Exploring Long Island's Sea Cliff Neighborhood

Victorian home in Sea Cliff, NY
Steve Eichner / Getty Images

Sea Cliff is a lovely village on the North Shore of Nassau County and part of the town of Oyster Bay. Unlike much of Long Island's flat expanses, the village is situated on a cliff, with meandering streets overlooking Hempstead Harbor and Long Island Sound.

With many traditional Victorian houses still standing, antique shops, and dramatic views of the beach, Sea Cliff offers the atmosphere of a residential beach village, yet is still within commuting distance of New York City.


  • Train: The Long Island Railroad's Sea Cliff Station is located at Sea Cliff Avenue, east of Glen Cove Avenue. Commuting to New York City's Penn Station takes about one hour.
  • Bus: The MTA's N21 bus runs to the village.
  • Driving: The Long Island Expressway, the Northern State Parkway, and Route 25A are all close to the village.


The Native Americans originally referred to this area as Muskeeta Cove, which means "cove of grassy flats." In the 1600s, Englishman Joseph Carpenter purchased the land from Native Americans.

In the 1870s, the land was used as a religious retreat, reached by a cable car to the top of the cliff. German Methodists from New York city came here to worship in the summer, and some built Victorian mansions that still exist today.

In 1993, Sea Cliff became an incorporated village, the fourth oldest on Long Island.

Famous Residents

  • William Cullen Bryant—poet and journalist
  • Natalie Portman—actor
  • Robert Olen Butler—Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist


  • Il Villaggio Pizzeria Restaurant (227 Sea Cliff Avenue)—Features pizza and other Italian favorites.
  • Arata's Deli (303 Sea Cliff Avenue)—Offers salads and sandwiches to go. Stop here before going to the beach, and then enjoy a meal on the shore.


  • Dreams East (359 Sea Cliff Avenue) is your one-stop shopping for products ranging from futons and pillows to aromatic oils, crystals, and jewelry. Sophia, the friendly calico cat, will personally greet you as you walk through the front door.

Activities and Attractions

  • Sea Cliff boasts two small, sandy beaches. Sea Cliff Municipal Beach on the Boulevard has its own boardwalk. Harry Tappen Beach on Shore Road features a picnic area and a playground with swings.
  • Sea Cliff Village Museum (95 10th Avenue) chronicles the history of the village through photos from Sea Cliff's early days, a scale model of a Victorian house, and changing exhibits.
  • Memorial Park (a.k.a. "Hippie Park") is a grassy area perched on a bluff, with spectacular views of Long Island Sound.
  • The members-only Sea Cliff Yacht Club (42 The Boulevard) features a clubhouse, restaurant, bars, and swimming pools. Boat racks are provided for members.

Annual Events

  • Every year, on the first Sunday in October, the village hosts its Sea Cliff Mini Mart on Sea Cliff Avenue between Carpenter and Prospect Streets. The street fair features about 200 vendors, with food, handmade crafts, and artwork for sale.
  • The Annual Holiday House Tour, the first Saturday of each December, features walks through some of Sea Cliff's lovely Victorian houses. Tickets are available at Sherlock Homes Realty (305 Sea Cliff Avenue).
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