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The northern half of the Kensico Reservoir is split in two by a long peninsula (originally the ridge between Bear Gutter and the Bronx River). The Kensico hamlet used to sit just beyond this peninsula, and one of the roads from Kensico to Armonk ran its length. When I was young my father told me how as a teenager one winter he had walked across the frozen reservoir to the end of the peninsula and found the old road and a bunch of old foundations. As I got older, I wanted to see these remnants of Kensico too, but being a bit more risk averse than my father, I elected to take the much longer land route and set off to explore with a buddy of mine.
Side Note: This area is now posted “No Trespassing” (it might have been posted in the early '90s too, but we didn’t see any signs), so if you decide you want to try to retrace our steps, make sure you get permission from the NYC-DEC first. (If they do actually grant you permission, let me know, I’d like to check it out again with you.)
After an initial walkthrough to get our bearings, I used an 1899 USGS topographic map and an 1867 F.W. Beers map to draw my own map of the area. I tried to estimate distances from the map (try figuring out the length of a “rod” without using the internet). On our return trip to photograph the foundations we used the map to try to identify who lived where, and updated the map with some of the things we found in the field. Unfortunately in many cases my notes were pretty sparse, and after 20 years my memory has faded so I no longer remember where many of the photos were taken.
I’m sure the area has continued to change as nature reclaims the land. Part of the peninsula was also hit by a tornado a few years back. Still, the photos show what the area looked like after being abandoned for almost 80 years.
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Copyright 2013 by Robert Mortell