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Lake Ronkonkoma, New York
—  CDP  —
U.S. Census Map
Lake Ronkonkoma, New York is located in New York
Lake Ronkonkoma, New York
Location within the state of New York
Coordinates: 40°49′47″N 73°6′47″W / 40.82972°N 73.11306°W / 40.82972; -73.11306
Country United States
State New York
County Suffolk
 - Total 4.9 sq mi (12.7 km2)
 - Land 4.9 sq mi (12.7 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 72 ft (22 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 19,701
 - Density 4,010.1/sq mi (1,548.3/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 11779
Area code(s) 631
FIPS code 36-40838
GNIS feature ID 0954936

Lake Ronkonkoma is a hamlet (and census-designated place) in Suffolk County, New York, United States. The population was 19,701 at the 2000 census.

Lake Ronkonkoma is located in the Town of Brookhaven, with portions in the Town of Islip and Town of Smithtown.



Lake Ronkonkoma is located at 40°49′47″N 73°6′47″W / 40.82972°N 73.11306°W / 40.82972; -73.11306 (40.829709, -73.113015)[1].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 4.9 square miles (12.7 km²), all land.


Lake Ronkonkoma
Location Suffolk County, New York
Coordinates 40°49′42″N 073°07′18″W / 40.82833°N 73.12167°W / 40.82833; -73.12167 (Lake Ronkonkoma (lake))
Primary inflows groundwater
Primary outflows underground
Basin countries United States
Max. depth 100 ft (30 m)
Surface elevation 52 ft (16 m)

The actual lake, Lake Ronkonkoma, adjacent to the hamlet, is the largest lake on Long Island. The land surrounding the lake itself is in the jurisdiction by three different towns - Islip, Brookhaven and Smithtown. When the Native Americans sold their land around the lake, they wanted to make sure that no one had sole control of the land surrounding the lake. The elevation of the lake surface is given as 55 feet (17 m) on the most recent USGS map, but as the lake is a "groundwater lake," not fed by streams, it has no surface outlet and its water surface reflects the current level of the local water table. This can undergo significant changes over time and the lake level experiences slow periods of rise and fall. In the late 1960s it was quite low; after several intermediate changes in level, in 2007 the lake was higher than at any time since, with a difference of well over five feet between the 1960s low and the 2007 high.

As a result of the lake's existence, Lake Ronkonkoma was once a resort town, until the area experienced a population explosion in the mid-1900s. Remnants of old resorts and hotels can still be seen around the lake's shores. Many summer cottages and bungalows from that period remain, now converted to year-round use.

The lake is the subject of a number of urban legends, mainly rooted in the area's rich Native American heritage. For example: 1. It's bottomless (and/or empties into the Long Island Sound or other waterways). In fact, the lake is relatively deep (approx. 100 feet) at its southeastern side, and is what's known as a kettle hole lake; 2. Every year the lake sacrifices someone. Specifically, "The Lady of the Lake" calls young men out to the middle of the lake and drowns them. In all versions, the lady is an Indian princess who herself drowned in the lake, for reasons that vary depending on the story. 3. There is a mysterious rise and fall of the lake that doesn't have any noticeable relationship to local rainfall totals. This has not been sufficiently explained either way.

The most popular story is that every year two lovers from somewhere in the area are killed by the Native American princess. Usually it is in an automobile accident because of the angry spirit.

The Native Americans in Suffolk County, as opposed to Nassau County (then a part of Queens County) got along well with the white English. In the Dutch west end of the Island there was bitter fighting between the Native Americans and the Dutch.

There is some kernel of truth in the story. The lake was considered the most sacred lake by the Indians and it was also the meeting point. The tribes controlled different parts of it. One thing is certain, the Native American princess could not have lived in what is now Ronkonkoma; a major point of the story is that the princess and her lover ran off from their own settlement to the lake. In addition the Indians did not live anywhere near the lake. They lived near the coasts of the Island.

Lake Ronkonkoma in popular culture

  • The Brookhaven Town Beach and Park on the eastern side of Lake Ronkonkoma in Brookhaven Town has been renamed in honor of Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy. LT Murphy who is the posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor presented to his parents, Daniel and Maureen, on October 22, 2007 by President George W. Bush. LT Murphy is the first sailor since Vietnam more than 35 years ago to receive the Medal of Honor and the only recipient for actions in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. The park that bears his name is now known as Navy SEAL LT Michael P. Murphy Memorial Park. It is a fitting tribute since LT Murphy was head Lifeguard and Beach Manager of this park and beach during high school and summer recess from college. Navy SEAL Lt. Murphy is buried at Calverton National Cemetery on Long Island NY.:----/
  • Ronkonkoma is referenced in two songs by singer/songwriter Mike Doughty: "Busting Up a Starbucks" and "Like a Luminous Girl."
  • Ronkonkoma was referenced by Artie Lange during the March 3rd, 2009 taping of the Late Show with David Letterman. The comic recounted a story of sitting in front of a fan at Yankees games who repeatedly cheers on Derek Jeter by shouting, "Do it for Ronkonkoma!"
  • In the American television series from the 1970s, All In The Family, the character Edith Bunker reminisced about a weekend she spent at the Lake with a boy she was dating, and his parents. The boy grew up to be a hot tar watcher.
  • Two characters in the movie 200 Cigarettes are visiting New York City from Ronkonoma. (per IMDb, while the two girls from Lake Ronkonkoma say they need to catch the last train, and the trains run 24/7, they are using that as an exit line.)

Notable residents and natives


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 19,701 people, 6,700 households, and 5,011 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 4,093.1 per square mile (1,649.2/km²). There were 6,949 housing units at an average density of 1,814.4/sq mi (646.4/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 89.4% White, 1.4% African American, 0.15% Native American, 2.41% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 1.3% from other races, and 1.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.9% of the population.

There were 6,700 households out of which 35.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.8% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.2% were non-families. 20.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.32.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.3 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $60,209, and the median income for a family was $67,375. Males had a median income of $50,715 versus $34,301 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $23,233. About 3.1% of families and 6.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.8% of those under age 18 and 17.0% of those age 65 or over.


  1. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  

External links



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