New York’s Most Unique Neighborhood

N Minnieford Marina

It’s summertime, and living is easy on City Island. New York City’s most remote neighborhood is a mile long finger island at the western end of Long Island Sound, surrounded by Pelham Bay Park. “The Seaport of the Bronx” is famous for its restaurants attracting regular diners from far and wide, while residents love its family friendly lifestyle. Approximately 2,000 households live in mostly single and two family houses with co-ops, condos and low income apartments mixed among a handful of waterfront mansions. It’s a tight-knit community like no place else.

While being a particularly diverse community, City Islanders fall into two categories. Multi-generation natives are called clamdiggers, and new arrivals are mussel suckers. All live together in peace and love, except the lantern flies which must be killed. The Garden Club folks can tell you why as you volunteer to help them keep the island beautiful. Several other vibrant community organizations contribute to City Island’s award winning neighborhood pride.

City Island Avenue Mural
Neighborhood pride on display along City Island Avenue

Live, Work, Play

Scouting, Little League, and a busy Community Center are a few of the ways that families with children develop and socialize. It is the kind of place where parents send their kids out on bikes to find friends, without worrying about them wandering into a dangerous neighborhood. In the summer, they’ll probably end up on a beach. Wandering off the island brings you into New York City’s largest park with hiking, bike and horse trails, ball fields, two golf courses and Orchard Beach, aka The Bronx Riviera.

Boatyards, yacht clubs, and restaurants provide a wide variety of jobs for teens to enter the workforce within a bike ride from home. The mile retail strip along City Island Avenue also enjoys some excellent delis, boutiques, and professional spaces where parents work too. With most of what you need available on island, some people never have to leave. Except for getting out on their boats.

286-288 City Island Ave
Vacant pub and pizzaria with two apartments for sale at 286-288 City Island Ave.

The retail strip is zoned as R3A/C2 under the “Special City Island District” to maintain the community’s nautical heritage. Height restrictions make 1.5 story apartments above first floor retail the highest and best use along most of City Island Avenue. Waterfront developments also carry community space requirements.

Adding to the diverse commercial property stock are a handful of light manufacturing zones harkening back to City Island’s heritage building World War II PT boats and America’s Cup sailing yachts. You can learn all about it at the City Island Nautical Museum. If you are a New York City sailor, you may keep your boat here and take part in the regular Long Island Sound racing leagues.

Eastchester Bay sailing race
Excitment on the seas in the weekly Eastchester Bay sailing races.

Island Values

A handful of reasons keep such a great place selling at a discount to our benchmarks. The flood zone around the island’s periphery can be insured away, but fierce storms are a particular fear keeping some buyers on the mainland.

The biggest complaint is traffic, but that’s because most people come at dinnertime on nice weekends in the summer. Other than three hours a day, three days a week, for three months a year, traffic is not an issue. At worst, southern end residents can spend an extra 15 minutes getting home.

People worry about getting stranded by a closed bridge, which only happens during the Memorial Day Parade. The bridge is actually a blessing. Having the single getaway under constant surveillance keeps City Island at the bottom of NYC crime statistics. Several residents anonymously report that they leave their doors unlocked. 

Current Offerings

Single family homes can still be found on City Island for around $500k, and waterfront begins above a million. Co-ops and condos are available for less, and small multifamily houses can have tenants help pay the mortgage.

The nearby interactive map has all the current properties listed for sale. Residences have red markers and commercial are blue, there’s even a marina slip in a co-op marked green. Clicking on each will reveal details on a wide assortment of property types and valuations.

City Island Diner and The Snug
City Island Diner and The Snug bar for sale including businesses.

Commercial rents are also available at a discount. Industrial tenants worry about traffic and floods, while retail operators face a limited clientele. The community has solid middle-class demographics but unlike other retail centers, nobody passes through City Island on their way to somewhere else.

Coming and Going

Those who come tend to stay, and if they have waterfront, their clamdiggers usually hold on to it. A prime exception is currently available for a wannabe millionaire mussel sucker.

Those unlucky enough to work off island have I-95 and The Hutchinson River Parkway on the other side of Pelham Bay Park. Commuters can get to and from Manhattan on express buses and regular routes connecting to the 6 train at Pelham Bay.

Come for a visit and see how accessible this remote community is. Have a delicious dinner, take in the good vibes, and maybe consider becoming a mussel sucker.

Please use our contact function to learn more about City Island or any Bronx real estate.

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City Island Rainbow
City Island Rainbow

3 thoughts on “New York’s Most Unique Neighborhood”

  1. No such thing as special zoning with this current NYC City Council, Mayor and Governor… Be very careful what you advertise we want City Island to remain special.

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