Parks In the Bronx that I Love Visiting
My project is focused on parks in the Bronx that I love visiting. My favorite is the largest park in the city, Pelham Bay Park. It is three times the size of Central Park in Manhattan and offers plenty of wonderful things for people to see and do. I was raised in the Bronx and visit Pelham Bay Park very often. Former Parks Commissioner Robert Moses transformed the woodland area into a functioning park and recreational facility, complete with playgrounds, a golf course, and a race track, but it has a long history dating back to before the Revolutionary War.
If you like venturing out, this is the perfect place to do so. It is a gem with all sorts of sports activities, music, children's parks, dog parks, bicycling, hiking, beautiful landscapes, statues, wildlife, and much more. If you want leisure, visit Orchard Beach often called the Bronx Riviera or Hood Beach which is also part of Pelham Bay Park. Play dominos, dance to some salsa music, sunbathe, picnic, and the list goes on. It is the only public beach in the Bronx, also opened by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses in the 1930’s; It was so grand that it was called "the Riviera of New York." That name didn't stick because NYC has other "Rivieras," like Coney Island in Brooklyn. Orchard Beach is an escape for New Yorkers to enjoy a swim and a day out at the beach with plentiful to do.
Bronx Park East has many memories of way back when my parents were alive, so the family still picnics there often. It is a public park along the Bronx River. There are handball courts, a children's park with sprinklers, football, baseball, and basketball courts, as well as picnicking areas with plenty of things to do and enjoy. Much of Bronx Park is taken up by the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden, both of which are privately owned. According to NYC Parks, Bronx Park is 718 acres making it the third-largest park in the Bronx and the eighth-largest park in New York City. Bronx Park, like the surrounding borough and the river that runs through it, is named for the 17th-century Swedish sea captain who settled the area, Jonas Bronck (1600-1643).
During my younger years, I spent most of my summers at Crotona Park where I was active in paddleball, handball, and softball. There would be music to dance to and various activities for all to enjoy. I especially loved swimming in their huge modern over-the-top pool which accommodated over 4200 bathers. Crotona park was my home away from home during summer days when I wasn't sunbathing on the rooftop or cooling off in the street's fire hydrant or playing stickball, hide-and-seek, handball against a building wall, jumping Chinese rope, double dutch, hopscotch, johnny on pony just to name a few. Back in the day, there weren't as many parks and greenery as now. Named after the Greek colony of Croton, well known for its Olympic athletes, Crotona Park has served the Bronx community regularly since purchased by the City in 1888. Among experts of nature, the park is widely known for its diversity of tree species and beautiful lake, which serves as home to turtles, ducks, and fish.
We need our parks for people who like to communicate and interact with each other and meet other people. We also need our parks for the environment and recreation amongst many other reasons. I walked the parks and trails taking photographs for my photography class which brought me peace of mind and breathing space. It kept me going throughout this struggle caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. I've been inspired by this project because I love photography as well as the outdoors. My first camera was a Polaroid, the Yashica in the '70s, Cannon in the '80s, and many others thereafter. To this day I am often asked to take our pictures when I have family and friends over. There is a story and memory for every picture. This project is personal to me because I love the Bronx, street photography, people, animals, nature, and beautiful landscapes.