STATEN ISLAND, NY – Welcome to another episode of “Things That True Staten Islanders Know.”
I’ve done three of these stories so far, and each time I do one, the real Staten Islanders remind me of the things I forgot to mention.
So let’s take another stroll down memory lane. How many of these places and things do you remember. Are you a real Staten Islander?
There used to be a Chemical Bank building in St. George with a digital clock on top. The clock was visible from the Staten Island Ferry as it made its way to the terminal. You could tell if your boat was on time and if you would be connecting to your bus or train.
Before, you could pick up and drop off people on bus ramps at the St. George Ferry Terminal. Now you need to use the kiss-and-ride area at the bottom.
There was a Holiday Inn hotel on Richmond Avenue near the Staten Island Expressway overpass. It was at a time when there were few hotels on the island. This was later the Staten Island Hotel and today is the Esplanade Senior Citizens Facility.
There was a great bar in the Whitehall Street ferry terminal in Manhattan called Pete Smith Hall of Fame. They had a nautical bell behind the bar that the bartender would ring when the boat arrived. You could look out the window and follow the progress of the approaching ferries.
You can call the Manhattan ferry terminal Whitehall Street or South Ferry. True Staten Islanders will know what you mean anyway.
And yes, ferries used to transport cars. This was discontinued after the September 11 attacks and the new boat classes are not designed to carry vehicles.
And yes, you could smoke on the ferries. You could even buy joints in bulk on the ferry for $1 back then.
There was a bar called Le Normandie in the St. George ferry terminal.
There used to be a McDonald’s on Water Street walking distance to South Ferry where you can grab a bite to eat while waiting for the boat.
There was also a McDonald’s in the St. George Terminal.
The Petrides Educational Complex was once the Sunnyside campus of the College of Staten Island.
The building at 130 Stuyvesant Place, which now houses the district attorney’s office, county clerk’s office and other agencies, was once CSI’s St. George campus. A shuttle ran between the two campuses.
CSI used to be called Staten Island Community College and also Richmond College.
Majors department store was a large shopping center on Forest Avenue in Mariners Harbour. I used to get my hair cut there when I was a kid.
There used to be a Cinema Jerry Lewis Cinema in the same region from 1973 to 1984.
The Island Theater on Richmond Avenue near the Staten Island Mall, New Springville was a popular spot for moviegoers. Many of us took the S4 bus to get there. I saw “Jaws” there.
The Amboy Twin the theaters were on Amboy Road in Eltingville, where the Perkins restaurant was located years later.
Islanders also traveled to Sayreville, NJ, to see movies at Multiplex Amboy Cinemas.
A&P was a large supermarket chain with stores in Staten Island. The full channel name was The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company. My family shopped in the one on Arthur Kill Road in Great Kills. The stores operated in the United States from 1859 to 2015. From 1915 to 1975, A&P was the nation’s largest grocery retailer.
Pantry Pride was another grocery chain familiar to Staten Islanders.
There was a 200 foot underground tunnel that ran from the former Al Deppe restaurant at Arthur Kill Road and Richmond Avenue in Greenridge to the Deppe Mansion in Richmond. This mansion is now Elks Lodge No. 841. The tunnel has been sealed.
In the 1970s, I remember the word “Titanic” was spray painted in black on one of the brick walls of the Staten Island Freeway service road near Clove Road on the New Jersey side of the freeway. Anyone else remember this?
Staten Island had three rail lines: The Staten Island Railroad, the South Beach Line and the North Shore Rail. Only the Staten Island Railroad, which runs from Tottenville to St. George, remains.
Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip were the last passengers to use the North Shore line when the tracks were temporarily reopened for their visit to the United States in 1957.
A ferry shuttled between the St. George Ferry Terminal and 69th Street in Brooklyn.
A number of ferries also ran between Staten Island and New Jersey.
MORE TRUE STORIES ON TOM WROBLESKI’S STATEN ISLAND
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