Governor Alfred E. Smith/Sunken Meadow State Park
1,266-acre beachfront park in Kings Park
There are four large parking lots for lots of visitors.
46 miles from Manhattan on Interstate 495 to the Northern terminus of the Sunken Meadow Parkway to Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park.
Its name refers to the low meadowland separating the narrow, sandy beach from the uplands.
The 1920s -- the park's original area (520 acres) acquired from George and Antoinette Lamb.
1930 -- the park opens. Started up by Robert Moses.
1992 -- the park renamed Governor Alfred E. Smith/ Sunken Meadow State Park to honor Smith's role in promoting Long Island's park system while governor of New York in the 1920's.
(Cynthia Blair, Newsday Names of Long Island; http://www.newsday.com/features/custom/names)
Here is one of the best sand beaches on the North Shore. Three miles of beach. Also here are glacier-formed bluffs and marshland, tidal flats and rolling woodlands.
Bicycling, hiking, picnicking, three, nine-hole golf courses (year-round) and a trail used for cross-country running competition. Spring golf tournament, radio-controlled model airplane exhibition, Magic Show, other childrens' shows (call for dates).
From the footbridge close to the southwest end of parking field 3, along the high bluffs to Old Dock Road, take the Greenbelt Trail east.
TBS Trip Report:
A fairly numerous and apparently thrifty colony of Vagnera stellata (smaller false solomon's seal) which is rare in the territory covered by the TBC, in my own observation and is listed as "rare and local" in Norman Taylor's catalogue of plants of that territory, occurs in Sunken Meadow State Park, of the Long Island State Park system, on the north shore of the island, near King's Park.
The station is interesting, not only because of the rarity of the plant, but because of the arid conditions. Both Britton and Gray speak of its habitat as in moist woods or other moist places, but this Long island occurrence is in wind blown sand, about ten feet above the highest storm tides on the beach just below it.
Back of the beach is a low, narrow ridge, partly a continuation of a moraine lobe of grave and sand, form a higher mass to the west, and partly wind blown sand to a depth of two or three feet on the top of the ridge.
Other plants are bayberry, beach plum, Solidago maritima, choke cherry, red cedar, post and white oaks, the oaks stunted and gnarled from their exposed position, bearing the brunt of west and north winds across long Island Sound.
The colony of Vagnera stellata, numbering perhaps fifty plants, of which most were in bloom on May 25, grew in loose, white sand, in which rainfall must quickly sink beneath the surface. It may be a survival form a richer soil underneath, since covered with sand. I have seen it in the Highlands of the Hudson, on moist banks in woods, with Vagnera racemosa, with which it seemed in a natural habitat, but its occurrence in this arid marine shore front locality on Long Island seemed abnormal.
Raymond H. Torrey p.114-115 1929