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Just east of New York City, Long Island unfurls for 125 miles of lush farmland and broad sandy beaches, and is most often explored as an excursion from the metropolis. Its western end abuts the urban boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens but further east the settlements begin to thin out and the countryside gets surprisingly wild. The north and south shores differ greatly – the former is more immediately beautiful, its cliffs topped with luxurious mansions and estates, while the latter is fringed by almost continuous sand, interspersed with vacation spots such as Jones Beach and Fire Island. At its far end, Long Island splits in two, the North Fork retaining a marked rural aspect while the South Fork includes the Hamptons, an enclave of New York’s richest and most famous.