Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Stapleton Chinese Restaurant (and it's NOT Tung Bo)

97-99 Water Street, Stapleton - 1931

When I was a kid Chinese restaurants were not that common and many tended to be of the Jade Island "Polynesian" variety. Today, of course, they're everywhere and some are quite good. My first memory of eating in one was in Stapleton in the very early seventies. It struck my five year old self as very exotic and very great. I remember the food was like nothing I had had ever had before and I liked it.

You can't see the restaurant's name but you can see the wonderful Chinese-style awning and the curtains and decorations on the second floor window in detail.

I can't remember it's name right now, but it was originally located up on the second floor of a building on Water Street in Stapleton two store fronts down from the the late and lamented Woolworths.

At some point it moved half a block away to Beach Street and remained there into the eighties. Eventually it closed and was replaced by a hair salon. You can still see the outline of the Chinese style entrance and small windows that marked it's existence.

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NOTE: I'd like to know more about the history of Chinese-Americans on Staten Island. Growing up I didn't encounter too many but from my readings I know that at one point there were like a dozen Chinese laundries on Jersey Street with more about the Island. The restaurant above was opened in at lest 1931 and remained open for more than fifty years. That's a remarkable history. I'd like to know who these immigrants were, what drew them here and what happened to them.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

John Barry RIP

He did tons and tons of great music but it's going to be the Bond stuff that people will most remember. The swagger in the music complements Sean Connery's Bond perfectly. And it really sort of swings.

Gary Moore - RIP

I wasn't a particular fan of his solo work but with Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy he burned up the stage.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Rorengo House

The Home of Domenico Rorengo (according to 1917 maps) - pictured in 1932

Here's a interesting home that once stood at the end of Buchanan Street where it used to intersect with York Avenue. I've meant to get this picture up for some time now but my usual predilection for wasting time let to not doing that.

Recently I received a lengthy and informative e-mail from a reader, Richard M., who grew up in Hamilton Park from the 50s through the 70s. I plan to make as much use of the information he sent me as possible for this and future posts.

Apparently, according to my new information, while the original source of Domenico Rorengo's money is not known, what is known is that he lost it in the market crash of 1929. His family held onto to the property but ultimately lost it in the 40s.

The house in the picture was damaged by fire in the 50s but remained occupied by a neighborhood character known as "the captain" through the 70s. If anyone has anymore information on THAT, feel free to drop me line.

Today the property is filled with town houses built in the past decade or so. I think perhaps the grade of the present site is the same as that in the picture but beyond that nothing remains.

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