Islip is one of ten towns in Suffolk County, New York (USA). Located on the south shore of Long Island, the town population was 335,543 at the 2010 census. Within the Town of Islip is a smaller, unincorporated hamlet and census-designated place also named Islip.
Matthias Nicoll moved to New York from Islip, Northamptonshire, England, in 1664. His son, William Nicoll, became a royal patentee of the east end of what is now the Town of Islip, and his domain extended from East Islip to Bayport and embraced Sayville, West Sayville, Oakdale, Great River, Islip Terrace, Central Islip, Hauppauge, Holbrook, Bohemia, Brentwood, Holtsville and a portion of Ronkonkoma. All of this land was purchased from Winne-quaheagh, Sachem (chief) of Connetquot in 1683. The annual fee paid to Governor Thomas Dongan of New York was five bushels of good winter wheat or 25 shillings. Other early land patentees were Andrew Gibb (Islip Hamlet), John Mowbray (Bay Shore, originally Awixa), Stephan Van Cortlandt (Sagtikos Manor), and Thomas Willets (West Islip).
By 1710, the colonial government passed an act to enable the precinct of Islip in the County of Suffolk to elect two assessors, a collector, a constable and a supervisor. The people had a voice. Growth, however, remained at a standstill until the Revolutionary War ended when, in the 17 years that followed, there was more progress than in the 50 years proceeding. This activity was partly due to the impact of American shipping.
By 1825, it was necessary to install a Fire Island light across the Great South Bay and regular ferry service between Bay Shore and Fire Island began in 1862. In 1867[?] the Long Island Rail Road came to Islip and the first depot was built. People were discovering Islip and the tourist trade soon took hold.
Tourism brought much wealth into the area and business spung up to service the hotels that began to dot the landscape. Some of those tourists stayed on and built summer homes, thus the vacationers and the town seemed to enjoy a mutual prosperity. But the old guard was changing. Early in the 20th century, diesel-powered ferries replaced the whale boats while housing developments and small manufacturing firms sprang up on the sites of old farms. Like the rest of the country, Islip and all of Long Island suffered during the Stock Market Crash and the Great Depression. When the veterans returned home from World War II, there was a housing shortage in New York City, but a rebirth on Long Island. Within a decade following the end of the war, Islip began to turn from a bucolic farming community into a bustling suburb, becoming what was once described as a "bedroom" of New York City. The influx of people was tremendous - from 71,000 in 1950 to 280,000 in 1970. Then, as growth continued eastward on Long Island, the pace in Islip slowed.
In 1987, the City of New York found that it had filled its landfill capacity. The city agreed to ship its garbage to Morehead City, North Carolina, where there were plans to convert it into methane. On March 22, 1987, the tugboat Break of Day towed the barge Mobro 4000 and its cargo of over 3,100 tons of trash. While in transit, a rumor spread that the 16 bundles of trash that contained hospital gowns, syringes and diapers was a contaminant that affected the entire load. In consequence, the state of North Carolina refused to accept the waste. After an 11-day delay, the Mobro made way to its home port in Louisiana, but that state, too, declined the waste. Similarly, Alabama, three other states, and the nations of Mexico, Belize and the Bahamas refused the load before the operators abandoned the plan and returned to New York.
Lowell Harrelson, the owner of the garbage, tried to negotiate for the Mobro to dock near the Borough of Queens, whence the refuse would be carried back to Islip by trucks. Claire Shulman, the President of Queens, was not consulted, however; she obtained a temporary restraining order that forced the waste to stay at sea. The Mobro and its decaying cargo stayed off the shores of Brooklyn until July, when the vessel was granted a federal anchorage in New Jersey. The court hearings ran until October, when it was agreed that the cargo should be incinerated in Brooklyn. The 430 tons of ash that remained from this process was added to the landfill in Islip.
In response to the garbage barge incident, the town of Islip developed Keep Islip Clean, WRAP, and other environmentally friendly initiatives to help bolster the image of the town.