This bridge changed everything on Staten Island, changing it from a rural area of small towns and open spaces and farms (which I recall) to one of suburbia. I remember going to Fort Wadsworth with my family in the early 1960s to check the progress of the building of the bridge. The fort is now open to the public, and it is managed by the National Park Service and is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area.
Staten Island was a Tory area during the American Revolution. However, I read an account that said Americans were standing in the area of the picture above when British ships left New York after losing the revolution. Apparently the British fired a shot at the new citizens of America as they were yellling insults at the departing soldiers and sailors of their former country.
The South Beach branch is close by this scene.