Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pelham Bay Park

Years ago, I read some information about Pelham Bay Park that has stuck with me. The article or guidebook described the park as the southernmost example of a rocky New England shoreline. It was one of those things that I had not really thought about, yet it seemed so obvious, and so amazing at the same time. The rocky shoreline does continue to Throggs Neck and the East River, but most of it is no longer in its natural state. South of New York Harbor, it is sandy beaches and barrier islands, with the Chesapeake and Delaware bays consisting of mostly mud. Starting in Novia Scotia and extending through New England, this is the end of the line for the classic rocky coast. Pelham Bay Park covers 2,766 acres in the Northeast Bronx, and includes golf courses, horse stables,a museum, and a police firing range. My visit in October however, was focused on Twin Island Preserve and Hunter Island Preserve, which form the peninsula that extends northeast from Orchard Beach. I entered Twin Island Preserve at the far end of the promenade that wraps around the beach. After a short distance along the main trail, I came to several paths that lead to the shoreline. The exposed bedrock and glacial erratics were bright from the sun. Davids Island and Pea Island sat in the distance, while a lone barge made its way down the Sound. I passed a few fishermen as I made my way along, eventually reaching the ruins of an old tide mill. All that remains is a dam with a sluice, and two ebb tides a day. I entered Hunter Island Preserve after crossing through a picnic area that is adjacent to the beach. This area was much more wooded and seemed less traveled (it is also a larger area). I arrived at a spot where Glen Island and the New York Athletic Club were just a short distance across the channel. The Iona College crew team glided by as their coach barked orders from a boat that trailed behind them. The newly built high-rises in New Rochelle stood in the distance. Eventually, I reached a forested area that contained a stand of very large trees. I am certainly no expert on trees, but these were of considerable size, and appeared to be quite old. I began to wonder where the oldest native trees were in NYC. Inwood Hill? Riverdale? Brooklyn? Were any of the trees here around in colonial times? The trail began to lead west and work its way back. There was less shore access along this stretch, but there were still random views of a protected cove, and the lagoon used for the 1964 Olympic Rowing trials. The top floors of a few Co-op City buildings appeared on the horizon, reminding me that I was in the Bronx, and it was 2008. Pelham Bay Park: WebAlbum Soundbounder: Orchard Beach Lagoon Map

8 comments:

Marie Louise said...

I absolutely love your blog. Your photos are beautiful - you should upload them in a larger size!

Kallen305 said...

I love the photos. The water looks so calm and relaxing and I love how blue it is.

Bill and Lauren said...

Great pictures. And a very interesting blog. Thought I would visit. Take care. Lauren from sv Mary Elizabeth

matthew houskeeper said...

Marie Louise,
Thank you! I will give it a try. If you click the photos, they will enlarge. I don't want the photos to overwhelm the text (or vice-versa), but your advice is well taken.

Kallen305, Bill & Lauren,
Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for stopping by.

Mike said...

Great pics of the area! We've kayaked amongst the islands the past few summers, as well as anchored off of Davis Island. Except for the weekends, a beautiful, secluded anchorage.
Mike
sv Comino

matthew houskeeper said...

Thanks Mike,
I have noticed more and more kayaking in that area over the past few years. Weekdays are always the way to go.

Mike said...

I think Inwood Hill may lay claim to the oldest trees in NYC. Interesting site!

Mark Benson said...

Pelham Bay Park is one among the many attractions in New York that will definitely give you a soothing feel. The peaceful and beautiful natural setting enables the tourists to take cheap flights to New York and explore this fantastic park in the US.