Bloomfield is the name of a neighborhood on the West Shore of the New York City borough of Staten Island. It lies immediately to the north of Travis and to the west of Bulls Head. Prall’s Island is situated in the Arthur Kill off its coast.
Originally named Daniell’s Neck when first settled in the 17th Century, it was later called Merrell Town after a local farmer. Its present name first appeared on a local map in 1874.
Throughout the 20th Century, very few people actually resided in Bloomfield, much of its land being used by construction companies to store heavy equipment, such as cement mixers. A large oil storage terminal maintained by Gulf Oil could also once be found there, leading to one of the service roads of the West Shore Expressway receiving the name of Gulf Avenue; the 440 acres (178 ha) terminal (built in 1936), which housed 82 tanks having a total capacity of 215 million US gallons (814,000 cubic metres (28,700,000 cu ft)), was closed in 1998, and the tanks have since been demolished.
On February 10, 1973, during a cleaning operation, 42 workers were inside one of the TETCo natural gas tanks which had supposedly been completely drained ten months earlier. However, ignition occurred, causing a plume of combusting gas to rise within the tank. Two workers near the top felt the heat and rushed to the safety of scaffolding outside. The other forty workers were not so fortunate. They all died as the concrete cap on the tank rose 20–30 feet in the air and then came crashing back down, crushing them to death.
Commercial, but not residential, development accelerated rapidly in the early 2000s, when several large office complexes were constructed; this in turn led to the establishment of other businesses, including a Hilton hotel on South Avenue, the main thoroughfare, in 2003. Bloomfield’s vast expanses of open space have made it the focus of many ambitious proposals in the 2000s; the latest involves the possible building of a NASCAR racetrack at the site of the former Gulf Oil facility. But the area has yet to witness the kind of new-home construction that has been encountered virtually everywhere else on Staten Island since the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened in 1964.