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Dark Site Around NYC

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#1 khachik

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 09:02 PM

The title itself is controversial, but I'm looking for some advice from people local to NYC and the vicinity - any places that are 1-1.5h drive from NYC, have night time access and more or less dark skies?

#2 bdyer22

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 09:57 PM

Sorry, I'm not local to NYC, but LP is everywhere. Might I suggest an alternative to driving to remote dark sites?  Electronically Assisted Astronomy (EAA).  You might be surprised what can be done from even white zones like NYC.

 

Good luck with your search!

 

https://www.cloudyni...sted-astronomy/



#3 rustynpp

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 10:02 PM

Ugh, it's pretty bleak out there, isn't it? I observe in Montauk, which is surprisingly dark but much farther than you're looking to go.

 

Check out this light pollution map. It says Califon, NJ is Bortle 4, and it's a little over an hour away from Manhattan. Never been, just looking at the map.

 

You could also reach out to someone at the AAA of NYC and ask them where they go for darker skies. https://www.aaa.org/


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#4 Tony Flanders

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 05:00 AM

Where do you live in New York? It's a solid 1-hour drive from one edge of the city to the other when there's zero traffic, so what's a 1-hour drive from (say) Riverdale, Tottenville, and Rockaway are three very different things.

From Manhattan or the Bronx, your best bet is to follow the hills/mountains due north. Ward Pound in Westchester is supposed to be good, and Clarence Fahnestock in Putnam County is presumably better.

There are a number of good sites in the Catskills, but that's presumably out of your 1.5-hour range.

 

From Queens, best to head toward Jones Beach or Fire Island.


Edited by Tony Flanders, 19 June 2019 - 05:03 AM.

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#5 khachik

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 08:14 PM

I'm visiting for a week, and I have a telescope in my trunk that hasn't seen light yet:)
My question is more about places that are "convenient". E.g. a state park that is open overnight and have some openings or a parking lot. I'm not looking for a super dark site. For the location - I'm in Queens but if it is 1-1.5h from Bronx or Newport it is still ok. And thanks everyone for your comments!

#6 Augustus

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 08:42 PM

Sorry, I'm not local to NYC, but LP is everywhere. Might I suggest an alternative to driving to remote dark sites?  Electronically Assisted Astronomy (EAA).  You might be surprised what can be done from even white zones like NYC.

 

Good luck with your search!

 

https://www.cloudyni...sted-astronomy/

Look, I don't hate EAA, but it would be nice if every EAAer didn't automatically suggest it without contributing anything else to the discussion in topics like this. Not everyone wants to do it. It'd be like me suggesting to OP to get a bigger scope, or get into astro-imaging. He's asking for dark skies, not an alternative to them.

 

Where do you live in New York? It's a solid 1-hour drive from one edge of the city to the other when there's zero traffic, so what's a 1-hour drive from (say) Riverdale, Tottenville, and Rockaway are three very different things.

From Manhattan or the Bronx, your best bet is to follow the hills/mountains due north. Ward Pound in Westchester is supposed to be good, and Clarence Fahnestock in Putnam County is presumably better.

There are a number of good sites in the Catskills, but that's presumably out of your 1.5-hour range.

 

From Queens, best to head toward Jones Beach or Fire Island.

Ward is pretty good. Definitely recommended.


Edited by Augustus, 19 June 2019 - 08:42 PM.

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#7 tpaairman

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 02:09 AM

The light pollution map posted above is a good resource.  This is anotherhttps://darksitefind...#4/35.57/-109.4

 

I don't think at 1 1/2 hours away you are going to find great viewing, but It will be a lot better than in the city.



#8 bdyer22

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 08:46 AM

Look, I don't hate EAA, but it would be nice if every EAAer didn't automatically suggest it without contributing anything else to the discussion in topics like this. Not everyone wants to do it. It'd be like me suggesting to OP to get a bigger scope, or get into astro-imaging. He's asking for dark skies, not an alternative to them.

I get it and I don't often do this.  I would prefer clear dark skies, a big scope, and good eyepieces too.  :)

 

Not trying to dissuade people from what we all like to do or their preferred way of doing it.  The OP has 8 posts so, just letting them know there are options to long drives.



#9 sink45ny

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 08:56 AM

I live in the NY metro area and Tony Flanders advice is best. From Queens head east onto long island, the further the better.   If you want to travel 2-2.5 hours north or west you have many more options and you are less likely to be disturbed.


Edited by sink45ny, 20 June 2019 - 08:58 AM.


#10 khachik

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 09:33 AM

Thanks everyone for suggestions!

For EAA - yeah, it is definitely worth considering in general (I also live under high light pollution), but for now it is not an option.

As for the sites - apparently it is not as simple as it was supposed to be :D

Distance-wise Ward Pound is a very good option, the only potential problem with is that they have "strict" hours and for entering/staying after sunset I will need a camping permit which I can only get by sending a paper application along with a cheque or money order. "You need a permit to make sure the ranger is not going to through you out" that is what I was told over phone, which is only partially a joke I guess :D

For Long Island beaches - Fire Island is only accessible by ferry, not sure if that is going to work for night time. Still trying to find out about Jones Beach.


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#11 Augustus

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 09:57 AM

Thanks everyone for suggestions!
For EAA - yeah, it is definitely worth considering in general (I also live under high light pollution), but for now it is not an option.
As for the sites - apparently it is not as simple as it was supposed to be :D
Distance-wise Ward Pound is a very good option, the only potential problem with is that they have "strict" hours and for entering/staying after sunset I will need a camping permit which I can only get by sending a paper application along with a cheque or money order. "You need a permit to make sure the ranger is not going to through you out" that is what I was told over phone, which is only partially a joke I guess :D
For Long Island beaches - Fire Island is only accessible by ferry, not sure if that is going to work for night time. Still trying to find out about Jones Beach.


Join the westchester amateur astronomers - membership is 20 bucks a year and you can go to Ward whenever you want.

#12 rustynpp

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 09:57 AM

From Queens, Hither Hills is a long, but doable, drive - could make it in 2 hours if there's no traffic. That's definitely your best bet for darkness. But again, you may need a permit to stay past sunset.

 

https://parks.ny.gov/parks/122/

 

There's a county park a bit closer to town that is open all night, or at least doesn't have a gate. Unfortunately it's a bit exposed to the mild light pollution coming from town, but there's a nice, wide-open field that should give a good view of the very dark Southern sky.

 

https://goo.gl/maps/DuaHzovt2cT6ZBEq6



#13 Boom

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 11:15 AM

The AAA holds monthly observations at Floyd Bennett Field park in south Brooklyn.  It is an old abandoned air field and the immediate surrounding area is dark.  Being in Brooklyn you are still going to be somewhat affected by the Manhattan sky glow to the NW, but at least you're looking over the Atlantic facing South.  

 

The AAA used to setup at the RC airplane field after the modelers go home after dark, but they've moved to the public gardens area. 



#14 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 12:00 PM

 

For Long Island beaches - Fire Island is only accessible by ferry, not sure if that is going to work for night time. Still trying to find out about Jones Beach.

You might want to contact the ASLI about observing on Long Island.

 

http://asliclub.org/..._ASLI_Home.html



#15 sink45ny

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 12:15 PM

Robert Moses State park - https://parks.ny.gov.../7/details.aspx

 

Robert Moses State Park is an ocean beachfront facility that attracts nearly 3.8 million visitors annually and boasts a shoreline of nearly five miles. As the most western point of Fire Island, the park is conveniently located at the southern end of the Robert Moses Causeway and is easily accessible by car or from the Babylon train station with a bus connection.

 

Phone: (631) 669-0449

 

Star Gazing Permit
NYS Driver's License $35
Out of State Driver's License $60


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#16 khachik

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 04:15 PM

Some updates: apparently the easiest thing to do was to get a membership of WAA (https://westchesterastronomers.org), call the park and let them know about the date for of observing overnight.

Because I just got the membership all I have is a Paypal transaction confirming the payment, not sure how that is going to work out :p Will post here how it went.

 

Thanks again everyone for your suggestions!


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