Photo: NYC Parks / Malcolm Pinckney
Landmarked Orchard Beach Pavilion, built in 1936, is undergoing a major renovation to restore the historic architecture, increase accessibility and make ADA accessible, and create new amenities for the community
Yesterday, NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue & New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) Chief Infrastructure Officer Josh Kraus joined Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, State Assembly Member Michael Benedetto, Council Member Marjorie Velazquez, Council Member Amanda Farias, Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr., President of the Friends of Pelham Bay Park Nilka Martell, Community Board 10 Parks Chair Terence Franklin, and members of the community to officially break ground on the $87 million Orchard Beach Pavilion project to restore the historic 140,000 square foot space.
“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 New York City 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, investing in our public green spaces to serve generations to come.”
“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. “Once complete, the Pavilion will feature a wide range of amenities for residents and visitors alike and expand access to the beach for all members of the community. We can’t wait to cut the ribbon on this project, and we thank all of our partners on this project for helping to make this restoration a reality.”
“The renovation of the Orchard Beach Pavilion has been long overdue, and we are thrilled to be working with NYC Parks to ensure this historic landmark is restored to its glory days when it was known as ‘The Riviera of New York’,” said NYCEDC President and CEO Andrew Kimball. “As part of the renovation, we will be providing new accessible ramps and installing new concessions resulting in more good-paying jobs for food service operators to work during the summer season.”
The $87 million Orchard Beach Pavilion project is a joint project between NYC Parks & NYCEDC. The three primary objectives for the project are to restore the historic architecture of the landmarked building, provide greater ADA access, and provide welcoming and viable amenities for the community:
Pavilion Reconstruction & Restoration:
As part of the project, the historic structural concrete roofs will be reconstructed with additional exterior finishes, including limestone cladding, glazed terracotta, terrazzo, cement plaster, and metalwork to be restored. Additional trees will be planted, and new light fixtures will provide illumination levels which meet current standards for the restored Pavilion.
The reconstruction project will gently raise the landside approach to the building and provide new accessible ramps to the upper level of the building. On the beachside of the building, a new curving, brick-clad accessible ramp will connect the upper level of the Pavilion down to the beach. For the first time, all visitors to Orchard Beach will enjoy the same equitable access through the Pavilion.
The historic concession spaces in the Loggias and within the Pavilion will be built-out for new concessions. Partitions and finishes will be restored, and resilient new building systems will provide the required mechanical, electrical, and plumbing services for these amenities to operate successfully. Parks will be soliciting proposals from quality food service operators to award concession agreements at Orchard Beach. Other public Pavilion areas will be restored for community use and enjoyment. This work will bring the Orchard Beach Pavilion back to its impressive historic conditions with access and amenities for every member of the community.
Assembly member Michael R. Benedetto said: “Orchard Beach, a Bronx gem, is receiving the attention it so rightly deserves. Millions of Bronxites flood the beach every year and the restoration of the historic Orchard Beach Pavilion and its amenities will greatly enhance our beach goers day in the sun.”
“After years of passionate fighting by community members and elected officials like Ruben Diaz Jr, Bronxites are finally getting the part of the restoration they duly deserve,” said Assembly Member Nathalia Fernandez. “The groundbreaking of Orchard Beach Pavilion project is a monumental moment in the history of our borough. It will allow Bronxites and New Yorkers from all across the state to enjoy ‘The Riviera of New York City’ as it was intended. This is just the first of many steps we will be taking in creating a beach in the Bronx that truly reflects the value and love we have for Orchard Beach. We cannot wait for the completion of this project and look forward to working with our partners in both government and the community to continue to fund and support our amazing Orchard Beach.”
“To see $87 million invested in the needs of the Bronx is revolutionary and will not only bring back to life a cultural staple for our families and neighbors, but foster a new source of revenue for our tourism industry. This groundbreaking at Orchard Beach represents a shift I hope will continue throughout the borough to prioritize our quality of life. As Chair of the Committee on Economic Development, I am incredibly excited to continue supporting this project and ensure that it brings holistic and sustainable economic growth to The Bronx,” said Council Member Amanda Farías.
‘As a lifelong Bronxite, many of my fondest memories growing up include summers spent at Orchard Beach with friends and family,’ stated Council Member Rafael Salamanca, 17th Council District, The Bronx. ‘But like so many of our historic attractions, Orchard Beach found itself in the pitfalls of inadequate funding, leading to a decline in amenities and overall experience that made it the gem of the New York City parks’ system. With today’s momentous announcement of an $87 million restoration project, Orchard Beach will once again be a premier destination for future generations of New Yorkers. A true collective effort, I thank the local community and government stakeholders for their decades-long advocacy to restore Orchard Beach, and the Adams administration for leading the efforts to see this all-important renewal project through.’
“Today’s groundbreaking is a long time in the making, in repairing and reimagining the orchard beach pavilion,” said former Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Polishing off our Bronx crown jewel will bring back the majesty of our Bronx riviera. We thank all of the City and State officials involved, for investing not just in the brick and motor of the project, but more importantly, in the future memories that Bronx and New York families will have – such as the ones that my family made at Orchard Beach.”
Orchard Beach, Bronx’s sole public beach, was proclaimed “The Riviera of New York” when it was created in the 1930s. The 115-acre, 1.1-mile-long beach contains a hexagonal-block promenade, a central pavilion, snack bars, food and souvenir carts, two playgrounds, two picnic areas, a large parking lot, and 26 courts for basketball, volleyball, and handball. Changing areas and showers are available.
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