Random encounter: City Island, The Bronx

Random encounters. I love them. The uncertainty and unknown that comes along with meeting and getting to know new people is what makes these moments beautiful and memorable. Whenever I meet someone new I am so curious what it will evolve into. I’ve never been a “first impression” person. I always like to get to know more about people and discover their personality step by step. Sometimes they unexpectedly turn into a really meaningful connection, sometimes they disappear as fast as they came into my life. Though I try not to have expectations and take things as they happen, there are times when I am disappointed. But that doesn’t stop me from enjoying life and being grateful for the endless possibilities of future random encounters.

I once randomly asked a guide about his off the beaten path recommendations for New York. This is how I ended up on a day trip to City Island in the Bronx, which is a well-kept secret even for New Yorkers. And just like with people, I love “meeting” new places that surprise me and make me uncover my city in a different way. I’m inviting you to a “random encounter” which I think will not disappoint you.

City Island is a small community at the edge of New York City just beyond Pelham Bay Park – which is actually the biggest park in NYC, contrary to the popular belief that Central Park is. You can reach it in about one hour and a half from Manhattan – just take the 6 line to the end and then Uber or bus to the island.

The first stop you should make on the island is at the Nautical Museum which used to be a school. That’s where you will find more about the history and you’ll see wooden boats and photos of the past.

Strolling around the houses and empty streets on a sunny November day is a pleasure in itself. I was surprised there is almost no waterfront walking area, but it’s all to the benefits of the people who live here: each house has its own private beach.

Walk to the South Minneford Yacht Club to get a view of the boats and even go sail if the time allows.

Visit this funky vintage toy store Play 239 housed in a 19th century building. I only bought a vintage postcard, but there were so much more cool and unthinkable things. Read more about the store here.

With so much walking around and exploring, I get hungry and go to the south end of the island (15 minutes walking distance) to get what the locals think is the best seafood on the island: Johnny’s Reef is famous for its soft shell crab. Yummy!

Ending the trip with the perfect sunset view. Here’s to perfect encounters!

If you’re curious, there’s even more to discover about this magical island here and here.

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