The Pleasure Is Back At The Beach, People Company For Piping Plovers

water taxi
Water taxis will ferry folks to Pleasure Beach.

On June 28, city water taxis are scheduled to make their formal debut transporting folks from the East End to the scheduled reopening of Pleasure Beach, the peninsula largely inaccessible to the public following a fire to the bridge about 20 years ago. Last month the water taxis transported volunteers from Central Avenue to Pleasure Beach for a community cleanup. City officials say they expect the water taxis to be in service to transport the public this summer for passive recreation such as fishing, walking, sunbathing and swimming. Fixing or replacing the bridge comes at a prohibitive cost, according to city officials.

The Wall Street Journal’s Joseph De Avila published a piece about the city’s efforts to reopen what was once a magnet northeast amusement park.

The fire destroyed the wooden bridge that linked the shoreline of Long Island Sound to Pleasure Beach. After 18 years of limited access for visitors and no access for cars, Bridgeport plans to reopen Pleasure Beach on June 28, with water taxis providing transportation.

Pleasure Beach circa 1955
Pleasure Beach circa 1955. Image courtesy History Center/Bridgeport Public Library.

Pleasure Beach occupies 71 acres on a peninsula shared by Bridgeport and the neighboring town of Stratford. The only way to reach the beach is by boat or hiking along a two-mile sandspit that connects Pleasure Beach to Stratford. The peninsula is also home to a population of piping plovers, which are designated by the federal government as threatened and which scratch their nests in the sand along the beach.

Full story here.



  1. Our nature lesson for today about the piping plovers is they scratch their nests into the sand. Wonderful … and windstorms and extreme tides make life risky for the plovers.

    And the City fathers have watched and waited for 18 years and have told us the costs to repair or replace said bridge are prohibitive. But did they ever tell us how much? Oh … you say they scratched it into the sand some years ago and the hurricanes and tides took it away? Memory fails me in this regard … thank you.

    Just as the City has provided a clear report as to the expense of water taxis and maintenance and personnel costs, fuel, repairs, etc. (no matter who pays for it) by scratching a message in the sand? And it disappeared? And no one saw it? That is a shame. Is there so much room in City department budgets (with ghost expenses and “Other Service” line items) that Finch can keep adding new parks, and special programs, and summer events all of which require people and greater resources to maintain and continue … but not tell about them until after budget sessions are closed? Look at his state of the City comments for past years. Do you find programs and costs stated? No, your taxes are raised, the City gets the money and the money gets spent, and the stories get spun. But City employees are not trained to productive levels and then they are not evaluated as to their level of performance (and that creates problems for genuine managers when grievances are aired), and very few employees are happy with the work environment. But the Federal government has not yet designated Bridgeport employees as “threatened.” Time will tell.

  2. The fire that damaged the Pleasure Beach bridge was just the excuse the city needed to close Pleasure Beach. Did they ever check the mechanics to see if the fire damaged those working parts, no they did not.
    The administration wanted to close Pleasure Beach for years because it was costing the city well over $100K to maintain. The city was tired of the dope issues, the stolen and burnt cars and other crimes generated out there. The water taxis must be costing a few dollars.

  3. I can’t wait to go fishing once again in the very place I learned how so many years ago. It will be a very sentimental moment to be back there where so many summer days were spent as a kid before it was just unceremoniously snatched away for two decades.

    1. Warning: It’s not wise to fish in that area. The land across the street from the bridge was recently purchased (JML can give us the price paid) by the city for parking and is extremely contaminated. The heavy contamination is underground and for decades it has and continues to affect the Sound. It’s nice to hear the Piping Plovers are nesting on the sand and not on the parking lot. If anyone ever finds a three-winged, two-headed piping plover, don’t be so surprised.

      1. Joel my friend, thank you for warning the community to avoid fishing in this area because of the contaminants claimed. (I do not have time to research the price today as you requested, unfortunately.)

        However, since you have not spotted a three-winged or two-headed plover, and have no reports of such, is it possible this is a warning caused by something else? I mean, think about it. Cisco Kid fished there as a kid and had a great time.

        Perhaps he had some friends with him. Happy times. Maybe they all grew up without health issues. But maybe they grew up with “political issues” in the eyes of certain City leaders. Maybe because they became Republicans this was considered contamination by City Democrats.

        Think about it for a minute, if the underground substances working their way out were to cause citizens to become Republicans rather than Democrats (who treat Republicanism as a disease anyway), then the reason the bridge did not get repaired is to keep fisherpersons away from shifting into becoming active Republican party members. Not that they would all work as actively as Cisco does, but the storyline does follow some of the facts and attitudes here in Bridgeport, right? And if that type of storytelling is good enough for Mayor Finch and his public-relations messengers, then I think in this case it will be enough for me. Time will tell.

      2. If I remember correctly, the city council approved a 20-year lease for the land from Julian Construction who owns the land. Andre Baker wanted the city to purchase the land, but he was voted down by the council.

  4. This is fantastic news! This city could really cash in by creating campsites there down the road. Rocky neck State park has campsites on one side and the beach on the other. There are so many possibilities for Pleasure Beach and the entire neighborhood as well as the activity of Steelepointe.

  5. Thanks to Don Clemons? My a$$, this place was shut down for 20 years, and now we give politicians credit as if they did some amazing job, screw that. That’s like thanking my children for taking the trash out after three weeks. That’s like thanking my husband for fixing the brakes after the rotors are grinding and have to be replaced.

    1. BptPorter, I must have missed something but what was it Don Clemons was supposed to do? The state and federal government were not going to give a penny for that bridge and who else came up with the suggestion to help residents to get over to Pleasure Beach?

      1. Exactly my point. So finally when the feds do give a penny for the bridge, he gets the credit? No way. You can’t have it both ways. The feds don’t give a penny so it is not his fault, so when they do give a penny then he shouldn’t get the credit either. I am not impressed by suggestions, anyone can take credit for suggesting anything. I would have been impressed if he would have been able to make things happen much sooner. And it wasn’t until about 3-4 years ago the bridge was fixed and turned into a pier. I would have given him credit for maybe doing that 10-15 years ago, but nothing moved for 20 years. He has no real clout and can’t make things happen in Hartford nor back home.

    2. I agree, these politicians sit on this thing for 20 years and now want credit they create limited access.
      Right, the City wanted it closed because of the crime and liability. Fishermen would get mugged out on the end of the breakwater.
      Finch decided not to fix the bridge, even though there were affordable estimates, as soon as he got in. Fabrizi got the estimates. The solution would have been fix the bridge and allow only pedestrian access–no cars. Twenty years later and many of our children never having been able to enjoy this asset. Shame.

  6. Fishing is fine. All or most are migratory. Crabbing and eeling might be another matter in Lewis Gut. Those guys would be out there anyway with or without a bridge. And playing games with wardens, if applicable.

  7. Excuse me.
    Excuse me.
    Did I miss something here?
    Did the city announce a schedule?
    The cost?
    The cost of parking at the lot?
    How much this is going to cost the taxpayers?
    Let’s fill in some of these blanks before we start congratulating the mayor on this proposal.

  8. I’d like to know the cost of the service to the citizens, the cost of the parks dept to empty the trash and maintain the park, is there going to be security there during hours of operation, and if so, the cost for that (note, I hope there will be a cop on duty there). Basically, I want to know what this is going to cost us.

  9. Cost? I’m sure that was vetted by the City Council. I’m more interested in who gets to drive the boat, and why.

    I’m guessing the mayor wants to establish a legit municipal use before environmental groups declare the place a de facto nature preserve.

    The cost of running all this will be prohibitive, of course. It will end after the mayoral election.

    1. You can bet someone is making money off this. This land should be allowed to revert completely to something resembling a natural state. What is green about water taxis unless they are electric or sail-powered?

  10. *** For those who like off-shore fishing, it’s another spot to fish from. As far as tourists are concerned, after the fun 10-minute water taxi ride, it’s a wrap on “what the hell do we do now” at this dirty unkempt shore area; “BIRD WATCH?” *** TALK ABOUT A WASTE OF GENERAL TAXPAYERS’ MONEY. ***


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