The waters of Manhasset Bay have long been an incubator for innovation and prosperity. While early baymen sought their livelihood through clam digging and fishing, a new industry by way of sand mining forever changed the bucolic hilltops that overlooked the bay. While the sand mining industry brought prosperity and notoriety, the industry's use of heavy machinery and hydraulic pumps leveled the peninsula, once known for its lush grazing pastures. During the early 1900s, areas such as Port Washington, Manhasset, and Great Neck flourished into commuter, suburban towns. Shifting from a farming to a suburban community, homes began to develop along Manhasset Bay. Urbanization brought new housing and businesses such as hotels and lavish restaurants. As an epicenter for aviation, the bay launched historic flights through a then-fledgling Pan American Airway Corporation on Manhasset Isle. Elite yacht clubs and grand estates dotted the shoreline, all catering to a growing population looking to the bay for its leisure and livelihood. The once-tranquil waters are now a hub for city vacationers, bustling commuters, and entrepreneurs.
Vanessa Nastro is an archivist and special collections librarian at the Port Washington Public Library. Nastro holds a master's degree in library and information science from Queens College with a certificate in archives and preservation of cultural materials. Her previous work involving photographic collections include the Aperture Foundation, Phillips Auctioneers, and Adelphi University. She is a committee member for the Preservation of Local History for the Long Island Libraries Resource Council.