About Huguenot, Staten Island
On May 9, 1661, Pierre Billiou and his wife Francoise, two Huguenots, left Amsterdam aboard the De St. Jan Baptist to arrive at New Amsterdam three months later, where Pierre acquired much land on Staten Island. Their daughter Marie had left for New Amsterdam with her uncle, Louis Du Bois, prior to May 1661. On June 3, 1670 Marie Billiou married Arendt Jansen Prall. Two years later, she gave birth to Pieter Prall, and in 1675, the family moved to Staten Island to be reunited with Marie's parents.
In 1849, the Church of the Huguenots was organized. Two years later, Honorary Benjamin P. Prall, who had acquired much of his great-great-grandfather Arendt's property, donated a parcel of land in the area of Bloomingview to have a church built for the Huguenots. This church, which was known by the names of "The Brown Church" and "The Church of the Huguenots", caught on fire in 1918 due to the sparks of a train.
After having changed the neighborhood's name to Huguenot during the late 1800's, a new church was built in 1924, known as the Reformed Church of Huguenot Park. This church, which was designed by prominent architect Ernest Flagg, was built at 5475 Amboy Road. On May 18, 1924, it was dedicated as the National Monument of the Huguenot-Walloon-New Netherland 300th Anniversary of Religious Freedom. The Reformed Church of Huguenot Park is still standing today and was dedicated as a New York City Landmark on November 20, 1990.
In December of 1994, less than three acres of land between Eyelandt Street, Stecher Street, and Colon Street were assigned to the Parks Department. Here, the Arbutus Woods Park was established. During his life, William Thomas Davis, a naturalist and historian, greatly appreciated this area and the wildlife that came with it. The park was named for the prominent Arbutus plant which grew in the area and was used as a vegetable in salads. Due to the mass harvesting of the plant, it became extinct in the 1940's. Today, however, many other species of fauna and flora populate Arbutus Woods Park, making it a great site for nature-lovers.
In 1860, the Staten Island Railway had been extended from Tompkinsville to Tottenville in Staten Island. At this time, a station for the Staten Island Railway was opened in the neighborhood of Huguenot. The station's name was Huguenot Park, although it is rather questionable, as there was no park in the vicinity. About one century after its opening, Huguenot Park's name was changed solely to Huguenot. In 1985, however, the Huguenot Park Branch, as it was called, of the New York Public Library was opened one block west of the Huguenot station. The library is located at 830 Huguenot Avenue, by Drumgoole Road East.
Currently, there are a few bus connections with the station. You have the local s55, which travels from Rossville to the Staten Island Mall along Annadale Road, and the x17, x19, and x23 express buses. The x17 is separated by the x17A, the x17C, and the x17J, which travel to different places depending on the time and day. The x17A travels to Lower Manhattan, while the x17C travels into Midtown Manhattan. The x17J travels into Midtown Manhattan as well; however, there is no service on Sunday. Each of the x17 buses travel along Richmond Avenue and take the Goethals Bridge into Manhattan. The x19 takes Gannon Avenue to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to get into Lower Manhattan, while the x23 takes Hylan Boulevard to the Goethals Bridge to get to Midtown Manhattan.
There are a few other buses in the neighborhood of Huguenot that do not pass the Huguenot Train Station. These include the local s56, which travels along Arthur Kill Road to get to Huguenot or the Staten Island Mall; the s59, which travels along Richmond Avenue to get to Port Richmond or Tottenville; and the s78, which takes Hylan Boulevard to the St. George Ferry Terminal or the Bricktown Mall. In addition, there is also the x24 express bus, which travels along Hylan Boulevard to get to the Goethals Bridge, which will take you into Midtown Manhattan.
There are many schools for children to attend in and around the neighborhood of Huguenot. Public schools in the area include P.S. 5, at 348 Deisius Street; P.S. 36, at 255 Ionia Avenue; P.S. 3, at 80 South Goff Avenue; I.S. 7, at 1270 Huguenot Avenue; I.S. 75, at 455 Huguenot Avenue; and Tottenville High School, at 100 Luten Avenue. The nearest Catholic schools are Out Lady Star of the Sea, at 5411 Amboy Road; the St. Joseph/St. Thomas School, at 50 Maguire Avenue; and St. Joseph By the Sea High School, at 5150 Hylan Boulevard. Other private schools in the vicinity of Huguenot include the Eltingville Lutheran School, at 300 Genesee Avenue; Yeshiva of Staten Island, at 1870 Drumgoole Road East; and the Francis School, at 4240 Amboy Road.