City Island's name recalls an over-ambitious attempt by Benjamin Palmer, who purchased the one-and-three-quarter-mile-long island (called Minniford by natives) in 1761, hoping to divert southbound trade to a new port on Long Island Sound. With the collapse of these plans, City Island reverted to humbler maritime occupations: the extraction of salt from seawater, the provision of pilots for the dangerous waters of the East River, the building of ships. Today a boating and fishing center, its main street, City Island Avenue, is filled with restaurants.

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