Finch Unveils Pleasure Beach Walking Tour

From city Communications Director Brett Broesder:

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch unveiled a historic walking tour at Pleasure Beach–which is a 71-acre barrier island that opened to the public last summer for the first time in 18 years–that will launch when the island officially opens on Saturday, May 23, 2015.

“Memorial Day weekend, Pleasure Beach will be reopening for its second consecutive season,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. “This year, for residents and visitors to learn more about the island–the storied past of Pleasure Beach where the Chicago Cubs played the Bridgeport Orators, former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt visited, Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra played, and all kinds of other interesting and historic things happened–we’ll have a historic tour that is self-guided with beautiful plaques that chronologically showcase its rich history.”

Ø Click here to view the 24 panel tour: bit.ly/1Pow1xN.

Ø Click here to view a video of the announcement: bit.ly/1QU49Pu.

Ø Click here for photos of the announcement: bit.ly/1A7TJrD.

Bridgeport took ownership of Pleasure Beach in 1892. It served as home to a nationally acclaimed amusement park and ballroom for the first half of the 20th century. But fires and declining visitor numbers put the amusement park out of business in 1966. The barrier island continued to go from periods of revival and decay until Father’s Day of 1996 when the bridge to Pleasure Beach set ablaze. The bridge was deemed unusable after the fire, and Pleasure Beach remained inaccessible. But last year Mayor Finch restored access to the barrier island after nearly two decades of neglect.

“Pleasure Beach was an asset to the Bridgeport community for many years,” said State Representative Chris Rosario. “Unfortunately, it went dark for so long. But thanks to Mayor Finch’s leadership, we were able to recapture it. It’s not only great for our residents, but also for the region to see the beauty that we have right here in our backyard. I had many pleasant memories at Pleasure Beach as a kid growing up and I’m looking forward to now sharing new memories with my kids right out here at Pleasure Beach.:

Mayor Finch also stated that Pleasure Beach ​will officially open for the summer on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 10 a.m. and will close at 6 p.m. The barrier island will be accessible on weekends in May via free water taxi, which will pick beach goers up at the fishing pier located on Seaview Avenue near its intersection with Central Avenue. It will open seven days a week via free water taxi beginning in June.

In addition, Mayor Finch thanked those who helped with putting together the Pleasure Beach history tour, including: Mike Daly of the Connecticut Post, Lennie Grimaldi of OnlyinBridgeport.com, Mary Witkowski from the Bridgeport History Center, and Mike Biewala from the Bridgeport Public Library.

“Last year, more than 25,000 people came out to enjoy Pleasure Beach in the less than three months it was open,” said Mayor Finch. “This year, we expect even more people to come to Pleasure Beach and enjoy the beauties of nature, enjoy the swimming in Long Island Sound, enjoy the historic walking tour, and having a great time with your families. It’s like a little piece of Nantucket right here in Bridgeport.”

Currently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is executing a $2 million dollar investment in repairing breakwaters off the Pleasure Beach shoreline (click here for more info from the Conn. Post: bit.ly/1A7W4Tq).

“With the federal improvements, and the historic walking tour, it’s going to be another great summer,” said Mayor Finch. “So come on out to Pleasure Beach.”

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4 comments

  1. I am interested in City history with an emphasis on current and financial. So I did not see this video providing an example of Bill Finch eliminating the taxi ride and showing us how he can walk on water through the harbor mists.
    Rather it would be most interesting to track down the expense of preparing for, current operations of, and five-year budget plan into the future. Isn’t “sustainability” the new watchword? I do not see any attempt to provide the public with such an “experience.” That would be a pleasure for me so I might feel at the end of a day, Federal, State and local funds added up to a valuable offering to the Bridgeport public, even if they hadn’t voted specifically for the activity. As it is, Bill is visionary, pitchman, welcomer and historian, but not one to share the financial details. He may think of himself as the latest incarnation of P T Barnum, but historians will remember Barnum used his own money, not OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY, to back his ideas. He made some mistakes along the way (as we all do unless we remain inert) and went bankrupt twice and then by keeping at it bailed himself out again. How many times by not paying attention to fiscal matters does the City have to approach bankruptcy by leadership without fiscal credentials? Time will tell.

  2. The walking tour is not only a great idea for local residents, but enhancing Bridgeport’s efforts to increase tourism. It would be great to include Seaside Park and Beardsley Park as part of a walking tour to enhance visitors’ experience. Increasing tourism is money well spent and is an added value to the Bridgeport taxpayer to make our city a destination.

  3. Reminds me of the old saying “Take a long walk off a short pier.” Ap-pier-ently Pleasure Beach has everything the mayor needs to follow this adage.

  4. A day in the life of Mayor Finch

    Mrs. F: Honey, who came up with the Pleasure Beach walking tour?

    MF: Well, we were trying to come up with things that would piss off Joe Ganim, and Mini and I came up with it at the same time.

    Mrs. F: Who’s Mini?

    MF: Oh! That’s Woody’s new name! Someone on OIB started calling Woody “Mini Finch” and it stuck, isn’t that funny! So me and Nunnzy keep calling him Mini Finch and he hates it! He he!

    Mrs. F: So when people go on this walking tour with you and “Mini Finch,” what is it you two will be pointing out?

    MF: Honey, it’s not about Pleasure Beach or a walking tour! It’s about me! It’s about what I’m doing, that Joe Ganim is not doing! Get it? We have to keep coming up with things all the way ’til September! It’s all about how hard I’m working for the little people!

    Mrs. F: You’re a regular PT Barnum!

    MF: I have to be!

    Mrs. F: The only thing you and Mini Finch and Nunnzy can come up with is a walking tour of an empty amusement park/beach? And the only resemblance to PT Barnum is you and your five freak pals couldn’t even make P. Barnum’s sideshow! So now we have Chang and Eng, or Bill Finch and Mini Finch, as the Siamese twins, along with JoJo the dog-faced boy Nunnzy and how can we forget the new sideshow freak, Zip Broesder the flucking Pinhead, doing press! And Campaign Manager Maryli Secrest as Madame Clofullia the bearded lady? It’s a sideshow, alright! So tell me honey, who’s running the flucking city? Timpanelli as the flucking Feejee Mermaid?

    MF: No honey! We walk the little people around the park to read these placards that have some history about Pleasure Beach, and each placard will have my name on it, and that it was me who got them back onto Pleasure beach, not Joe Ganim or Charlie Coviello or Mary–Jane Foster or Howard Gardner!

    Mrs. F: I’m going back to bed! The only thing I’m concerned about is how you’re going to feed our kids after November, with you and those five idiots running this city and now this half-assed campaign!

    MF: Honey, we have everything under control! Except the budget, and of course we’ll always pin that on Sherwood. Honey!

    Mrs. F: ZZZzzzzzzzzz what happens if Sherwood retires first ZZZZzzzzZZZZzzzz we are so screwed zzzzZZZZzzzz.

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