NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and local officials officially opened Orchard Beach to the public for its summer season. Orchard Beach’s historic Pavilion is set to be restored through a $50 million investment that includes $20 million in capital funding committed by the Mayor, and $10 million in funding each from Governor Cuomo, State Assembly Speaker Heastie, and Borough President Diaz. Orchard Beach is The Bronx’s only public beach, and draws visitors from across the city. Its pavilion has been closed to the public since 2007, when deteriorated conditions rendered it unsafe.
“Together, we’re building a future for Orchard Beach that’s worthy of its history. Bronxites deserve to see the centerpiece of the Bronx Riviera restored to its former glory,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Orchard Beach and our other beautiful public beaches are open for the summer starting this weekend.”
“The Assembly is proud to commit $10 million to support the preservation of recreation space at Orchard Beach. I want to thank Mayor DeBlasio, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and Governor Cuomo for their funding investments and their commitment to work together to improve Orchard Beach,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
“Orchard Beach is one of the jewels of our borough, and it has the potential to be an even greater tourist attraction, drawing in visitors from all over the region, if not the world. The Parks Department has put forth an excellent plan for the redevelopment, and I was proud to commit $10 in capital funding from my own office’s budget last year. We have seen a tremendous commitment of resources from Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to move this project forward, and I am grateful for the support each of their offices has given to this important project. Mayor de Blasio’s visit to Orchard Beach today shows that he understands the need for a revitalized and renovated Orchard Beach Pavilion, and I look forward to partnering with his administration and others to move this project forward,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.
The City’s eight public beaches will open for the season on Saturday, May 27, and remain open through Labor Day Weekend. Lifeguards will be on duty daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; swimming is prohibited at all other times.
The design process for restoring the historic pavilion will commence over the coming year, with construction expected to be complete by 2021. The project will be managed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation. The restoration of the historic north and south pavilions will reopen the building to the public, creating more room for programming and beach-related activities, as well as improve accessibility to the beach through the main entrance of the pavilion.
“What better way to launch the beginning of the beach season than at Orchard Beach, a vital recreation venue not just for the Bronx but all of New York City. I am thrilled we are making it even better with a major investment in renovating and upgrading its aging pavilion,” said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Committee on Parks.
Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Jr. said, “Nothing beats summer in the Bronx – from City Island, to the Summer Pale Ale at the Bronx Brewery and the Summer Stage at Crotona Park, the Bronx is the place to be.”
“Today’s opening of our beloved Orchard Beach symbolizes the start of the summer for thousands of Bronxites. I’m thankful for the commitment of our Mayor, Assembly Speaker, Bronx Borough President and the Parks Department for their investments to improve Orchard Beach. These necessary renovations to Orchard Beach will make significant enhancements to our Beach and serve as a greater attraction in the Bronx and beyond. Special thanks to the many stakeholders, park advocates and community leaders involved in this partnership. We look forward to the improvements of Orchard Beach,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.
“Every year, New Yorkers across the city look forward to beach season. Orchard Beach remains a Bronx gem and a common destination for people of all ages. I am ecstatic to welcome the warm weather, as Bronxites take advantage of all that our borough has to offer,” said Council Member Annabel Palma.
“I’m thrilled that we are able to renovate Orchard Beach and make it a staple of the community once again,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen. “It is so important to invest in our public lands and I applaud everyone involved in securing funds for the renovation. Orchard Park is a part of our history in the Bronx, and now it can be a part of our future as well.”
History of the Orchard Beach Pavilion:
This building is designated NYC Landmark structure. It was designed and built during 1935-37 using W.P.A. funds during the tenure of Parks Commissioner Robert Moses.
The imposing building consists of a pavilion with monumental entry porticos, ramps, crescent shape dining loggias, waiting areas, observation terraces, and promenade—all facing the crescent shaped, man-made beach. The interior of the building consists of kitchens, pantries, storage spaces and a huge central dining hall.
During the early years of operation, the pavilion created a carnival-like atmosphere. An orchestra played dance music in front of the pavilion and firework displays were launched offshore on Chimney Island. After decades of neglect, the pavilion closed to the public in 2007 when deteriorating conditions left it unsafe. When reopened, it will once again become an amenity to thousands of beachgoers.