New York’s City Island and Orchard Beach

After writing about various islands you can visit when you’re passing through New York – Governor’s Island , Randall’s Island and Roosevelt Island – I’m following it up with another (new for us) island we visited during our last visit – City Island in the Bronx.

City Island is easily reached by NY public transport. The subway lines go up to Pelham Bay Park, and from there you can take connecting bust to reach the island.

As you reach the City Island via bridge, the sign proudly declares ‘Settled in 1685’.

The island is surrounded by the waters of the Long Island Sound and Eastchester Bay. It was an important area for shipping and navigation, as evidenced by two important lighthouses: Execution Light to the northeast and Stepping Stones Lighthouse to the south.

The island is only 1.5 miles/2.4 km long and 0.5 miles/0.80 km wide. It boasts a little more that 4,000 residents.

Today, its main claim to fame appears to be the plethora of seafood restaurants along its Main street. You can go from more pricey and elegant, to your simple seafood fry at picnic table overlooking the bay. We opted for the latter and enjoyed the clams, shrimp and fish with views of the water and seagulls shrieking overhead.

Eating on City Island, NY/Kimberly Sullivan

For the actual swimming, we didn’t find any public access, and decided to go off the island to visit Orchard Brach – a long crescent of beach that forms part of Pelham Bay Park.

Facetiously billing itself The Cote d’ Azur of “da Bronx”, this is a colorful beach that stays hopping all summer. Come ready to hear music blaring from competing boom boxes – it’s part of the experience.

As with all NY beaches, there are lifeguards on duty and bathrooms and showers. I definitely prefer Queens Rockaway Beach, where you can find quieter stretches, but this is worth a visit, too, and perfectly paired with a trip to City Island.

Enjoy your day out eating seafood at City Island and cooling off at Orchard Beach.

City Island, NY/Kimberly Sullivan

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