The Chemical Bank Clock, Majors Department Store, Pete Smith Hall of Fame and 23 Other Things Real Staten Islanders Know

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.

The Chemical Bank clock in St. George, a landmark for Staten Island Ferry passengers, is seen in this vintage photo. (advanced file photo)

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.

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Cars line up to pick up passengers on the St. George Ferry Terminal bus ramp in this vintage photo. (advanced file photo)

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.

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Holiday Inn hotel under construction in Graniteville in 1973. (Advanced file photo)

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.

The famous chocolate chip cookie in the Whitehall Street Ferry Terminal is seen in this vintage photo. (advanced file photo)

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.

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Cars are seen on the Staten Island ferry in this 1980 photo. (Advanced file photo)

And yes, you could smoke on the ferries. You could even buy joints in bulk on the ferry for $1 back then.

SI Readings

In 1979, this Staten Island Ferry commuter breathes cleaner air in what used to be the smoking section of the boat until the word “no” was added to the sign. (Staten Island Advance)freelance

There was a bar called Le Normandie in the St. George ferry terminal.

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The former Normandy Bar at the Saint-Georges ferry terminal. (Tony Carannante/Staten Island Advance)

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.

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McDonald’s, St. George Ferry Terminal. (advanced file photo)

The Petrides Educational Complex was once the Sunnyside campus of the College of Staten Island.

Building B of the former Sunnyside College Staten Island campus on March 23, 1995 (Staten Island Advance/Tony Carannante).Stick-Shot

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.

vintage staten island

The old College of Staten Island St. George campus at 130 Stuyvesant Place is seen in this 1987 photo. (Tony Carannante/Staten Island Advance)

CSI used to be called Staten Island Community College and also Richmond College.

Staten Island Community College’s Sunnyside campus is seen in this April 28, 1974 photo. (Advanced file photo)Stick-Shot

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.

Inside Majors department store in Mariners Harbor in 1981. (Staten Island Advance file photo)

There used to be a Cinema Jerry Lewis Cinema in the same region from 1973 to 1984.

Jerry Lewis Cinema on Forest Avenue in Mariners Harbor before it opened in 1974. (Advanced file photo)

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.

Staten Island Cinemas

The Island Cinema in 1983, New Springville. (Staten Island Advance)

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.

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Many Staten Islanders traveled to Sayreville, NJ to see movies at the Amboy Cinemas multiplex. In this photo, people line up to see “Return of the Jedi” in 1983. (Advanced file photo)

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.

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The Shuttered Pantry Pride supermarket in Eltingville is seen in this 1979 photo. (Advanced file photo)

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.

Al Deppe’s in Greenridge was a Staten Island staple from 1921 to 1966. (Advanced file photo)

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.

city ​​north shore railway

Former station of the disused Côte-Nord railway line. (Tom Wrobleski/Staten Island Advance)

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.

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Accompanied by New York Governor William Averell Harriman, Queen Elizabeth II prepares to begin a motorcade parade along Bay Street toward the Staten Island ferry terminal in St. George on Monday, October 21, 1957. The Queen had rode along the old north coast rail line earlier in the day. (advanced file photo)

A ferry shuttled between the St. George Ferry Terminal and 69th Street in Brooklyn.

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The 69th Street ferry slip in St. George, 1950. (Advanced file photo)

A number of ferries also ran between Staten Island and New Jersey.

Bentley Street, from the Perth Amboy ferry, Tottenville at the turn of the last century. The Old Tottenville to Perth Amboy Ferry was one of many ferry routes that linked Staten Island to New Jersey in the early 1900s. The ferry landed at the foot of Bentley Street in Tottenville. The ferry ceased to operate in 1963 due to a drop in ridership as more people turned to their cars and began to use Outerbridge Crossing. (Courtesy of Staten Island Museum)


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