Long Island has more towns and villages than Hollywood has movie stars, and it can get a little confusing – even to those of us who are born and raised here. Long Island New York is comprised of two counties – Nassau County and Suffolk County, two cities – Long Beach and Glen Cove, numerous local towns, villages, hamlets, postal zones and designated places. In Nassau County we have three towns – Oyster Bay, Hempstead, North Hempstead, and two cities – Long Beach and Glen Cove. In Suffolk there are ten towns – Babylon, Brookhaven, East Hampton, Huntington, Islip, Riverhead, Smithtown, Shelter Island, Southampton and Southold as well as two Indian reservations – Poospatuck and Shinnecock. In addition, there are local hamlets and villages within these towns (be sure to check out the full breakdown below).
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County: A county is a municipal corporation, a subdivision of the state, created to perform state functions; a "regional government. All counties are divided into cities, towns and Indian reservations.
City: A city is a unique government entity with its own special charter. Cities are not sub-divided, except into neighborhoods which are informal geographic areas.
Town: A town is a municipal corporation and encompasses all territory within the state except that within cities or Indian reservations. Towns can be sub-divided into villages and hamlets.
Village: A village is a general purpose municipal corporation formed voluntarily by the residents of an area in one or more towns to provide themselves with municipal services. The pattern of village organization is similar to those of a city. A village is divided into neighborhoods, which are informal geographic areas.
Hamlet: A hamlet is an unincorporated area in one or more towns that is governed at-large by the town(s) it is in. A hamlet is divided into neighborhoods, which are informal geographic areas.
Postal Zone: A postal zone "City and "Town" is an administrative district established by the U.S. Postal Service to deliver the mail. Postal zone "City" and "Town" may or may not conform to municipal or community border. Thus, postal zone location does not always determine city, village or hamlet location.
Designated Place: A designated place is a term derived from the term "Census Designated Place" or CDP in censuses beginning with 1980. It replaced the designation (U) or unincorporated. A designated place is similar to that of a hamlet.