In a previous post, we highlighted a bit of New York City history by examining thematic street names across various neighborhoods. From the World’s Fair streets in Flushing-Meadows Corona Park to the U.S. President-inspired roads in Bedford-Stuyvesant, these street names, when viewed together, offer a glimpse into the development of a particular area of the city. We’ve mentioned several places throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, and now, an Untapped Cities reader has directed us to a series of astronaut-themed streets in Heartland Village, Staten Island.
The featured names include noteworthy space-explorers like James McDivitt, James Lovell, Wally Shirra, Frank Borman, Deke Slayton, Pete Conrad, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Alan Shepard, Gordon Cooper, and Gus Grissom. Wally Shirra is the only person to have flown in Gemini, Mercury and Apollo. Many of the originally green signs have also been bleached over the years due to the sun.
As Kevin Walsh of Forgotten NY notes, Heartland Village is comprised mostly of two family, medium-size homes. The residential development, located near the geographic center of Staten Island, is the largest commercial hub in the borough after St. George.
While Heartland Village does utilize several themes – there’s an Alaskan theme (Alaska Place, Yukon, Klondike Avenues, etc.), a college theme (Purdue, Vassar, Rockne, Villanova and “Merrymount”) and a New England theme (Bowdoin, Copley, Bangor) – the most notable naming system uses the monikers of astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs of the 1960s.
Alan Shepard is the second person (and the first American) to travel into space, as well as the fifth man on the moon.
Cooper Terrace is named after Gordon Cooper, one of the original astronauts in Project Mercury, the first manned U.S. space program.
With the multitude of numbered streets in New York City, it’s easy to overlook this unique fixture of New York City. If we take the time to examine the wide array of thematic street names, we can uncover a story inspired by a chunk of our nation’s history often left untold.
Next, check out 10 NYC Neighborhoods with Thematic Street Names.