All about the Staten Island neighborhood South Beach

Staten Island is broken down into 14 different zip codes from 10301 to 10314 and into 67 different neighborhoods. Throughout this series of blogs, we will be discussing each and every neighborhood on Staten Island as well as breaking down the history, what stands there today and transportation and what community district it falls into. Staten Island is broken up into three different community districts which are: North Shore, Mid-Island, and South Shore.

Today we will be breaking down all the history about the Staten Island neighborhood, South Beach. This neighborhood is home to the Mid-Island & the zip code 10305. Found immediately to the south of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. New York Bay borders South Beach in the southeast; Seaview Avenue borders the southwest; Reid and McClean Avenues border the north; Laconia Avenue borders the northwest; and Lily Pond Avenue borders the northeast. It shares borders with Dongan Hills and Old Town/Concord to the northwest, Midland Beach to the southwest, Fort Wadsworth and Rosebank to the northeast, and so on. South Beach has a boardwalk that leads to its own beach. Hoffman Island and Swinburne Island are two tiny islands located just east of the shore. Arrochar is the name given to the northern section of South Beach sometimes.

Originally known as Graham Beach, the area was a summertime beach community with many tents and bungalows. Warren Manor, a residential community that was nearby, was destroyed in the 1950s to provide room for a newly planned campus of the City University of New York that was never constructed.

By the middle of the 1880s, the entertainment district of South Beach had a 1,700-foot boardwalk, a carousel, a Noah's Ark ride, beer gardens, and other kiosks with games of chance. Even so, picnics was a regular pastime, and going to the beach remained the most popular activity in the neighborhood. Reforms in 1890 led to the removal of certain dubious gaming booths, which were soon replaced by bathing kiosks. A big fire in September 1896 burned a third of the boardwalk, destroying most of the area. A second fire damaged the area in 1902. Since the leases on several of the hotels ended in one and a half years, it was not feasible to rebuild them and many businesses, bath houses, carousel and a photo gallery were all ruined as well.

30,000 people attended the 15-acre Happyland Amusement Park's opening day on June 30, 1906. It is an enclosed park with several attractions and scenic elements. Happyland also had penny arcades, a ballroom, bandstand, roller rink, shooting galleries, and nonstop vaudeville. A Japanese garden, picnic spaces, planted forests, and canals in the Venetian style were among the more restrained features. In the summer, when many Broadway theaters were closed, Vaudeville and stage performances were very popular. The park offered free admission to the performances and music, as well as "pass-out checks" that allowed guests to return at a later time without having to pay again. Many contests were held as well, around 20,000 people were visiting every summer weekend!

By 1909, entrance to the park had been abolished, and other separate amusements had been constructed next to Happyland. A significant fire in 1919 burned 40 structures, left one lady dead, and caused up to $200,000 in damage to the entertainment area. Despite being renovated, Happyland was never again as prestigious as it once was. In 1929, the promenade, numerous hotels, and bathhouses were destroyed by five unexplained fires. To build the South Beach–Franklin Delano Roosevelt Boardwalk, which opened in 1937, a large portion of the resort was demolished in the middle of the 1930s. Through the end of the 20th century, the 1-acre South Beach entertainment Park at South Beach's northern end remained open as a vestige of the entertainment area. The final amusement on the South Beach–Franklin Delano Roosevelt Boardwalk was Beachland Amusements, a neighboring arcade that was open from 1941 to 2006. In 1953, after the city forbade commercial establishments from operating on the beachfront, it moved to Sand Lane.

Originally named Seaside Boulevard, it ran along the beach with the South Beach Boardwalk flanking it on the shoreward side. This was the main street in the neighborhood. This road, which ran from near the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Midland Beach, was subsequently renamed Father Capodanno Boulevard in honor of a Roman Catholic chaplain who passed away in action during the Vietnam War. It was the only section of Robert Moses's "Shore Front Drive" that was actually built.

Two hospitals: the South Beach Psychiatric Center, a state-run facility for the mentally ill, and the North Campus of Staten Island University Hospital, an acute-care facility. Built in the latter part of the 20th century, it is located on the southern boundary of the neighborhood and is occasionally recognized as a distinct community. Even as recently as the 1960s, the two hospitals were situated on wetlands. Later, a portion of the old Warren Manor property was developed into what is now the Staten Island University Hospital. In 1979, the hospital moved from New Brighton to this location, and in 1989 it merged with Richmond Memorial Hospital in Prince's Bay to become the Staten Island University Hospital. The South Beach Psychiatric Center is a state facility for the mentally ill that was established soon after Staten Island University Hospital. It is located directly to the east of the hospital. In the 1990s, wild turkeys first arrived on and around the grounds of this facility. Since then, they have proliferated and expanded to neighboring communities on Staten Island, with reports of sightings reaching West Brighton on the central North Shore of the island.

During Hurricane Sandy the area had severe floods, Ocean Breeze is the name of South Beach's southernmost point. Due to its low-lying coastal location, Ocean Breeze frequently sustains the worst flood-related damage on Staten Island during periods of severe rain, rendering many of the neighborhood's side streets inaccessible. The low-lying topography causes floods, therefore the New Creek bluebelt—which gathers rainwater after storms—runs through the region.

Along Hylan Boulevard are stops for the SBS local buses S78 and S79 as well as the SIM1, SIM1C, SIM7, and SIM10 express buses. Father Capodanno Boulevard is the route taken by the SIM5, SIM6, and SIM9 express buses as well as the S51, S81, and S52 local buses. The schools that serve the neighborhood are P.S. 39 and P.S. 46.

As you may see, Staten Island exudes so much history that is still honored throughout our neighborhoods. South Beach is home to many people from Staten Island. The neighborhood is covered in every corner with many food spots, transportation, parks and schools. This neighborhood is worth learning more about and living.

Looking to buy or sell your home on Staten Island? For all your real estate needs, look no further than Tom Crimmins Realty! Give us a call at (718) 370-3200, and we can provide you with professionally-trained agents who are flexible to all that you’re looking for!

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