are also quiet suburban neighborhoods and open green spaces.

This diversity of landscapes and lifestyles attracts a wide range of residents, from young professionals seeking career opportunities to families looking for a peaceful suburban environment.

Long Island’s urban-suburban mix is also reflected in its cultural offerings. The island boasts a vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and music venues. At the same time, it is home to beautiful beaches, nature preserves, and parks, providing ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation.

Long Island’s unique blend of urban and suburban elements has made it an attractive place to live, work, and visit. It offers the best of both worlds, allowing residents to enjoy the conveniences and opportunities of a major city while also providing a more relaxed and peaceful lifestyle.


Despite feeling worlds apart, Long Island begins just over 20 miles from the heart of Manhattan. Even at its most eastern point, the island remains part of New York City’s urban sphere of influence. Easy transit links unite these two icons of American geography and culture.

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