A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 11, 2008
Bronx Riviera (Orchard Beach)

Orchard Beach in the Bronx was opened by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses in the 1930s; it was so grand that it was called “the Riviera of New York.” Other, Bronx-specific nicknames for Orchard Beach include “the Riviera of the Bronx” or “the Bronx Riviera.”

The all-city nickname “the Riviera of New York” never stuck because New York City has other “Rivieras.” Coney Island in Brooklyn has long been called “the poor man’s Riviera” (or “the working man’s Riviera").

The foul smells of the water have also given Orchard Beach the nicknames “Horseshit Beach” and “Chocha Beach.”


Wikipedia: Orchard Beach, New York
Orchard Beach is a public beach in the borough of the Bronx in New York City. The beach is part of Pelham Bay Park and is situated on the western end of Long Island Sound. Also referred to as “The Riviera of New York”, the 115-acre, 1.1-mile-long park consists of a 13-section sandy beach, a hexagonal-block promenade, a central pavilion with food stores and specialty shops, two playgrounds, two picnic areas, a large parking lot, and 26 courts for basketball, volleyball, and handball. It is operated by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. It is most recognized for its unique crescent shape, and beautiful view of City Island, Bronx.

History
While surrounded by acres of natural forest, marshlands and coastline, the beach is actually man-made. It was the renowned urban planner Robert Moses who came up with the concept and planning for its construction. The process involved filling in approximately one third of Pelham Bay with landfill, followed by a total of 1.2 million cubic yards of sand, brought by barge from Sandy Hook, New Jersey and the Rockaways in Queens. The landfill was put between Rodman’s Neck, Twin Island and Hunters Island; the latter two are no longer islands since being connected to the mainland Bronx by the landfill. 

NYC Parks
Pelham Bay Park Virtual Tour
Orchard Beach

Orchard Beach, the park’s most popular feature, is the only public beach in the borough. The 115-acre, 1.1-mile-long engineering marvel was created on Long Island Sound by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses during the 1930s. “The Riviera of New York” consists of a 13-section sandy beach, a hexagonal-block promenade, a central pavilion with food stores and specialty shops, two playgrounds, two picnic areas, a large parking lot, and 26 courts for basketball, volleyball, and handball.

On hot summer days, this refuge is used by tens of thousands of sunbathers. Admission is free, but there is a fee for parking. Changing areas and showers are available. Off-season, Orchard Beach is a favorite spot for a peaceful stroll.

Wikipedia: French Riviera
The French Riviera (French: Côte d’Azur, Occitan: Còsta Azzura) is one of the most famous resort areas in the world, extending along the Mediterranean Sea west from Menton near the Italian border, including the cities and towns of Monaco, Nice, Antibes, and Cannes. Other sources extend the Côte d’Azur further west to include Saint-Raphaël, Sainte-Maxime, Saint-Tropez, Hyères, Toulon, and Cassis.

9 September 1938, New York (NY) Times, “Park Aid Is Urged to Curb Hoodlums,” pg. 23:
George F. Mand, President of the chamber, presided at a luncheon at Orchard Beach, referring to the resort as “the Riviera of New York.”

16 March 1958, New York (NY) Times, “The Visitors’ New York: Q&A” by Herbert Mitgang, pg. SM38:
...Coney Island, “the poor man’s Riviera”; Jones Beach, “the suburbanite’s Riviera”;...

27 August 1984, New York (NY) Times, “‘Riviera of the Bronx’ Retakes Its Place in the Sun” by Sara Rimer, pg. B1:
Under the direction of Barrett Taylor, the Bronx parks commissioner, Orchard Beach—a 1.6-mile, crescent-shaped beach that is part of Pelham Bay Park—is being restored to its former glory as “the Riviera of the Bronx.”

30 August 1984, New York (NY) Times, “Bronx-by-the-Sea,” pg. A22:
When Robert Moses created Orchard Beach in 1936, it was grandly acclaimed as “the Riviera of the Bronx.” But as the borough went into decline, so did the beach.

10 July 1986, New York (NY) Times, “At Orchard Beach, Updated Fare” by Susan Heller, pg. B3:
Age has not been kind to Orchard Beach, once called “the Riviera of the Bronx,” which will be 50 years old this month.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBuildings/Housing/Parks • Monday, August 11, 2008 • Permalink


I believe the park is under
rateded becuase of its location! The reviews are old and out dated! If you are to make the trip on a Sunday,Monday or Tuesday morning you will see the vision that Robert Moses had is beyond any beech in westchester.The park has a excellent bike trail and excellent fishing areas. City Island offers a excellent place to take your family out for dinner and the food is affordable.

Posted by bruno antenucci  on  09/20  at  07:00 PM

I’d like to give Orchard Beach a try. Iberostar Resorts

Posted by Iberostar Resorts  on  09/03  at  10:58 AM

Did orchard beach ever have s pool?

Posted by christine  on  07/12  at  07:16 AM

Orchard Beach is not visited by me. But thanks to provide knowledge me about this beach. I like to collect knowledge about sea beaches. because I will go to spend my summer holidays in a beach. but location is not decided yet.

Posted by seagrove vacation rentals  on  03/19  at  05:46 AM

This was an excellent capturing of the vibe at Orchard Beach. What a beautiful and descriptive writer! I’ve been going there regularly since the 90s. If you can love the good things about the ghetto — the vibrance, sharing, excess, laughter, loud music, drinking, dancing, cultural pride — then you will find this place like no other.

Posted by seacrest beach rentals  on  04/30  at  01:26 AM

Yeah.. I am happy because I found a new place for visiting, I love to walk on sea beaches. I would like to say congratulation to the Mr. Commissioner. Thanks for sharing your blog.

Posted by budget trips to Africa  on  08/27  at  05:50 AM

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