Lemon Creek, Staten Island

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Looking upstream

Lemon Creek is a stream located on the South Shore of Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City. It is one of the few remaining ground-level creeks in New York City.

Name[edit]

Known in 1830 as Seguine's Creek, for a prominent local family, this body of water was referred to as the Little North River in 1895. Shortly thereafter, it began to be called Lemon Creek, although the origin of the name is not known.[1]

Course[edit]

Lemon Creek emerges from a conduit under Rossville Avenue[2] and flows into Porzio's Pond, located north of the intersection of Woodrow Road and Maguire Avenue.[3] Water from the pond reaches Lemon Creek both above ground and underground.[4] Flowing generally southward, near the intersection of Drumgoole Road West and Maguire Avenue, Sandy Brook empties into the creek. This small stream now originates just south of Sharrotts Road and east of the West Shore Expressway. Lemon Creek continues southward under the Korean War Veterans Parkway and Drumgoole Roads, and begins to widen among marshes south of the Staten Island Railway. The creek turns eastward and passes under Bayview Avenue, then southward again. Just above its mouth, it receives a tributary from the east draining Wolfe's Pond, which is located within a city park of the same name. A marina and boat moorings are located here. Immediately below, it empties into Prince's Bay, part of Raritan Bay, just off the corner of Bayview Avenue and Johnston Terrace.

Throughout its above-ground length, Lemon Creek is generally regarded as the boundary between the South Shore neighborhoods of Prince's Bay and Pleasant Plains. Its watershed covers about 2 mi² (5.2 km²).[5]

Geology[edit]

The Lemon Creek watershed lies within the terminal moraine crossing Staten Island.[6] The lower reaches of the creek, below the Staten Island Railway, are bordered by extensive marshes, the largest and most pristine on the south shore of Staten Island.[4] This area includes both salt marsh and the only tidal freshwater marsh on Staten Island.[5]

History[edit]

The creek first appears in recorded history in 1670, as one of the boundaries of a 140 acre (56.7 ha) grant of land to Paulus Regrenier. The Abraham Manee Homestead may encompass Regrenier's original dwelling.[7]

Clams were once abundant at the mouth of the creek, in Prince's Bay.[8] The oysters harvested there were once a delicacy exported to London,[1] and the export of oysters helped make the fortune of the local Seguine family.[7] However, shellfishing ceased in the area in the 1920s due to an outbreak of typhoid fever traced to Raritan Bay oysters. However, while non-commercial clamming is still forbidden due to pollution, commercial clamming is permitted if the clams are transplanted into clean water before harvest, and the Lemon Creek marina is again a base for clamming vessels.[9]

Natural resources[edit]

Lemon Creek Park[edit]

Southern part of park

Much of the creek below Hylan Boulevard, and a long strip of shoreline to the west, is part of the 105.77 acre (42.80 ha) Lemon Creek Park, established in 1962. The park includes the Seguine family mansion.[1] The northern, wooded portion of the park forms the 15.99 acre (6.47 ha) Lemon Creek Park Preserve.[4] Wolfe's Pond and its source, Wolfe Brook, comprise the 341.33 acre (138.13 ha) Wolfe's Pond Park.[10] The upper reaches of Lemon Creek, and most of Sandy Brook flow through Bloomingdale Park, 138.67 acres (56.12 ha).[11]

Animals[edit]

The marshes along the lower creek provide a home for waterfowl such as Swans, Mallards, and Black Ducks, and a refuge for migrating birds, as well as monarch butterflies.[1] Lemon Creek Park is also home to the only purple martin colony in New York City,[5][12] popular among local birdwatchers.[13]

In the center of the marshes on the lower creek is Ziel's Island, also known as Crab Island for the fiddler crabs and blue crabs that live there.[12] Clams are commercially harvested off the mouth of the creek, and various marine fish can be caught from a fishing pier at the mouth of the creek.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Lemon Creek Park Historical Sign". Retrieved 2007-01-12. 
  2. ^ "Forgotten New York: Lemon Creek". Retrieved 2007-01-12. 
  3. ^ "Public Notice of Application to Discharge Fill Material" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-01-13. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b c d "Lemon Creek Park Preserve". Retrieved 2007-01-12. 
  5. ^ a b c "Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat Rating, Lemon Creek" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-01-13. 
  6. ^ "The Geology of Staten Island". Retrieved 2007-01-12. 
  7. ^ a b "The Abraham Manee House - Another S.I. Landmark at Risk". Preservation League News (Preservation League of Staten Island). December 1997. Retrieved 2007-01-13. 
  8. ^ Brahn, Arleen McNamara (Winter–Spring 2000). "Simple Childhood Memories". Staten Island Historian 17. Archived from the original on 2006-11-24. Retrieved 2007-01-13. 
  9. ^ "Clamming off Staten Island". Retrieved 2007-01-13. 
  10. ^ "Wolfe's Pond Park". Retrieved 2007-01-13. 
  11. ^ "Bloomingdale Park". Retrieved 2007-01-13. 
  12. ^ a b "Lemon Creek Salt Marshes". Retrieved 2007-01-13. 
  13. ^ Crewdson, Michael; Margaret Mittelbach (June 27, 2003). "A Community of People-Watchers". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-13. 

Coordinates: 40°30′46.4″N 74°11′57.6″W / 40.512889°N 74.199333°W / 40.512889; -74.199333