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 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]

In the early 20th century, many summer homes dotted the neighborhood, including an organized development known as Bungalowtown. South Beach was the terminus of a branch of the Staten Island Railway to 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 many places. Today, Railroad Avenue and the Robin Road Trestle are among the only evidence left behind.

Small amusement parks and arcades 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 of Ocean Breeze), which often suffers from severe flooding after heavy rains, due to its location along a coastal flood plain. The location of the two hospitals was marshland as recently as the 1960s.

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, which would mark the end of Ocean Breeze.[2]

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.[3]

Public schools[edit]

Public School 39- Francis J. Murphy Junior

Public School 46- Albert V. Maniscalco

Transportation[edit]

South Beach is served by the S51 and S52 to the St. George Ferry, as well as several rush-hour only express bus routes to Manhattan. South Beach was served by the Staten Island Railway until March 31, 1953.

References[edit]

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