Charles W. Leng’s Wonderful Map

When I am not getting my shoes wet by exploring streams, I look carefully at old maps and aerials in search of where the hidden waterways once flowed in the open. Last week, I conducted a park inspection in the far-off Travis neighborhood of Staten Island, where the Parks Department has a plant nursery.

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The plant nursery is a former farm, and on one of its walls is a 1968 reproduction of Charles W. Leng’s 1896 Map of Staten Island with Ye Olde Names & Nicknames by William T. Davis. There is so much information on it relating to the island borough’s history. Let’s zoom in on a few details. Continue reading

Moravian Brook, Staten Island

With the Republican National Convention taking place next week, I have Staten Island on my mind. Historically, the borough has been the city’s most reliable GOP stronghold and the party’s headquarters can be found at 2300 Richmond Road, a former florist shop that is used as a campaign center during elections.

Directly across the street from this urban elephant outpost is Moravian Cemetery, one of the city’s elite burial grounds, mentioned in the same dying breath as Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery or Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

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The cemetery has a stream flowing through it, but where does it originate and what is its destination after it enters the underworld upon leaving the cemetery? Continue reading