Bohemia Blog by Agent Jillian Masiello
Venture your way to the NorthEast corner of the Bronx this upcoming spring/summer season to explore Pelham Bay Park. It's known as the city's largest park property measuring 2,764 acres and more than three times the size of Manhattan's Central Park, respectively.
Visitors come from all over to to enjoy miles of nature paths, hiking trails, salt marshes, beaches and wildlife! Not to mention, Orchard Beach, the Bartow Pell Mansion, two golf courses, and a breathtaking 13-mile saltwater shoreline that hugs Long Island Sound. During the warmer months, athletes frequent its numerous fields and b-ball courts. The park also has an eclectic range of plant and animal wildlife.
Pelham Bay Park contains many different habitats that include one of my personal faves, Orchard Beach! It's the boroughs only beach that is in fact, a man made beach and created through the efforts of Robert Moses in the 1930's. An icon of the Bronx, Orchard Beach is proclaimed as the Bronx Riviera of New York City ~ the 115 acre beach has 9 sections which runs 1.1 miles.
During the summer months, every Sunday afternoon an empty lot at Orchard Beach is transformed into an asphalt dance floor. Various DJs set up their equipment and play tunes from the Latin music greats such as Celia Cruz, Tito Puente & Hector Lavoe.
Salsa Sundays are held in Sections 4-5, and has been up and running for about 50 years. Bronx's only beach has named this event the “Salsa Sundays,” a chance to mambo, cha-cha and take in the music that has become a reminder of a past generation. This event is part of the annual summer Bronx Salsa Fest which is sponsored by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, the Bronx Tourism Council as part of their I Love The Bronx Program.
Orchard Beach: Where Sun & Sand meet Salsa
Vamos a la Playa!
If you're looking for a more tranquil, low-key experience walk down towards Section 1. There is a trail that leads you to discover the 195 Acre Salt Marsh. If you're not familiar with what exactly this hidden gem is; a salt marsh is an area of grassland that is regularly flooded by seawater. It plays a crucial role in human life, acting as a natural filtration system by trapping pollutants that would-be contamination in our bays and oceans. Salt Marshes have the ability to improve water quality, and reduce erosion, and are also one of the richest environments for wildlife habitat. Along the shoreline you can sit back relax and enjoy boat watching, kayakers, sailors or groups of racing jet-skiers riding the waves.
Photo taken by, yours truly. August 2017.
In addition, the park is a popular spot for bird watching with up to 264 species. A few common bird species observed within the park include the great-horned owl, willow flycatcher, woodpecker, eagles & the common yellowthroat in the meadow west of Orchard Beach. If you take an early morning walk during late April, May and early June you can witness these incredibly beautiful migratory birds. All you need is a comfy pair of walking shoes, binoculars and an eye for beauty!
Pelham Bay Park is a magnificent sanctuary that is easily accessible from the city via public transportation or vehicle. It's perfect for when our daily lives get hectic. We can take a hike (literally!) and get our nature fix on for a day.
Here is a Guide Map below of some of the attractions:
Geographical features of Pelham Bay Park:
1. Eastchester Bay
2. Golf courses
3. Hunter Island
5. Orchard Beach/Pelham Bay
6. Rodman's Neck
7. Tallapoosa Point
8. Turtle Cove
9. Twin Island