Seeks answers to why she’s barred from Shore Park after playing there as little child

Shore Park is one of the Village of Pelham Manor’s gems, a beautiful showcase on the Long Island Sound. For many children, families and adults it is a popular and enjoyable place to spend a day or a few hours. Upon visiting the park, you can find kids laughing and playing on the playground, dogs running around, boats passing by on the water and people walking the path that circles the park.

However, a debate exists regarding access to this public space. Some Village of Pelham residents finds it to be unfair that they are prohibited from using the park for their recreation. Since these citizens pay taxes and are considered to live in the same town, they find it unjust that this park is exclusively for those who reside in the Manor.

I am among those who believe all Pelham residents should have access to Shore Park. Living in Pelham Manor as a child and later moving to the Village of Pelham has given me a lot of insight into the issue.

I believe that all of the children of Pelham should be entitled to the same experiences I had at the park and that possessing these memories is an essential part of one’s Pelham childhood. Open entry for Pelham residents to this park should be imperative since our town is based around community togetherness, and public parks do a great part to promote this ideal. Quite frankly, I find it ridiculous that access is restricted, and now that I live in the Village of Pelham, it is deeply disappointing that I am no longer allowed to visit one of my favorite spots in the town. 

Unfortunately, this matter and a change in the access policy are beyond anyone in the town’s control. What is unknown to many—as well as to myself before I began to research this topic—is that this debate is something that originated in 1920s. The issue of Shore Park access runs far back in Pelham’s history, and changing who can use it is a great deal more complex than one may think.

Since the early 1870s, Pelham residents had wished for easy public access to the Long Island Sound. In the late 1890s, Adele Stevens Allen purchased underwater lands extending into the sound from the State of New York. However, when new landowners came to the area, they sued the town, causing Pelham residents to be left with no easy access to the sound for more than two decades. 

On July 27, 1928, Frederick Allen of Bolton Priory, who owned a large tract of land that the Village of Pelham Manor hoped to acquire, promised to dedicate a portion of this land grant if the park could be restricted for the exclusive use of the residents of Pelham Manor. Many individuals debated the legality of this matter and whether or not this was possible until permission for the purchase of the seven acres for $66,662.91 was granted.

The property ‘shall be utilized for the purpose of a public park for the residents of the Village of Pelham Manor exclusively…’

— The Pelham Sun

In 1929, the Village of Pelham Manor was able to convince Adele Stevens Allen to sell her interest in the underwater lands to the village for $57,860 so that it could expand the park and have water access for the leisure of residents. 

When Allen sold the property to the village, she included a restriction on it so that the property “shall be utilized for the purpose of a public park for the residents of the Village of Pelham Manor exclusively,” the only exceptions being that it could be sold to the New York Athletic Club or to Augustus V. H. Ellis due to both parties owning adjacent land.

Hence, Pelham Manor is legally required to continue to restrict the use of Shore Park to only those residing in the village, in order to preserve the 1929 contract and deed restriction that allowed the ownership of the underwater property on which most of Shore Park is built.

Although I believe all residents of the Town of Pelham, regardless of whether they live in the Village of Pelham or Pelham Manor, should have the right to reap the benefits of beautiful Shore Park, it is a matter that is beyond anyone’s control. Legally, it looks impossible to open the park to all Pelham residents.

It would be nice if a solution could be brainstormed in the near future and a loophole could be found that will give Village of Pelham residents use of the park. As of right now, however, the situation is out of anyone’s control, and the question of access to the park will remain to be decided by where they live in town.


“Shore Park To Be Restricted For Residents Of Manor — Frederick H. Allen Makes Concession In Price Asked For Shorefront Property,” The Pelham Sun, July 27, 1928, p. 12, col. 1.  

“Manor To Acquire Shorefront Land For Village Park,” The Pelham Sun, June 3, 1927, p. 1, col. 1. 

[Untitled], The Pelham Sun, March 17, 1932, p. 12, col. 2.  

“Manor Board Approves Bond Issue For Park — Trustees Approve Purchase of Seven Acres On Shore For $66,662.91 — Sherman Files Report,” The Pelham Sun, April 5, 1929, p. 15, col. 3.