Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Let It Begin! - Stapleton Projects Project Part One - Lost Stapleton

I mentioned on Facebook in the group North Shore Staten Island Stuff about my hope of recreating the neighborhoods lost to the construction of the various NYCHA housing projects across the North Shore in the early sixties. Because it's my home, because I'm getting reinvolved in community affairs, I'm starting with Stapleton.

The backstreets of Stapleton, over ten blocks of detached homes, small apartments, and a few commercial operations were demolished in order to build the Stapleton Houses. They were completed in 1962 and are the largest public housing complex on Staten Island with over 2,000 tenants.

While the area had some buildings in poor condition, there is no way it could really be thought of as blighted. But the city is its infinite wisdom decreed it so and up went the terraced towers that still loom over Broad Street today.

As I learn more I'll speak more about the nature of what was there in the region bounded by Broad, Tompkins, Hill, and Warren. For now, I'm just going to start putting up pictures.
Caveat - These pictures are from the WPA property photos and were taken between 1939 and 1941. Things may have drastically changed over the ensuing twenty years before the projects were built.

Tompkins Street btw Patten (Custer) and Clarker

(make sure you click on the pictures to enlarge them)

1917 map

1917 map smaller scale

So there's the first round of lost homes and businesses. I'm not sure I can ever quite forgive the mid-century urban planners who thought they could "fix" cities by destroying existing neighborhoods and packing people into high rises.

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