Fort Wadsworth, a military base that was active for 200 hundred years (1783 – 1994) is now part of the National Park Service’s Gateway National Recreation Area. Its 226 acres include the old remains of the Forts themselves as well as park areas, beach, wooded areas, wildlife, and modern housing. The Verrazano Narrows Bridge, which spans the Narrows, extends over the Fort and seems almost within touching distance.
The original Fort still stands, although Battery Weed and Fort Tompkins are the only buildings where interior tours of the concrete and stone artillery batteries can be arranged. The old slitted gunnery windows overlooking the Narrows, and the labyrinth of tunnels, artillery, and powder rooms give a bleak, somber perspective of the lives of soldiers guarding New York Harbor.
St.George is a waterfront town steeped in Staten Island’s history.It plays a prominent role in New York Harbor’s maritime industry and was the site of a British fort during the Revolutionary War. It is the Island’s seat of government and its architectural and cultural hub.
Borough Hall, a French Renaissance brick building directly across the street from the waterfront St. George Ferry Terminal, became the seat of Staten Island government in 1898. Inside the marble lobby are a series of hand painted murals depicting Staten Island historical events.
Clustered in close proximity to Borough Hall is the gleaming glass and copper New York State Supreme Courthouse and the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George.
The Ballpark at St. George is home to the Staten Island Yankees.The sails at its entrance are inspired by the Staten Island Ferry and the St. George Ferry Terminal, less than a 5 minute walk.
These attractions and many more are waiting to be seen, less than a five minute walk from the Staten Island Ferry in St. George, Staten Island.
Postcards is a permanent memorial honoring the 274 Staten Island residents killed on September 11th 2001. It is located on the St. George Esplanade near the Staten Island Ferry and Richmond County Bank Ballpark. Designed by Masayuki Sono, its two winglike sculpture represent postcards to loved ones. It looks out onto the New York harbor and the World Trade Center. Inside are 274 plaques and profiles carved in the likenesses of each of the Staten Island victims.
I always felt that the sculpture represents the wings of angels reaching out to those who lost their lives. Walk between the stone structures, and you will see the carved silhouettes of each victim in profile, chiseled into granite for eternity. It is a powerfully sobering experience to stand inside and look at each face.
Thousands of people from all over the world lost their lives on that fateful day. Because so many Islanders took the Staten island Ferry each day to work at the World Trade Center, Staten Island lost a disproportionately large number of lives. It is a terrible legacy and Staten Island will Never Forget.
I go to Lemon Creek Park to lose the world on what looks like a private island passed onto by a wooden bridge. The point where the creek lets out into Prince’s Bay is known as Crab Island. This is a waterfront spot for solitude, where you can pass from trees to lakes to beach without seeing a soul. A few people from the neighborhood come at night after work to walk through this peaceful almost-island. I find that it most beautiful at night, when the only lights are from the houses across the bay. In the background, you can see the steeple of the old Church of Joachim and St. Anne, part of the Mount Loretto Unique Area campus. The baptism scene of The Godfather was filmed on the Church’s steps.
Lemon Creek includes fresh water and salt water marshland that ends at the Bay, wooded areas, and wildlife that includes rare bird species like the purple martin colony. Its waterfront area provides a spawning ground for many species of fish and shellfish.
Primarily a fishing village at first, Prince’s Bay oysters were so famous in the nineteenth century that “Prince’s Bay Oysters” could often be found on menus at the finest seafood restaurants in London, Paris, and New York. Local legend has it that a British prince, the Duke of Nassau (later William III, co-reigned as William and Mary), anchored a vessel in the bay at the foot of today’s Seguine Avenue, because he believed that the oysters had aphrodisiacal properties.
The beach is tranquil, with shades of blue and green. I am nearly alone, as I begin to take photos. The only sounds are wind, water and the seagulls. The waterfront stretches out for 2 miles. Later on, I walk through tree-lined paths to Crooke’s Point, which was once a private island.Out in the distance, the Atlantic Ocean and Sandy Hook NJ.When the sun begins to set, I turn towards the bay and the boat marina.
Part of the National Park System (NPS), Great Kills Park, Staten Island is 580 acres of beaches, woodlands, and salt marshes.There are walking trails, jogging and biking paths, sports fields, playgrounds, the swimming beach, fishing, nature trails, and a public boat launch. There is a model airplane field! Birdwatchers love this place, with its diverse habitats for numerous species of birds. Fishermen cast reels at the Crooke’s Point, the southerly tip of the beach area.
Great Kills Harbor, located within the 580 acre park, is a man-made harbor. The harbor is a picture-perfect spot for boating, sailing, and glorious sunsets. The marinas, with more than 250 slips, attract boat owners from all over the east coast. Photography lovers like myself are drawn to Great Kills Park. Staten Islanders often pull in after work to connect with nature and watch the wild colors of the sunset.
On a secluded street in the old town of Rosebank, the stone grottos of Our Lady of Mount Carmel sit in the yard of the Society of Mount Carmel lodge. It was designed and built by Italian-American lodge members, who were stone masons and laborers. Built as a memorial to a deceased child, the men used the only materials they had: concrete, stones, and metal. They inlaid their creation with seashells, marbles, and bits of glass picked up from streets. Could these artisans have imagined that their stone creation would one day be landmarked?
Not to be missed, the grottos are a spectacular piece of Staten Island folklorica; a peaceful space where “All Are Welcome.”