The Bronx is one of five boroughs in New York City and only one in the continent, while other boroughs are on the islands. Although the majority of the Bronx is a residential area, the Bronx also has a beach as well as an island famous for seafood and fishing. They are Orchard Beach and City Island, located at the northeastern end of the Bronx and on the border with Westchester County. Let’s discover the untypical parts of New York City and the Bronx on early summer that probably many tourists won’t imagine.
The location of Orchard Beach and City Island. North of Orchard Beach is Westchester County.
Orchard Beach is about 10 minutes away by bus from Pelham Bay Park Station, the last stop of 6 subway line. Orchard Beach is a part of Pelham Bay Park, managed by New York City. It’s one of 9 public beaches in New York City.
Orchard Beach is crescent shaped with 1.1 miles length (1.76 km). Swimming is prohibited on both sides of the beach because there is no lifeguard.
Orchard Beach is a man-made, created with the sands of other beaches in New York City and New Jersey in mid-1930’s.
The island across the beach is High Island, a private island owned by CBS radio and connected with City Island. The land visible on the left is Long Island near Port Washington. Orchard Beach faces to the narrow Long Island Sound, not the vast wide ocean.
Especially on the weekends, Orchard Beach is like a little Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic. Local Latino beach goers gather on a beach playground and dance with salsa or merengue. The beach is occupied with a lot of Latino flavors.
Though swimming is permitted in most parts of Orchard Beach, the beach isn’t really swimmable for adults. The water is low tide many times as seen in this photo , and high tide is rare. And it’s difficult to say the water is clean. The beach is good for sunbathing and relaxation for adults.
By the way, many people think the ocean around New York is cold current because New York is located in the north. It is actually warm current comes from Florida.
Now, you can see the island in the center connected with a bridge. That is City Island.
Bike paths are organized in Pelham Bay Park and cyclists can enjoy a comfortable ride. Can you believe this is still a part of New York City?
This is the entrance of City Island. City Island is a very small island with the population of 4,350. Only the main road is City Island Road runs on the center of the island, and each side of the island has only 1-3 blocks wide. Therefore, City Island Road is crowded with cars many times. The photo was taken on a weekday evening. The traffic is more congested on the weekends.
What City Island makes famous is seafood, especially lobster and shrimp. Soon after entering to City Island, you can see the restaurants with big signs on the right side (west side).
The atmosphere is more laid back after passing the row of seafood restaurants, and small local stores and pretty houses can be seen.
Then the island is busy again with several more seafood restaurants as getting closer to the end of the island. The difference with the another side is most of the restaurants near the terminal of City Island Road is dominated by Sammy’s with the different types.
1.5 miles (2.4 km) City Island Road is ended at Belden Point.
Johnny’s Reef Restaurant is a casual seafood restaurant, but what the restaurant makes different with others is the restaurant has seafront balcony.
Some seagulls stay calm on the water…
But the majority of the birds are craving for foods!
There is a different restaurant on another side and they feed seagulls, too. Obviously, the restaurants give food to the seagulls for attracting more customers, not for feeding the birds.
Watch the YouTube captured on the edge of City Island.
TO ORCHARD BEACH AND CITY ISLAND BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
- To Orchard Beach: Between Memorial Day Weekend (the last weekend of May) and Labor Day Weekend (the first weekend of September), there is a bus access from Pelham Bay Park Station of 6 subway line by Bx12 and Bx5 New York City Transit buses.
- To City Island: Bx29 bus goes to City Island from Pelham Bay Park Station year-round. The bus line frequently delays by the traffic in and near City Island. Also, BxM8 express bus goes directly to City Island from selected bus stops on Madison Avenue in Midtown Manhattan twice on the weekday evening. Express bus fare is $6.50 one-way, and no bill is accepted. Take Bx29 on returning and weekends.New York City Transit schedule and fare info: www.mta.info