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Posts from Tottenville Library

Book Discussion of "The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri

Tottenville Branch had a book discussion last night on The Namesake. It went very well, but wasn’t quite as lively as last month’s discussion of Running With Scissors! The group liked The Namesake, and were sympathetic to the characters, by and large, and their difficulties in adapting to American culture, and being caught between India and the U.S., especially for the second generation character, Gogol, who is the main character of 

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Book Discussion at Tottenville Branch

It is hard to believe that we are almost half way through the 2008-09 book discussion at the Tottenville Branch. Tonight we will be discussing All My Sons by Arthur Miller. It is the first time in a long time that we have read a play, so it will be interesting to see how the group reacts. In some ways the play seems to me to be dated, although it is about an issue, manufacturing shoddy military machinery and war profiteering in the U.S. during 

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Book Discussion at Tottenville Branch, Staten Island

The Tottenville Branch will be having a book discussion of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert this coming Monday, November 17 at 7:00PM. Come join us! We ask only that you have read the book to take part in the discussion.

The Tottenville Branch is located at 7430 Amboy Road, Staten Island, NY 10307, and the phone number is 718-984-0945.

We will be discussing The Secret Life of 

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Main Street, Tottenville, Staten Island, New York

Main Street, Tottenville, Staten Island, N.Y. [close view of shops and ad sign for Horton's Ice Cream, people in front of store under awning, old car in street]

Main Street is about a block away from the Tottenville Branch Library. The street looks very different today!

Image and Caption From NYPL Digital Gallery

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Bethel Methodist Church, Tottenville

I found these pictures at

The original Bethel Church in Tottenville burned down in 1886 and was re-built and dedicated the next year. There is a history of the church in Tottenville In Retrospect by Benjamin Franklin Joline, which is at the Tottenville Branch. When the church moved to its present location, pictured above, some members felt it was too far away from the heart of Tottenville, and they broke away to start another Methodist 

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A New Way to See Staten Island

So far, Staten Island trolley tours are filling up by Staten Island Advance Thursday July 10, 2008, 12:38 PM  Hilton Flores/Staten Island Advance Tourists and Staten Islanders alike took time yesterday to take the 55-minute tour of the borough, which is free this week. On a day when the haze turned Manhattan's famous skyline into so many ghostly, jagged silhouettes -- obviating the reason so many tourists hop the ferry to Staten Island before making their typical, quickie U-turn -- a red trolley idling in the downstairs parking lot yesterday beckoned the uninitiated to venture 

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WaFoo will be performing at the Tottenville Branch Library, 7430 Amboy Road, Staten Island, NY 10307, phone number 718-984-0945 this coming Saturday, July 12 at 2:30PM.

WaFoo, literally meaning "wind of Japan" or simply "Japanese style," is a group of talented musicians who have performed in many different countries across the world. WaFoo blends Japanese philosophy into a variety of music styles to create a lyrical, aesthetic and delightful sound to help regain energy for body and soul.

"WaFoo's amalgam of 

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The Flag of Staten Island

Even though I have read about this flag, I don’t recall ever seeing this being flown anyplace on Staten Island. I think some people think the big hill in the background is the garbage dump. And seagulls? Not the most beautiful or noble bird in the world! Somewhat of a scavenger, I believe. Maybe it is just as well it isn’t flown anyplace!

Some history:

Flag Description From: Staten Island Chamber of Commerce

OFFICIAL FLAG OF STATEN ISLAND: The flag is on a white background in the center of 

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Staten Island OutLOUD

This is a wonderful Staten Island nonprofit organization. I’ve attended a few of their events, and they have always been interesting and fun! The below information is from their website, which is at:

What is Staten Island OutLOUD? Staten Island OutLOUD is a grass-roots dialogue and performance project. Several times a month, we present free gatherings in community settings throughout Staten Island. We gather to read aloud to one another from a variety of world classics and other compelling 

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So I’ve been a card-carrying (Metropolitan Opera Guild card) opera fan for about 15 years. I’ve probably spent way too much time and money on this interest, but it has been worth it. Opera is a fabulous art form—singing, music, drama, and sometimes dance, all rolled into one (although anti-opera-ists say those things are all done poorly. Somethimes that’s true, but when all elements are working, nothing beats it, in my opinion).

Also, did you know you can get into the Metropolitan Opera for a perfomance 

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The Dump


...and today!

OK, so this is the thing about which just about all Staten Islanders, no matter what their background or politics, have over the years been least proud. The Fresh Kills Landfill (or as we used to call it, “the dump,”) closed on March 22, 2001, certainly in part as a reward from then mayor Rudy Giuliani to Staten Island for its political support.

The dump opened up in 1948 and was supposed to be temporary. It grew to be by most accounts the largest garbage dump in the world.

I had the pleasure(?!) of 

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Rural Readers from Staten Island, New York

Caption: After School at Kreischerville: children lined up at librarian’s table behind bookwagon (ca. 191--ca. 192-).

Kreischerville is the next town north of Tottenville, but today it is called Charleston. Kreischerville was named after the owner of a brickyard, an industry that once thrived here as the clay-type soil here was good for making bricks. Some of the excavations were filled in by water and today are called Clay Pit Ponds. 

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Almer G. Russell Pavilion, Tottenville, Staten Island, New York

This is an an email I received from the President of the Tottenville Historical Society:

“I received a note today from long-time Tottenville resident Gordon Ekstrand, who is also Past Post Commander of the local American Legion, Beauvais-Hudson Post No. 126. He writes:

“I have been working since November 2006 to have the Borough Commissioner of Parks Thomas Paulo erect a new sign at the Pavilion next to Conference House Park. I called his 

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The Devil in the White City

The Tottenville Book Discussion group met this past Monday night to discuss The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. We had a pretty good discussion, but I think I liked the book a whole lot more than most of the group. They liked it, but they didn’t think it was fabulous like I did. It was one of the best books I have read in a long time, and I loved how he interwove the story of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and of the serial killer, H.H. Holmes. (This is a nonfiction book that read like 

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Staten Island Hospital

OK, so I admit the link of  this picture to the Tottenville Branch is tenuous–it is geographically far from Tottenville, but this is where the Tottenville Branch librarian (me) was born! Sadly, the building is unoccupied and in a very dilapidated state. After Staten Island Hospital moved to its new location (sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s) this building was converted into an apartment building, but it went bankrupt after a few years. Some squatters occupied  part of it a few years ago, but they were evicted. I think there are legal issues that keep it from being 

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Outerbridge Crossing, Staten Island

Many people think the name of this bridge is the Outer Bridge, because it is on the outer reaches of Staten Island and NYC.  However, it was named after Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge who was the first chairman of the Port Authority of New York and was a Staten Island resident. (I guess the Outerbridge Bridge would sound too odd.)

The Staten Island side of the bridge is actually in Richmond Valley, the next town to Tottenville, and links the island to 

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Staten Island Side of Tottenville Ferry

New Jersey Side of the Tottenville Ferry

Perth Amboy Tottenville Ferry Slip

The site of ferry service to Staten Island dates to 1684 when the likes of Ben Franklin and the Lenape Indians used its service to traverse the Arthur Kill. The service closed in 1963. The ferry slip was restored in 1998 to its 1904 appearance. A replica of the ticket office has been constructed and used as a small museum.

I’ve never been to Perth Amboy. People tell me it is a nice town. Got to get there one of these days, but I almost always get lost when I drive in New Jersey!

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Tottenville Ferry

The Tottenville Ferry ran between Tottenville and Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Tottenville residents used to shop in Perth Amboy, using the ferry. The ferry went out of service sometime in the 1960s. I have a distinct memory form the early 1960s of my father bringing the family car to a mechanic in Tottenville, and the two of us riding the ferry to Perth Amboy and back again. I don’t know why I remember it; maybe it was just nice spending some “quality” time with just me and my Dad.

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Stadium Theater, Tottenville

This is the Stadium Theater on Main Street in Tottenville. The caption on the photo says 1927 to 1951. El Paso and Alias Nick Beal, the movies on the marquee were released in 1949.  The building, I believe, is now empty, but it was recently a warehouse for furniture, I think. (The marquee is still there.) In 1968-69 it was one of the hot spots on Staten Island, as it was turned into a discotheque, complete with strobe lights. I remember a cover band doing the full-length version of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly. It was really groovy!

For other 

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