NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Stapleton, one of the oldest waterfront communities on Staten Island, is making a comeback and could become New York City’s next hot neighborhood.
A century ago, fruit stands and Woolworth’s attracted shoppers to Stapleton, but in recent decades the waterfront community fell on hard times after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge cut off and isolated the area.
Tappen Park, the centerpiece of what used to be the shopping district on the north shore of Staten Island, became decommissioned and fell into disrepair.
“Nobody really took care of it, and then it became a hub for homelessness, drugs. It used to be called ‘Needle Park,'” said Camilla Hanks, who runs the Historic Tappen Park Community Partnership.
The park, which is the second oldest in the borough, has been reclaimed and Stapleton is on the comeback, but with an eye toward its former glory.
As part of the partnership’s “Windows into the Past” project, a discount store on Bay Street has on its windows large black-and-white photos of the old days.
“Historic Tappen Park Community wants to keep that historic connection and really invite the future, but really respect our past,” Hanks said.
New condos are being built on the waterfront, and hip shops and restaurants are opening.
“Defonte’s from Red Hook moved in, and people said ‘now it’s changing,’ because that’s a destination eatery, and when you see indicators like that, the lines are out the door,” Hanks said. “Without question, this is going to be the next hottest new neighborhood in New York City, I guarantee it.”