Staten Island Neighborhood Profile: Tompkinsville

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During the early 1600s, explorers would often stop at a fresh spring which was located in northeastern Staten Island.  By 1815, the Island's oldest European village was established here.  Due to his history, it became known as The Watering Place.  Its past is shown on a plaque in the neighborhood's park, which reads," Near this spot early colonial navigators replenished their ships' supply of water from a spring well known to those anchoring inside the narrows before the year 1623."  The plaque was placed on a boulder in 1925 and states that it is a marker of the "earliest historical spot on Staten Island."

The park spoken of above is Tompkinsville Park, which is located in the neighborhood of Tompkinsville.  The park is a triangular slice of land bordered by Bay Street to the west and east, and by Victory Boulevard to the north.  Aside from the boulder marking the Watering Place site, which is located in the eastern portion of the park, two other monuments stand within.

To the north is the monument known as The Hiker, which is a statue that was sculpted in 1916 by Allen G. Newman.  It honors the soldiers who had been involved in the Spanish-American War, which lasted from 1898-1901.  In the northwestern portion of the park, you will find another boulder with a plaque mounted on it.  The plaque commemorates Daniel D. Tompkins, who had served as Governor of the State of New York between 1807 and 1817.  Governor Tompkins can take most of the credit for the establishment of the neighborhood of Tompkinsville.

Tompkinsville was the site of the first public ferry traveling from Staten Island.  The ferry at Tompkinsville began service in 1708.  By 1769, it became known as Darby Doyle's Ferry.  During the Revolution, it had been taken over and used by the British, who named it Cole's Ferry.  While it was still in use, livery stables would allow passengers to rent a horse and carriage, which would pick the passenger up from the ferry.  Two of these livery stables were located in Tompkinsville.  Finley's Livery Stable, which was located on Benziger Avenue, was later the site of a factory. Charles Baezler's Livery Stable, which was located at 139 Bay Street, was bought by Rosebank Storage Warehouse, Inc.

Before it was known as Watering Place, Tompkinsville was just known as the area that was occupied by quarantine.  The 30-acre quarantine facility was established in 1799 by the State Legislature.  It was used to house European immigrants who had been infected by communicable diseases, such as smallpox and typhoid fever.  If the diseased men happened to reside on Staten Island, they were allowed to return to their families.  Citizens were fearful of the diseases spreading and in 1858, after having removed the patients, they burned the facility to the ground.  The patients were then kept on ships in New York Harbor.  If residents saw this, however, they would have to move the ship.  The contagious men were then removed to the artificial Hoffman and Swinburne Islands.  In 1937, the islands were abandoned and later used by the United States Merchant Marine.

The Tompkinsville train station is located on Bay Street and Victory Boulevard.  Because it is only one train stop away from the St. George Ferry Terminal, there are almost a dozen local buses that pass through the neighborhood on their way to their destinations.  One downside of being so close to the ferry terminal is that there are no express buses in the neighborhood.  However, the ferry makes that trip that much easier, and it's free.

All of the buses that travel through Charleston leave the St. George Ferry Terminal to get to their destinations. The s46 takes Castleton Avenue to the West Shore Plaza, while the s48 travels along Forest Avenue to Mariners Harbor and the s51 travels to Grant City via Bay Street.  Along Victory Boulevard, you will find the s61 taking its passengers to the Staten Island Mall, the s62 taking its passengers to Travis, and the s66 taking its passengers into Port Richmond.  Along Richmond Road, you have the s74, which travels all the way down to the Bricktown Mall, and the s76, which goes to the community of Oakwood.  The s78 goes to the Bricktown Mall, as well, but it travels along Hylan Boulevard, instead of the s74's main thoroughfare of Richmond Road.

There are a number of schools in close proximity to the neighborhood of Tompkinsville; however, they may not be the school your child will be zoned for.  The public schools in the area are P.S. 65, at 98 Grant Street; I.S. 61, at 445 Castleton Avenue; the Ralph R. McKee Career and Technical High School, at 290 St. Mark's Place; and Curtis High School, at 105 Hamilton Avenue.  The nearest Catholic schools are Our Lady of Good Counsel, at 42 Austin Place; the Notre Dame Elementary Academy, at 78 Howard Avenue; the Immaculate Conception School, at 104 Gordon Street; the Notre Dame Academy High School, at 134 Howard Avenue; and St. Peter's High School for Boys, at 200 Clinton Avenue.  Other private schools in the vicinity of Tompkinsville include the Miraj Islamic School, at 307 Victory Boulevard, and the Building Blocks Montessori School, at 55 Forest Avenue.