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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

City Island

There are places that a writer's dream subject, because if a reader is unfamiliar with the locale, it makes you look like a brilliant explorer who has uncovered a real gem. And visiting for the writing assignment is a real perk. The only real difficulty is avoiding the cliches that have been used ad nauseum. In this case the place is City Island, Bronx and the cliches are words and phrases such as: "look and feel of a small New England fishing village" "more like Cape Cod than New York" "Nantucket" "less Cape Cod, perhaps, than a tiny, Stephen King-like town on the lonesome Maine coast" " a constant reminder that this idyllic spot is not Nantucket but an island in the Bronx" "an active fishing village with a 718 area code" 
The beauty of City Island is that it does live up to all the cliches, metaphors and comparisons. I suggest a visit - you won't be disappointed. If you don't have access to a car, it is serviced by public transportation. However, you will need to take both a train and bus to get there. 
You are never more than a few blocks from the water. City Island is quite small - at 252 acres, it is only 1/3 the size of central park with 4520 residents. It is accessible to the Bronx mainland via the City Island Bridge. As would be expected, everything is defined by the ever present water - fishing, boating, shops with a maritime focus or the Nautical Museum. We spent a pleasant time with proprietor and long time resident John at Trader John (upper photo), 239 City Island Avenue, which specializes in new, used and antique marine and nautical supplies.
Seafood and seafood restaurants are abundant. We chose Tony's Pier Restaurant at one end of the island (1 City Island Avenue) - a fast food styled place on the water (across the street from Johnny's Famous Reef Restaurant.) We ate our food to the sounds of the ocean and a huge population of seagulls. See my gallery of island photos here.
I find a comfort and restorative experience being at the ocean. Instinctually we all recognize its constancy and tremendous power - surrender to it and in that surrender find comfort. Like being in the hands of a vigilant, caring doctor ...

6 comments:

Will Hennessy said...

I saw a movie a while back called, "The Groomsmen" which was filmed on City Island. It's an Edward Burns film and I believe he shot it entirely on location. With the way he filmed, City Island was itself a character in the movie. I enjoyed the film as well as the neighborhood as well...

Michelle Johnson said...

A writer's dream indeed. I would have loved to join you on this day with all its surrounding atmosphere. I can't imagine having a better lunch with those seagulls telling their secrets to you. Have a great day.

• Eliane • said...

I explored it a couple of weeks ago. It's a great chance of pace. Interesting. But the eating options are extremely disappointing. And no sympathetic little place to have a drink by the water.
Cute little store on the first picture!

An Honest Man said...

Love the second photograph.

Annie said...

Ah, City Island. Lucky you. I have been trying to get there for ages, whenever I am in NYC. Maybe next time! Hope you stopped off at Inwood on the way!!

elizabeth avedon said...

Really cool place. Thanks for the reminder!