Oysters - BRONX
From a Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries of the State of New York in Charge of the Oyster Investigation - 1885.

City Island and Spuyten Dyvil Creek
"City Island is located near the entrance of the East river into Long Island sound, in one of those numerous small bays which indent the shore line of Westchester county. It is about fourteen miles as the crow flies, or nineteen miles by river, from the City Hall, and is a center of a large and important oyster industry; in fact the people who find a home here represent as near a typical oyster community as can be found anywhere within a long distance of this metropolis, since there are very few of the residents of the island or, so far as that goes, of its immediate vicinity, who do not gain their living, or the greater portion of it at least, by oystering...
"Most of the land under water in the immediate vicinity of City Island and in the neighboring bays and covers along the shore of Westchester county was, fifty years ago or more, valuable oyster territory, and much of it still has natural beds of oysters growing upon it. These beds, varying greatly in size, extend all along the shore to and beyond the Connecticut line. With probably few, if any, exceptions these coast or shore beds are much less productive at the present time than they were years ago, and most of those oysters which are taken are small and are used almost exclusively for the purpose of stocking the planted or private beds. The "set," or catch of young oysters, upon most of them each year is good, sometimes excellent owing to the cleansing action of the tidal currents and the nearly constant turning and tumbling about which the shells and oysters get from the incessant working of the oystermen upon them.
"The lands under water in the neighborhood of City Island are held in very primitive style. Each man originally staked out as much as he though he wanted to use, or as he could get, placed oysters on a part or the whole of it, and henceforth claimed it as private property. Very few planters can tell today how much land they are working and no public record is kept of it, or any returns made for it to the State, county or town. Each man is supposed to know where his property lies, and so innocent and peaceable are the inhabitants of this island of the waters that not only does each man know his own territory but also the territory occupied by his friends and neighbors, and what is more to the purpose, not even his oysters. It is a striking illustration of each right hand knowing what every other right hand is doing and respecting the secrets of the fingers. If we can believe what we hear, this is not only a typical but it also a model community, where few crimes are committed and few punishments are meted out, and where even those ungodly outsiders, who are caught loitering over forbidden treasures, are sent away in charming confusion with the injunction to 'go and sin no more.'
"The people of City Island have two grievances which disturb them much more than does the intrusion of outsiders upon the natural oyster territory. One is the dumping of garbage brought from the cities of New York and Brooklyn, and the other the deprivation which they suffer from not being allowed to dredge for seek oysters along the shorts of the Hudson river in State waters. In regard to the first grievance, the oystermen say that a great many of the captains of the vessels which bring away garbage from the cities of New York and Brooklyn, instead of taking their load beyond the limits established by law, dump the contents anywhere along the river and sound where they think it will not be discovered and a charge made against them. In this manner many localities have quite recently been rendered unfit for oyster planting, and many beds have been buried up and consequently destroyed, and the dumping is still going on."

[Note: Off the Bronx shoreline, City Island's population was originally almost exclusively employed in the oyster industry. This was still true at the turn of the century, though beds were not producing the quality or quantity they had in years before.]