Monday, March 28, 2016

Kite Hill and Ward Hill

this is a repost from the site's facebook group, North Shore Staten Island History.

   I don't know where it originated, but the name the kids I grew up with on Cebra and Ward Avenues called the outcrop of rock that rises up above Homer Street and looking out over St. Paul's Avenue is Kite Hill. It was one of those things you did on a summer day, you'd hike up to Nixon Avenue, cut through the empty lot and climb down into the hillside, work your way thru the brambles (which were filled with pheasants), and then climb up Kite Hill. After hanging out for a little while and looking out at the SIRT, the harbor, and Stapleton, you'd go home. A couple of months later you'd do it all over again. 

   Today, just tooling about the net, looking for Statpleton stuff, I found this painting. It wasn't done from Kite Hill, but it's definitely from somewhere on Pavilion Hill (Tompkins Circle). 

   It's described as being painted from Brighton Heights, but I'd stake my Stapleton credibility on that mansion on the left being the Caleb Ward House. 

Hermann Fuechsel (…/hermann-fuechsel/) was a German-American painter and part of the Hudson River School.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Stapleton Projects Project - Part Eight

Moving west along Tompkins Street, we reach between Patten and Clarke Streets. The southside was actually featured in the very first Stapleton Projects Project last year. A mix of commercial and residential buildings, it's typical of the backstreets I've looked at so far.

The northside is mostly residential, but there is the cool looking luncheonette with the Pepsi Cola sign on it. Also, lurking overhead to the right is Horrmann Castle high atop Grymes Hill. 

Today I took my first trip to the new Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor today and learned a terrible bit of backstreets history. Apparently, during the New York City Draft Riots in 1863, white Islanders attacked black residents of McKeon Street. McKeon Street was the original name for Tompkins Street. Nice to know Staten Island got to play its part in one of the city's most ignominious events.

Southside of Tompkins Street between Patten and Clarke Streets, pts. 1, 2, and 3

Northside of Tompkins Street between Patten and Clarke, 
pts. 1 and 2

1917 map showing locations of buildings

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Stapleton Projects Project - Part Seven

So, I already missed posting new pictures last week. I screwed up labeling the ones below and didn't fix it until just now. Sorry about that. 

The obvious standout today is Bennett's Bicycles. Their website says they opened as a general store in Fort Wadsworth before moving to Tompkins Street in the thirties. They stayed there until 1957 when the property was taken as part of the eminent domains proceedings that demolished the back streets, and then were given a check and thirty days to vacate. Good going, NYC!

The rest is the usual mix of houses and apartments. Something I forgot to include last time is the present day map showing where these buildings were originally located.

Tompkins Street between Cedar Street and Tompkins Avenue

1917 street map

Tompkins Street between Clarke Street and Cedar Street

Approximate location of old buildings

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Stapleton Projects Project - Part Six

Clarke Avenue between Tompkins Street and the baseball field

One of the problems in doing this project is the limited resources I have to work with. The maps are from 1917 and the photos from twenty to twenty-five years later, so they don't always match up. During the time between the maps and the photos, some buildings were destroyed and others built. A new building isn't too much trouble, but a missing one is.

All that's to say is, unlike other entries in this series, I can't put together a complete panorama view of the street in question. Still, I do have a nice batch of photos that display the diverse nature of construction in the area: single family houses and apartments of various sizes. Right around the corner on Tompkins Street were stores (follow the link to the very first Projects Project installment to see them). You can also see the front of the dark building with white window frames on the right of the B photo in that installment. It is building a

                         A                            B  

                           C                                    D

                              E                                  F                        




Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The Stapleton Projects Project - Part Five

Time has passed far too quickly, and I've done nothing but accumulate stacks and stacks of electronic pictures and done nothing with them. So here goes, I'm going to try to get a post or two up each week and jumpstart this whole thing.

Broad Street between Tompkins Avenue and Cedar Street

 Here's another example of the typical Broad Street mix of commercial and residential units. So there's a shoe repair shop, a fish market, billiards, a deli, and a beauty parlor. #15 (B) is listed on the 1917 map as the Central Hotel. I can't tell if it's still a hotel or just an apartment building in the photo above, but either ways, it's a pretty large residence for Stapleton.