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Blog Posts by Subject: Staten Island

Staten Island Yankees

Spring has sprung, and for many of us that means the beginning of the baseball season. A few years ago, a ballpark, named Richmond County Ballpark at St. George, was built right next to the Staten Island Ferry terminal. It is the home of the Staten Island Yankees, a Class A minor league team of the New York Yankees. They play a short season (this year from June 17 to September 6). Prices for tickets are cheap; in past years they have been in the $10 range for the best seats. Food prices are cheaper than the major leagues, but not as inexpensive as one might hope, at least in my 

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Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

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 

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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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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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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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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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