Did you know there is an abandoned railroad station in Pelham Bay Park? Even better than that, it’s totally accessible so long as you don’t mind taking a long walk. By that I mean you don’t have to climb under, over, or through any fences or ignore any “No Trespassing signs.” Instead you’ll have to get yourself to Pelham Bay Park which is especially difficult if you rely on public transportation. Don’t worry though, it’s still possible!
Bartow Station was designed by Cass Gilbert and built in 1908 as a replacement for an existing wooden station in a small village called Bartow-on-the-Sound. As the New York Times wrote in 1878, Bartow “is where one gets off the train to go to City Island.” Indeed, from the station you’d connect to a trolley into City Island. For a short time, from 1910-1913, you could ride a monorail from the Bartow Station down through the entire island. The trolley into City Island sputtered along until 1919 and the Harlem branch stopped passenger service in the 1930s. Bartow Station has stood abandoned ever since.
Cass Gilbert was kind of a big deal in his day. His resume boasted of a number of important structures in Manhattan such as the Woolworth Building, George Washington Bridge and Brooklyn Army Terminal. He was also commissioned to build several railroad stations in the Bronx for the Harlem River Branch of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. The most well-known of the stations is the Westchester Avenue station near the new-ish Concrete Plant Park.
How to find it
Take the 6 train to the end of the line at Pelham-Bay Park. Then wait possibly forever for the Bx29 bus to City Island. Don’t go all the way into City Island though, instead get off the bus at City Island Road / Shore Road, right after crossing the Pelham Bridge. Then, cross Pelham Bridge Road to Pelham Bit Stables. From there you can walk along a horse trail for about half a mile until the trail turns left and towards the station. The overgrowth will make it very difficult to find if you’re there in the warmer months. Be aware that the station is very close to an active Amtrak line.