Tooling about the interweb this morning I discovered ANOTHER amazing NYC provided resource. It's the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives and has photos of what existed on the land prior to the construction of housing projects. It's also got mayoral archives for the LaGuardia, Wagner, Beame,and Koch administrations (where's Impelliteri?) but I'm more interested in the housing stuff at the moment.
Go to the NYC Housing Authority tab on the left and click it. Then put in the neighborhood you wish to look at and away you go. There's not a whole lot for Staten Island but what's there is worthwhile. It's also depressing to read that the neighborhood at the foot of Jersey Street filling the present footprint of the Richmond Terrace Houses was "a neighborhood considered for demolition long before the housing project was built"
Cleveland Street, New Broghton - part of the aforementioned places eyed for destruction. And it was.
Public housing is one of the greatest failures of the 20th century liberal statist dream for the future. The laudable goal of alleviating the horrendous conditions in many urban slums was murdered by construction monstrous human hives. Working, existing neighborhoods were eliminated and replaced with oversized unnatural constructions. That many are being torn down only attests to their failure a mere two or three generations after their completion.