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Showing posts from November, 2012

Fort Totten, Queens

Fort Totten Park is a former United States Army installation in Bayside, Queens on the north shore of Long Island. Decommissioned as a military base in the 1970s, Fort Totten is located at the head of Little Neck Bay where the East River widens to become the Long Island Sound. Although the United States Army Reserve maintains a presence since 1974, the property is currently owned by the City of New York.
Construction began in 1862 after the United States government purchased the land from the Willet family.  The former federal military base was composed of 93 acres.  Plans for the Civil War-era project were initially prepared by Captain Robert E. Lee in 1857.  Construction was undertaken five years later to protect the eastern approach of New York Harbor from the Confederate States, along with Fort Schuyler across the East River in the Bronx.
The fort was named for General Joseph Gilbert Totten (1788-1864), Chief Engineer of the United States Army, regent of the Smithsonian Institution,…

Shore Acres, Staten Island

Shore Acres  is a neighborhood in eastern Staten Island, between Rosebank and Fort Wadsworth.  The area remains today a secluded enclave of pricey, waterfront homes.  The neighborhood's generally agreed boundaries are Bay Street to the West, Nautilus Street to the North, New York Bay to the East and Arthur Von Briesen Park to the South.




The serene Von Briesen Park is 12.77 acres.  The site of Von Briesen Park was the former estate of Arthur Von Briesen (1843-1920).  Von Briesen was a native of Germany, a sergeant during the Civil War and New York lawyer.  In 1876, Von Briesen helped found the German Legal Aid Society which provided free legal services to poor German immigrants in New York.  After rising to the position of President of the society, Von Briesen argued for the broadening of benefits to all immigrants and in 1896 the society changed their name to the Legal Aid Society.  The Legal Aid Society in New York City is the nation's oldest and largest provider of legal serv…