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Pelham Bay Park

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pelham Bay Park Lagoon Is The Park Of The Month

Pelham Bay Park Lagoon is a little piece of paradise nestled within New York City’s largest park.  An attractive spot for fishermen, rowers, and naturalists, the picturesque Lagoon is located between Orchard Beach and the mainland section of Pelham Bay Park.

“The lagoon is one of Pelham Bay Park’s greatest treasures,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.  “It is a local’s secret renowned for its serene natural setting and its diverse abundance of wildlife, including hawks which pass through along their migratory route.”

The shape and orientation of the Lagoon has evolved over the years along with the changing landscape of the surrounding parkland.  The Lagoon took its original shape during the 1930’s when former Parks Commissioner Robert Moses spearheaded an ambitious $8 million project to add 115 new acres of land to join Rodman’s Neck and Hunter Island, and form Orchard Beach.  Several decades later, when it was selected as the site of the 1964 Olympic rowing trials, the Lagoon was widened and dredged.  Most recently in 2000, the salt marshes of the Lagoon underwent $413,000 in restoration, funded by Mayor Giuliani.  The restoration preserved these transitional spots where the freshwater rivers and streams meet ocean water.  Today, the salt marshes serve as valuable natural filtration systems that trap pollutants, absorb fertilizers, improve water quality, reduce erosion, and provide a rich wildlife habitat.

This delightful spot offers an array of activities to the curious visitor.  Catch an early morning sunrise with Bartow-Pell Mansion on the horizon; search for oysters or launch a canoe with the Urban Park Rangers; join fishermen and their families along the shore to angle for small killifish (Fundulus diaphanus), silversides (Menidia notata), or bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix); or cheer on a competitive collegiate crew race.  If you’re lucky, you will also spot some other creatures who are in the know of this well-kept secret: the great blue heron (Ardea herodias) and the snowy egret (Egretta thula).

To access the Lagoon via public transportation, take the No. 6 subway north to the last stop, Pelham Bay Park.  From there, hop on the BX 29 to City Island Traffic Circle and follow the path to Orchard Beach Parking Lot.  Look for signs indicating entrance to the Lagoon in the northwest corner of the parking lot.

Park of the Month introduces some our greatest parks and greenspaces to curious New Yorkers and visitors alike.  For additional information on our Park of the Month, please visit


On October 4, Parks Enforcement Patrol Officer Cordero observed Mr. Dominick Cresenzi, an elderly man in a parked vehicle with the engine running and the windshield wiper blades on.  Although he was visibly shaking and unresponsive to questions, with the assistance of Sergeant Mercado, Sergeant Lawrence and Officer Scirica, they obtained his identification and called his sister, who advised them that a missing person report was filed the day before.  EMS and NYPD soon responded and the individual was transported to Beekman Hospital.  We applaud our P.E.P. officers for their prompt attention in assisting Mr. Cresenzi.


“A play should give you something to think about.

When I see a play and understand it the first time, then I know it can't be much good.”

T.S. Eliot
(1888 – 1965)

Directions to Pelham Bay Park

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