Long considered just a littered and potholed alternative route for Bay Street with no appeal either esthetically or commercially, Front Street has lain hidden in plain view along Staten Island’s North Shore ever since the demise of the dockyards that once operated there. With the opening of the URL complex of housing and retail that is fast approaching, there is now talk about the potential for the building stock directly across the road from the URL site. There are some historic industrial buildings there that are presently being used for back road commercial activity: auto repair, warehousing, etc. There is certainly a place in our island economy for such businesses, but probably not on a major pedestrian and commercial roadway, which is what Front Street will soon be.
People have strong opinions about stone walls, they can denote stubbornness, isolation, incremental projects… Stonewall Jackson, The Great Wall of China,
But the beauty of a stone wall is not discussed all that often. In St. George there are many stone walls, and they add an esthetic element to the terraced lawns, hillsides and public parks here. The long stone wall at Curtis High School is an example of the typical St. George stonewall, both in its make-up and in its history. It deserves to be considered for preservation in its own right.
Curtis High School is extremely overcrowded. But instead of considering the construction of another high school in the area, the School Construction Authority continues to add piecemeal expansions of Curtis. Not a great policy in any case, but in the latest proposal, the existence of that historic stone wall is threatened.
The St. George Civic Association has created an online petition directed to the New York School Construction authority, urging them not to remove or damage the historic stone wall on St. Mark’s place in order to build an additional annex.