Thursday, December 15, 2016

Port Richmond Project Part 7: (Port) Richmond Avenue between Richmond Terrace and the railroad overpass

Today we'll starting moving up (Port) Richmond Avenue's west side, starting at Richmond Terrace. This post will go up to the old railroad overpass. There are a few pictures that are very dark to the point of obscurity. I've included them anyway because, well, just because. The first is of the Port Richmond Dutch Reformed Church and the other of a house that no longer exists.

The Port Richmond National Bank building is still one of the most attractive commerical edifices on the island. I suppose these palaces of capitalism were intended to reassure and awe the customers. Just walk into the old Staten Island Savings building in Stapleton to see what I mean.
Unfortunately, this building (examined in this earlier post) looks to be vacant and possibly abandoned. If Port Richmond were to ever experience a revitalization, this would be a beautiful building restored.

What can I say about the Port Richmond Reformed Church? It's one of the oldest churches and oldest congregations on Staten Island. I've never been inside, which I should rectify some day. 

 This one's gone as is the house in the background - seen, barely, below

1917 Map - the three linked buildings, 90, 91, and 92, weren't built yet. Even the bank was as big as it is today.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Stapleton Projects Project - Part Thirteen - Cedar St btw the old ball field and Tompkins St, Tompkins St btw Cedar St and Tompkins Ave, and Tompkins Ave btw Tompkins St. and the old ball field

Today this entire block is covered by baseball fields. The residential buildings look a little run down in these ca. 1940 shots. I don't have anything to say, except, enojy the pictures.

 While the service station is clearly shown on the 1917 map, the following two aren't. However, by comparing the buildings in the background to other pictures, I can safely figure out where the first, the garage, was. To see this, go to this post and look at the buildings marked D and E. The garage can be seen on the right hand side of the third building, the one with the Horn Paint sign on front.

Sorry about the quality of this picture. 

1917 tax map


Thursday, December 08, 2016

The Stapleton Projects Project - Part Twelve - Hill Street between Warren Street and the old ball field

Hill Street formed the southern boundary of the lost backstreets and it still exists today. Between the projects and I.S. 49, nothing remains of the homes that onced lined the short stretch. Unlike most of the other streets I've resurrected, Hill Street's buildings are all residential. Not an especially interesting observation, but I just thought I'd point it out.

North side of Hill Street

South side of Hill Street

1917 Street Map

Aerial View from today

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Port Richmond Project Part 6: (Port) Richmond Avenue between Bennett and Vreeland Streets

Here's another block of stores on (Port) Richmond Avenue. Between roughly 1939 and today it's become more than a little tattered. In the past there were nice, big, uncluttered display windows and attractive, striped awnings. Attractive architectural details, liked the zig-zag line of bricks, weren't obscured by ugly signage. So, here you go.

As late as 2007, Oven Baked was still in business

postcard of same building from some years later

Saturday, December 03, 2016

The Stapleton Projects Project - Part Eleven - Cedar Street between McKeon Street and the old baseball field and south side of McKeon between Clarke and Cedar

Back into the back streets today, with a mostly residential block. It's a mix of single- and multi-family homes. Not much else to say about them, except, these were where people lived, raised families, and then others did the same. Then the city declared it blighted and demolished them.

below - west side of Cedar Street at the old ball field

west side of Cedar St., north of the old ball field

  below - south side of McKeon (Tompkins) Street at the S E corner of Cedar St.

1917 Map of Cedar Street

Approximate positions of houses in above photos and locations of no longer extant streets

Thursday, December 01, 2016

The West Brighton Projects Project: Part Three - Castleton Avenue between State and Broadway and Broadway between Castleton and Market

I'm a startled at my recent burst of energy regarding the various reconstructions I've started of several lost Staten Island neighborhoods. With each new post I've been reminded a little bit more about why I started this: documenting places that have been destroyed or damaged that are worth remembering. 

Staten Islanders talk a lot about the devastation wrought by development on the south shore, and while true, the north shore saw significant troubles as well. Whether it was the urban planners' deciding Stapleton's back streets were "blighted," or Port Richmond's stores falling prey to the Penny's Plaza, the north shore of the past is truly past. I believe it's worth documenting what that past looked like, if only to remind us, especially now as major development is taking place, that the Island's constantly changing. It's nothing new, it just needs to be handled with an eye toward not letting it look like garbage.


The first two pictures are from the north side of Castleton Avenue between State Street and Broadway. You can see it was very similar to the surrounding stretches of Castleton: commercial spaces with apartments above. 

 NE corner of State and Castleton

NW corner of Castleton and Broadway

The remaining pictures are of the west side of Broadway between Castleton and Market Street. Off the main thoroughfare, we get something we've seen a lot of these posts, a heterogeneous mix of stores and housing. There was even an attached house on the corner of Market Street (#04).

The biggest, saddest thing I'm taking away from the projects projects is that existing neighborhoods were declared blighted. They were then wiped out and replaced with mono-zoned high density buildings. Now, fifty-five years later, these neighborhoods are far more blighted and run down than they were before the housing projects. It's almost as if the urban planners decided to corral as many poor people as possible into a single location and then forgot about them.