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. 

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