City Island Gots Soul
Just over the (low) bridge from Orchard Beach ("The Riviera of the Bronx") lies City Island, Bronx, New York. With Eastchester Bay to the West and City Island Harbor on the east side of the quarter-mile wide island, City Island is steeped in maritime history. All along the two-and-a-half mile long City Island Avenue, posters show the history of the many legendary boatyards that lined the shore. The likes of Robert Jacobs, Sparkman and Stevens, and Henry Nevins are all well-known names to many yachtsmen, and they and many more were based here. From 1869 to 1980, every America's Cup defender was either built or re-built here. All the sails were made here, and every boat was serviced and maintained here. Ironically, 1984 was the first time an America's cup defender was not related to City Island and that was the first year that the U.S. ever lost the cup. The online City Island Nautical Museum makes an interesting read.
Eclectic shops, most notably is dan's Parents House. (sic) I'm sure a knowledgeable toy collector would find some absolute steals in among the bins and bins and bins... and bins of vintage toys. I enjoyed listening to Electric Light Orchestra (vinyl, of course as Dan also sells old records) while Norma and I browsed the nooks and crannies of the shop (it's bigger on the inside!)
The shops are interspersed with restaurants of many types, mainly seafood (esp. Lobster) but also Italian and Asian including Ohana Japanese Hibachi which invites you to try their Latin fusion Japa-Rican dishes. The restaurants compete by offering happy-hour deals, and at the Sound end of the island can be found Johnny's Reef, next to Sammy's Shrimp Box, and across from Tony's Seafood. It seems anyone can open a seafood restaurant at the end of City Island as long as their name ends in a "Y".
I have never seen anything like Johnny's. It is cafeteria style with 4 windows for drinks, 8 windows for fried food (and wow, what a selection of fried fish and shellfish including- of course, fried lobster,) and one window for steamed. Norma ordered a dozen steamed Cherrystone clams. The woman told her to have a seat as they would take 10 minutes, and I went off to get some Sangria. Fifteen minutes later our eyes popped as they loaded a tray with huge open-hand-sized clams, butter and garlic, lemon wedges and they even poured the broth from steaming into a Styrofoam cup with a lid. Norma visited the sauce bar and, we admit, took advantage of the cocktail sauce. We took the clams to outside to the edge overlooking Long Island Sound and really enjoyed ourselves while watching the gulls and the other customers, including many families with small kids running everywhere. Pigeons were gulping down whole french fries which had been tossed past the fence to keep kids from falling off the cliff.
After taking a few "Hat Pictures," we wandered back to the boat in a slip at Minneford Marina, and I write this as the red sun sets over the island. I realize that we were having so much fun we didn't take many pictures so tomorrow, while I have my "professional day," Norma will be tasked to go out and get some more photos.
We are not really sure where we will go when we leave on Wednesday, but we heard that we can get our propane refilled at Oyster Bay so, before we have to break out the reserve tank, we think we will pop over there. By the way, I did not mention that we sailed here from Port Orchard, actual SAILING! it was short but now the second time on this trip that we got to sail. Hopefully there will be much more of that ahead.