6. Orchard Beach
Orchard Beach is the Bronx’s sole public beach, nicknamed “The Riviera of New York.” The 115-acre beach is part of Pelham Bay Park, New York City’s largest park by area. The beach includes a hexagonal-block promenade, 26 ball courts, two picnic areas, and many nearby hiking trails. The beach is also located near three preserves on Forever Wild’s list: Hunter Island Marine Sanctuary, Thomas Pell Wildlife Refuge, and Pelham Bay Park Preserves. Additionally, the Tribeca Film Festival announced that they will be showing outdoor films at Orchard Beach as part of their Tribeca Drive-In series starting next month.
Orchard Beach was established in 1888 at the northeast tip of Rodman’s Neck, yet Robert Moses was instrumental in Orchard Beach’s expansion. Inspired by Long Island’s Jones Beach, Moses created a plan for the new Orchard Beach that would be carried out by the Works Progress Administration, subsequently canceling over 600 camping leases on the land. Approximately 110 acres of LeRoy’s and Pelham Bays were filled with landfill, and the fill would later be landscaped with flowers, shrubs, and various trees. Both Orchard Beach and Jacob Riis Park were opened on June 25, 1937. Just two years later, there were new plans to expand the beach, including a renovation of the park’s pavilions and a failed proposal for an outdoor theater. 250,000 cubic yards of sand were pumped onto the beach in 2010 to replace sand washed away over the years.