Recovering City Island Looks to Artists and Developers | Via CurbedNY

The backstreets of City Island are lined with both simple bungalows and Victorian mansions dating back to the 1800s, most in great shape./ Nathan Kensinger Photography

From Curbed:
“City Island, the charming and remote nautical community located in the northeast corner of the Bronx, has been a popular tourist destination for years. Crowds throng to its seafood restaurants to feast on crabs, shrimp, fried smelts, and Piña Coladas, while admiring its historic Victorian architecture and small-town vibe. Some locals have lived here for generations, earning the name “clam diggers,” while all of the island’s residents, including recently arrived “mussel suckers,” have embraced the surrounding sea. Nearly every street here dead-ends in a private beach, a marina, or a yacht club, and at high tide, children swim in the ocean while fish swim in driveways. Taken in its entirety, City Island feels like a village of its own, unattached to New York City.

Hidden behind shuttered storefronts and down side streets, though, a different story is unfolding, as the island fights to maintain its unique identity while recovering from recent calamitous events. “The economy has been rough on us,” said Gerard “Skip” Giacco, owner of the Lickety Split Ice Cream shop and president of City Island’s Chamber of Commerce. His vice president, Paul Klein, agrees, estimating that there are 18 to 20 shuttered businesses along the community’s main street out of a total of 220 active businesses on the 1.5-mile-long island. Some storefronts have “been empty for as long as I can remember,” says Paul. During Hurricane Sandy, many of the marinas and yacht clubs suffered serious damage, with piers destroyed and boats jumbled onshore. “I think City Island is a pretty safe piece of land,” Paul says, but “it seems like the weather is getting predictably worse.”

Read the rest of the story at CurbedNY and tell us what you think!

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