You don't really know New York City until you have visited City Island. And if, after your long journey to this unique community, you only have time for one stop, stop for clams. If you have time for a second stop, it should be the City Island Nautical Museum. The tiny village, with a population not quite 5,000, lives large in the minds of New Yorker's as the least likely member of the city's collection of diverse and unique neighborhoods. The town can be experienced in a day, but the history covered in the museum extends back centuries.
A native City Islander has been called a "clam digger" (or "clamdigger") since the early 1900s. A non-native City Islander is called a "mussel sucker".
What You Will See
Do not be dissuaded by the name. This museum is more a celebration of the community itself rather than a traditional "Nautical Museum". But City Island's location and dependence on the sea is such a part of its culture and history that the story of the community cannot be told without a look at the fishing culture that made it thrive. Located in the city's former school house, you will see artifacts from the town's long history, dating back to the original Siwanoy band of Lenape Indians. Boats and fishing gear dominate the collection, but there is much to be explored.
Why You Should Go
No one really stumbles upon City Island. You have to try to get here. And while the museum itself may not justify the trip out here, there is plenty to do beyond the museum, particularly during nice weather. Or combine the trip with a visit to the nearby Pelham Bay Park. Either way, the museum should anchor any trip to explore this unique community and dine at its delicious local seafood restaurants.