In the continuation of a similar thread, let’s play devil’s advocate to that forgotten borough across the bridge.
When historians write about the tragic side of the Verrazano Bridge’s construction in the 1960s, it’s normally limited to the hundreds of Bay Ridge residents who were displaced from their homes by eminent domain and the all-powerful Robert Moses.
But what about the rural denizens of then-sleepy Staten Island – who would soon have to deal with becoming a sort of suburban Brooklyn exclave?
In the above Youtube Video, jazz composer and Staten Islander Alex Leonard sings a bittersweet bebop ballad from the perspective of the oyster fisherman – many of whom were the descendants of freed black slaves, farmers, and factory worker who called the largely rural island borough home before the great Brooklyn migration brought condos and McMansion-lined cul de sacs.
In the song, Leonard exhorts visitors to take the ferry rather than the colossal, car-centric span. I guess the Staten Island discount bought less goodwill on the island of Shaolin than Brooklynites commonly believe.
From a Southern Brooklyn perspective, one can draw certain parallels between the eradication of Staten Island’s pre-1964 pastoral landscape with the development of bucolic pre-1920s South Brooklyn.