The area is called "Long Wharf" because there was once a wharf here that projected out of the juncture of Water St. and Union Ave. that continued to grow into New Haven Harbor until it finally reached a length of 3/4ths of a mile, making it the longest wharf in the country. Along it stood the Customs House, warehouses and other businesses. It was destroyed in the late 1940s-early 1950s when the harbor was partially filled in to construct Interstate Highways 91 and 95, dramatically moving the waterfront and creating this district.
The Long Wharf area contains several notable features and buildings, including the Long Wharf Theatre, Gateway Community College, the Long Wharf Maritime Center, Sargent (a New Haven firm with a history going back to 1810, now a division of Assa Abloy), the headquarters of the New Haven Register, as well as New Haven's Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park which stretches for seventeen acres (69,000 m²) directly along the harborfront. Long Wharf is also the home port of a life-size replica of the historical Amistad slaveship.