Stapleton was once a major transportation hub on Staten Island (Ferreri, Goldfarb 2010) and therefore, it still houses many public transportation facilities: ferries (in the past), trains, and roads. The steam ferry service was founded to bring in settlers and this allowed for the development of Stapleton to flourish greatly. (Ferrari, Golfarb 2010). The ferries that would run every twenty-five minutes, trains that were clean and comfy and access to horse drawn carriages made the already coveted neighborhood even more desirable to residents (Harris 2004).
Although horse drawn carriages may no longer be around,within the neighborhood there is still a train station, and wide roads that allow for easy access. The Stapleton Railway Station is still active and is an elevated station. The wide roads make it easier for cars to drive by and there is little congestion on the streets. Also, it is very close to the current Staten Island Ferry, providing an easy source of transportation to the city.
Buildings, Stores, and Churches:
The neighborhood also houses many new and old churches such as the large, neo-Gothic building of the Trinity Lutheran Church that was erected in 1922 as well as nine others: Immaculate Conception Church, United Church of Praise, Christ Assembly Lutheran Church, Rectory Convent, New Wine Fresh Fire Temple, God Offspring Christian Church, Bethel Worship Center, United Church, and St. Paul’s Memorial Church (City Search). During and after WWI, Stapleton grew in population as road construction and bridges led to an increase in housing in the area.
Soon after a large, new Savings Bank was also constructed across Tappen Park (named after a fallen soldier) (Harris 2004). Currently there are many small shops dotted all throughout the neighborhood such as convenience stores, food shops, department stores, beauty salons and so on. There is also a Stapleton Public Library for visitors.
Between 1921 and 1923, deep-water piers were constructed along the waterfront. The piers that were constructed after WWI in Stapleton were widely used by thousands of troops in the United States army during WWII. But in the years after the war, the piers fell into disuse due to industry and shipping moved to areas such as Howland Hook (opened May 5, 1972) and New Jersey and so most were demolished by the 1970s (Howland 2004). The final pier was eventually turned into a part of the Homeport Facility in 1994. The pier there is now only used for certain events that the Navy chooses (such as the Fleet Week that happened there). The once bustling and flourishing neighborhood fell and suffered a major business loss.
But soon after, in the 1970s, community members established Stapleton LDC (an economic development corporation) in order to attract new residents and businesses to the area. Historic preservation was also lobbied in order to gain more residents. Therefore, the present day Stapleton has a mix of current and many historic buildings and houses (Harris 2004). A large percentage of the houses in the neighborhood were built in 1939 or earlier (city-data). In fact, 92 houses in the area have already been landmarked as of 2004 (Wilson 2005). In the past, during the prosperous era of the neighborhood (19th and early 20thcentury), many rich families moved in and raised wonderful, large Victorian houses to live in, many of which are still existent. There are houses that have been owned by families including the Outerbridges, the Wards, the Van Duzers and the Vanderbilts (Mud Lane Society 2011). One historical building in the area is the old Paramount theatre that opened around 1930.
The future of Stapleton’s built environment also looks bright and the new developments and constructions underway along its waterfront should bring with it more economic and developmental growth.
The decommissioned U.S. Naval base on Stapleton’s waterfront is being recreated into hundreds of rental apartments and thousands of retail space. Also a waterfront boardwalk is in progress that will contain walking paths, lawns and landscaped areas, a public launch site for non-motorized boats and docking for historic vessels (Sherry 2012). Therefore, there is currently a lot of new construction happening in the neighborhood.
Citysearch. Accessed May 12, 2012. http://newyork.citysearch.com/listings/stapleton/churches/7675_3801.
Ferreri, James G., and David Goldfarb. Stapleton. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2010.
Harris, Gale. St. Paul’s Avenue – Stapleton Heights Historic District Designation Report. New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission, 2004.
Mud Lane Society . “The Renaissance of Stapleton.” Accessed May 11, 2012. http://www.mudlanesociety.org/.
New York Times, January 2, 2005. Accessed May 12, 2012. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9806E4DA1739F931A35752C0A9639C8B63&pagewanted=all.
NYCEDC. Accessed May 11, 2012. http://www.nycedc.com/project/fdny-marine-9-barracks-homeport.
Sherry, Virginia N. “Naval Home Port in Stapleton Being Razed.” silive, January 11, 2012. http://www.silive.com/northshore/index.ssf/2012/01/naval_homeport_in_stapleton_be.html.
Wilson, Claire. “LIVING IN/Stapleton, Staten Island; A Past to Preserve, With Original Details.”