Morning By The Lighthouse | Orient Point, New York

© Sophie W. Smith

Joined October 2012

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Artist's Description

Orient is the eastern-most town on Long Island’s picturesque North Fork. It was originally named Poquatuck, after the name of the local Native American tribe that resided along the inland waterways, then named Oyster Ponds because of the nearby oyster beds.

Orient and East Marion were originally called Oysterponds because of the abundance of shellfish in the area. What is now Orient was known as Lower Neck, while East Marion was called Upper Neck. The communities separated in 1836 and East Marion was named for Revolutionary War Gen. Francis Marion, known as the Swamp Fox. “East” was tacked onto Marion because of an existing Marion upstate.

The name Orient was chosen to reflect that area’s easternmost position on the North Fork. A later legend has it that when Oyster Bay, New York became famous during the presidency of Teddy Roosevelt, the name was changed to Orient to match the name of its most prominent land feature, Orient Point.

Orient’s winter population swells to well over 1000 in the summer months. Other than a post office, a gas station, a country store, and a few seasonal tourist stands, there is no center of commerce, hence its residents depend on nearby Greenport for every-day necessities. Many make a living at the US Government’s Department of Agriculture lab on nearby Plum Island, a 5-minute boat ride from Orient Point across Plum Gut, or at businesses further west. Truck farming and commercial fishing industry remain as well. Definitely New England in style and flavor, the hamlet of Orient has homes built over the last three centuries. Locals joke that a “new house” is anything built since World War II. Read more

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