Heckscher State Park is a 1,657-acre (6.71 km2) state park on the shore of the Great South Bay at East Islip in Suffolk County, New York, USA.
The park includes 1,469 acres (5.94 km2) that was once the 19th-century estates of George C. Taylor and J. Neal Plum. Islip’s founder, William Nicoll, originally built his estate on this property. Despite opposition from wealthy local residents, the parkland was purchased by New York State with the aid of a donation from August Heckscher, under guidance from urban planner Robert Moses and with the backing of Governor Alfred E. Smith.
Beginning in 1972 and continuing until 2008, the New York Philharmonic played at Heckscher State Park as part of its free “Concerts in the Parks” series. The annual event was held on summer evenings in an open field near the campground and was open to the public. In 2009, the New York Philharmonic chose to cancel the event for the summer of that year due to financial constraints. After consideration to keep the tradition, the Long Island Philharmonic volunteered to perform. Ultimately, the Long Island Philharmonic was forced to cancel their plans as well, as a deadlock in the state senate prevented funds from being allocated to the event. The following year, the New York Philharmonic again chose not to perform. This time, however, the Long Island Philharmonic was able to put on a successful performance. The new generation of concerts commenced with a theme of American composers, including George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, John Philip Sousa, John Williams, and Billy Joel. Read more