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Posts from Tottenville Library

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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Did Someone Say Dress Code?

The Tottenville Branch–From NYPL Digital Gallery-No date given.

The branch was renovated in 1993 and has new shelving, but the pattern of the shelving is the same. The chandeliers were gone the first time I clustered at Tottenville in the mid-1980s, replaced by ugly fluorescent lighting. Chandeliers were designed for the renovation. The designers worked from old photos. The circ desk has the same horseshoe shape, but it is in a different position. The front door is to the left of the picture.

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The Conference House, Tottenville


The Conference House, (also known as the Bentley Manor and the Captain Christopher Billop House)was built before 1680 and located near the southern most tip of New York State in Staten Island. It is famous for the Peace Conference held there on September 11, 1776, which unsuccessfully attempted to end the American Revolutionary War. The House, a National and New York City Landmark, is the only pre-Revolutionary manor house still surviving in New York City. It 

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Welcome to Tottenville

Tottenville, area approx. 1.7 square miles (4.4 km²), is the southernmost neighborhood of Staten Island, New York City and New York State. Originally named Bentley Manor by one of its first settlers, Captain Christopher Billop (1638-1726), after the ship on which he sailed to America in 1667, the district was renamed Tottenville in 1869, apparently in honor of Gilbert Totten, a local American Revolutionary War hero. (From Wikipedia)

I drive by this sign everyday on my way to work at the branch!

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Picture of the Tottenville Branch

No, that isn’t a picture of me. (I drive a ‘99 Ford Escort)  Someone said it is one of the earlier branch librarians, but I think it may be a picture of Benjamin F. Joline, a Tottenville town resident who wrote a history of the town. I don’t know what year it is, but would guess somewhere from 1904 to 1920. There are now big trees in front of the branch.

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Book TV on CSPAN2

If I had all the time in the world, I think I would spend every weekend watching every minute of Book TV on CSPAN2. In case you don’t know about it, it is mostly readings and talks by authors of non-fiction books, which are mostly but not entirely related to politics. I find it  fascinating.

Since I don’t have all the time in the world, this past weekend I watched 2 hours worth. One was 

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Book Discussion of “Brighton Rock” by Graham Greene

Had another lively book discussion at the Tottenville branch. I wasn’t sure how the group would receive this one. (Plot summary below.)  While all, including me, pretty much reviled all the characters in this book, the story, and what the characters did and how they acted, made for a good discussion. Even though the description below makes it sound like a standard detective-thriller, it is suffused with moral, philosophical, religious, and spiritual questions.

There was one participant who thought the book was anti-Catholic, but everyone else disagreed. It was about 

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Book Discussion of “The March” by E.L. Doctorow

I led a good book discussion of Doctorow’s “The March” this past Monday night at the Tottenville Branch. It was recommended last year by two of the participants in the group, and I am glad I chose it.  The group liked it a lot, too, which I was glad about, at least in part because there were about 8 new people, and I wasn’t sure how they would receive an historical novel about war. But it worked.

The group liked a lot the character Pearl, who maybe is the main character and who is a half white-half black former slave, who 

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New York Public Library, Tottenville Branch [Part 4]

From the NY City Landmarks Preservation Commission Study that Designated the Tottenville Branch a NY City Landmark, 1995) [Section 4 of 8] 

Carrere & Hastings

John Merven Carrere (1858-1911) was educated in Switzerland before entering the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1877. Thomas Hastings (1860-1929), born in New York, spent a short time at Columbia University before entering the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. The future partners met in Paris, both earned their diplomas–Carrere in 1882, and Hastings in 

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New York Public Library, Tottenville Branch [Part 3]

From the NY City Landmarks Preservation Commission Study that Designated the Tottenville Branch a NY City Landmark, 1995) [Section 3 of 8] 

New York Public Library and Andrew Carnegie

The New York Public Library, a private corporation providing library services under contract to the City of New York, is the product of an amalgamation first of several privately-owned libraries and, later, various free circulating libraries. The consolidation in 1895 of the excellent research facilities of the privately-owned 

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New York Public Library, Tottenville Branch [Part 2]

(From the NY City Landmarks Preservation Commission Study that Designated the Tottenville Branch a NY City Landmark, 1995) [Section 2 of 8] 

The Tottenville Free Library

Early American libraries were associated with churches, towns (or school districts), colleges, or cooperative groups; during the latter half of the nineteenth century, the progressive free public library movement overshadowed those initiatives. On Staten Island, particularly following the Civil War, libraries slowly began to form with the development of 

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New York Public Library, Tottenville Branch [Part 1]

(From the NY City Landmarks Preservation Commission Study that Designated the Tottenville Branch a NY City Landmark, 1995) [Section 1 of 8] 

History of Tottenville

The southwestern tip of Staten Island (Richmond County), once an important Native American habitation site and burial ground, has a recorded history which dates to the 1670s, when Captain Christopher Billopp built a stone manor house (the Billopp or Conference House, a designated New York City Landmark) and initiated ferry service to Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Billopp’s 

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Staten Island Film Festival

The third (I guess you can say annual) Staten Island Film Festival will take place from June 5 to 7, with an awards ceremony on June 8. They are actually changing the name to SINY Film Festival, because “SINY” is being used in other Staten Island promotions.

I didn’t get to attend last year’s (I was in Spain) but I did see about 5 or 6 films in 2006 and about half were really excellent, 2 were just OK and only one was dreadful.

About 75 films will be shown this year in only 3 venues: College of Staten Island, JCC in Seaview, (both deep in 

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“A Walk Around Staten Island”

Last night Channel 13 premiered its latest entry in its walking tours series: A Walk Around Staten Island. Hosted by David Hartman and Barry Lewis, they made their way around Staten Island, and I thought overall it was an accurate and certainly pleasant look at my hometown. There were a few spots that they visited that I am embarassed to say that I have never been to (Alice Austen house, Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art), although I certainly 

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Tottenville’s Architectural Heritage

The Tottenville Historical Society will discuss the findings of the Tottenville Historic Resource Survey, a study of 250+ of the oldest homes and buildings in the community, including the process of dating them using deeds, maps, and, in many cases, by identification of their distinctive architectural details.

The program will begin with a brief slide presentation showing several unique local homes and buildings, followed by a discussion and a question and answer 

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Display by Tottenville Historical Society

The Tottenville Historical Society put together a display titled “We Honor Our Veterans” that is on the display shelf in the branch on the first floor. There is a picture of Civil War Veterans marching in a parade, along with some other pictures. Also included is a program from the dedication of a World War II monument that was on Main Street. I believe that Linda Hauck, the president of the society, said that the monument disappeared when it was sent in for repairs in the 1950s. (It was made out of wood, I 

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Tottenville Historical Society

Yesterday I spoke with Linda Hauck, president of the Tottenville Historical Society, about doing a program at the branch. I attended their annual meeting back in June, and she presented a slide show of historical houses in Tottenville, which was done in conjunction with the Preservation League of Staten Island. At the time I told Linda that I thought this would be a great program to do at the branch, and she agreed. It was a wonderful overview of older homes in the Tottenville area. Stay tuned for more information.

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Tottenville: The Town the Oyster Built

From a letter sent out by the Tottenville Historical Society:

“In 2008, The Tottenville Historical Society and the Preservation League of Staten Island will jointly publish Tottenville: The Town the Oyster Built. A Staten Island Community, Its People, Industry and Architecture. Barnett Shepherd, Staten Island’s noted scholar and author, will write the book.

This comprehensive book will be based on the findings of the Tottenville Historic Resource Survey, a 

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Book Discussion

Tottenville’s first book discussion of the season will be this coming Monday at 7PM. There are still a few copies of the book available if anyone else wants to sign up. The book is The Rules of Engagement by Anita Brookner. It is a fast reading book, so if someone signs up now I’m sure they can finish it by next Monday.

I am looking forward to the discussion. It is a very interesting, although not very happy, story.

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Bake Sale

The Tottenville Branch had a tremendously successful Bake Sale this past Saturday. It included a “bake-off” which had over 10 entries and was judged by one local business owner, one local resident, and one of our pages. Gift certificates from two local business were the prizes. There were a lot of people in the branch, many of whom were here for the first time. The branch added over $300 to the SSG account. The community loved it!

Kudos to all those who helped organize it, especially to Paula Amore and Judy Gifford!

We’ll probably have another 

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