A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from July 13, 2005
La Playita (Little Beach)
"La Playita" (the Little Beach) is a strip of land along Viele Avenue in the Bronx, at Hunts Point. In 2005, Mayor Bloomberg announced improvements planned for the area, such as athletic courts, a playground, a boathouse, and bathrooms.

1 February 1998, New York Times, pg. CY8:
But for the people who live there, Hunts Point has its attractions. In the summer, people gather by a waterfront stretch called La Playita, or Little Beach, to barbecue, dance and listen to Latin bands.

At 40-Year Bronx Beach Party, Who Needs Sand?
By David Gonzalez
NY Times, August 7, 2004
The sight of the Puerto Rican flag flapping in the wind made the hearts of many of that island's sons and daughters flutter a bit faster here at La Playita, the Little Beach. Despite its name, it is neither little nor beachy nor, for that matter, even in Puerto Rico - unless the Bronx has been secretly annexed to the island.

Yet every summer weekend for more than four decades, thousands of people intent on recreating a slice of tropical life transform a stretch of factories and dumps along Viele Avenue in Hunts Point into an unlikely oasis that is perhaps the city's least-known but longest-running weekend street party.

Cheaper and closer than Orchard Beach or Van Cortlandt Park, the loose and loud strip has enticed generations of nostalgic islanders pining for sun and space amid bricks and asphalt.

La Playita — there has been an informal gathering of families meeting on weekends in Hunt's Point for many years. It is a day of "celebration of culture", where people listen to music, eat and converse. In the summer of 2004 the activity which is usually held on Tiffany Street was shut down by the 41st Precinct, due to drug dealing, unruly crowds, physical attacks on Police Officers

'Little Beach' to blossom into $6M park

To a visitor, it may just look like another slab of waterfront property tucked between industrial waste sites with a view of Rikers Island and a wastewater plant. But to many people who live in the Bronx, it's a little slice of heaven.

"Generations of hard workers have come to this spot to take in the cool sea breezes," said Rep. Jose Serrano (D-Bronx).

"They bring their families out, they put their chairs out, they bring the music, they bring the food," said City Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo (D-Bronx). "That's why they call it La Playita - the little beach."

On Sunday morning, Mayor Bloomberg joined community and elected leaders from the Hunts Point area to put shovels in the ground at Barretto Point Park. The 5-acre site, next to the Tiffany St. Pier, will feature athletic courts, a playground, a boathouse and bathrooms when it is completed in fall 2006.
Originally published on July 12, 2005

Posted by Barry Popik
Neighborhoods • Wednesday, July 13, 2005 • Permalink

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