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Bull’s Head

From The North Shore Local-Staten Island Local:

SI Then: The Goethals Bridge

After the First World War, the U.S. was on the move.

With the new prosperity, wanderlust and mass-produced automobiles, the Goethals Bridge was built to accommodate interstate travel.

The bridge opened on June 29, 1928, the same day as the Outerbridge Crossing. Both were designed by John Alexander Low Waddell. This was the first successful bi-state development project by the then-new Port Authority. It sported two 10-foot-wide lanes in each direction.

The new bridge was named after Major General George W. Goethals. Construction supervisor of the Panama Canal and the first consulting engineer of the NY/NJ Port Authority, he died just three months before the bridge’s opening, which also would have been his 70th birthday.

The same month saw the establishment of the Port Authority Police. Its 40 original officers, known as Bridgemen, were deployed to patrol and protect both the Outerbridge and the Goethals bridges.

The Goethals did not recoup its original construction costs until 1964, when the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was completed.

This year, 3,566,101 EZpass equipped vehicles crossed over it between January and March.

It was finally closed this month when the first of two new parallel bridges opened to replace it. The second will open in 2018. Built higher and wider, they will accommodate more traffic and larger ships passing under them.

Until it is finally dismantled, the original Goethals is truly now only a bridge to the past.


As of July 4th, 2017, the original Goethals Bridge is closed for good, and the first of the new parallel bridges has been officially opened. What name, if any, will be given to them, remains to be seen.

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from “13 things to know about Bulls Head, named for 1741 tavern” for SiLive.com by Virginia Sherry

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The name of this West Shore neighborhood tracks back to the pre-American Revolution 1700s.

Here are some facts about the community’s history that you may not know:

  • The Bull’s Head Tavern was built in 1741 at the intersection of the Richmond Turnpike (now Victory Boulevard) and the road from historic Port Richmond to equally history-rich New Springville, according to an 1877 book.
  • “The sign which swung between two high posts in front of the small low tavern which stood on the northeast corner” featured a “fierce looking bull’s head, with very short horns and very round eyes, which looked very much like a pair of spectacles,” the historian explained.
  • After the American Revolution, a local tale developed about a mysterious figure that frequented the area near the tavern.
  • He was said to be “tall and swarthy, with eyes like fire,” reported a New York Times journalist in an article published in 1916.
  • “From human guise he passed into the shape of a dog and other forms as well. Sometimes the dog was as large as a horse, and always the eyes blazed terribly through the darkness,” she wrote.
    • bulls headThis photograph, circa 1909, shows Richmond Avenue, looking north to Bulls Head from Signs Road. (Courtesy of Historic Richmond Town.) 

      “The road passing the tavern came to be known as Signs Road in consequence of all these superstitions,” she noted. Fear eventually kept patrons away, and the tavern finally “passed into decay.”

    • Bordering Signs Road is the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge, named in honor of the New Brighton-born naturalist (1862-1945), whose family history on Staten Island dated back to the 1600s.

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