Greenpoint, October, 2015

Monday, November 3, 2014

Get Your Bridge On

As you can see, the Research Bureau has been busy. The question is, what are they doing on the Brooklyn side?

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge: A Round Table Discussion from a Staten Island Perspective
Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 2:30-4:00pm

College of Staten Island
Library Archives, 1L-216

Join us for this fiftieth anniversary observance of the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge as three College of Staten Island faculty members present observations and lead a discussion of the meaning of the bridge for Staten Islanders.

Staten Island and the Art of Disappearing
Prof. David Allen, School of Education
This talk explores the representation of Staten Island before the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in the novels of Jane Bowles and Dawn Powell. In their works, the Island serves as contrast to, even a hiding place from, the social and artistic milieu of Manhattan—a possibility all but eliminated by the opening of the Bridge.

The Demographic Impact of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
Prof. Alan Benimoff, Department of Engineering Science and Physics
Utilizing historic maps and GIS mapping techniques, Prof. Benimoff will illustrate the impact the bridge and its network of roads had on populations and land use. Did grass-roots environmental victories lead to traffic and zoning snafus? What would Staten Island look like today had Robert Moses’ vision been enacted?

The Politics of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
Prof. Richard Flanagan, Chair, Department of Political Science and Global Affairs
Why was Staten Island and Brooklyn joined by a bridge and not a tunnel? Why did earlier plans to build a bridge fail? What was Robert Moses’ role in the decision to build the bridge? What underlies the bridge toll policy as it applies to Staten Island residents? Prof. Flanagan will explore these and other topics from the perspective of a political scientist. 


  1. David,

    As coincidence or perhaps unharmonic convergence would have it, last night the Beeb World News had a reporter out interviewing members of what I was (for some reason) surprised to hear is a substantial population (in the thousands) of Sierra Leoneoans on Staddonilun.

    Though one knew the Ilun has its, er, what would be the word, conservative? prehistoric? elements, one was not prepared to hear that these Sierra Leoneans, at least the several interviewed on the programme, now consider themselves stigmatized, ostracized, downsized, and in every other way made to feel lower and lesser, by their Ebola-mad neighbours.

    "They don't even want me to come to work", one unhappy woman said. "They say, get away from here, what are you trying to do, give us all Ebola?"

    Which was interesting enough -- but then came the interviews with local non Sierra Leonean Staddonilunites.

    One woman pretty much said, It's all a vast left wing conspiracy, We're being lied to by the government, the presence of these disease carrying terrorists from Africa in our midst is the worst thing that's happened to the United States since Sandy Hook, and the sooner they are all deported the safer I'll feel.

    Anyhow, you know -- that good One World, One Love sorta feeling.

  2. Tom,
    Thanks for your comment. It may be Liberians the Beeb was reporting on. SI has the largest population outside of Liberia, some 8000. Adding an Ebola scare into the mix of NYC's most conservative and, yes, insular borough has not been pretty. The VNB may connect the island with the rest of New York and world, but so does the Internet. You still have to use it!

  3. David,

    It was the Liberians, yes. I had that wrong. And that is the population figure that was cited.

    Insular, probably the right term. A bit less editorial than xenophobic, I suppose.

    The unhappy-to-be-disrespected woman interviewed, talking about the shunning at her workplace, asked, half plaintively, half angrily, "Who do they think they are?"