Arden Heights, Staten Island (History)

Arden Heights is a name increasingly applied to the western part of Annadale, a neighborhood located on the South Shore of Staten Island, New York, USA. The name “Arden Heights” is found on most maps of New York City, including Hagstrom’s.

Arden Heights is bordered by Annadale to the east, Huguenot to the south, the Arthur Kill to the west, and the Fresh Kills to the north.

 

HISTORY

Erastus Wiman, a noted Staten Island real estate developer, coined the name “Arden Heights” in 1886; the neighborhood’s name probably refers to the hill that currently looms above the Village Greens shopping center and housing development. (The moniker does not refer to the now-shuttered Fresh Kills Landfill, at the western end of Arden Avenue. The landfill did not exist until the mid-20th Century.)

Long noted for being the site of St. Michael’s Home For Children, a Roman Catholic orphanage, Arden Heights underwent a serious transformation when the aforementioned Village Greens, New York City’s first planned urban development, opened there in 1971. Ground was broken for the project by Mayor John V. Lindsay, who in the late 1960s proudly announced that travel time from the Greens to Lower Manhattan would average one hour 15 minutes – just about the same when taking a bus in 2007.

In 1982, the Saint Michael’s orphanage, situated off Arthur Kill Road, closed, with some of the land on which it stood being sold to developers (who have since built the Aspen Knolls development) and the remainder set aside for use as a church, named for the recently canonized St. John Neumann. The church also maintains aconvent for the Presentation Sisters on the east side of the property; in 2005 a section of this land was sold off, with new home construction to follow here too — still another sign of the continuing housing boom on Staten Island, which has gone on virtually uninterrupted since the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened in 1964.