Prince’s Bay, Staten Island (History)

neighborhoods_staten_island_princes_bay_300x300Prince’s Bay is the name of a neighborhood located on the South Shore of New York City’s borough of Staten Island. Prince’s Bay is bordered to the north byHuguenot, to the south by the Raritan Bay, and to the west by Pleasant Plains.

The neighborhood’s name is often mispronounced as “Princess Bay” or “Prince Bay.” The community’s United States Post Office officially bears the name “Princes Bay Station” according to the USPS web site and directory.

Prince’s Bay’s ZIP Code is 10309, which it shares with other South Shore neighborhoods including Charleston, Pleasant Plains and Richmond Valley. The western part of Prince’s Bay is now commonly recognized as a separate neighborhood, known as Rossville.

 

HISTORY

Development in the area accelerated when the southern terminus of the Staten Island Railway was moved from Eltingville to Tottenville in 1860. The Prince’s Bay station crosses underneath Seguine Avenue, formerly known as Prince’s Bay Road.

Primarily a fishing village at first, its oysters were so famous that “Prince’s Bay Oysters” could often be found on menus at prominent seafood restaurants in Manhattan, and even London. A large factory, operated by the S.S. White Dental Manufacturing Company, was once located along the shoreline at the foot of Seguine Avenue; at one point, the plant was the largest employer in all of Staten Island, but closed in 1972. In the late 1970s a small shopping center, known as the Prince’s Bay Trade Mart, was opened in the building the factory had occupied; but its remote location and inability to compete with the larger and already-established Staten Island Malldoomed the project to failure, and it closed a few years later, leaving the building abandoned once again — a condition that still pertains as of 2005. Satellite photos available in 2011 show the site empty of structures.

At the northeast corner of the neighborhood is Wolfe’s Pond Park, a city park that was the scene of a gruesome homicidecommitted by Gus Farace (at the time a Prince’s Bay resident) and three accomplices in 1979. Lemon Creek flows into the pond for which the park is named; the creek can then be traced westward into land where dairy and poultry farms flourished until the 1960s, eventually travelling by underground conduits to the Arthur Kill.

Prince’s Bay and other communities on Staten Island’s South Shore were once popular locations for summer homes, most of which were owned by residents of other boroughs, particularly Manhattan; however, these declined when the surrounding waters became increasingly polluted during the middle third of the 20th Century. The neighborhood also featured several small hotels, the Christmas Tree Inn on Wilbur Street being perhaps the most prominent among them. One block west of the latter is the South Campus of Staten Island University Hospital, formerly known as Richmond Memorial Hospital, which has the distinction of being the southernmost acute-care facility in both New York City and New York State.

This areas waterfront has now been revitalized with the development of many upscale single family homes in excess of 4000 square feet each and has become known as one of the more affluent areas on the south shore of Staten Island with one of the highest median incomes on Staten Island.

It is believed the town was originally called Princess Bay for reasons unknown. A 1776 map of Staten Island shows it as Princess Bay and is probably why many still call it that.