9. The Island Once Thrived Because of Oysters

Oyster in a hand

It has been stated that City Island is the first place in America to practice oyster culture. It all began in 1830, when Orrin Fordham, a shipbuilder from Connecticut, began breeding oysters from seed caught on artificial bed. This new cultivation system resulted in higher yield and consequently revolutionized the business; many fishermen became reliant on harvesting to earn their income and small yards specifically served oyster boats throughout the 19th century. Unfortunately, due to a number of factors, including over-harvesting, water pollution and destruction by sea stars, the oyster population eventually declined in New York waters, prompting people to turn to the boat building business.