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Staten Island as a Resort

The New York Times, August 23, 1942

At the end of what is frequently termed “the world’s biggest excursion for a nickel,” is Staten Island—this year coming into new prominence as a vacation objective. Remembered by old-timers as a place of big estates and old-fashioned farms, the island retains wooded stretches and grass uplands. Its highest hills still offer the fine panoramic vistas that attracted early settlers seeking a rural retreat within easy reach of Manhattan. Twenty minutes from the Battery, holiday-makers are finding a new field of exploration.

And surprises are in store for the Manhattanite who has never toured the island’s fifty-seven square miles. For the nature lover, there is contrast in the seascapes and the shoreline rising steeply to wooded hills. For the energetic excursionist there are plenty of amusements—South Beach with its boardwalk, picnic grounds and sports fields; thirty-five miles of water front; bathing beaches facing the open sea yet sheltered from heavy surf; Great Kills and Princes Bay with their protected harbors for small sail boats. Indeed the list is a long one.

Some of the early movies were filmed on the island and hard-riding cowboys whooped over hills that present-day hikers climb to view the bay and the skyline of Manhattan. Well-known are Wolfe’s Pond Park, Silver Lake Park and Dongan Hills. Todt Hill, on the ridge that runs across the center of the island, is said to be the highest point of land along the entire Atlantic Coast between Maine and the Florida Keys. At New Dorp and Tottenville, at Willowbrook and Richmondtown, are historic houses. One of them, Conference House, was reputedly the scene of a meeting called to discuss reconciliation between the Colonies and England. Today, horseback riders and golfers are keeping fit on acres where Benjamin Franklin and Admiral Howe once walked and talked.