By the mid-nineteenth century, sand mining became a big industry in Port Washington. The area's sand, deposited here by the last glacier, was known as "Cow Bay Sand," and noted for its exceptionally fine qualities, and prized as an ingredient in concrete. When New York City skyscrapers began to soar on its skyline, many of them were made with the important addition of this local sand. So the next time you pass by the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, remember that the addition of sand from Port Washington is one of the reasons why they stand tall.
Today, Port Washington's waterfront is a lovely area to visit. There's much to see here, but a good place to start is the waterfront. Stroll down the town dock, sit in Sunset Park to listen to the free summer concerts, stop in one of the great restaurants here, or just enjoy the view of Manhasset Bay. If you're driving here, there's plenty of free parking at the Town Dock.