Staten Island Neighborhood Profile: Bulls Head
On July 3, 1776, over one year after the American Revolutionary War had begun, tens of thousands of British troops set up headquarters on Staten Island. Until the end of the war in 1783, many soldiers, chiefly the Loyalists, chose to remain on Staten Island. A well-known location for their headquarters was at a tavern called The Bull's Head.
"The Bull's Head", which was built in 1741, was located at the intersection of the Richmond Turnpike, which is now Victory Boulevard, and the Old Stone Road, which is now Richmond Avenue. This tavern was in the neighborhood of London Bridge, whose name remains a question. Years after the Revolutionary War, fires had engulfed several houses at the center of the community. Residents of the community began to refer to their hometown as Phoenixville, as they believed the houses would someday rise from their ashes. Once the Bull's Head's notoriety began to grow for its housing as British headquarters, the neighborhood's name changed to Bulls Head.
After the American Revolution and up until the 1960's, Bulls Head was made up mostly of farmland. One of the most well-known farms was that of Julius Weissglass. During the late 1800's, Weissglass purchased a 50-acre farm from the Simonson family in the neighborhood of Bulls Head. With his twelve cows, forty ducks, and one hundred and twenty chickens, Julius Weissglass started the Weissglass Dairy in 1899. At the time, the dairy products his livestock produced were delivered by horse-drawn carriages. His business had expanded so well that Weissglass Dairy soon became the Weissglass Gold Seal Dairy Corporation.
Many years later, in 1975, Staten Island saw the first large high-rise hotel open its known as the Staten Island Hotel. At 10 stories, it was one of Staten Island largest commercial buildings. The hotel has operated by the Holiday Inn hotel chain for over a decade but at various economic downturns, the hotel suffered several shutdowns, then was eventually bought by private investors in the mid 1990's and operated as the Staten Island Hotel once again. The Hotel was once again sold and bought in 2007 by another investor with the hopes of luring the Crown Plaza Hotel into a deal for the operation, with the great recession about to break loose, nothing about the deal ever transpired. The Hotel was shuttered in 2009 and went into foreclosure. The hotel remains closed as of the summer of 2011.
As time moved on Bulls Head, the neighborhood began to transform into one of Staten Island post Verrazano Narrows Bridge new development communities after 1965. Consequently, Bulls Head is has a limited amount of old home styles that were prevalent across Staten Island prior to the bridge being built. However, they do exist, but are much less prominent than what is seen in many neighborhoods across Staten Island. The reason is quite simple, and that is, the area was primarily agricultural farmland for over two centuries.
Tract development became the mainstay of American home construction in the l 1950s through the 1960's, and a favorite for Staten Island was the Ranch and High Ranch style homes. Symmetrical in nature, the Ranch style design was simple to build, therefore, allowing builders to quickly construct on large land parcels, more commonly known as tract building. Therefore, Bulls Head Farm land was prime real estate for tract development, and a prominent part of the landscape of this town. Not to mention, its proximity to the Staten Island Expressway which leads across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge made the area very desirable from a commute perspective. As the late 1960's and 1970's rolled in, the semi-attached home became the development of choice in the area. Again, the similarities between the symmetrical nature of the semi-attached home and high ranch are easily identified, with the home being split down the middle and offering living space on each side. It allowed builders to construct more units while providing affordability to prospective buyers, which in turn was more profitable.
In the 1980's, while semi attached new home construction still persisted in the area, townhouse development began to evolve especially post 1990. As home prices climbed steadily the need to create more affordable home's options for families was a large factor in the development of townhouses in Bulls Head and across Staten Island. So, from a housing stock standpoint, the area is primarily post 1950 developments, offering a considerable amount of single-family and two-family detached homes, semi attached and townhouses.
The intersection between Victory Boulevard and Richmond Avenue in Bulls Head is one of the busier commercial areas on Staten Island. Due to this, quite a few local and express buses serve the area. On Victory Boulevard, you have the local s62 and s93, as well as the x11 express bus. The s62 travels from the St. George Ferry Terminal into the neighborhood of Travis, while the s93 travels from the College of Staten Island into Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and the x11 travels into Lower Manhattan via the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
Along Richmond Avenue, you have the local s44 and s59 NYC Transit buses, as well as the x10 and x17 express buses to Manhattan. The s44 travels from the St. George Ferry Terminal to the Staten Island Mall, while the s59 travels from the neighborhood of Port Richmond to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The x20 express bus travels into Midtown Manhattan via the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The x17 express bus travels to different destinations depending on the time of day and the day of the week. The x17A travels into Lower Manhattan by taking the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge; the x17C travels into Midtown Manhattan, also by taking the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, but is not in service on Sundays; the x17J also travels into Midtown Manhattan, but it takes the Goethals Bridge.
There are many schools in and around the neighborhood of Bulls Head. The public schools in the vicinity are P.S. 60, at 55 Merrill Avenue; the Staten Island School of Civic Leadership, at 280 Regis Drive; P.S. 22, at 1860 Forest Avenue; I.S. 51, at 20 Houston Street; I.S. 72, at 33 Ferndale Avenue; the Staten Island Residential Center, at 1133 Forest Hill Road; Port Richmond High School, at 85 Saint Joseph Avenue; the Gaynor McCown Expeditionary Learning School, at 100 Essex Drive; and the College of Staten Island High School for International Studies, also at 100 Essex Drive. The closest Catholic school to Bulls Head is Moore Catholic School, at 100 Merrill Avenue, and the closest private school is Rabbi Jacob Joseph School, at 400 Caswell Avenue. In addition, the Todt Hill Library is close to Bulls Head, at 2550 Victory Boulevard.