City Island Chamber hosts concierges, tourism industry

The City Island Chamber of Commerce once again hosted concierges and others in New York City’s tourism industry. They are pictured here at the Bartow-Pell Mansion in front of the Bronx Tourism Council’s Trolley, which whisked them up from Manhattan and back.

City Island may be the best kept secret in New York City, not that the local chamber of commerce doesn’t want to promote it.

The City Island Chamber of Commerce is looking to get the word out about the “City Island Area” – including Pelham Bay Park.

To wave the tourism flag, it hosted about 30 hotel concierges, travel agents, and tour operators for a mid-week tour of the island on Tuesday, June 26. It is the second such tour of the island by the city’s tourism community in about six years, she said CICC vice president Paul Klein.

The Bronx Tourism Council’s Seaside Trolley picked the group up outside of the The Pierre Hotel in Manhattan, and took a 35-minute ride to the first stop, Pelham Bay Park’s Bartow-Pell Mansion, said tour coordinator Maria Caruso, CICC director of tourism.

“The people on the tour were really impressed, and some said they felt as if they were in Newport, Rhode Island or New England, instead of in New York City,” Caruso said. “They learned that there are a lot of activities and that a nautical-themed village-like community exists in the Bronx, minutes from Manhattan.”

The group visited the Pelham Split-Rock Golf Course and its catering facilities, was briefed on the area’s role in a Revolutionary War battle, had lunch at the Seashore Restaurant, took a personal tour of the City Island Nautical Museum hosted by Barbara Dolensek, and had a boat excursion on Eastchester Bay aboard the Island Current V.

“We were able to put City Island on the map,” Caruso said. “The chamber wants to attract people and other businesses to the island, and have people think of this as a viable community to open a business.”

The City Island area, a new marketing campaign for the island, includes such spots as the Bronx Equestrian Center, Orchard Beach, Turtle Cove Golf Center, and Pelham-Split Rock Golf Course, said Klein. It was developed by Klein and CICC president Gerard Giacco.

“A lot of times we hear that people are overwhelmed by Manhattan, and going to City Island gives them a chance to chill-out for a day,” Klein said.

“It lets people see another side of New York City and certainly of the Bronx.” The tour brought back fond memories of family times at Orchard Beach, said Valerie Blasi, director of The Kimberly Hotel.

“Who knew this little gem of a town called City Island would take me back into another place in time?” The group visited also visited Bistro SK for some mussels and French wine; were given gift bags at Kaleidoscope Gallery; met with musician Elliot Glick, owner of The Starving Artist; and visited chamber member businesses Focal Point Gallery, Early Ruth Antiques, Lickety Split Ice Cream Parlor, Mary Colby’s Fi Faux Art Gallery, and The City Island Diner.

The day ended with a cocktail reception at the landmark Samuel Pell House, with owner Michelle French giving a short history of the 19th century property.

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