Pelham Bay Park

Infobox park
park=Pelham Bay Park


image size=300px
caption=Northern tip of Hunter Island in Pelham Bay Park
type=Municipal
location=The Bronx, New York, New York, USA
coordinates=coord|40|51|56|N|73|48|30|W
size=2,764 acres (11 km²)
opened=1888
operator=New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
annual visitors=
status=

Pelham Bay Park, located in the northeast corner of the New York City borough of The Bronx, is at 2,764 acres (11 km²) the largest public park in New York City, more than three times the size of Manhattan's Central Park. It is operated by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

Overview

About 600 acres (2.4 km²) are tidal, and fluctuate between being walkable and underwater, due to rapid tide changes in the salt marshes and the receding shoreline of Orchard Beach. The park includes land on both sides of the Hutchinson River, as well as Hunters Island, Twin Island, and Two-Trees Island, all formerly true islands in Pelham Bay and now connected to the mainland by fill. On its north is the village of Pelham Manor in Westchester County. The park borders the Bronx neighborhoods of Country Club, Pelham Bay, City Island, and Co-op City.

The southern part of Rodman's Neck is not part of the park but is occupied by the NYPD Rodman's Neck Firing Range. The City Island Bridge connects the park to City Island. A 19th century plantation-style mansion called Bartow-Pell Mansion is a colonial remnant done in Greek revival style. It is a National Historic Landmark.

The lagoon nearby was once part of Pelham Bay and was called Le Roy's Bay in colonial times. The lagoon was widened and dredged when it was chosen as the site of the 1964 Olympic Rowing trials. [ [http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_your_park/historical_signs/hs_historical_sign.php?id=11621 NYC Department of Parks and Recreation - THE LAGOON] ]

At the northeast section of the park is Orchard Beach and a parking lot that were created by Robert Moses as the "Riviera of Long Island Sound". One third of Pelham Bay, from which the park got its name, was filled in with landfill to make Orchard Beach. The park is crossed by the New England Thruway, the Hutchinson River Parkway, and Amtrak's Northeast Corridor railroad.

In the southeast section of the park, near the New England Thruway, there are 4 softball/baseball fields, a playground for children, picnic area, tennis courts, a parking lot and several trails for walking/biking/running. Moreover, there is a large running track that was recently renovated. The renovation was part of New York City's attempt to obtain the 2012 Summer Olympics. This track has a bleacher section off to its side and surrounds a grassy area that is used for both soccer games and football games. There are two overpasses that span the New England Thruway and bring parkgoers from the residential area of Pelham Bay directly into this section of the park.

Bicycle paths go to all parts of the park and west to Bronx Park, east to City Island, and north to Mount Vernon. The park is the home of the Bronx Equestrian Center where visitors can ride horses through the parks' trails, enjoy pony rides or obtain riding lessons.

Landmarks

* Orchard Beach: a 115 acre, 1.1 mile long beach, the only public beach in the Bronx.
* The Bartow-Pell Mansion and Museum: an elegant example of 19th century architecture.
* Split Rock: at the Hutchinson River Parkway's intersection with the New England Thruway; legend says that Anne Hutchinson, an early proponent of religious freedom, was killed here.
* The Bronx Victory Column & Memorial Grove: a 75-foot tall limestone column supporting a statue of Winged Victory, honoring servicemen from the Bronx who lost their lives defending their country.
* Glover's Rock: a giant rock bearing a bronze plaque commemorating The Battle of Pell's Point during the Revolutionary War.
* Hunter Island: a small island, home to the Kazimiroff Nature Trail.
* Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary: mostly salt marsh; egrets and heron can often be seen.

History

Anne Hutchinson's short-lived dissident colony, along with a number of other unsuccessful settlements, was located in what is now the park's land. 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 (200 km²) from the Siwanoy, land which would become known as Pelham Manor after Charles II's 1666 charter.

During the American 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.

The park was created in 1888, under the auspices of the Bronx Parks Department, and passed to New York City when the part of the Bronx east of the Bronx River was annexed to the city in 1895. Orchard Beach, one of the city's most popular, was created through the efforts of Robert Moses in the 1930s.

In 1941, the NYPD Rodman's Neck Firing Range was created using land from the park.

References

External links

* [http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_your_park/vt_pelham_bay_park/vt_pelham_bay_park.html NYC Department of Parks & Recreation Pelham Bay Park Virtual Tour]
* [http://www.bartowpellmansionmuseum.org/ Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum]
* [http://www.bronxpress.com/3_7_02front.html The Bronx would play a peripheral role in proposed NYC 2012 Olympics]
* [http://www.bronxequestriancenter.com/ The Bronx Equestrian Center]
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9D00E4DC1E30E333A25751C2A9679D94649ED7CF SCANDAL IN PARK]


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