Stapleton is a neighborhood
in northeastern Staten Island in New York
City in the United States. It is located along the waterfront of
Upper New York
Bay, bounded on the north by Tompkinsville at Grant Street, on the south by Clifton at Vanderbilt Avenue, and on the west by St. Paul's
Avenue and Van Duzer Street, which form the border with the
community of Grymes Hill.
Stapleton is one of the older waterfront neighborhoods of the
borough, built in the 1830s on land once owned by the Vanderbilt
was a long-time commercial center of the island, but has struggled
to revive after several decades of neglect following the building
in 1964 of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, which shifted the commercial development of the
island to its interior.
The neighborhood was the site of the farm where Cornelius Vanderbilt
grew up, at the
location of the present-day Paramount Theater building on Bay
Street (the theater itself having closed in the eartly 1980s). In
the early 19th century it became the commercial center of
Southfield Township. In 1832 William
J. Staples, a
merchant from Manhattan for whom the neighborhood is named, as well as
Minthorne Tompkins, the son of
Daniel D. Tompkins
, acquired land from the
Vanderbilts and laid out the streets. Staples and Tompkins started
service from the neighborhood
waterfront to Manhattan and began advertising their new village in
Retreat, a hospital for sailors entering New York Harbor, opened in 1832 and later
became Bayley Seton
Hospital, the largest employer in the neighborhood until the
Sisters of Charity, an order of
Roman Catholic nuns which operated the facility, closed it in 2004 (the
property is sometimes reckoned as belonging to Clifton, Stapleton's neighbor to the south).
Bayley Seaton Hospital, seen from
Vanderbilt Avenue, Staten Island, New York.
also for many years the site of a United States Public Health
The neighborhood was the location of several springs which led to
the establishment of several German-American breweries
in the middle 19th century. The last
brewery closed in 1963. Stapleton's town hall still stands, located
Park. The Staten Island Rapid Transit railway has a
stop in Stapleton.
In 1884, it was incorporated as the village of Edgewater.
the Staten Island Railway
extended its track from the neighborhood northward to St.
Direct ferry service from the neighborhood
to Manhattan was halted two years later in 1886.
neighborhood is also the home of I.S.49.
This school now sits across from the
Stapleton Houses. The school was opened around 1963. Many adults in
the area have attended this school and remember it. The school is
currently having a renovation project as of 2005.
Stapleton Houses, a housing project
sponsored by the State of New
York, opened in 1962.
At eight stories high, its
buildings are the tallest to be found within any such project on
the island. It is the largest New York City Housing
project on Staten Island.
Between the time of 1929 to 1931 Stapleton had their own NFL
Pro Football Team, the Staten Island Stapletons
Famous residents of Stapleton include Dennis Coles, a.k.a Ghostface Killah
(rapper of the Wu-Tang
Clan), and Tristan Wilds
The city built piers in 1920, but they were never fully exploited.
From 1937 to 1942 several of the piers were used as the first
Foreign Trade Zone
in the United
States. From 1942 to 1945, they became the New York Port of
Embarkation for the United States
. After World War II
, the piers
once again became a foreign trade zone, but their use declined and
most of the piers were demolished by the 1970s. The last, used for
fishing, was removed when the U.S. Navy proposed to build a base in
Stapleton in the 1980s.
In 1983, Secretary of the Navy
selected Stapleton to be the
homeport for a naval unit headed by the battleship
, as part of the dispersal of the
during a military build up
ordered by President Ronald Reagan
This proposal became highly controversial throughout Staten Island
when analysis of the proposal showed a net loss of civilian jobs on
Staten Island (mainly due to expected job-seekers among naval
dependents, but also due to a loss of businesses forced out by the
naval presence), as well as the expectation that the Tomahawk
aboard the Iowa and
an accompanying Aegis cruiser
at least some cases be carrying nuclear warheads. Following years of
debate, which slowed development of the base, the 1991 collapse of
Union led to a major cutback in military spending, and
the still incomplete base was cancelled in 1993.
thereafter, a plan was floated to build a race-track on the site,
to be primarily used by NASCAR
. The plan was
quickly forgotten. Also headquartered at the site is one of three
fireboats, FDNY Marine company
. The site is now also used as part of the annual Fleet Week
in New York City.
After sitting empty for a couple years, the base site was used by a
bagel manufacturer briefly. Then a proposal was made to have a
movie studio occupy the site. For never explained reasons the city
administration opposed this, and finally some of the civil courts
took over a small part of the site, leaving most unused while
various proposals were made for housing, parkland, and an
educational complex, among others.
On October 26, 2006, the New York City council approved a massive
redevolpment plan for the site. It will be transformed into a new
community with 350 housing units, restaurants, parks, a recreation
center and farmers' market.The City Council pushed the project
through its final regulatory hurdle when it approved the $66
million blueprint for the former Navy base.
The city will use the money and an additional $1.1 million state
grant to create streets, utilities and a mile-long waterfront
esplanade while soliciting proposals from private developers to
build on six sites -- three residential and three commercial --
across the base. City officials have said infrastructure work could
begin in early 2007 with a projected completion date of 2009.
Stapleton Houses (Right), looking
northeast down Broad Street.
Madonna's video Papa Don't Preach was filmed on the stairs
and platform of the Staten Island
Railway train station
of the same name as the neighborhood.
A lot of Wu-Tang Clan
lived - and some still do - in Stapleton. Rappers Shyheim
of Wu-Tang Clan
together in Stapleton Houses; Ghostface also notes Stapleton in his
song "Maxine" for being a violent neighbourhood.
Public Library operates the Stapleton Branch at 132 Canal Street
at Wright Street.
- NYC.gov Waterfront redevelopment, October 2006
- " Stapleton Branch." New York
Public Library. Retrieved on December 22, 2008.