Orchard Beach and Pelham Bay Park

Once referred to as "The Riviera of the Bronx," Orchard Beach is a 1.1 mile long stretch of public beach located in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx. Although the beach is surrounded by acres and acres of natural forest, marshlands and coastline, the beach is actually man-made.

[Obviously] This was a Robert Moses concept, and he planned for its construction as Parks Commissioner during the 1930s. The process involved filling in approximately one-third of Pelham Bay with landfill, followed by a total of 1.2 million cubic yards of sand, brought by barge from Sandy Hook, New Jersey and the Rockaways in Queens. The landfill was put between Rodman's Neck, Twin Island, and Hunters Island; the latter two are no longer islands since being connected to the mainland Bronx by the landfill.

On hot summer days, the refuge is used by tens of thousands of sunbathers.
These guys had a pretty amazing converted vintage luggage set-up for a remote-controlled ipod dock -- complete with blinking l.e.d. lights!

At 2,766 acres, Pelham Bay Park is the largest public park in New York City. The park was once home to Anne Hutchinson's short-lived dissident colony, along with a number of other unsuccessful settlements. The colony, though English, was under Dutch authority; it was destroyed in 1643 by a Siwanoy attack in reprisal for the unrelated massacres carried out under Willem Kieft's direction of the Dutch West India Company's New Amsterdam colony. In 1654 an Englishman named Thomas Pell purchased 50,000 acres from the Siwanoy, land which would become known as Pelham Manor after Charles II's 1666 charter. During the Revolutionary War, the land was a buffer between British-held New York City and rebel-held Westchester. As such it was the site of the Battle of Pell's Point, where Massachusetts militia hiding behind stone walls (still visible at one of the park's golf courses stopped a British advance.

About 600 acres of the park are tidal, and fluctuate between being walkable and underwater, due to rapid tide changes in the salt marshes.

Originally the Robert and Marie Lorillard Bartow House, the residence and estate of the Bartow-Pell Mansion date back to 1654. The Lords of the Manor of Pelham once owned the home which was later enlarged, renovated and remodeled in the Federal style. The current house was built between 1836 and 1842. Ownership of the house passed between the Bartow and Pell families until it was finally sold to the City of New York in 1888 by descendants of the Bartow family.

The exterior of the mansion was restored and the formal gardens were constructed from 1914 to 1917. In 1936, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia used the mansion as his summer residence while Orchard Beach was being built. The interior of the mansion, furnished with period antiques, reopened to the public as a museum in 1946.

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