Last Sunday Trent, Alisha and I spent the day on City Island in the Bronx. None of us had been there before, so we didn't have much planned except to explore and eventually end the evening stuffing our faces with fried seafood at Johnny's Reef. Johnny's is at the southern tip of the 1.5 mile island, so we started at the northern end and slowly made our way south.
City Island is on the western edge of Long Island Sound and is described as having "the look and feel of a New England fishing village," which is a pretty accurate description. Although, I would add that you never forget for long that you're actually in the Bronx—from the New York City trash cans and public transportation to the barbed wire, chain link fences that prevent you from actually getting anywhere near the shoreline, City Island is a city island through and through.
The thing I noticed first, and loved most, about the island was the abundance of hand-painted and vintage signage on store fronts and restaurants. The one thing I was looking forward to was the City Island Lobster House sign, and I was really disappointed when Alisha mentioned that she thought it had been damaged during hurricane Sandy. Sadly, she was right—the huge neon lobster and "By Land or Sea" portions of the sign are no longer there, but if you never knew they were missing it's still a pretty great sign in its current iteration.
Right next to Johnny's is a stretch of Sammy's restaurants, including the Shrimp Box and Fish Box (ew), both with great neon fish signs that looked even better lit up at night (but I may have been a little too
Despite my fear of water and seafood, I have always loved the New England nautical aesthetic and there is no shortage of items to fit that description on City Island. It's hard to decide what I loved more—the weathered wooden signs like the Black Whale's, the kitschy neon signs like the Crab Shanty's, or the hand-painted signs for Johnny's.
Although, if it's patriotism you want, I dare you to find a more American mural than this one we found on the side of a building that featured the Twin Towers, an American Flag, Uncle Sam, a bald eagle (in flight, of course), the Statue of Liberty, a firefighter, a policeman and a scroll of parchment that is probably supposed to be either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution.