The pier is located in the unique environs of Hempstead Town’s Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve in Merrick, an environmentally friendly wildlife sanctuary spread over 55 acres on the South Shore’s Merrick Bay. Dedicated to the memory of the late New York State Senator and former Merrick resident, Norman J. Levy, the park was opened to the public in 2000. The site was a landfill that was converted into a preserve at a cost of 15 million dollars, which was far less than the 57 million dollar capping and closure plan originally required of the town by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The innovative concept included the construction of a 500-foot fishing pier, one of the longest on Long Island, stretching out into Merrick Bay, where flounder, fluke, snappers, cocktail blues, striped bass, weakfish and blue claw crabs can be found during various parts of the season. According to a park ranger I spoke to, water depth at the end of the pier is approximately 10 feet at high tide, but there is a deeper hole within casting distance of the pier. Fishing on the pier is limited to regular park hours (see sidebar) which vary depending on the time of year. There is no nighttime access at any point during the season, and the prime sunrise hours are also out since the park opens at 7 a.m. throughout the year. This does limit opportunities for catching species like stripers and weakfish, but catching them during the day is not out of the question. The pier is fully handicapped accessible.
There is a catch to accessing the pier. It is located 3/4 of a mile or more from the parking lot, but there is a free shuttle that will take you and your gear from the lot to the pier. It runs continually from when the park opens to one hour prior to closing. The park also includes a kayak launch site into Meadow Brook, which provides kayak anglers with access to the sheltered confines of Merrick Bay. A word of caution if you do bring your own kayak. Launching access is limited to three hours on either side of high tide according to park rangers. Kayak rentals are available but only as part of a guided tour.
Located alongside the Meadowbrook Parkway, the park is easy to get to. From Meadowbrook Parkway use Merrick Road M9 east exit. Enter the Department of Sanitation entrance on right. Follow signs to Levy Park and Preserve Parking Lot. For more information or to speak with a park ranger, call 516-804-2000.
|HOURS OF OPERATION|
|January/February: 7 AM-4:30 PM
March: 7 AM-5:30 PM
April: 7 AM-6:30 PM
May-August: 7 AM-7:30 PM
September: 7 AM-6:30 PM
October: 7 AM-5:30 PM
November/December: 7 AM-4:30 PMPreserve is subject to unscheduled closure during times of inclement weather.CLOSED: Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Thanksgiving Day.January/February: 7 AM-4:30 PM