Photo flashback: Whatever happened to Honeywood, Staten Island?

By Carol Ann Benanti
on June 26, 2016 at 12:23 PM


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Great Kills is the South Shore’s northernmost community, according to many local geographers. Also tagged Staten Island’s largest neighborhood, it is bordered by Richmond Town to the north, Oakwood to the east, Eltingville to the west, and the Great Kills Harbor to the south.

Interestingly, Kil, is an archaic Dutch word with various popular translations, including “creek” and “channel,” inasmuch as many small streams dot the neighborhood —  and the name can be interpreted as meaning that a great number of such streams can be found there.

Once a mecca for fishermen and noted for the fine seafood served in its hotels, the shoreline was called Cairedon and the inland was known as Newtown.

The area was later named Gifford’s (as in Giffords Lane, which bisects the community), after the local commissioner and surveyor of roads, Daniel Gifford. The name, derived from the above-mentioned Dutch word kil (creek), was adopted in 1865.

Another name associated with the neighborhood is Honeywood, which survived as the name of the telephone exchange for many South Shore communities through the late 1950s.

Today, Great Kills is home to a thriving marina and is part of the expansive Gateway National Recreation Area.

The neighborhood is represented in the New York City Council by Joe Borelli.

It’s Poillon-Seguine-Britton House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

The neighborhood is home to Great Kills Little League, one of the eight little leagues on Staten Island.

Actor Rick Schroder lived in the community as a child, as did actress Alyssa Milano, comedian Bob Levy and new ESPN anchor Joe Engle.

At the southeastern corner of the neighborhood is Great Kills Park, a national park site that is part of Gateway National Recreation Area. The park includes a beach, marina, trails, fishing and bird-watching areas and sports fields.

Sadly, the area suffers from a heroin and prescription drug problem and is sometimes referred to as “the drug capital of Staten Island.”

FDNY Engine Company 162/Ladder Company 82 and Battalion 23, serve Great Kills from quarters on Nelson Ave and Barnes Intermediate School is one of Staten Island’s middle schools. Firefighter Scott Davidson, lost in the 9-11 attacks, attended Barnes.

Myra Barnes Intermediate School was named after an educator and civic activist, also known as “The Fighting Lady of New Dorp.” Barnes was well known for her contributions to the New York City Council.

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