Quite often in Staten Island, you will find parks and neighboring streets bearing the same name. This happened in the neighborhood of Great Kills, just above the Staten Island Railroad line. In 1982, roughly twenty-three acres of land were acquired by the City of New York. This land, which is bounded by the streets of Dewey Avenue to the north, Greaves Avenue to the west, and Evergreen Street to the east, was put under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Owing to its location, it was named Evergreen Park.

Soon, the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences took over the park, after coming to an agreement with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Until the end of the decade, the Staten Island Institute of Arts asiedenburg_park_1_400nd Sciences had been in charge of the security and educational programs which occurred at the park.  From 1989, however, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has resumed control of Siedenburg Park. From then on, everything would continue to be just as it was-that is, until the beginning of the twenty-first century.

In 1991, twenty-two year old Great Kills resident Christopher J. Siedenburg fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming a firefighter. Three years later, on March 28 of 1994, Engine Company 24 of Manhattan, where Siedenburg was assigned, was summoned to 62 Watts Street in SoHo. Along with two other firemen, Firefighter Christopher J. Siedenburg journeyed to the second floor of the apartment building, but upon doing so, the flames engulfed the stairwell and the men were trapped. Due to the thermal injuries, the three men died.  Firefighter Christopher Young died almost immediately, while Captain John Drennan survived for about six weeks in the burn unit. Firefighter Christopher J. Siedenburg, on the other hand, passed away the following day of the fire. On the ride to the burn unit, Siedenburg is quoted as saying that, "being a firefighter is the greatest siedenburg_park_2_400job in the world, helping people." To commemorate this devoted firefighter, Evergreen Park was renamed ten years after his passing as Siedenburg Park.

In 1984, two years after this site was acquired by the City of New York, the Natural Resources Group was established.  The group was created by New York City Park Department Commissioner Henry J. Stern, who was also responsible for naming a number of parks by the end of the twentieth century. Soon, the Natural Resources Group created established the Forever Wild Program. This program was initiated to help protect the rare flora and fauna populating New York City. Today, there are fifty-one Forever Wild Nature Preserves in New York City. Of these fifty-one sites, twenty-four are located in Staten Island. Siedenburg Park is included in these, though the site was officially called the Evergreen Park Preserve.

siedenburg_park_4_400Siedenburg Park is mostly a forested area comprised of any types of trees. These include black oak trees, hickory trees, pin oak trees, red oak trees, sassafras trees, and white oak trees. Other plants include lady slipper orchids, lowbush blueberry shrubs, and a number of different species of fern. In the marsh area, you will find duckweed, swamp loosestrife, and watermeal. Aside from the vegetation, there are a number of different species of fowl which inhabit the park.  These include the spring peeper, the red-winged blackbird, the mallard, and green heron, and the great blue heron.

Posted by Anthony Licciardello on


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