In contrast to most of the borough, the northern third of Staten Island had been developed long before the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge spurred masses of prospective homeowners to the island. As a result, there are fewer large parks in the North Shore neighborhoods and they tend to be small in size. An exception is a recently formed chain of parks that follow Harbor Brook in the New Brighton neighborhood.
Harbor Brook originates in the thickness of the forest surrounding the pond, flowing through the Goodhue property into Allison Pond Park, then underground for a block before reemerging on the grounds of Snug Harbor, from which it flows into the Kill Van Kull. On the 1891 Bien Atlas below, Goodhue Pond is circled in red and other present-day Parks properties are marked in green. Harbor Book is outlined.
The pond was formed by damming the stream and using it as an ice skating and fishing site. The property’s name dates back to 1841, when merchant Jonathan Goodhue built his Woodbrook mansion to the north of the pond. In 1912, his descendant Sarah Parker Goodhue donated the 42-acre estate to the Children’s Aid Society, which used it as a retreat and summer camp. In 2005, the nonprofit announced its intention to sell 38 acres of the property. Local officials scrambled to gather the funds to preserve the site as a city park. Children’s Aid Society patiently waited as the city went through the land use and environmental-review process and budget allocations to purchase the site in stages.
As the above map shows, nearly all of Staten Island’s large parks are connected to each other using parkway shoulders and the Greenbelt system. With the purchase of Goodhue, there is now a link between Skyline Playground, Jones Woods Park and Allison Pond Park, effectively a miniature greenbelt for the north shore.
It’s always exciting to see a waterway preserved in the city.