Midland Beach, Staten Island

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Midland Beach (formerly known as Woodland Beach) is a Staten Island neighborhood. It lies along the east-central coast of the island, in the area known locally as the "Mid-Island, Staten Island," or, according to some, the "East Shore."

To its immediate west is Grant City, to the south is New Dorp Beach, and to the north are Graham Beach and South Beach. Miller Field and Prescott Avenue form the west border (formerly, a lane called Maplewood Terrace paralleled New Dorp Lane); Poultney Street/Laconia Avenue is to the north; the Lower New York Bay is to the south, and Seaview Avenue is to the east. Father Capodanno Boulevard and Midland Avenue are Midland Beach's two main arteries.

History[edit]

Woodland Beach boardwalk and casino

During the late 19th and early 20th century, Midland Beach was a popular beach resort. In 1896, it began attracting residents and tourists who came by trolley or excursion boats from Manhattan and Newark, New Jersey. Resorts, complete with hotels and amusement attractions, drew thousands daily. Besides its hotels and amusement park, it offered concerts, a fishing pier, vaudeville entertainment and gambling.[1] All of this is no longer in existence, except for the new Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier, which opened in September 2003. The Ocean Breeze Pier is the largest steel and concrete recreational pier built in the last 100 years on the Atlantic Ocean in the New York region.[2]

Unlike much of Staten Island, Midland Beach is mostly Irish-American.

Rainstorms on the island caused wind or water damage (such as flooded bungalows) in Midland Beach in the 1970s, due to its lack of infrastructure and storm sewers and proximity to the coast. The City of New York installed a large new storm sewer system down Greeley Avenue in 1979, which resolved the flooding issues for most of the newer housing stock in the neighborhood. Today, the bungalows built as summer homes are owned or rented by locals for permanent residence (according to data compiled by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, the parish of St. Margaret Mary, which serves Midland Beach, is a middle class parish on Staten Island based on per capita income).

The neighborhood once had its own post office branch, bearing the postal code "Staten Island 11, New York." The building that housed the post office, located at 553 Lincoln Avenue, was one of the smallest. The post office closed in 1949.

Midland Beach was devastated by the storm surge caused by Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012, but has since made progress in returning to normal.

Bluebelt[edit]

The Midland Beach (New Creek) Bluebelt, part of the larger Staten Island Bluebelt,[3] is now being constructed by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection throughout the northern edge of the neighborhood, where most of the bungalows stand. This comprehensive watershed wetlands will alleviate much of the flooding that occurs in this low-lying area. The land will be protected for passive residential use and absorb storm water runoff. Stone bridges, culverts, viaducts, walls and tree plantings will beautify the neighborhood and eventually eliminate the blight that has plagued the northern edge of Midland Beach since the 1960s.

Transportation[edit]

Midland Beach is served by a number of local and express buses. The S78 and S79 SBS local buses and SIM1, SIM7 and SIM10 express buses stop along Hylan Boulevard. The S51, S52 and S81 local and limited buses and SIM5 and SIM6 express buses travel along Father Capodanno Boulevard.[4] Around 1903, the Midland Beach Railway operated on the pier.

Notable people[edit]

William H. Vanderbilt's mansion in Woodland Beach, 1915

One of Woodland Beach's most famous residents was William Henry Vanderbilt, Cornelius Vanderbilt's oldest son. He maintained a profitable 186.7-acre (0.756 km2) farm in 1855 and built an Italianate style 24-room mansion on the property, complete with horse stables, trotting field and judges' stands, which was overseen by his son George Washington Vanderbilt II. It is now Miller Field, Gateway National Recreation Area.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island July/Aug 2008 Vol. 19. No. 4
  2. ^ "Mayor Michel R. Bloomberg and Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro Open Ocean Breeze Pier" (Press release). New York City Mayor's Office. 2003-09-20. Retrieved 2010-01-26.
  3. ^ Seminar for US EPA Urban Watershed Management Branch Edison, NJ, Staten Island Bluebelt
  4. ^ "Staten Island Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. August 2018. Retrieved August 18, 2018.

Coordinates: 40°34′23″N 74°05′40″W / 40.57306°N 74.09444°W / 40.57306; -74.09444