St. George

The built environment is an integral part of St. George and very important part of its waterfront. Everywhere a visitor can see an amazing piece of history in the landscape, the Staten Island Ferry to Staten Island Yankee Stadium.  In this essay the waterfront and its relation to the built environment will be examined.



St. George’s waterfront is significant to Staten Island development. Over the years it has been the location of many municipal projects. For example, In 1986 a seven hundred million dollar plan had begun that called for a fifty-one acre expanse of railroad property in St. George. Anne Faciullo wrote “This plan would add 2,100 apartment units in a total of nine high-rise buildings and a string of two and three-story townhouses, plus two hundred and fifty thousand square feet of commercial space, immediately west of the ferry terminal.”


She also wrote about a seaport to be built according to this plan, for its potential to attract tourists from the city and the marine amenities it might bring. It was also thought that a seaport could serve as a “cultural gateway” by luring off-islanders to such places as the Snug Harbor Cultural Center.[1]  St. George was a major target for a community based around a waterfront. The city wanted to use the waterfront to help develop the community of St. George.


The Board 1 Panel asked for the rail line to be included in the seaport project. The Board 1 Panel is a local government unit of the city. The Board said “the restoration of the rail line would allow people living in the North shore to easier commute to St. George and it would also aid in the expected increase in traffic”. [2] The Board believed that due to all the new additions to St. George traffic would increase dramatically. Therefore adding a rail line would substantially lower that increase in traffic from the North shore. The rail line would also contribute to geographic integration, because it allows easier access for people of the North shore to different markets, labor and resources of both St. George and the rest of the city. Today the rail infrastructure is a significant aspects of St. George’s built environment. As predicted in the article the North Shore communities have grown exponentially, the Staten Island railroad proves to be a crucial link in connecting the North shore communities to St. George as well as the rest of the city.


Besides the ferry terminal, one of St. George’s most notorious built structures  is the Staten Island Yankee Stadium.When the stadium was being constructed during the late 90’s early 2000’s one of the biggest concerns was how the stadium would affect the residents of St. George. Local residents didn’t want the noise coming from the stadium to disturb their daily lives. They also didn’t want more people trying to park in an already congested parking area.


The stadium would however bring in more tourism, which would mean a huge economic impact for St. George. The tourism would attract businesses and create jobs within the community, but the downside to it was that it would only bring in tourism during the summer.[3] The stadium however could be used for other events, from events like concerts to high school graduations.When the stadium was finally approved immediately many old buildings were purchased and the demolition process began. A bidding war began on many old water front properties in St. George. The building of the stadium made the city hope that St. George would be come the next must visit site of New York City. [4]


The city had some high hopes in St. Georges built environment, hoping the stadium and Ferry terminal combined with the other various attractions around St. George would make it a tourist center.The first sign of geographical development was the establishment of the ferry terminal in 1886, which was another contribution for St. George by Wiman. In addition to the terminal, Wiman also added a stadium that served as the home for the NY Metropolitans, a casino, an electrified fountain, a bed and breakfast. With the erection of the first ferry terminal and other attractions, the tourism industry of St. George boomed.[5]


The immediate transformation that took place in St. George not only contributed to the economy of St. George, but it also brought the location into attention on a local and federal level. While in 1839, the US Coast guard is given the authority to begin building the Robbin’s Reef Lighthouse, in 1863, St. George was chosen as the site for the National Lighthouse Depot. The spot where the National Lighthouse Depot once sat, is now occupied by Pier 1, also known as the St. George Fishing pier.


St. George’s waterfront has been targeted as a designated waterfront area. It has been an area where the city has focused on building and improving. The railroad stadium, ferry terminal and museums have all contributed in making St. George into the seaport it is today.





[1] Anne Fanciullo, “St. George Shore Plan Unveiled,” Staten Island Advance, 24 March 1986, p. 1,  sec. A p. 12

[2] Bill Schackner, “Board 1 panel wants rail line tied to blueprint,” Staten Island Advance, 12 February 1985

[3] Eileen AJ Connelly, “City Hearing on St. George stadium stirs new protests,” Staten Island Advance, 21 September 1999 sec. A p. 13

[4] Karen O’Shea and Eileen AJ Connelly, “With stadium OK’d,  St. George looks like city’s next hot spot,” Staten Island Advance, 12 December 1999,  sec. A p. 18

[5]  Buckley, Cara. August 2009. Across the Harbor, A Historic Gem. New York Times.


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