Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sad Ferries

As a native Staten Islander I grew up riding the ferry into Manhattan on a regular basis. Whenever relatives descended on us from New England we'd take them to the museums and shopping and all sorts of touristy jazz. I rode them with my father to see the three real Star Wars movies at the Loew's Astor. Later I took them to college and to work.

The names of those boats still echo in my head: the American Legion, the Gov. Lehman, and the Cornelius Kolf and the Pvt. Merrell. These last two were decommissioned in 1986 and converted into prison barges. Finally they were simply sold for scrap and ripped apart.

USS Mahan

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Built in 1936 in Mariner's Harbor, Staten Island. The USS Mahan, (DD-364) was the first of the seventy-five destroyers built at the Bethlehem Steel Works. She had a life of only eight years and seems to have served the Navy and the country well. There was even a model made of her.

Bethlehem Steel in Mariner's Harbor

There was a period when Staten Island was an industrial town. In Mariner's Harbor, Bethlehem Steel built destroyers during WW II. They closed up shop in the late fifties but several of the buildings still remain, converted to other uses or simply left to rot.

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The size of this shipyard was huge.

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Buildings on Davidson Street - rotted, rusting remnants

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Buildings at Andros and Richmond Terrace - the building on the extreme right's been converted into a mosque.

Cool Page - Staten Island Air Field

Just tooling around I found this cool looking site dedicated to lost or forgotten air fields and there's a page about State Island. Nifty.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Dom Deluise, RIP

Forever a sideman to Burt Reynolds and a minor player in things like "Sherlock Holmes Younger Brother", Dom Deluise was one funny, funny man. RIP

Here's the funniest clip from a not really good movie (but I did pay to see it at the old Hylan Movie Theater, I think) with him and Gilda Radner.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Lost Richmond Terrace

Last year in posting a picture of Richmond Terrace I realized that I was seeing a lost series of tenements and shops along it where it meets Jersey Street and the Richmond Terrace Projects are now located. There were also buildings along the water side of the Terrace now occupied by tall grass and bits of rubble.

Some later time I was asking my aunt about going to movie theaters when she was a kid and she remembered going to one down by Jersey Street with my grandmother in order to get something at some giveaway or another. Eventually taking her information and the various bits and pieces I'd come across this past year I determined that my aunt's theater was located on Richmond Terrace at the foot of Jersey Street.

A quick trip to the St. George Library and the WPA photo archive turned up the following pictures. From top to bottom there's the Star Theater and the shops to its left (west) along the Terrace circa 1939.

Here's what's there today -

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I'm sure there's a good reason for the loss of these buildings and the replacement of shops and homes with ant hive-like projects but all these years later I imagine the builders might have second thoughts.

A Belated Return - Missing Churches of Port Richmond

So last November and December I did several postings on the churches of Port Richmond. I chose the neighborhood because it's got the largest single collection of churches in any neighborhood on Staten Island that I'm aware of. The churches are also an interesting bunch of old, new and inbetween. Several have changed denomination and most have seen some sort of demographic shift as the borough and Port Richmond in particular have changed over the past forty years.

Unfortunately, I left a some out. One was recently shown as a "lost church" and the other I just forgot about at the time. Unfortunately, I also never posted a picture of the original building used by the Norwegian Lutherans (later Zion Lutheran) for their Sunday school before forming a full congregation and church and now I've discovered it's been torn down. Oh, well.

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Mt. Calvary Holy Church - Dubois Avenue (behind the Castleton Depot)
This was the original location of the El Bethel Assembly of God (that means Pentecostal) now located on Jewett by Victory Blvd.

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Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Last month I put up a picture of this, the present church, and the pretty little Mediterranean one long gone a replace with the parish school's parking lot.