Riding the Line – South Shore

new dorp station along staten island railway
Passenger waiting on the northbound platform at New Dorp Station

Now entering the section of the borough recognized as the South Shore, Great Kills is the next station. The neighborhood’s name originated from the number of streams and creeks found on the land. It used to be a fishing community in the 19th century with ships docking on its harbors to sell and trade oysters, clams, and crabs. Great Kills Park is a popular section of the neighborhood and is an official part of the National Park Service’s Gateway National Recreation Area. The beaches and wetlands in the park are critical in protecting the Great Kills neighborhood from flooding that occurs especially during heavy rains and storm surges. The natural harbor offers visitors a place to boat, fish, and even eat at some of the oceanside restaurants.

Eltingville is the next stop on the line and is recognized as the original South Side of Staten Island. Many of the homes in the neighborhood were built by Scandinavian families in the early 1900s, some dating even as far back as the 1700s. Because the surnames between families were so common, businesses would often include surnames in their title order to differentiate between different family groups. There has been a struggle to preserve these homes, however, as they continue to be demolished without any sort of recognition for the contribution they made toward the growth of the community in Eltingville.

Annadale is the next station along the line and is located in the neighborhood of Woodrow. The area is historically known for having built the first-ever Methodist church in New York City. The Woodrow Methodist Church was constructed in 1787 after a congregation had been established under the guidance of British preacher Francis Asbury. The neighborhood is one of the more modern residential areas on Staten Island and saw large renovation efforts during the 1980s.

Next is Prince’s Bay, which at one point was a highly regarded fishing village that sold its seafood to many restaurants in New York City and even across the Atlantic in London. The name has often been mispronounced as “Princess Bay,” and even the nearby USPS Post Office left out the apostrophe in its official title. There used to be a large factory owned by the S.S. White Dental Manufacturing Company in Prince’s Bay that was the largest employer in the borough during the 1970s. However, once the factory was closed down and turned into a shopping center, the new business could not quite compete with the pre-existing Staten Island Mall in New Springville. Some of the oldest homes in New York City are also located in Prince’s Bay, including the Seguine Mansion and the Abraham Manee House, which were both constructed sometime before the 1670s.

Seguine mansion
Seguine Mansion

Finally, the penultimate neighborhood on the Staten Island Railway is Pleasant Plains, which was given its name by the original owners of the railway company back in its early years. Land that was once the largest farm in New York State was bought by Reverend Christopher Drumgoole in 1871 to be converted into green space and an orphanage building. Drumgoole had already established an organization for homeless boys in Manhattan at the time, but the property he funded would go on to help even more children until it went into disrepair after years of service. The land is now a park that features a wide array of fauna and flora located along the shore. Now, pulling into the last stops at Tottenville!