The Difference Between Clam Diggers and Mussel Suckers

Submitted by ub on Sat, 05/28/2011 - 10:02

Captain Ed Sadler is a proud 95 year old clam digger. This is the term City Islanders use to refer to people who were born and raised on the island. However, there are few like Mr. Sadler, who was born and still lives in the same house his family built here. Mr. Sadler recalls when gas was pumped by hand and cost only pennies.

City Island is less than a mile from Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx and since it has only a few thousand residents, most are mussel suckers, but they still embrace the charm of a 100 year old New England village.

Captain Sadler says he enjoys the island feeling of a small town, even though it is part of New York City. Benjamin Palmer purchased the island from the British in 1761 and changed its name from Minneford to City Island because he thought it would soon be a bustling port to rival New York City.

Mr. Palmer's plans did not materialize because of the onset of the American Revolution. Instead, City Island realized its potential many decades later. After the Civil War, when it became a boating center with commercial yacht and boat yards. City Island's five famous yachts are Columbia, Constellation, Intrepid, Freedom and Courageous, all past prize winners of the prestigious America's Cup.

All the streets branch out from City Island Avenue, the island's mile-and-a-half-long artery, end with dead-ends. There are no public beaches here; residents own all the beachfront. If someone wants to go swimming, there is Orchard Beach nearby, which is now celebrating it's 75th birthday.

City Island is a delightful place to live in and to visit. It is home to yacht clubs, marinas, boat businesses, marine supplies, as well as art galleries, coffee houses, antique shops, restaurants, markets, pastry and donuts and smoke shops. The City Island Nautical Museum, where Captain Sadler serves as President is also a
wonderful place to visit to learn more about this charming community.