Staten Island Neighborhood Profile: Silver Lake
During the 1800's, a few Quarantine Hospitals existed on Staten Island. These Hospitals were used to contain individuals with yellow fever. Residents, afraid of the epidemic spreading, burned the Hospitals down. While the Quarantine Hospitals were not open long, many patients died of the disease and were buried at Marine Cemetery. This cemetery was located above Victory Boulevard in the neighborhood of Silver Lake.
Before refrigerators were made available to the United States, ice harvesting was a thriving business during the winter. It was especially popular on Staten Island's ponds and lakes. In the 1860s, an icehouse was built on Silver Lake, which is located in the neighborhood bearing the same name. This icehouse lasted until around 1911, when refrigerators were introduced. A few years later, the Lake was drained to be used as a reservoir.
While ice harvesting obviously only occurred during the winter, the area surrounding the Lake was still very popular during the other seasons. The Silver Lake Hotel existed there up until 1902, at which point a Casino was built in its place. When it was not being used for ice harvesting, Silver Lake was used for swimming, boating, fishing, and ice skating. During the Great Depression, entertainment was very much needed. During the summers, the Federal Theatre Project, which was part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration, would fund theatrical performances at Silver Lake. Audiences would sit in the grass to watch the performances, just as they would decades later, to watch the Staten Island Musicians Society Band.
During the end of the 19th century, Staten Islanders pleaded for a park which could match that of Manhattan's Central Park and Brooklyn's Prospect Park. During the early years of the 20th century, the land around Silver Lake was purchased and transformed into Silver Lake Park, making it Staten Island's first established city park. The current 209-acre park is surrounded by Victory Boulevard, Clove Road, and Forest Avenue.
Silver Lake Park, the neighborhood's pride and joy, has many facilities. In 1928, the Silver Lake Golf Course was created. This golf course replaced the land that had been used for Marine Cemetery, discussed earlier. During the following years, tennis courts, a baseball field, and a playground were constructed in the park. In 1988, a new administration building was built. In 1997, handball courts were added, along with new benches, fences, plants, guiderails, and equipment for the playground. The Veranda CafÃ© is also located within the park. The cafÃ© is situated at 915 Victory Boulevard and overlooks the golf course.
There are several public and private schools in and around the neighborhood of Silver Lake. The public schools include P.S. 14, at 100 Tompkins Avenue; I.S. 49, at 101 Warren Street; I.S. 61, at 445 Castleton Avenue; Concord High School, at 109 Rhine Avenue; and the Michael J. Petrides School, at 715 Ocean Terrace. The Catholic schools in the area are Notre Dame Elementary Academy, at 78-78 Howard Avenue; Immaculate Conception School, at 104 Gordon Street; Our Lady of Good Counsel, at 42 Austin Place; Notre Dame Academy High School, at 134 Howard Avenue; and St. Peter's High School for Boys, at 200 Clinton Avenue. The other private schools are Building Blocks Montessori School, at 55 Forest Avenue, and Miraj Islamic School, at 307 Victory Boulevard.
There are a few buses which travel through Silver Lake's community to get to their destinations. All of the local buses travel from the St. George Ferry Terminal. The s61, s62, and s63 all travel along Victory Boulevard. Respectively, they go to the Staten Island Mall, Travis, and Port Richmond. The s48 takes Forest Avenue to get to Mariners Harbor. The express bus that serves Silver Lake is the x30, which goes into Midtown Manhattan.