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Orchard Beach, Pelham Bay Park socked with major storm damage

Bronx Times

The ferocious reach of Superstorm Sandy didn’t spare Pelham Bay Park.

Addressing the Nov. 26 meeting of Community Board 10’s parks committee, its city parks department administrator gave an inventory of the damage, including boats and shattered piers tossed up along the park’s shoreline.

“At Orchard Beach, the two rock jetties to the north and south had some stones and boulders displaced,” said Marianne Anderson. “On the promenade, the hexagonal paving blocks at the north and south ends were uplifted and moved.”

A concrete wall at the southern end of the beach was also cracked, Anderson told board members.

While the beach itself held up fairly well, about 40 feet of sand was lost near the middle of the beach, she said.

Water engulfed the sand in about 20 minutes during the storm, said Anderson, with the Pavilion Building flooded with about six inches of water.

One of the major loses of the storm was a 400-to-500-year-old oak tree on the Pelham-Split Rock Golf Course, believed to be one of the park’s oldest.

“Overall, we lost a few hundred trees, in both our landscaped areas and in the wooded interiors,” she said.

“For example, to just focus on one area of the park - at Orchard Beach - we lost approximately 60 trees; on Hunter Island, more than 30. Throughout the park, many trees lost large limbs.”

The coastline in the park was overrun with debris that will take a long time to clean, she added, with the debris including a few boats and pieces of docks.

Anderson said she hoped to have Orchard Beach reopened in a week or so.

Parks committee chairwoman Virginia Gallagher said the sign at City Island and Shore roads welcoming people to the park was savagely torn apart by Sandy.

There was, Gallagher noted, “an unbelievable amount of damage to all of our parks.”

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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