Tompkinsville, Staten Island (History)

neighborhoods_staten_island_tompkinsville_300x300Tompkinsville is a neighborhood in northeastern Staten Island in New York City in the United States. Though the neighborhood sits on the island’s eastern shore, along the waterfront facing Upper New York Bay — between St. George on the north and Stapleton on the south — it is reckoned as being part of the North Shoreby the island’s residents.

 

HISTORY

Tompkinsville was the site where early European explorers replenished their fresh water supplies and was known in colonial times as the “Watering Place”. In 1815, a settlement was established by Daniel D. Tompkins in the neighborhood next to the existing quarantine station. He was elected Vice President the following year. In 1817 Tompkins built a dock at the foot of present-day Victory Boulevard and began offering steam ferry service to Manhattan.

In the early 1900s, the telephone exchange that served Staten Island’s eastern North Shore was named after the neighborhood; the name of this exchange was changed to “Saint George” in the mid-1920s, and to “Saint George 7” when New York Telephone upgraded telephone service throughout New York City in December 1930. Converted for All-Number Calling, “727” still exists on the island today. It is the sole surviving number of the designations of the 1920s.

Tompkinsville was the site of a Naval Frontier Base of the US Navy for many years. During World War II, it was designated Tompkinsville, SI, New York.

The 2014 death of Eric Garner, which happened in Tompkinsville, had wide media coverage.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

The neighborhood is mixed commercial and residential. Like many areas of the northeastern part of the island, it suffered a decline following the construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964, which shifted the commercial activity of the island towards its interior. Recent plans have called for the redevelopment of the harbor front area. The population is racially diverse, primarily made up of African-Americans, Hispanics, and Whites, with recent arrivals including immigrants from such countries as Albania. There is also a Sri Lankan community. The Little Sri Lanka in Tompkinsville is one of the largest Sri Lankan communities outside of the country of Sri Lanka itself. The neighborhood also has a growing Mexican community.