South Beach, Staten Island

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Hoffman Island on left and Swinburne Island on the right as seen from the boardwalk at South Beach, Staten Island
South Beach Psychiatric Center

South Beach is a neighborhood on the East Shore of Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City, USA. It is situated immediately to the south of the Staten Island side of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Directly east of the beach is Hoffman Island, and Swinburne Island. FDNY Engine Company 161/Ladder Company 81 serves South Beach.

History[edit]

Once referred to as Graham Beach, the area was originally a summer beach colony consisting of many bungalows and tents. Located nearby was Warren Manor, a residential development that was demolished in the 1950s to make way for a proposed new City University campus that was never built.

In the early 20th century, many summer homes dotted the neighborhood, including an organized development known as Bungalowtown. South Beach was the terminus of the South Beach Branch of the Staten Island Railway, on which service was halted in 1953; by the 1980s the tracks of this line had been uprooted, and tract homes now stand on the original right-of-way in most places. Today, Railroad Avenue and the Robin Road Trestle are the only evidence left behind.

Small amusement parks and arcades, like the Happyland Amusement Park, once flourished there, but virtually all had disappeared by the 1970s; the last one closed in 2006. The City of New York built a public housing project in the neighborhood in 1949; it is one of only three such projects found on the island south of the Staten Island Expressway.[1]

The neighborhood's principal thoroughfare was originally named Seaside Boulevard, and, as its name suggested, it runs parallel to the shoreline, with the South Beach-Franklin Delano Roosevelt Boardwalk flanking it on the shoreward side. This roadway, which was the only portion of the "Shore Front Drive" proposed by Robert Moses to be actually built, was later renamed Father Capodanno Boulevard, after a Roman Catholic chaplain who was killed in action during the Vietnam War, and runs from near the Verrazano Bridge to Midland Beach.

In the early 20th century, many Italian-Americans, including immigrants, settled in the neighborhood, and their descendants still form the majority of the community's population.

Two hospitals, one an acute-care facility (the North Campus of Staten Island University Hospital), the other a state-run hospital for the mentally ill (the South Beach Psychiatric Center) stand at the southern edge of the neighborhood (sometimes reckoned as the separate locality. The location of the two hospitals was marshland as recently as the 1960s. What is now the Staten Island University Hospital was later constructed on part of the former Warren Manor property; Staten Island Hospital was relocated to the site from New Brighton in 1979; in 1989 this hospital merged with Richmond Memorial Hospital in Prince's Bay to form Staten Island University Hospital. Immediately to the east of Staten Island University Hospital is the South Beach Psychiatric Center, a state institution for the mentally ill which opened shortly after the aforementioned hospital did. Wild turkeys appeared on and near the grounds of this facility in the 1990s, and have since multiplied and spread to other Staten Island neighborhoods, having been sighted as far away as West Brighton on the island's central North Shore.

Utility pole smashed by Hurricane Sandy

South Beach was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. As a result, homeowners are negotiating whether to buy out their homes for demolition.[2] After several homes were damaged, many local homeowners later elected to buy out their homes to be demolished,[3] although a few residents plan on staying.[4]

Topography[edit]

The southernmost tip of South Beach is called Ocean Breeze. Situated in a low-lying coastal area, Ocean Breeze often experiences the worst flood-related damage in all of Staten Island after heavy rain has fallen, and many of the neighborhood's side streets become impassable. Because of the flooding that results from the low-lying terrain, the New Creek bluebelt, which collects rainwater after storms, runs through the area.[5]

Education[edit]

Public libraries[edit]

The South Beach branch of the New York Public Library

New York Public Library operates the South Beach Branch at 21-25 Robin Road at Ocean Avenue and Father Capodanno Boulevard.[6]

Public schools[edit]

Public School 39- Francis J. Murphy Junior

Public School 46- Albert V. Maniscalco

Transportation[edit]

South Beach is served by a number of local and express buses.[7] South Beach was served by the Staten Island Railway until March 31, 1953.

Local Bus[edit]

Along Hylan Boulevard

Along Father Cappodano Boulevard

Express Bus[edit]

Along Hylan Boulevard

Along Father Cappodano Boulevard

References[edit]

  1. ^ "South Beach & Midland Beach". Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  2. ^ "South Beach residents seeking Hurricane Sandy buyout to call for state help". SILive.com. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "State To Buy Staten Island Homes Destroyed By Sandy". Huffington Post. November 19, 2013. 
  4. ^ Kusisto, Laura; Pinto, Nick (November 18, 2013). "State Offers More Buyouts After Sandy". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  5. ^ "ARROCHAR TO MIDLAND BEACH, Part 2". forgotten-ny.com. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  6. ^ "South Beach Branch." New York Public Library. Retrieved on December 22, 2008.
  7. ^ "Staten Island Bus Map January 2013" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 2013. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 

Coordinates: 40°35′25″N 74°04′00″W / 40.59028°N 74.06667°W / 40.59028; -74.06667