Back in March 2017, I documented the brook flowing along Bard Avenue on the North Shore of Staten Island. At the time I wrote that its furthest place aboveground was at Moody Place, which borders on Richmond University Medical Center. A tip from a colleague at Parks sent me further upstream where I found another piece of Logan’s Spring Brook in open view.
This piece of Logan’s Spring Brook can be seen from the north side of Castleton Avenue between Walbrooke and Kissel Avenues. It flows in an alley then disappears below Castleton Avenue.
Where it Flows
The most detailed historical view of Logan’s Spring Brook is the city’s 1924 aerial survey, where I highlighted the east-west Castleton Avenue and Forest Avenue. The scene today is covered almost entirely with tract housing.
The stream originated on the northern slope of the hill containing Silver Lake, flowing in a northwest direction towards Bard Avenue. It then continued north towards Harbor Brook, ultimately draining into Kill Van Kull. The street with the green median is Hart Boulevard.
I considered crossing the fence guarding this waterway, but why have the neighbors call police on me? Instead I traveled uphill on Walbrooke Avenue to look for other sections of this stream. I did not find any, and the dead-end of Delafield Avenue at Walbrooke did not have the stream on view.
I did find it ironic that in my search for the present headwaters of Logan’s Spring Brook I was traveling on Walbrooke, a street whose name is taken from the River Walbrook, an underground stream flowing beneath London. In a gesture reminiscent of Collect Pond Park in downtown Manhattan, a sculptural fountain was built atop the buried streambed in 2017 by artist Cristina Iglesias. Certainly worth seeing when visiting London.
I had nearly given up looking for the present headwaters of Logan’s spring Brook, but then recognized that the 1924 aerial shows the stream originating near the point where Forest Avenue makes a curve around Silver Lake Park. At the corner of Forest Avenue and Randall Avenue I noticed a culver and a ravine encircling the Temple Israel Reform Congregation like a moat, albeit with a thick cover of vegetation. The temple dates to 1964, designed by renowned American synagogue architect Percival Goodman.
The back of this temple on Gregg Place contains a pre-kindergarten accessible by a bridge over the ravine. The brook disappears beneath this street and reappears again at Castleton Avenue.
On an unrelated note, I’ve always found the name Gregg to be a waste of an extra letter. Why not stick with one G as in Greg? We live in the age of Twitter where brevity matters, so unless you’re famous like Snoop Dogg, I see no point in names such as William, Matthew, Brittany, Jillian, and Gregg. All of them ought to eliminate that second silent letter.
But There’s More
Earlier this year while inspecting the nearby Silver Lake Golf Course, the manager told me that side from the brook flowing out of Silver Lake towards Clove Lake, there is a spring at the northwest tip of the park, between the fairways for holes 5 and 6.
I didn’t have time to drive a golf cart to this site but from a Google Earth survey, the spring is easily visible. Prior to the transformation of Silver Lake into a reservoir, it was a much smaller body of water. In November 1911, William T. Davis documented the exact location of Logan’s Spring within the section of Silver Lake Park, on the slope of the hill containing that lake. The ridge of this hill is topped by Silver Lake Park Road, a scenic drive through this park.
The photo above of the original Logan’s Spring is from the NYPL Digital Collections. When Silver Lake was expanded into a reservoir, the spring was covered and now rests below the reservoir north basin’s bottom.