Joined: 18 Oct 2006
Location: City Island, Bronx NY
|Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 4:05 am Post subject: The Real City Island Story........
|The native Siwanoy Indians called this island Minnewit, which means “Pine Island." Adrian Block, arrived in the early 1600s and started the first European settlement. City Island was originally named Minneford Island in English and later it was changed to Mulberry Island and even Deer Island was suggested. The English first settled here in 1685. In the 19th Century it became New City Island, but after a few years the New was dropped due to disuse. It was changed to City Island. back in 1776 this island had about 1000 people living here. There were farms and apple orchards and cattle and horses. There was oyster harvesting and fishing. Salt was made by Solar Evaporation Ponds over near Banta Lane now east Hawkins Street. Rare Blue clay was discoverd in the south part of the island, which created a cottage industry for making blue china plates and dishes and pottery.
The island was owned by the Siwanoy aka Sinawoy tribe of Westchester county New York, then sold to Doctor Thomas Pell from Connecticut.
Pell was served with a legal notice from the Dutch in New Amsterdam, saying that Pell was tresspassing. Pell went back to England and asked the King for troops to take away New Amsterdam from the Dutch. Peter Stuyvesant surrendered without a shot.
Benjamin Palmer bought City Island and he was arrested and taken to Manhattan by the British, where he died in prison. The British soldiers took over his horses and stables and quartered their troops in houses owned by the Colonial Minneford Islanders. His cattle was seized and eaten and so were crops. Houses and property was burned.
After the American Revolution came, this island became a producer of ships for war. Many wars happened and City Island contributed to these war efforts. Navy landing craft for World War II were made in City Island.
It also became home of America's Cup racing sailboats and all boats made here always won! When they stopped making the sailboats here, Austrailia won, and it was way past time and they used a new invention to do it.
After World War II this island became a honky-tonk resort community of sorts, used for sailboats, speedboats, powerboats, and Surfsailing and Jet-sking. We even had a place for flying boats! Today the island still has a number of boatyards and clubs. Condos now threaten the last wild areas a the few boatyards left. The population is about 4700 today. The last truly wild area that lies between Ditmars Street and Tier Street, known as the Tier Street Lot or City Island Marsh, is now scheduled for development.
You will not find this info anywhere else on the Internet.