Midland Beach’s geography has changed little over the history of its inhabitance. First colonized in 1661 by the Dutch, the geography was very welcoming. The established communities were located mostly near the coast due to the ease of building there as opposed to further inland, which was very uneven and filled with hills created by glacial outwash sediments 2 million years ago as well as other terrain that made settlement building difficult. This posed little problem due to the calm beaches, which provided the settlers with transportation, fishing and other services. These features would assist in the multi faceted success Midland Beach would experience as not only a settlement but also as a significant contributor to Staten Island’s glory.
When thinking of the major geographical features of Midland Beach you immediately think of the coast itself. The coast of Midland Beach was single handedly the most important feature in the colonization and development of the area itself. Early colonists were attracted by the availability of the ocean. In the early periods of American colonization, proximity to water was a major factor for any hopeful settlers. Midland Beach rose to prominence due to how close to the water settlement could be made. Not only this, but the coast itself was very calm and easy to use for the needs of the inhabitants over the years. Today, the coast of Midland Beach is a part of the Lower New York Bay which connects to local channels. These channels run about 40 feet depth after dredging.
The beach itself runs along the coast for 2.5 miles. It was originally formed by deposit sand which has been washed along the shore for thousands of years creating the ideal beach setting we know today without the intervention of man. The area is very flat and level with few identifiable traits aside from sand and dune grass. This mellow flatland continues inland for a short while leading to equally flat and featureless grasslands.
The waters of Midland Beach are home to a wide array of aquatic creatures. The marine life is said to be comprised of Bottlenose Dolphins, Humpback Whales, and Sand Tigers, just to name a few. With the addition of the Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier, Midland Beach has become a hotspot for local fisherman to catch striped bass, weakfish, and bluefish. Although the water of the beach was once extremely polluted, it is slowly returning to a more hospitable environment that is becoming home to all sorts of oceanic life, and increasing the biodiversity of the area.
The surrounding area of Midland Beach is lively with wildlife. Seagulls, geese, and even wild turkeys all inhabit the waterfront neighborhood providing onlookers and residents with a vibrant atmosphere.
A photo of the coast we took while walking along the calm beach.
A shot we took overlooking dune grass giving a view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and Fort Wadsworth in the distance.
Dickenson, Richard. 2003. “Holden’s Staten Island: The History of Richmond County.” N.p.: Center Migration Studies.
“Midland Beach.” NYC Parks. December 26, 2001. http://www.nycgovparks.org/about/history/historical-signs/listings?id=12257
Murtha, Kerry. April 2nd, 2000. “Midland Beach: Hazards Multiply in a Bucolic Oceanfront Enclave.” New York Times. http://search.proquest.com.proxy.library.csi.cuny.edu/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/91727836/1352AF273F41F0B6CF1/3?accountid=28715
“Staten Island Parks.” Office of the Borough President. Web http://statenislandusa.com/pages/fishing.html