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© 2020 by The Curious Uptowner

The off-season is the perfect time to admire the haunting bathhouses of Orchard Beach

September 14, 2018

 

New York City beaches closed for the summer last weekend, but that doesn't mean you should stop going. In fact, some of the most popular shorefront destinations have a completely different set of attractions once the lifeguards have left for the season.

 

 

Take Orchard Beach, a.k.a the Bronx Riviera. A mile-long strip of sand on the western end of Long Island Sound, this crescent-shaped beach is not just a sun-soaked place to enjoy the water, but a living museum dedicated to the early vision of city works czar Robert Moses.

 

 

Walking through the main entrance to the beach, it's impossible to miss the two majestic Depression-era pavilions Moses built when he was Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia's Parks Commissioner. Made of concrete and decorated with striking blue-and-white terracotta tiles, the colonnaded structures resemble some sort of magical Greco-Brutalist ruins.

 

 

The deteriorating 1930s bathhouses now stand empty and are completely fenced off, but were once home to a 500-seat cafeteria and a changing area with 5,000 lockers. Still, there's plenty to admire on the outside, and they were even designated a city landmark in 2006.

 

 

Although there's been plenty of reconstruction talk, the beautiful curved pavilions remain out of reach. Based on their crumbling condition, let's hope they're not running out of time.

 

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