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Staten Island

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 silive.com:

Schaffer’s Tavern: Winky says ‘it’s time’ for last call; sets closing date

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Local historians will lead a lecture–World War I Centennial commemorating World War I in America on  Saturday at 2 at the Staten Island Museum, Snug Harbor, 1000 Richmond Terr., Bldg. A. This program is supported by the Library of America. Refreshments will be served. Lecture is Free with Museum Admission. For info, visit http://www.statenislandmuseum.org/calendar-programs/world-war-i-centennial-lecture

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From the e-newsletter of the Committee To Save Mt. Manresa:

Don’t miss the latest report on our North Shore Watchlist…properties that have zoning issues, or historical sites at risk.     Don’t forget to sign our petition to Landmark St. Mary.  If you have a special connection to the church, please leave a comment about What St. Mary’s means to you. http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/landmark-st-mary-church?mailing_id=37146&source=s.icn.em.cr&r_by=237480
STATEN ISLAND REAL-TIME NEWS

Development concerns: 10 properties North Shore residents are keeping an eye on Updated March 12, 2017 
Lessons learned from Mount Manresa

Members of the Committee to Save Mount Manresa say they  learned a harsh lesson when Mount Manresa was sold to developers to build townhouses.

The organization has received feedback from other North Shore residents both at Community Board 1 meetings and at other forums, and has compiled a North Shore “watch list” for properties that could be ideal for developers.

“These are properties of concern — they have either historical significance or they are large properties that are not properly zoned,” said Barbara Sanchez of the Committee to Save Mount Manresa.

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Coast Guard in Rosebank

Located in Rosebank off Bay Street on 1 Anchor Place is the U.S. Coast Guard Station. While many think the Coast Guard will never move, some North Shore residents believe there’s no guarantee.

“City Planning says the Coast Guard isn’t planning to go anywhere….but that’s what everyone said about Mount Manresa….After Mount Manresa we are very sensitive to these large properties,” Sanchez said.

(Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

St. Mary’s Church

St. Mary’s Church in Rosebank is one of the oldest churches on Staten Island. “It’s a large part of Rosebank history,” Sanchez, noting that St. Mary’s Church is zoned R4, which means that the property could be sold to developers for any type of housing.

Many North Shore residents would like to see the church landmarked, as it is an architectural focal point in Rosebank, with its prominent tower visible for miles around.

(Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

Bayley Seton campus

The Salvation Army announced in March 2016 that its proposal for the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, to be built on a portion of the old Bayley Seton Hospital that it purchased in 2009, was not financially viable.  Borough President James Oddo, who fought hard for the Kroc Center, has said his office plans to pursue constructing some other Salvation Army center on the property.

North Shore residents still express concern that the portion of the former hospital campus could be sold off to developers for large-scale housing.

(Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

Former Sun Chemical

The former Sun Chemical site in Rosebank, which closed its doors in January 2008, may become the site of future back-to-back attached townhouses, according to the Office of the Borough President.

According to Sun Chemical, the property is “under a sale agreement” with 2846 Partners LLC. The property will first have to be rezoned from manufacturing to residential. While the property was remediated to clean up toxic materials that had seeped into the ground over the decades the plant was in operation, Oddo and others in the community question whether it is still hazardous for homeowners.…

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From Richard Simpson via facebook:

Another piece of local history was demolished this week. It was the old Richmond Ice Company building on Edgewater Street at the corner of Sylvaton Terrace in Rosebank. The four-story cement building topped with gargoyles was built ca. 1905.

The company’s name Richmond Ice Company is/was inscribed on the waterside of the building which made it a prominent landmark when sailing into New York Harbor.

The Richmond Ice Company building was owned by the Richmond County Ice Company, incorporated in 1897 with capital of $5,000. Its directors were John Franzreb, James Guyon Timolat, Charles Jacobsen, John F. Smith, all of New Brighton and Robert G. Solomon of Concord.

Ice harvesting was a big business here in Staten Island. The ice trade also known as the frozen water trade made many men very wealthy. One of the largest ice companies was E.A. Britton & Sons who owed Britton’s Pond. The “E” stood for Elizabeth. The “A” might have stood for her deceased husband, Abraham, who built a grist mill on the pond cr. 1825. About 1880 the mill was turned into an ice house. Elizabeth and Abraham’s sons were Harry C. and Winfield S. Britton.
The Britton’s cut the ice in large chunks sometimes measuring ten feet by ten feet. The chunks were put on a conveyor belt and pulled into the ice house where it was cut into smaller more manageable pieces. The ice was distributed to local businesses, especially beer breweries.

James Guyon Timolat married into the Britton family and took the ice business to the next level. He cut the ice from the pond and transported it by horse and carriage to the company’s ice storage house on Edgewater Street. Every other day a boat or barge (which at that time pulled up to the ice house) was loaded with ice and shipped to Manhattan and other cities in the Metropolitan area where it was sold to food purveyors, restaurants, hospitals and private residences. Many of the wealthy who summered on Long Island built a small ice house on their property and served iced tea and lemonade over ice on a hot summer day.

By the late teens and early 1920s the ice business decreased due to the invention of the ice box (refrigerator).

In the early 1920s the Richmond Ice Company sold the Britton Pond property to the New York City Parks Department and was renamed Clove Lakes.

Ironically, the Richmond Ice Company building is located a few hundred feet from St. Mary’s R.C. Church on Bay Street which unless it is landmarked is also in danger of being demolished.

Image may contain: outdoor
Image may contain: bridge, sky, outdoor and nature

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From a facebook posting by Michael Cala:
“I’m very pleased, as a first-time applicant, to announce that I was just awarded a sizable grant from Staten Island Arts to mount an exhibition of my vintage Coney Island photographs (1970-1980). The exhibition will hopefully take place some time in mid-2017. Got some great people on board to help with printing and mounting. And the initial exhibit will be held at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum.” …

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Errata: I heard that he actually died while in the hospital. Anyone who has the correct information, feel free to come forward/write in. I attended his funeral.

from silive.com:
Poet, preservationist John Foxell dead at 72; restored landmark cottage

Diane C. Lore | lore@siadvance.comBy Diane C. Lore

on December 08, 2016 at 3:34 PM
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Poet and preservationist John Foxell has died.

Mr. Foxell, described by his many friends as a gentle “renaissance man” who enjoyed music, literature and the arts, died Dec. 4 at home. He was 72.

Learned and unassuming, he eschewed modern technology, preferring to live among older things, which he often said made him feel more evocative of a simpler place and time.

Mr. Foxell earned the respect of preservationists for lovingly-restoring his nostalgia-stuffed, quirky-colored city-landmarked home on Port Richmond’s Cottage Place.

Born and raised in Troy, N.Y., Mr. Foxell moved to Staten Island with his family in 1952. After graduating from New York University, Mr. Foxell traveled the country, living in 13 states and Canada, holding down various jobs, from button factory worker to census taker.

He moved back to Staten Island in 1981, bought a home on Congress Street in Stapleton, and became active in the community. For 15 years, until 2005, he commuted to work as an administrative assistant in Manhattan Family Court.

Meanwhile he shopped for houses across the Island until a real estate agent unlocked the doors to 29 Cottage Place.
Tour the Port Richmond Landmark home

The original saltbox small home, measuring 1,122 square feet, was built around 1848. It was once a stagecoach stop on the New York to Philadelphia run. Its Greek Revival and Craftsman details made it one of the North Shore’s few surviving saltboxes, a roofing style popular in the Colonial period.

When Mr. Foxell bought the home it had drooping ceilings, crumbling walls, and mice and birds nesting in the attic. He set about a painstaking rescue and restoration.

“I felt I had to rescue it,” Mr. Foxell told the Advance in a February interview. “It was very important to try to restore as much as possible to retain the atmosphere of that time, and the atmosphere of the house.”
“I felt I had to rescue it,” Mr. Foxell told the Advance in a February interview. “It was very important to try to restore as much as possible to retain the atmosphere of that time, and the atmosphere of the house.”

Mr. Foxell removed wood-shake shingles and installed cedar clapboarding in their place, cleared overgrown shrubs, and restored porches and sidewalks. He added 29 antique stained glass windows and put up tin ceilings on every ceiling.

There is a small shrine in honor of Dorothy Day — the founder of the Catholic Workers Movement, who had ties to Staten Island — and a meditation house, floor-to-ceiling bookcases and artifacts he collected from his travels, including a collection of African wood sculptures and skeletons

In keeping with the time period of the house, he kept few modern conveniences, save for electricity and indoor plumbing.…

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from SiLive.com:
Schaffer’s Tavern: Historic Staten Island restaurant is closing

By Pamela Silvestri

on September 14, 2016 at 1:22 PM, updated September 15, 2016 at 11:00 AM

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Rumors have been afloat for more than a year that Schaffer’s Tavern was sold. Well, turns out there’s truth behind the talk.

Pending regulatory and Buildings Department approvals, Victory State Bank is taking over a long-term lease of the historic space at 2055 Victory Blvd. in Meiers Corners.

Construction of a new building will begin in early 2017, according to Joe LiBassi, Victory’s founder and chairman. When that happens, proprietor Winky Schaffer and his family will retire from the restaurant business.

A final day of Schaffer’s Tavern service has not been announced.

SOLID ROOTS ON STATEN ISLAND

Back in March, when rumors ran rampant of a bank taking over the spot, Schaffer shrugged off the chatter as he tended bar. He couldn’t complain about business and admitted it’s been a great stretch — 83 years in Meiers Corners — making the place the longest-running family-owned eatery on Staten Island.

Photos: A look at the enduring appeal of Staten Island's Schaffer's Tavern

Photos: A look at the enduring appeal of Staten Island’s Schaffer’s Tavern

Schaffer’s Tavern, the longest running family-owned restaurant in the borough, celebrates its 80th year

“Hello, my friend! How ya doin’?” said Winky back on that balmy spring day. He reached over to the side to shake hands with a patron, then took back to his spot behind the taps filling chilled mugs with beer.

There’s a lot of history within these knotted pine walls, many fond memories of families and neighborhood “good people” types, Schaffer has said.

And, the story of Schaffer’s goes like this: Winky’s grandfather, George, had a speakeasy, located at the top of Jewett Avenue at Victory Boulevard in the 1920s. (That’s where a Burger King is now.) When Prohibition ended, George opened Schaffer’s in its current building (2055 Victory Boulevard) purchased in 1933. The structure resembles a Bavarian tavern with its flower boxes and roof line.

Winky manages the restaurant with sons Chad and Troy. Some of the family members live in two apartments upstairs.

On Tuesday, waitress Mary Karpeles shuttled to tables Schaffer’s famed pastrami and separate platter of tender, brown sauce-topped fresh sliced ham served with string beans and mashed potatoes. She’s been a server at the restaurant for over 30 years and knows customers by name.

Other long-time employees are held in high esteem like the Schaffers’ late bartenders — Ed Cicci, Ed Lunny, Peter Barquin, Charles “Cookie” Farley, Ed Noonen — who are memorialized in the front room.

THE FEEL OF SCHAFFER’S

Detail inside the two-room tavern include ceramic tile floors and auburn woodwork, both original to Schaffer’s. Only the bar has changed: Seventeen years ago, a fire damaged a mantle that hung over the space and subsequently a carpenter named Joe Tuite built a new back-bar.

Other traditions in the place include small jars or bowls of hot red peppers and vinegar-pickled green tomatoes, potato pancakes and sauteed red cabbage.…

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Four Staten Island properties designated as landmarks

By Rachel Shapiro on June 28, 2016 at 4:17 PM, updated June 28, 2016 at 7:25 PM

The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously to designate as New York City landmarks the George William and Anna Curtis House at 234 Bard Avenue; the St. John’s Protestant Episcopal Church Rectory at 1331 Bay Street in Clifton; the 92 Harrison Street House; and the Prince’s Bay Lighthouse.

They were among seven Staten Island properties that were on a short list of backlogged buildings that were “prioritized for designation” by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

George William and Anna Curtis House

The house was built in 1859 in the style of a pattern-book-inspired Italianate style country residence. It was the home of George William Curtis, a distinguished author, editor, essayist and lecturer. He addressed major political issues of the time, such as slavery, women’s suffrage and civil service reform. His wife, Anna Curtis, was active in local organizations and came from a like-minded family of reformists.

St. John’s Rectory

St. John’s Protestant Episcopal Church Rectory is located at 1331 Bay Street in Clifton, and is an early free-standing Queen Anne style residence. The church was formally organized on September 23, 1843, at the home of William B. Townsend, to serve the needs of the Protestant Episcopal worshipers in Clifton. A new rectory, located to the south of the church, was built in 1881-1882 by the builder John W. Winmill. The church was built from 1869 to 71.

92 Harrison Street

The house at 92 Harrison Street is a 2 ½ story, wood-framed building in the Greek Revival style. It was built around 1853-54 for Richard G. Smith, most likely as an investment property. It’s located on a large lot at the corner of Harrison and Quinn Streets, making it a focal point of the neighborhood. It is one of 10 houses built on Harrison Street prior to 1860, and represents the first period of development as the Stapleton area was transitioning into a denser community.

Prince’s Bay Lighthouse

The Prince’s Bay Lighthouse is one of New York City’s oldest surviving lighthouse complexes, built in 1864. Historically known as the Red Bank Lighthouse, it is located on the shore of Prince’s Bay and stands on one of the highest bluffs on the southern shoreline, overlooking Raritan Bay. The designation also consists of the two-story brownstone Keeper’s House, built in 1868 next to the lighthouse and connected by a 15-foot long passageway; and the one-story fieldstone Carriage House, built in 1869, west of the Keeper’s House.…

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Photo flashback: Whatever happened to Honeywood, Staten Island?

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

from SiLive.com: http://www.silive.com/timecapsule/2016/06/whatever_happened_to_honeywood_community_on_staten_island.html#incart_river_home

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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