Thursday, May 22, 2014

Moving Right Along - Van Duzer Trolley Tracks Again

Looking north on Van Duzer Street from corner of Beach Street - 1926 vs. today

The building on the right side was still standing when I was a kid. On the Beach Street side (unseen) was a dry cleaners and a pet store. We'd always stop and look in the window on the way up from shopping in Stapleton.

northeast corner of Van Duzer and Beach Streets 1926 vs. today 
Roulston's was a Brooklyn based grocery store chain that collapsed when the owner died.

looking north along Van Duzer from the corner of Prospect Street
1923 vs. today
That large building on the right is indeed the long gone German Club (along with the Germans of Staten Island). I was told that the large hall was where the giant painting of Christ's ascension behind the altar at Trinity Lutheran was prepared there as it was the only available place big enough at the time.

Close up detail and 1917 map.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Midland Railroad Company Trolley Tracks - Van Duzer Street - part 1

I haven't posted much on this site over the past few years because it's become hard to find the sorts of things that interest me. I've used up most of the decent pictures on the NYPL site pertaining to the North Shore, and I'm too lazy busy to spend time going through the microfiche at the St. George Library of the WPA pictures.

That said, I've become invigorated lately to try and do more (thanks, Mr. Cancemi!). I don't want this site and it's attendant facebook group to die, so I was hit by a strong urge to do some research today.

I've discovered that entering a street name into the NYC Archives can lead to some exciting things. Today, I uncovered a huge cache of pictures showing the track of the Midland Railroad Company's Midland Beach Line along Van Duzer Street. They're from between 1921 and 1925 and show some remarkable stuff.

I'm going to put up the first batch today and the rest over the next few weeks. Zoomed in, there's some incredible detail and I want highlight that. I think one of them shows the German Club that I've read about but never actually seen before. Another has the original Staten Island Academy/Elk's Club. This is some great stuff.

Looking at Water Street from the foot of Wright Street

In the 1926 photo on the left you can see the bulk of the original PS 14 rising up above the library. It's interesting how much remains. In the contemporary picture you can't seen the abomination wrought on the Stapleton Library. Forget the hideous glass extension. The beautiful columned entrance with its heavy wooden door has been closed off. The disregard for the original structure is astonishing.

Looking up Wright Street 1. 1926   r. 2014

This is one of my favorite discoveries today. I had no idea what Wright Street looked like whatsoever. Even when I was a kid none of these buildings in the foreground existed. The left corner was occupied by an ugly box of a building that upstairs housed, first, the Golden Cue pool hall, and second, Wright Toy & Hobby. Later Ross Cosmetics used the space.

Van Duzer Street 
looking north from the top of Wright Street. l. 1926 r. 2014

The mansion on the left and many of the storefronts on the right still exist nearly unchanged. I wish the block didn't look quite as shabby as it does, but it's still one of my favorite. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention the trolley tracks visible in the roadbed in each of the old timey photos. 

So that's part one. The next posts will take us north along Van Duzer with stops at most of the cross streets along the way. I hope you enjoy the trip.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Daniel Low Terrace Beauties

I've seen this post card for years now but I never took the ten minutes or so to figure out exactly where these two house were. I just did and happily learned they're still there and in pretty good shape. 

The house on the left appears to have been very well preserved and kept looking very close to how it appeared when it was first built.

The house on the right, while still very nice, has been changed a lot. The central tower has been chopped down and the front exterior staircase removed. The two porches have been enclosed and covered with inappropriate looking tile roofing. It's also been covered with terrible mark of modernity, siding. 

On the other hand, the simple wooden fence in the postcard has been replaced with a very attractive stone wall. So it's got that going for it.