Sunday, August 22, 2010

A tale of two city islands

These last few weekends, I've been doing a little island hopping, which sadly isn't as exotic and white-sandy-beaches-photoshoot-inspriring as it might sound. As many know, New York City and its environs are really just a series of islands in the mouth of the Hudson River. Although I've explored many of these islands--from the historical treasures of Ellis Island to the suburban mall rich Staten Island--there are still some left unexplorered (Riker's Island being a good example).

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to visit an island that I had never been to. I went horseback riding in Pelham Bay Park (a seriously impressive park in the Bronx that I can't believe I'd never visited) which happened to be a short bus ride from the aptly named (at least as far as the title of this post goes): City Island. City Island is just your everyday classic small fishing village tacked on by a bridge to the rest of the Bronx. It is the stuff of recent film: and has been written of in the New York Times. It also featured prominently in the book The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore which I reveiwed here on this very blog a month or so ago. Naturally, finding myself so close to such a remote and interesting part of the city, I had to stop by and check it out. The island is long (although not so long that it can't be traversed by bus in about 10 minutes) and thin to the point that walking down the main road you can see the water on both sides of the island. It has the feel of a New England fishing village (something that can't really be said about many neighborhoods in the Bronx). Naturally, it features a number of local seafood joints. I personally patronized the (apparently) famous Johnny's Reef at the far end of the island. At the Reef, you could get basically any ocean dweller you wanted deep fried. The fried shrimp were particularly tasty. However, I still saved room for the ice cream from another City Island hot spot, Lickety Split. I didn't bring my camera to City Island because, I didn't want to have to worry about it during the horseback riding portion of the day. I do have this picture, captured on my boyfriend's iphone, taken from the Reef.Seagulls enjoying just another lazy Saturday in the Bronx.

Switching gears a little, this weekend I used one of my precious few remaining summer Fridays to go to an island a little closer to home: Governor's Island. Governor's Island is just off the coast of lower Manhattan. Although covered in buildings from previous military occupations, no one lives there. It is open only on the weekends during the summer when it is accessible via a free ferry. I'd actually been to Governor's Island a couple of times in the past, but it never fails to creep me out a little. It looks exactly like a college campus, except that all the buildings are completely desserted (except for some that are randomly repurposed as nearly empty "art studios"). I suppose it is nice that it is left aside as a park though. On Fridays, you can rent bicycles for free to journey around the island. Because there are no cars allowed, it is one of the safer New York City biking options. Or at least it would be if New York children knew how to ride a bike. So often they seemed as likely to careen into me or each other as to ride in an orderly fashion. It was a lovely day though, and I did manage to take a few pictures.

Picnic Point on Governor's Island. See that large apartment building structure in the background to the right? It's huge. And no one lives there.

A view of Liberty Island from Governor's Island. Also pictured: a large boat.

One of my attempts to be artsy. Never let it be said that I don't document my photography failures.

That's about all I have to say about islands and my time on them. I worry that this blog, in addition to mentioning Astoria less and less, is becoming basically a chronicle of my weekend activities. I'm not sure how to fix this. Maybe include more pictures of my cat? Ideas are most welcome. Unless they're things I don't want to write about.


  1. Lol! I like your "art" picture! Perhaps you should start finding a local business to feature from your town that you like and think others would. It might be a great way to build local readers and give you a little more writing material! (That or I always enjoy seeing cat pictures!)

  2. Thanks, Jess! That's a good idea. My local readership is...pretty much me. I'll have to look into it.

    Until then...there's always cat pictures!