I’m a relatively frequent visitor to City Island…as much as a Little Neck resident with no wheels can be, I suppose. Actually I find it fairly easy to get to the place from Flushing, as an express bus takes you to Pelham Bay Park and then you transfer to the Bx29, which crosses over to the island. I enjoy its small-town atmosphere during the warm months, and always have lunch at one of the two relatively cheap fried fish joints at the southern end, Johnny’s Famous Reef or Tony’s Pier.
Above is a look at the second City Island Bridge, which was there from 1901 to 2014. The bridge, designed by Alfred Pancoast Boller, who also designed many of the classic Harlem River crossings between Manhattan and The Bronx, opened on July 4, 1901, replacing a previous wood bridge constructed in 1874 that had charged tolls. As far back as 1977, the 1,470-foot swing bridge was beginning to show its age, and plans were drawn in the late 1990s to reconstruct the bridge. A lively debate between city officials and City Island residents ensued when it was learned that the new bridge would include a 400-foot tower, eclipsing the 35-foot zoning limit on the island proper. Residents object to the height, cost (which ballooned to over $120 million) and the proposed cable-stayed design.
A new, more modestly-designed bridge has been under construction since 2015.
Fascinatingly, for a few short years, between 1910 and 1913, an experimental monorail shuttled passengers between City Island Bridge and the Bartow station in Pelham Bay Park of the
New York Central RailroadNew York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. No trace of the monorail remains, but the hulk of the old railroad station, designed by Cass Gilbert, remains along what is now shared Metro-North and Amtrak tracks near the Pelham Bay Park stables west of Shore Road and City Island Road.
As you can see, smaller versions of finned Whitestone-type lampposts had lit it; from the look of things, they were installed in the 1940s.
Bridges NYC has a better view of City Island Bridge II as well as the wooden span that preceded it.
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