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Full text of "Staten Island : a report by the President of the Borough of Richmond to the Mayor"

974.726 V 

Van Name, Calvnn D. 

Staten Island 





The New York 
Public Library 

Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations 



f'fV 





NEW YORK PU9UC UBRARf 

O ^CH 

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STATED-.,. -i KW YORK 10302 



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Form #0727 



* - 



STATEN ISLAND 



BY 

CALVIN D. VAN NAME 



A REPORT BY THE PRESIDENT OF 

THE BOROUGH OF RICHMOND 

TO THE MAYOR 



PUBLISHED JUNE, 1921 




CALVIN D. VAN NAME 

President of the Borough of Richmond 
during the World War 



REFERENCE 

V noi 



CITY OF NEW YORK 
PRESIDENT OF THE BOROUGH OF RICHMOND 

CALVIN D. VAN NAME, 

PRESIDENT OF THE BOROUGH 

January 6, 1920. 

Honorable John F. Hylan, 

Mayor of the City of New York, 

City Hall, Manhattan. 
Sir: 

In accordance with Section 383 of the Greater New 
York Charter the annual report of the President of 
the Borough of Richmond for the year 1919 is here- 
with submitted. Included in the report are detailed 
records of the operations of the bureaus of the De- 
partment of the President of the Borough of Rich- 
mond. This report is also accompanied by a number 
of photographs and exhibits in illustration of features 
of the same. There will be found data indicating the 
manner in which the appropriations of public funds 
have been expended or authorized, and details as to 
the collection of moneys received by the borough ad- 
ministration for various purposes during the calendar 
year. 

During the World War the administration of pub- 
lic affairs in this borough took on aspects and con- 
ditions that were new in municipal government. I was 
the President of the Borough, having served since 
July 29, 1915, and having been elected and re-elected 
by the people of Staten Island. All of my time and 
energies were directed to the war after the formal 
declaration of hostilities April 6, 1917. The para- 
mount matter in this department was aiding in the 
winning of the war, and all other matters were made 
secondary thereto. 

In consequence of the war, rates for labor and the 
cost of materials entering into public work advanced 
above all rates and costs that ever existed before. 
Men would not work for the limited wages allowed by 



the Board of Estimate, and they constantly depleted 
the forces by going into nearby shipyards for the 
higher wages paid there. 

I had the honor of serving the City as President of 
this Borough over two years prior to your inaugura- 
tion as Mayor, January i, 1918, but I was very much 
restricted because of a deplorable attempt to settle upon 
this Borough a garbage reduction plant, on Fresh Kills, 
to receive and dispose of the garbage of Manhattan, 
Brooklyn and Bronx. 

There was but the smallest measure of home rule 
allowed to this Borough during the balance of that 
City Administration. 

With the advent of January i, 1918, however, new 
conditions obtained which have brought about much 
progress and much encouragement to people desiring 
to make Staten Island their home, and to business men 
and leaders of industry desiring to take advantage of 
the opportunities our Borough affords. 

In the summer of 1918 by your orders an end was 
put to the garbage reduction nuisance on Fresh Kills, 
and your fatherly assurance was given to your people 
here that it never would recur. It never will recur. As 
an aftermath there are remaining two actions at law 
against me in my official capacity, now r pending in the 
Supreme Court, claiming damages for several hundred 
thousand dollars, alleging in the pleadings that it was 
because of violent opposition by me that the enterprise 
was ruined, and the objectionable activities suspended. 

Under new conditions, and with the hearty support 
of the City Administration, the work of my department 
has been planned and carried on in a manner gratify- 
ing to our people. 

Staten Island 

Dutchmen, the first white settlers of New Amster- 
dam, upon their arrival, sailed past the shores and hills 
of Staten Island, and some of them attracted by its 
promising appearance decided to settle here. 

They found on Staten Island, rivers, creeks, bays, 
miles of deep water, sandy shores, and heavily wooded 
hills. Further, they were able to obtain with ease an 



abundance of game, fish and oysters. They found the 
soil adapted to the raising of vegetables. To them the 
double vocation of fishing and farming was profitable. 
This had the characteristic of two chances for food for 
their families, one on the water and the other on the 
land. Dutchmen, Walloons and Huguenots came, and 
for the next two centuries increased, and they adopted 
the same ways of life, making Dutch their common lan- 
guage. 

Some of the names, other than family names, that 
have survived are Kill (stream or short river), Rob- 
bens' or Robyns' (seals') Reef, Prince's Bay (bay of 
the Prince of Orange'). Kill Van Kull, /Vchter or 
Arthur Kill (the kill behind the land), Fresh Kill, 
Groote Kills or Great Kills, Holland's Hook (Hook 
van Holland), (corner of Holland), Huguenot, New 
Dorp (Newtown), Staten Island (Staaten Eylandt), 
Clove (cleft or cut between the hills). 

The Indian name of Staten Island was Aquehonga 
Monadnock (the island of forests). The Dutch name 
was Staaten Eylandt (the island of the Staats General, 
which was the ruling body of the Netherfand). The 
English name was Richmond Count}-. 

In 1776 one hundred English ships anchored in New 
York Bay, and a large army of English and Hessian 
soldiers under General Howe took possession of Staten 
Island and fortified all of the important points to pro- 
tect themselves against the Americans who assembled 
in large numbers on the New Jersey shore. 

For the purpose of making a last effort to bring 
about peace between Great Britain and the Colonies, 
General Howe met for conference Benjamin Franklin, 
John Adams and Edward Rutledge, representatives of 
the American Congress, in the Billopp house, Totten- 
ville, but nothing came of it, and the war continued. 

This Billopp house is still standing, and in fairly 
good repair. Efforts have been made in vain by patri- 
otic societies and others to induce the State of New 
York to purchase and preserve the historic building. 
Recently I have applied to the Board of Estimate for 
an appropriation with which to purchase it, and pre- 
serve the building and grounds. Failing to obtain a 



direct appropriation I will in conjunction with the his- 
torical societies request of the Board of Estimate that 
the same be acquired for park purposes, to be a part 
of the park system of the City of New York, and to 
be known as the Billopp House Park. I urge the active 
aid of your Honor. 

In 1858 an event took place in which your Honor 
has shown considerable interest, and asked several ques- 
tions. At the time it caused wide excitement. It was 
the burning of the old Quarantine hospital at Tomp- 
kinsville by citizens of the county, who after having- 
protested in vain against the presence of a yellow fever 
hospital in their midst, took the law into their own 
hands and applied the torch. 

The State Quarantine Hospital buildings were lo- 
cated on land at Tompkinsville, north of and adjoin- 
ing Arrietta Street, and through which now runs Bay 
Street. 

Determination to which a community may in very 
desperation be driven by a persistent course of oppres- 
sion even when pursued under the cloak of State au- 
thority is well illustrated in this Quarantine case. 

Strong opposition had been made by Staten Island- 
ers. Cases of yellow fever occurred among people re- 
siding outside the walls of the grounds as early as 1848. 
Later the Board of Health of the Town of Castle - 
ton was organized. In July, 1858, Dr. Mundy of the 
town board of health reported that efforts of the board 
were ridiculed by the State authorities, and that the 
State authorities looked upon the lives of the people 
of Richmond County as a matter of secondary impor- 
tance, and hardly worth consideration. 

At a meeting of the board on September I, 1858, a 
resolution was adopted reciting the grievance and its 
long continuation, and ended in these words : "Re- 
solved that the board recommend the citizens of this 
Town and County to protect themselves by abating this 
abominable nuisance without delay." 

And they did. On the next night (September 2, 
1858) citizens entered the Quarantine enclosure, and, 
after removing the patients from the several hospital 
buildings, set fire to and burned down every building 
connected with the establishment. 



The governor of the State declared the island to be 
in a state of revolt, and sent over several regiments of 
militia. 

No person was punished for any complicity in the 
matter, but the county paid for the property destroyed. 

The buildings were never rebuilt. 

The State endeavored to establish a hospital on 
what was known as the Wolfe farm at Seguine's Point, 
Prince's Bay, in the Town of Westfielcl, now the Fifth 
Ward of the Borough of Richmond ; the buildings 
were erected, patients suffering with infectious diseases 
were treated, but a disease spread to some part of 
the town. The people of West field exercised less 
leniency and patience than did the people of the Tomp- 
kinsville end of the island. The Westfield people 
had a few quiet meetings, and resolved to protect their 
lives and to face the fiercest punishment the law could 
inflict. 

When the citizens were ready they were given the 
signal at night by a trusted agent, and a number went to 
the hospital buildings, removed the sick, applied the 
torch, and flames were soon issuing from the buildings. 
They returned other nights, until all the buildings were 
reduced to ashes. The vigilantes moved with the ut- 
most caution. In the daytime they scarcely recognized 
each other, as detectives infested the community. 

Later the State again erected some cheap structures 
on the same land to serve until suitable buildings could 
be constructed, but they were no sooner raised than the 
torch was again applied by masked men, who were the 
leading citizens in that section of the island. 

Likewise in this Seguine's Point case no one was 
punished for any complicity in the matter, but the 
county paid for the property destroyed. 

In 1860 Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, a native 
of Staten Island and the owner of the ferry between 
Manhattan and the east shore of Staten Island, built a 
railroad from Clifton to Tottenville. In 1889 his 
family constructed a great mausoleum on the highest 
ground of Moravian Cemetery at New Dorp, and in 
this are the body of the great man, who was the 
founder of the Vanderbilt fortunes, and the bodies of 



his direct descendants bearing the Vanderbilt name. 
From the steps of this great tomb is a wide view of the 
Atlantic Ocean, Long Island and Sandy Hook. The 
spot is daily visited by scores of tourists, the highway 
to it being in perfect condition, flanked by rare and 
costly flowering shrubs selected by experts because of 
their great beauty. 

During the Civil War Staten Island furnished far 
more than its quota of soldiers, many of whom laid 
down their lives for the preservation of the Union. 

About 1880 Erastus Wiman, believing in the com- 
mercial advantages of Staten Island, secured control 
of the railroad built by Commodore Vanderbilt be- 
tween Clifton and Tottenville. Mr. Wiman then built 
the Staten Island Rapid Transit Railroad from South 
Beach by way of St. George to Holland's Hook, and in 
place of several ferries to Manhattan, established one 
from St. George. The large railroad drawbridge 
which spans Arthur Kill was also erected through his 
influence, giving Staten Island direct rail connection 
with the railroad trunk lines south and west. 

In 1895, systems of electric street cars were installed 
on the north and east shores and between Port Rich- 
mond and Concord. 

In 1898, Staten Island became a part of the City of 
New York under the name of the Borough of Rich- 
mond. 

In 1904, the ferry between St. George and Man- 
hattan was purchased by the city of New York, and 
operated by the Department of Docks and Ferries; and 
in 1905, the five large ferryboats all of the same size and 
character were constructed, and paid for by bonds of 
the City. They were named Manhattan, Brooklyn, 
Bronx, Queens and Richmond. They were superior to 
all ferryboats, and fully complied with the specifica- 
tions of the contracts as to quality, durability and speed. 

Among prominent men who resided on Staten 
Island were William Howe, Commander of the British 
forces in the War of the Revolution ; Thomas Dongan, 
Governor of the Province of New York, and Earl 
of Limerick ; Aaron Burr, Vice-President of the 
United States; Daniel D. Tompkins, Governor of the 

8 



State of New York, and twice Vice-President of the 
United States ; Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, Wil- 
liam H. Vanderbilt, Joseph Garibaldi, the Italian Lib- 
erator; Santa Anna, President of Mexico; Ralph 
Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, August Bel- 
mont, George William Curtis, Erastus Brooks, William 
Winter, Edgar Wilson Nye (Bill Nye), Father John 
M. Farley, curate in St. Peter's Church, New Brighton, 
who afterward became Archbishop of New York and 
later Cardinal; Edwin Markham and Charles Sumner 
Burch, afterward Bishop of the Episcopalian Diocese 
of New York. 

Staten Islanders are a proud people, and justly so. 

Nowhere on the American continent is there a place 
more favored by nature than is their island home. Its 
beautiful hills, commanding views of the ocean, its 
magnificent forests, its lakes, its seashore, its climate, 
tempered by the proximity of the ocean, combining 
to make it an ideal human habitation. Those who live 
here love it, and the thoughts of those who have left 
it often turn with an affectionate memory to the happy 
days spent among its hills and forests. 

Six miles south of City Hall, Manhattan, or an 
equal distance south as looth Street is north of City 
Hall, are 36,000 acres of the City of New York; com- 
prising an area almost three times the size of the 
Borough of Manhattan, and which on account of 
natural advantages is unequaled for residential, busi- 
ness, or industrial purposes. 

This area of fifty-seven square miles comprises the 
Borough of Richmond, or Staten Island, and is the 
most southerly part of the City of New York. 

Staten Island with its elevations, its natural ter- 
races, its hillsides and valleys, is the available asset of 
the dense population of New York City. 

The Borough of Richmond is composed of Staten 
Island, and several small islands. The most important 
of the small islands is Shooters Island, upon which 
is a great shipbuilding plant. 

Staten Island and the small islands also comprise 
the County of Richmond. In other words, the 
Borough of Richmond and the County of Richmond 
are the same area. 



The Borough constitutes eighteen per centum of the 
area of the City. It is almost as large as the Boroughs 
of Manhattan and Bronx combined. It is third in size 
of the five boroughs. Its length is thirteen and one- 
half miles from northeast to southwest, and its greatest 
width nearly eight miles. Richmond is the least popu- 
lated of the five boroughs, and has 2,027 people to the 
square mile. 

The distance from St. George in Richmond to the 
Battery in Manhattan is about five and one-half miles. 
The distance from Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn to 
Fort Wadsworth in Richmond is about one mile. The 
population is 120,000. The assessed valuation is $i 10,- 
000,000. For interior communication Richmond has 
twenty-three and one-half miles of double track steam 
railway, used for freight and passenger service, and 
thirty-six miles of trolley road, twenty-nine of which 
are double tracked. 

It has the following ferries : 

Municipal Ferry to the Borough of Manhattan, 
twenty-three minutes. 

Ferry to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, fifteen minutes. 

Ferry to Bergen Point, Bayonne, New Jersey, five 
minutes. 

Ferry to Elizabethport, New Jersey, five minutes. 

Ferry to Carteret (Roosevelt), New Jersey, five 
minutes. 

Ferry to Perth Amboy, New Jersey, six minutes. 

In shape it is nearly a triangle, separted from Man- 
hattan by upper New York Bay, from Brooklyn by 
the Narrows, and from New Jersey on the north and 
west by the deep waters of Kill Van Kull, Newark Bay 
and Arthur Kill. On the southeast side, which is the 
longest side, it is washed by the waters of Raritan 
Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. 

The aim of the civic societies of Staten Island is to 
evolve a Borough which will be conceded to have all 
the benefits of suburban life, and at the same time have 
the worthwhile advantages of a large city. 

This Borough is one of the most beautiful parts of 
the city, and has drives, walks, lakes, streams and won- 
derful views. 

10 



It lies at the gateway of the greatest port in the 
world. 

It has high ground, perfect drainage and good 
water. 

The interior is remarkably beautiful. It is largely 
a park, and is in its pristine beauty. There are hun- 
dreds of acres of the finest of trees which have been 
growing for centuries. Scores of miles of the finest 
macadam highways pass through wild hedges to and 
from important villages, and the Borough Government 
forbids the cutting or trimming of these hedges, which 
are indeed beautiful, and of a rarity unknown else- 
where in a large city. 

There are valleys, rivers, inlets and bays. There is 
much high land in the interior, and there is high land 
on the edge of the water. The hills at Fort Wads worth 
are the last land of the city passed by tourists when 
leaving port, and the higher hills of the island are the 
first land of Greater New York seen upon their return. 

Many poems and stories have been written in praise 
of this "Gem of the Bay," but not exaggerated, as can 
be verified by a ride over inviting highways and along 
enchanting shores. 

The interior of our Borough is ideal for homes. 
There is a rise from the shore to a height that is un- 
equaled anywhere on the Atlantic Coast. 

A gem of country of verdant richness; a place of 

interesting history, of quiet highways and byways; a 

place for relaxation and healthful neighborly life 

-that makes a home worth while translated to the 

heart of the greatest city in the world. 

On the shores there are miles of the safest bathing 
beaches, upon which thousands enjoy themselves 
every pleasant summer day. 

During the past two years the increase of popu- 
lation has been large. Business of all kinds has been 
revived and is now thriving. Wages are high, and 
work is plentiful for all. 

I am convinced that the next census will show re- 
turns that will be very gratifying to many people who 
within the past two years have made large investments 
here. 

II 



I am gratified because of the development of the 
borough. 

Staten Island's twenty-one miles of unequaled 
frontage upon deep water make the Borough of vast 
importance to the city in its efforts to maintain the 
present supremacy of the Port of New York. 

Its docks as compared with all others of the port 
will be nearer the ocean, nearer American coast ports, 
and nearer Europe. 

The direct rail communication with the south and 
west with which Staten Island is favored makes it the 
natural gateway for foreign trade. 

There are thirty-five miles of waterfront en- 
circling Staten Island, divided as follows : 

Fort Wadsworth to St. George Ferry, 2.8 miles. 
St. George Ferry to the pier of Procter & Gamble, 
opposite Elizabethport, 5.7 miles. 

Procter & Gamble's pier to Ward's Point, op- 
posite Perth Amboy, 12.7 miles. 

Ward's Point to Fort Wadsworth, 14.2 miles. 
In all, to be exact, 35.4 miles. 
The commercial waterfront upon deep water now 
ready for development from Fort Wadsworth north, 
west and south along the Narrows, Kill Van Kull, 
Newark Bay and Arthur Kill is 21.2 miles. The out- 
side water frontage on Raritan Bay and the ocean is 
14.2 miles. 

During the past year 1,629 American ships and 
2,832 foreign ships entered New York Harbor. New 
York is the greatest of all sea ports. 

Manifestly, the chief factor in the success of a 
port is its connections by land and water with inland 
points. These connections are by railroads, rivers 
and canals. A seaport is a funnel through which com- 
merce of a country flows. Railroads and waterways 
are the feeders of a port. The important port ques- 
tion is how to collect merchandise at its points of 
production, and deliver it to the ships, with the least 
effort and expense. If a railroad brings the goods to 
a port it is essential for cheap handling that the cars 
run directly to the dock where the vessel loads. 
It should be possible to unload the ship at the 
dock upon cars which can deliver the cargo to any 

12 



destination. Or to discharge it overside to canal 
boats, barges or lighters for delivery at waterside 
warehouses, or by inland waterways if so consigned. 
As a foreign shipper favors a port where handling 
charges are known to be moderate, a slight difference 
in the cost of handling frequently determines at which 
port a vessel will discharge. 

The harbor of New York because of its natural ad- 
vantages is the City's greatest asset. Each one of us 
spends more for the unnecessary handling of commodi- 
ties which go to supply our everyday need than we 
spend for our subway or street car travel. The de- 
velopment of the harbor and the maintenance of the 
facilities on a high basis of usefulness mean more to 
every citizen of New York than efficiency in any other 
activity. 

Since the beginning of the war the port of New 
York has been the main channel through which goods 
have been shipped to our Allies. Through the Kill Van 
Kull and Arthur Kill in one year, 1916, there were 
carried 36,998,965 short tons, valued at $978,000,000. 
In 1915 the tonnage was 32,421,950 short tons, valued 
at $520,500,000. In one year there was an increase of 
4,500,000 tons. There are men with whom the pros- 
perity of the port is not of importance, and they have 
asserted that conditions for receipt and shipment of 
goods were not as they should be. If conditions were 
really bad it would be difficult to explain the growth of 
the commerce of the Port of New York under the dif- 
ferential railroad rates in favor of other ports on the 
Atlantic coast. 

New York is a harbor of islands connected by belt 

j 

line of floating and sailing lighters that has developed a 
unique facility unequaled in any port of this or any 
other country, and no handling devices or machinery 
can alter this condition, or improve the situation so 
long established, and proven so efficient in the volume 
of business handled in comparison with other localities. 
There are four very important features necessary 
for the proper location of a modern terminal in the 
Port of New York, namely : deep water, direct all rail 
connection with the hinterland, a situation within the 
limits of free lighterage delivery, and accessibility for 

13 



trucking from Manhattan and Brooklyn. Staten Is- 
land's waterfront embodies all of these desirable fea- 
tures. This Borough has the largest area, in the city, 
of unimproved deep waterfront, available for develop- 
ment of port facilities. 

It has been carefully estimated that the large ton- 
nage of cargo steamers is distributed as follows : sev- 
enty-five per centum goes to the railroads for transpor- 
tation, fifteen per centum is held for storage, and ten 
per centum for local delivery in Manhattan. There- 
fore increased facilities should be created with a view 
to the handling of rail consignments in the most direct 
and modern way. Staten Island claims the distinction 
of being the only borough having direct all rail con- 
nections with the various trunk lines of railroads to 
the South and West. This is by means of the rail- 
road bridge crossing the Arthur Kill and linking Staten 
Island with New Jersey. It is a special advantage not 
enjoyed by any other borough. This facility is much 
appreciated by shippers on Staten Island, especially in 
stormy winter weather when floats and lighters 
are tied up or delayed by ice or fog. 

For years one thousand feet piers existed only in 
Manhattan and Brooklyn, but now Staten Island has 
a number of them, and plans have been decided upon, 
and the capital made available for others. 

These piers are located on the east shore of the Bor- 
ough. This locality for docks and warehouse business 
offers ideal features. A careful study has been made 
by me here and in Europe of the various facilities of 
ports, and I confidently state, after an examination of 
the plans of the proposed new terminals, that they 
will not only be of the latest type of improved develop- 
ment, but also most satisfactory for the commercial 
needs of our port. 

Erastus Wiman, father of the plan of connecting 
Staten Island with New Jersey by means of the rail- 
road bridge across the Arthur Kill, had the right idea 
as to the future of this Borough, when he stated that 
"here the products of a nation would meet the tonnage 
of the world." 

The only part of the City of New York that is on 
the west shore of the Port of New York, and the part 

14 



of the city that can compete with the rapid develop- 
ment of the shore of New Jersey, is the Borough of 
Richmond with its miles of deep water frontage. This 
is a part of the city where the railway trunk lines can 
transfer at the side of the ship, rendering lighterage 
and towing about the harbor unnecessary. All rail- 
way trunk lines are on the west shore of the Port of 
New York. This Borough has the advantage of be- 
ing able to receive the products of the West and South 
at piers where they can be put aboard ships destined 
for foreign ports, without the great expense of lighter- 
age which sometimes amounts to as much as the ex- 
pense to the railroads for their part of the transporta- 
tion from the distant inland points. 

To illustrate, let me state that you can transport 
coal from New York to Buenos Aires as cheaply as you 
can transfer it from one pier to another in New York 
Harbor. 

A bushel of wheat will move the thousands of miles 
from Argentina to our own Atlantic seaboard under a 
light ocean freight charge of ten cents. 

On the waterfront of Staten Island piers as long 
as 2,000 feet may be built into the waters of upper 
New York Bay and Raritan Bay, which would be miles 
nearer the ocean, and miles nearer the South and West 
than the piers of North River and East River. 

Miles of the deep waterfront of Staten Island are as 
near the great West as the waterfront of Newark, and 
nearer the great South. Similarly, our waterfront is 
nearer both the West and the South than the waterfront 
of Weehawken, Jersey City and Bayonne. Compared 
to the North and East Rivers, we have waterfront 
mi 1 es nearer Philadelphia, and miles nearer Wilming- 
ton, Baltimore, Washington and Pittsburgh. Miles 
nearer all points south and west for reshipment from 
boat to rail or vice versa. 

It is most discouraging to the owner of ships who 
has invested large sums of money therein to have his 
vessels delayed for hours upon arrival in port on ac- 
count of weather or harbor conditions. 

The length of a steamship was formerly five hun- 
dred feet. To-day it is a thousand feet. In other 
words it has doubled in length. Who will say that the 

- 15 



steamship of to-day will not double in length in the 
next twenty years? 

There is now in operation along the whole length 
of the north and east shores of Staten Island the finest 
and most complete marginal railway connecting all 
piers with the trunk lines to the South and West 
railway connections with the South and West, direct, 
now existing, and now complete. Much has been said 
of the importance of marginal railways. Our marginal 
railway is of the heaviest construction, and is built 
between high and low water marks, crossing all exist- 
ing piers, and on a line which intersects the plans of 
all future terminal improvements. This waterfront is 
the ideal of the students of improved harbor terminals 
a waterfront where piers may be so constructed that 
thousand feet ships may load and unload, with trains 
of cars on one side, and scores of barges in the wide 
slips on the other side. 

The Commissioner of Docks fully appreciates the 
importance to the city of these facts, and the engineers 
of his department are busy preparing plans and specifi- 
cations for twelve modern city piers, each to be twelve 
hundred feet in length, and to be equipped with rails 
for the trains of the trunk lines, and with up-to-date 
appliances for loading and unloading in the most rapid 
and economical manner. 

Within two years there will be on the east shore 
of Staten Island more space at piers for ocean freight- 
ers than now exists at the piers of Manhattan. 

Some of the new piers will be double decked, with 
depressed railroad tracks on each side, electric cranes, 
belt conveyors, chutes, and elevators. They will be 
two hundred and nine feet in w r idth. 

The first of these new piers will be ready for occu- 
pancy September i, 1922. The piers will give six 
miles of wharfage; forty-eight ships will be able to 
berth at one and the same time more than can berth 
at one and the same time in Manhattan. Ten million 
tons of freight will be handled annually. The cost 
of the piers will exceed $25,000,000. Compared to any 
kind of wharves now in use these proposed new docks 
should be called super-piers. When under construc- 
tion they will look like a forest of piles. There wil) 

16 



be driven a fairly good size forest of the finest southern 
pines into the water. More than seventy thousand 
trees are going into the water to support the new 
docks. These new piers will be the finest in the har- 
bor. They will more than double the deep water wharf 
space available in the city for transatlantic steamers. 
The construction was decided upon definitely at a meet- 
ing of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment held 
July 1 8, 1919, and I had the honor of offering the 
resolution. 

Navigation from the ocean to the east shore of 
Staten Island is without effort. When passengers 
land from ocean steamers on Staten Island half a day 
is saved by them which would be lost if they remained 
on the ships and sailed north into the North or East 
Rivers. Particular comment was directed to this fact 
upon the arrival of Cardinal Mercier in this port; al- 
most a day was wasted by his remaining on the ship 
and navigating the Hudson River when he could have 
landed on Staten Island and reached Manhattan in 
less than an hour. A great deal was said about this 
waste of a day, and much attention was drawn to this 
advantage possessed by the shores of Richmond 
Borough. 

The World War 

Staten Island from the first hour took her part seri- 
ously in the World War. Recruiting for the Naval Re- 
serve commenced in the Borough Hall immediately 
after the United States declared war upon Germany, 
April 6, 1917. 

At the time of the signing of the armistice, Novem- 
ber n, 1918, out of a population of 100,000, there 
were in the Army and Navy over 5,000 young men 
from Staten Island. 

The building that stood on the northerly line of the 
Borough Hall plot, and southerly line of the new 
Court House space, formerly known as the St. George 
Hotel, owned by the City, and having been taken for 
space for formal gardens to be constructed in front of 
the new Court House, was turned over by me as 
Borough President for the use of the Red Cross Society 

17 



and for the Navy Young Men's Christian Association 
in the war activities. 

During the war it was filled every day and night 
with sailors and soldiers, who were furnished meals 
and lodgings at a nominal charge. The food supplied 
was wholesome and abundant. No sailor or soldier 
was turned away from its warm hospitality. The over- 
flow that could not be accommodated with rooms and 
beds was provided with cots, or slept on mattresses 
placed upon the floors. They were provided for re- 
gardless of the places or States they came from. Hun- 
dreds belonged to the warships lying at the anchorage 
at St. George. 

The expense of all this was very largely borne by 
liberal Staten Islanders who were most cheerful givers, 
and there was at no time lack of funds. 

The Motor Ambulance Corps composed of ladies of 
the Red Cross Society with automobile ambulances also 
had headquarters in this Red Cross Building. The 
members of this Corps were equipped with handsome 
and becoming uniforms of great utility, giving them a 
martial and determined appearance when upon their 
serious work, or in line for escort, or for other service ; 
and they were kept very busy, and gave up a good part 
of their time to the work of moving sick and wounded 
soldiers and sailors to and from different places, often 
from ships to Fox Hills Base Hospital, or to the 
Marine Hospital. 

They became expert chauffeurs. Their bearing 
was military marching and saluting according to 
strict military regulations. 

Sections of the Borough Hall were allotted for War 
Service, which were filled with ceaseless activity dur- 
ing the whole of the war. The work was done by men 
and women, but the women workers were in the 
majority. 

Let me here take the opportunity of stating that too 
much cannot be said of the patriotism and hard work 
willingly done by the self-sacrificing w r omen of Staten 
Island during the whole period. Nothing was over- 
looked that could aid and comfort the departing recruit 
and those depending upon him. 

The services of the women extended to the big 

18 



General Hospital at Fox Hills, called the Base Hospital, 
containing over a thousand beds, and to the large 
Marine Hospital at Stapleton. 

In both hospitals, the Richmond County Chapter of 
the Red Cross has been very active, and the Chapter 
will continue work as long as men who need help are 
treated there. 

There was a branch of the Red Cross Society in 
every town on the Island, and ceaseless work was per- 
formed by the members. 

No task seemed too arduous for these noble women. 

Staten Island promptly met all the calls of the 
Government. Of the many war activities nothing was 
neglected. 

Every provision was made for the return to Staten 
Island of her boys, and all were received with fitting 
demonstration. All were provided with employment, 
and for this purpose even more space was set aside in 
the Borough Hall. 

Many of our 5,000 young men were wounded, and 
one hundred and forty-one made the supreme sacrifice. 
There will be memorials in the Borough of a fitting 
character to show in a measure our appreciation of 
their great service in their country's need. Among 
other suggestions, a noted chemist and his wife have 
expressed an intention of purchasing a tract of land 
for a Memorial Park, improving the same, placing 
bronze tablets upon a large natural monolith, dedicat- 
ing it by impressive ceremonies to the dead heroes, and 
presenting it to the City to become one of the city 
parks of the Borough. 

In March, 1917, when war with Germany seemed 
inevitable, there was called a mass meeting of the 
women of Staten Island, and it was held on the 26th 
of the same month. It was largely attended, and an 
organization for war work followed, with headquarters 
in the Borough Hall, where the League has remained 
in full activity. It was called the Staten Island 
Women's League for service. The League responded 
to many different calls for a large variety of services. 

Comfort kits and sweaters were provided for all 
of the recruits, in one instance amounting to five hun- 
dred in one day. 

19 



Every time a group of recruits left Staten Island 
for the training camps it was from the Borough Hall, 
and the Women's League for Service was in charge. 
It had brass bands on hand to provide music; promi- 
nent citizens were present to wish the recruits God- 
speed, and the Boys left home feeling that Staten Is- 
land appreciated the importance of the serious work 
they were entering upon. 

The ceremonies attending the leaving of all detach- 
ments large or small were the same. Though the day 
was hot or cold, fair or stormy, the condition of the 
weather affected in no way the noble women in carry- 
ing out their laudable enterprise. 

To give an idea of the thoroughness with which 
they demonstrated the Borough's appreciation of the 
service of the young men who left from time to time 
to fight for their country and to uphold the honored 
name of Staten Island let me describe the same. 

The recruits were received at the Borough Hall 
where they were presented with food, sweaters and 
other useful articles, where there would be present 
relatives and friends and a band of music playing 
patriotic airs; short speeches expressing appreciation 
of the importance of the serious work in which the 
recruits were about to engage were made, and after 
this the line was formed for the march down to the 
lower level of the ferry house, headed by the Borough 
President and other officials, the Aldermen, followed 
by the ladies of the Motor Corps in their effective 
looking uniforms, the home service guards in uni- 
forms, the recruits and their relatives and friends. 
The sight was always impressive, and caused many 
young men to hasten into the service of their country. 

In the Liberty Loan the Women's Committee had 
their headquarters in the Borough Hall. At the close 
of the Third Liberty Loan Staten Island had obtained 
subscriptions for more than three hundred and fifty 
per centum of its allotted quota, and there was 
presented to the Borough a large Honor Flag, which 
thereafter flew daily from the municipal pole in front 
of the Borough Hall. 

Under the guidance of the League there was also 
in the Borough Hall the headquarters of the War 

20 



Savings Stamp Campaign and the Federal Food Ad- 
ministration. It was also engaged in the campaign 
for the conservation of child life. 

In brief, during all the strenuous months of the 
war the Staten Island Women's League for Service 
was called upon for \vork of every conceivable kind, 
and it is the proud boast of Staten Island women that 
from the day they organized until the signing of the 
armistice they never refused a request. 

The United States Government acquired by lease 
160 acres of rolling land, known as Fox Hills, over- 
looking New York Bay and the ocean not far distant, 
for the military hospital called Base Hospital. 

Eighty-six buildings were erected with accommoda- 
tions for a large number of patients, and a staff of 650 
nurses, physicians and attendants. 

The property is within a mile of the Quarantine 
Station where sick and wounded soldiers were landed, 
and are now landed from ships returning from France 
and other places where our troops have been stationed 
or engaged in battle. 

The hospital is a complete one, and only praise has 
been heard regarding the efficiency and management 
of the staff of physicians, nurses and attendants. 

I propose that there be constructed in Clove Lakes 
Park, at the place where the waters of the upper lakes 
are confined and pass through a narrow outlet under 
Martling Avenue, and where there now exists a wooden 
bridge, a Memorial Bridge of natural stone, or a mono- 
lith of artificial stone, that will be a monument, and 
upon which will be embedded bronze tablets, contain- 
ing the names of the one hundred and forty-one sons 
of Staten Island who died in the World War. 

Clove Lakes Park 

The proceeding for vesting title to the tracts of 
land known as Clove Lakes Park is still pending in the 
Board of Estimate and Apportionment. 

In the area is a chain of lakes with connecting 
brooks. It is one of the most beautiful natural parks 
in the great city, and extends from Richmond Turn- 

21 



pike on the south to Forest Avenue on the north. 
Towards the south there is an extension easterly to 
Clove Road, which by the incorporation of the Clove 
Road in the Silver Lake Park will cause the Clove 
Lakes Park to be contiguous to Silver Lake Park. 

It is filled with song birds and pretty wild flowers 
blue violets, lilies, columbines, wind flowers, hepaticas, 
spring beauties, and ferns of all sorts and sizes, among 
ravines and woodlands. There are many picturesque 
footpaths, charming views, springs and mossy dells. 
There are acres of forest trees that have been grow- 
ing for generations. The mirror pool has fascinated 
students and naturalists; Brook's Falls, an outlet for 
the overflow of water from Brook's Lake, is a minia- 
ture Niagara. With the fish in the lakes are black 
bass, and other game species of the finny tribe. In the 
summer there are camps on the shores. The broad 
brooks connecting the lakes are cataracts through which 
the water dashing against the boulders rushes from 
lake to lake. 

The lakes are deep and always filled with pure 
spring water from ever flowing springs, the source of 
which is said to be the mountains of New Jersey. Sum- 
mer droughts do not affect the quantity of w r ater. 

In one lake is an island which is a favorite camp- 
ing spot for Boy Scouts. It is named "Treasure Is- 
land." There are beautiful views of lake and fen at 
Sunny Point. 

The lakes in summer time are filled with bathers 
and canoeing parties. In winter, when frozen over, they 
are playgrounds for skaters and hockey players. 

Shipyards 

The several shipyards of the Borough have devel- 
oped into large plants, and have rendered invaluable 
service to our country during the war. 

There have been constructed, launched and com- 
pleted many ships of the carrying capacity of 7,500 
tons, and various war craft which have performed 
"valuable service. 

During the war the construction was day and night 

22 



without intermission, and there was never a question of 
the efficiency of the large forces of men working in 
every plant. At the laimchings the joy of the ship- 
workers was complete as they saw the fruition of their 
intense labors. For the next half century these staunch 
vessels will be seen in every clime flying the stars and 
stripes. 

Catskill Mountain Water 

The Borough is now supplied with Catskill moun- 
tain water from the Ashokan artificial lakes, at the 
Ashokan Dam, in Ulster County. 

The pure water of a large mountain stream that 
flows through the Ulster County section of the Catskill 
[Mountains is impounded in the Ashokan artificial lakes, 
one hundred miles distant from the City of Xe\v York; 
thence by gravity it flows to the west shore of the Hud- 
son at Storm King, and by siphon under the river to 
the east side thereof, and thence to the Harlem River. 
Flowing under the Harlem River, under the Borough 
of Manhattan, under the East River, under the Borough 
of Brooklyn, and under the Narrows to Staten Island, 
this water, finally, reaches distributing reservoirs in 
Silver Lake Park. 

The number of gallons of this mountain water in 
the Silver Lake Park reservoirs averages daily 440,- 
000,000. The depth of the water in the reservoirs 
when full is 35 feet. The size (water surface) of these 
reservoirs combined is 54 acres. The number of miles 
of water mains in this borough containing Catskill 
water is 264. 

The Subway Proceedings 

Three fourths of the wealth of the State of New 
York is in the City of New York. 

An investigation as to the marvelous increase in 
value of real estate in the city has satisfied experts that 
there will be such a big rise in assessed valuations 
that in 1921 the expansion of the debt limit will reach 
$160,000,000. That is, the city will have a clear 
margin of power to issue additional bonds to the 
amount of $160,000,000. That will be the constitu- 
tional debt incurring power of the city, in addition to 

23 



all existing debts. In other words $160,000,000 may 
be spent for new improvements. 

Richmond Borough is an integral part of the City 
of Xew York, and is entitled to the same favorable 
treatment that has been bestowed upon the other 
boroughs. 

The city government has been prodigal in providing 
millions upon millions for the development of trans- 
portation facilities in the other boroughs, and has al- 
most ignored all applications for aid in our efforts 
to develop Staten Island. 

The City invested $121,000,000 in bridges, alone, 
in other boroughs ; and the enormous outlay for subway 
transit in those boroughs is without parallel in any 
part of the world. 

The utilizing of the miles of water front upon deep 
water around this Borough must be taken into con- 
sideration in the contemplated plans for the further 
extensive development of the Port of Xew York, now 
strongly advocated by the Chamber of Commerce of 
the State of New York, the Merchants' Association, 
and other influential organizations. 

Attention should be directed to the City of Newark, 
and its efforts to develop its water front, and its won- 
derful growth since the City of New York allowed the 
building of a subway under the streets of Manhattan 
to connect that borough with it. 

As stated above, the shores of Staten Island are the 
shores of the City of New York that are on the west 
side of the harbor of New York, and have all of the 
advantages of the New Jersey shores in respect to 
location on the west side of the port. 

The City of New York must use the shores of 
Staten Island in its competition with the advantageous 
shores of New Jersey. 

The terminals of the railroad trunk lines must al- 
ways be on the west shores of the harbor. For on 
the west shores of the harbor goods may be taken 
from railroad trains and placed on ships without the 
waste of lighterage. 

Upon the commencement of the construction of 
tunnels for subway connections to Staten Island the 
profit to the City will be instant. As soon as the de- 

24 



cision by the City to construct the tunnels is made, 
the building of homes and the influx of population 
will commence, values for taxation purposes will 
rapidly increase, the harbor will be more easily de- 
veloped and business and manufactures of the city in- 
creased. 

Through the existing tubes the population of Man- 
hattan has been sucked, and deposited in Westchester 
County, in Nassau County, and in the State of New 
Jersey. 

The proposed Staten Island tunnel would not go 
to New Jersey, Westchester County, or Nassau County, 
or to stations of railroads running to those places, but 
would go to a part of the city, and serve only people 
who would pay rent within the city, or taxes to the 
city. It would put population within the city, and 
not operate as a suction tube to draw population from 
the city and add it to the population of places outside 
of the city, as is the case with the existing subways. 

Now I ask is this a five borough city, with all five 
boroughs working together, or is it a city that would 
just as soon send its people to New Jersey, West- 
Chester County and Nassau County, and let them get 
their taxes, while New York City furnishes their in- 
comes, and this Borough remains with the damag- 
ing handicap of want of proper transportation? 

What has Staten Island paid for subways in other 
boroughs? What has it paid for the support of the 
Public Service Commissions? Is there an unjust situa- 
tion? The Public Service Commissions have cost the 
taxpayers of Staten Island dearly in salaries and ad- 
ministration expenses, yet by no stretch of imagina- 
tion can it be discovered that one dollar's worth of 
benefit from this immense outlay ever reached the 
Borough of Richmond. A more useless expense than 
that of the support of the Public Service Commissions 
as far as this Borough has been concerned could not 
be conceived. 

The subways were built by the city at the expense 
of the city and are owned by the city, and are leased 
to operating companies. 

Issues of bonds, a burden to the entire city, in- 
cluding Staten Island, running into hundreds of mil- 

25 



lions, have been made for subways to carry people 
under the streets of New York City comfortably and 
rapidly to points in Westchester County and Nassau 
County as well as to various sections of four of the 
five boroughs, while annually the home of the man 
on Staten Island which is assessed, say, at $5,000 has 
been taxed to pay the expenses of the Public Service 
Commissions and interest and sinking fund instal- 
ments upon the bonds issued by the city for the con- 
struction of the subways just as much as the home of a 
resident in another borough also assessed at $5,000, 
but who is enjoying all the comforts of subways. 

Let us see how this operates in figures. Take 
$300,000,000 as an easy example, and say that the 
debt of the city which has been contracted for subways 
is that amount. In that case in the year 1920 the city 
will contribute $13,000,000 for interest and sinking 
fund payments for that year on $300,000,000 invested 
in subways; and this will add sixteen points to the 
tax rate in every borough, including the Borough of 
Richmond. In other words, sixteen points of the tax 
rate in the Borough of Richmond each year are in 
the levy because the city annually contributes $13,000,- 
ooo for interest and sinking fund payments for the 
subways in favored boroughs. 

What will Staten Island contribute to the city in 
return for the outlay for a tunnel? The answer is 
public schools established before consolidation, hos- 
pitals established before consolidation, hundreds of 
miles of macadam highways constructed before con- 
solidation, four ferries to four different cities of New 
Jersey, great fortifications, Kill Van Kull and its 
great commerce, beautiful beaches, highest hills on the 
Atlantic Coast, bays and rivers, great shipyards, manu- 
facturing plants, miles of frontage for commercial 
purposes upon deep water, and the only frontage of 
the city on the west side of the harbor, a marginal 
railway connecting with all the trunk lines to the 
South and West and of a construction superior to any 
that the city can hope to possess in any borough, a 
great area, picturesque, beautiful, healthful and de- 
sirable for homes, and a well-to-do population of thou- 
sands of sterling citizens with most patriotic impulses. 

26 



The New County Court House 



The new County Court House at St. George, situ- 
ated next to the Borough Hall, denominated in the 
records of the Board of Estimate as the "Additional 
County Court House in the Borough of Richmond" 
is now completed, and ready for occupancy. There 
will be housed in it the Supreme Court of the State 
of New York, the County Court of the County of 
Richmond, the Surrogate, the Sheriff, the County 
Clerk, the Clerk of the Surrogate's Court, the District 
Attorney, The Commissioner of Jurors, the Assistant 
Medical Examiner, other County officers, and the Court 
of Special Sessions. 

I have also assigned the large front room and two 
additional rooms on the top floor to the Richmond 
County Bar Association for a county law library, and 
for meeting and business purposes connected with the 
affairs of the Association. 

The total appropriations made from time to time by 
the Board of Estimate for land, construction of build- 
ing, formal gardens, and furniture amount to $964,- 
973.22, and were made in various sums during the 
terms of Borough Presidents Cromwell, McCormack 
and myself. 

The contracts were signed as follows : 



Date of 

Contract. Purpose of Contract. 

Dec. 22/1.3. Excavation. 

Jan. 5/14. Construction of Foundation, 
Shell and Roof of Build- 
ing. 

July 25/16. Plumbing. 

Oct. 9/16. Incidental Plumbing. 

Oct. 13/16. Heating and Ventilating. 

Jan. 3/17. Interior Construction. 

Sep. 17/17. Electrical Work. 

Oct. 30/17. Elevators. 

Jan. 4/18. Approach Work. 

May 8/18. Lighting Fixtures. 

May 9/18. Clocks. 

May 15/19. Furniture. 



Name of President 
Signing Same. 

George Cromwell. 
Charles J. McCormaek. 



Henry P. 

Acting- 
Calvin D, 
Calvin D, 
Calvin D. 
Henry P. 

Acting- 
Henry P. 

Acting- 
Henry P. 

Acting- 
Calvin D 
Calvin D 
John 1-:. 

Acting 



Morrison, 
President. 
, Van Name. 
, Van Name. 
, Van Name. 

Morrison, 
President. 

Morrison, 
President. 

Morrison, 
President. 
. Van Name. 
. Van Name. 
Bowe, 
President. 



27 



Other appropriations and contracts will be neces- 
sary for furniture and for beautifying the gardens, 
which will make the total exceed one million dollars. 

The St. George Ferry 

The municipal ferry service to Staten Island is 
maintained by five swift boats the largest and finest 
ferryboats in the world, constructed for the city, and 
put in commission in 190=;. They are named "Man- 
hattan," "Brooklyn," "Bronx," "Queens," and "Rich- 
mond." The schedule time between the Borough of 
Manhattan and the Borough of Richmond is twenty- 
three minutes. The number of passengers carried in 
the year 1918 exceeded 17,000,000, and the number 
of vehicles exceeded 528,000. 

Four of the ferryboats are in constant service. 
They have a capacity of 2,500 passengers each; and in 
addition each has space for carrying about twenty- 
two automobiles. The average daily traffic to and 
from Manhattan is 50,000. The maximum rush hour 
traffic is 9,000 per hour. The population and business 
of the borough are too great for service by ferry only, 
and the rapidly increasing harbor congestion, a great 
hindrance to ferry operation, has made necessary some 
additional means of communication between Staten 
Island and the other boroughs. 

Because of the efforts of leading men and influen- 
tial organizations coupled with natural advantages, the 
population of the borough has greatly increased, and 
the industries have developed on a large scale, and to 
such a degree that the municipal ferry is not able to 
comfortably or expeditiously handle the increasing 
daily passenger and vehicular traffic. 

The development of the port is retarded by the loss 
of time (which is money) of high powered auto trucks 
standing in long lines awaiting passage on the over- 
crowded boats. 

Let us look at some figures as to this loss to the 
public. It is a common sight to see in line awaiting 
turn on the boats forty auto-trucks and touring cars. 
Strike an average of $4,000 for each truck or car, and 
you have in the line standing idle a value of $160,000. 

28 



Again assume that there are of the forty vehicles 
thirty auto-trucks, each with an average load of the 
value of $2,000, there is an additional sum standing 
idle of $60,000. In all, idle capital amounting to $220,- 
ooo. 

I feel sure that no other city in the world would 
tolerate this large waste. 

Many trucks are loaded with foodstuffs that are 
needed at their destinations and enhanced in cost by 
the waste of capital and time of men before reaching 
the retail stores. 

I have made application for the construction of 
five new ferryboats of the character and size of the 
"Richmond"; one to be launched in 1921, and one 
each succeeding year. 

New Ferries 

Two new ferries have been established; one from 
the terminal of the Municipal Ferry at St. George to 
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and the other from Linoleum- 
ville to Carteret, New Jersey. 

There are in use on both ferries, ferryboats, com- 
modious and strong, with a capacity for carrying 
numbers of trucks and automobiles. 

Shortening the Time of Travel by Improved Streets 

Between the Shores East and West, and 

North and South 

With limited funds for the purpose of construction 
of improved pavements each year, it becomes important 
that there should be some fixed policy as to the selection 
of highways upon which to make expenditures. Two 
methods are suggested. One is to improve short 
stretches of streets within the thickly populated towns; 
and the other is to improve long stretches of highways 
running north and south, and long stretches of high- 
ways running east and west, and thus shorten the time 
of "travel between towns of importance and between 
attractive locations ; in other words, by the latter plan 
to make the borough more compact, endeavor to have 
no isolated villages, no feeling of clannishness for this 
shore or that shore, make the people of all shores 

29 



neighbors, and encourage the extension of all towns 
large and small until all have grown together. For a 
time at least the latter method should be used. 

If I am allowed to carry on my plans in this re- 
spect there will soon be a feeling that all of our people 
are residing in the same civic division. Although the 
present names for convenience of designations of 
locations may continue, the feeling of distance will 
no longer be apparent. 

This idea will be carried out by the proposed 
improvement of Richmond Avenue, Richmond Turn- 
pike, Richmond Road, Willow Brook Road, Arthur 
Kill Road, Manor Road, Clove Road and Rockland 
Avenue. 

In adhering to the policy of using the limited 
funds awarded to me by the Board of Estimate to 
shorten time of travel between the towns and between 
the shores, the nine and one-half miles from New 
Dorp to the Perth Amboy Ferry, comprising the 
Amboy Road and Bentley Street, were paved with a 
wearing surface of bituminous concrete, two inches 
thick, on a concrete foundation six inches thick. This 
is said to be the most delightful riding surface to be 
found anywhere. The asphalt used is genuine 
Bermudez Lake asphalt, from Yenezue'a, South 
America. 

The expense of such a pavement one or two years 
hence will be prohibitive if the rapidly mounting costs 
of labor and materials continue their upward trend. 
Hence it is imperative that this pavement be carefully 
protected from rough use by auto-trucks. 

An awakening is in the growing size of the auto- 
truck, now approaching fifteen ton load capacity. 
These large auto-trucks will be very destructive to 
bituminous covered pavements. They were not laid 
for heavy wear. Such wear and tear were not known 
when they were planned and could not reasonably 
have been anticipated. 

If the heavy trucks cannot be excluded from the 
Ambov Road its bituminous pavement, which is the 
finest in the world, will be destroyed. 

\Yhen the late Henry P. Morrison, then Commis- 
sioner of Public AYorks, which office lie held at the 

30 



time of his death, and Theodor S. Oxholm, Chief 
Engineer, planned and drew specifications for this 
pavement, the large auto-truck with a carrying- 
capacity of nine tons, now often seen on our high- 
ways, was in the experimental stage, and no provision 
was made for an attack upon the wearing quality of 
this character of pavement that these heavy trucks 
will make. Many of the heavy trucks are not destined 
for points in the borough, but they are doing a grow- 
ing business between Baltimore, Wilmington, Phila- 
delphia, New York City and New England. 

Tne Arthur Kill Road will rapidly go to destruc- 
tion under heavy wear it being a tar via macadam 
highway; and it will be necessary to pave it with a 
heavy cement concrete pavement as soon as the Board 
of Estimate will make the necessary appropriation. 
It will cost a great deal, but I will apply for the 
funds, confident of the support of our people in 
making the large outlay to relieve the congestion on 
the Amboy Road. 

One severe winter with the truck travel would at 
once destroy the ten miles of the Arthur Kill Road, 
and make it impassable, unless paved with cement 
concrete as suggested. As much of the trucking is 
inter-state, and necessary for the business of the en- 
tire city, the Board should consider this fact when 
the application for funds is made, and not put a 
heavy burden of assessment upon this borough. 

Richmond Avenue, running almost north and 
south from the Kill Van Kull at Port Richmond to 
Raritan Bay at Eltingville Shore, has possibilities 
that are important to the borough, and it is my am- 
bition to extend the present smooth pavement of 
bituminous concrete southerly across Fresh Kills 
Bridge to Amboy Road at Eltingville, and on to the 
Southfield Boulevard and Raritan Bay at Eltingville 
Shore. It will not be an extravagance. The reduc- 
tion of time from the Kill Van Kull on the north to 
Raritan Bay on the south, by use of a new bitumi- 
nous pavement to twenty minutes will be a creditable 
achievement. By this improvement Ambov Road, 
Eltingville Shore and Great Kills will be but one- 
half hour from the growing City of Bayonne. There 

3 1 



are great probabilities of developments at Elting- 
ville Shore and Great Kills. 

A cement concrete pavement has been laid on 
the \Yillow Brook Road and has the distinction of 
being the first concrete pavement laid upon a high- 
way in the city. 

After an examination by Commissioner Morrison 
and Mr. Oxholm of concrete pavements up the State, 
it was determined to construct such a highway here. 
The use of cement concrete as a pavement has in- 
creased very materially, and improvement in methods 
and manner of laying it has advanced very much. 
The results seem satisfactory, and I am anxious to 
extend the same pavement along Forest Hill Road, 
Rockland Avenue, and Richmond Road to Amboy 
Road at Black Horse Tavern. 

\Yillow Brook Road and Rockland Avenue are 
a beautiful route, passing fields of green, wild hedges, 
forests and streams, and the ravine at Egbertville, 
which lias been included in the park system of 
the borough. This drive connects the towns of the 
north shore with the beaches and the growing locali- 
ties of the south shore. 

The cement to be used in the concrete will make 
a mosaic pavement. It will bear the traffic without 
an asphalt surface. It is hoped that this type of road 
will meet for at least ten years the demands of the 
heavy auto-trucks. These routes will be charming 
pleasure drives for those who seek the beautiful rural 
retreats of the island. 

While I have modified the original plans of 
some years ago for the improvement of Center Street 
and Tompkins Avenue (sometimes called Rosebank 
Avenue) which seemed to me too much in ad- 
vance of the times, yet enough of the original plans 
has been adopted by me to bring about great improve- 
ment in Stapleton, Clifton and Rosebank. 

As modified, there will be a wide avenue, where 
it has been needed, from the park in Stapleton to 
Vanclerbilt Avenue, and there will be constructed 
sidewalks, curbing, guttering and a bituminous pave- 
ment. The curbing, guttering and bituminous pave- 
ment will 1>e continued on as far as St. Mary's Avenue. 

3 2 



Manor Road between Richmond Turnpike and 
Brielle Avenue is paved with macadam covered with 
tarvia. 

As the pavement is not strong enough to with- 
stand the shock of the constant bus travel to and 
from Sea View Hospital, the continual efforts by 
the Bureau of Highways to keep it in repair are un- 
availing. 

I have made application successfully to the 
Board of Estimate for funds with which to lay a 
pavement of bituminous concrete on a cement con- 
crete foundation. Another much needed improve- 
ment \vill be made. 

Richmond Road is a very important highway, 
being the most direct route from Manhattan and the 
St. George Ferry southwesterly to Amboy Road and 
Perth Amboy Ferry, and to the South and West. 

It is a city-wide problem. The road is very nar- 
row and has upon each side of the small wagon space 
sets of rails of the Staten Island Midland Railway 
Company. 

I will obtain the funds with which to improve it 
so that the space up to and within the rails will be 
made available as a widening of the highway. The 
proposed extension of the width of the pavement will 
become a fact. There is a petition to the Local 
Board to compel the setting back of the fences for 
the construction of sidewalks from Concord to New 
Dorp. This will bring about an improvement that 
is very much needed. 

The old route from New York to Philadelphia 
and Washington by way of the old Quarantine, now 
Tompkinsville, and New Blazing Star Ferry will 
again come to the fore. The Staten Island end of 
the subway under the bay from Brooklyn will be at 
or in the neighborhood of Richmond Turnpike. 
Recently there has been established a ferry across 
Arthur Kill to Carteret, New Jersey, from the end 
of Richmond Turnpike at Linoleumville, and if 
there were a proper pavement the distance could be 
run by way of this route in short time. 

I am urging the importance of the proposed im- 

33 



provement and time-saving suggestion upon the 
members of the Board of Estimate. There have 
been a number of private plans filed in the County 
Clerk's office for the development of large tracts of 
land on and near this highway. The present pave- 
ment is macadam covered with tarvia, and is unfitted 
to withstand the increasing automobile and auto- 
truck traffic. 

This thoroughfare passes Tompkinsville, Silver 
Lake Park with the reservoirs, Clove Road, Clove 
Lakes Park, Little Clove Road, South New York, 
Castleton Corners (Four Corners), Jewett Avenue, 
Westerleigh, Willow Brook Road, Richmond Ave- 
nue, Bull's Head, Travisville and Linoleumville. 
It is a direct route from the east side of the borough 
to the west side of the borough, and to the ferry con- 
necting with New Jersey. 

It may be said that the highways of Richmond 
Borough are the finest in the United States. 

Projects are under way for new pavements to be 
constructed before the end of 1921 which will en- 
large the famous improved roadway system of 
Staten Island to a degree unsurpassed anywhere. 

Conclusion 

There is a general feeling of confidence that the 
progress in the borough which has commenced w^ill 
continue, and there is a determination on the part 
of the citizens of Richmond Borough to aid the new 
administration at City Hall. 

It is very gratifying to note the pleasant relations 
existing between our citizens and the Executive of 
the City and all branches of the City Government. 
All the members of the Board of Estimate are show- 
ing every inclination to aid in the new movement to 
develop the borough. Our people are \vell aware 
that the Board of Estimate is endeavoring to govern 
our city economically, business-like and decently. 

It is a pleasure to write of the great help in the 
administration of the borough and in its now rapid 
development received from the three aldermen, who, 
with me, compose the Local Board. We have been 

34 



in complete accord, and perfect harmony has pre- 
vailed. 

I have been heartily supported by the various 
officials and employees of this department who have 
given close application to their work, and have 
served the public in a manner that has won general 
commendation. 

In the death of Henry P. Morrison, a dis- 
tinguished civil engineer, and an expert of renown in 
road building, who had spent years in the service of 
the State and City, the borough and the municipality 
have sustained a great loss. He died at his residence 
in West New Brighton, in this borough, on Decem- 
ber 17, 1918. 

Superintendent of Street Cleaning, John J. Collins, 
died at his residence in West New Brighton, in this 
borough, on February 26, 1919. He was a faithful 
public official, having served with distinguished honor 
as Alderman, Sheriff and Superintendent of the Bu- 
reau of Street Cleaning. 

Excepting the lamented deaths of Commissioner 
Morrison and Superintendent Collins, there have been 
no changes in the personnel of the official staff during 
the past year, and a harmonious relationship continues 
between all members. 

Finally, your Honor, I desire to express my sincere 
gratification to you and to all members of your ad- 
ministration, and to the various members of the Board 
of Estimate and the Board of Aldermen, who are all 
sincerely aiding in the proper conduct of the affairs 
of the City, for uniform kindness and assistance on all 
occasions. Without this co-operation my work would 
have been far more difficult, and the progress now evi- 
dent everywhere would have been greatly retarded. 

Respectfully yours, 
CALVIN D. VAN NAME, 
President of the Borough of Richmond 



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