The Bronx’s Orchard Beach, which forms part of Pelham Bay Park on the westernmost end of the Long Island Sound, was constructed as a parks initiative in 1936 by then-commissioner, Robert Moses.
As the beach’s pavilion stands today, it’s largely in a state of disrepair and is “dilapidated [and] structurally unsound,” according to former Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Fortunately, back in December of 2018, NYC Parks along with NYC Economic Development Cooperation held a community meeting to discuss a redevelopment project that would restore the beach. Plans were approved back in May of 2021, and as of last Tuesday, December 13, construction is officially underway.
“Today marks a major milestone in our efforts to enhance the visitor experience at Orchard Beach, and we are thrilled to break ground on the Pavilion project to restore this historic landmark,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue.
The $87 million reconstruction of the 140,000 square-foot building will focus on three primary objectives, including restoring the pavilion’s historic architecture, increased accessibility, and providing new amenities for the community.
Concrete roofs will be reconstructed with the addition of limestone cladding, glazed terracotta, terrazzo, cement plaster, and metalwork.
New trees will be added as well as brand new light fixtures to meet the pavilion’s current standards.
The building’s landside approach will be raised in order to create new accessible ramps, and a curved brick ramp will connect the pavilion’s upper level to the beach.
As for the amenities, new vendors will be housed in newly built concession spaces, while mechanical, plumbing, and electrical services will be restored. The parks department is currently looking for proposals from prospective vendors to occupy the new spaces.
“Orchard Beach is the ‘Riviera of the Bronx,’ but it hasn’t seen the same level of investment as our other boroughs’ beaches. It’s high time that its pavilion was restored to its former glory,” said NYC Mayor Eric Adams. “This $87 million project will be a boon for the Bronxites, and with it, we’re showing that this administration will continue to ‘Get Stuff Done’ for New Yorkers.”