If you live anywhere near Glen Island Park, then you will be sure to have heard of the Glen Island Harbour Club . I was thrilled to have attended the 325th Anniversary of New Rochelle last year (2013) at the Banquet Hall, and then later that year and again this year celebrating the Yearly Fund Raising New Rochelle Humane Society event. It is very popular or weddings, events, and all celebrations for the views are glorious.
The original Glen Island resort was owned by John Starin and opened in 1880. Within 2 years, there were one half million visitors yearly. It was known as the “World’s Pleasure Grounds.” The beach and bath houses could accommodate 2000, and trolleys from the New Rochelle Train station took the visitors to the Island. Chimes from a Chinese pagoda greeted you as you entered the 102 acres of this fun paradise. An entire Sioux tribe was brought to the resort in 1901 which is rather sad for this dignified and proud people.
Some two dozen red and white striped buildings featuring game rooms, donkey rides, food of course…and there was the Rhineland Fortress which served a New Rochelle lager beer served by singing waiters in lederhosen. Souvenir keepsakes and curios could be found everywhere on people’s mantles – what happened to them?
The resort started to decline in 1904 when there was the worst New York maritime disaster in history. Some 1000 people perished in a steamer… not headed from the city to Glen Island but rather going to Locust Park.. But nevertheless, the bloom was off the rose, and the resort started to decline. The resort was closed, and Starin died several years later in 1909.
Today, the Glen Island Harbour Club has been beautifully renovated, and is the perfect setting for that special event. Whilst on my way to an appointment the other week, the weather was so perfect, that I felt compelled to pop over and take some photos. The park is popular for walking, running, biking, and events too.
New Rochelle is GREAT!