STANDING on the Arden Avenue esplanade overlooking Raritan Bay at the southeast corner of the Staten Island community of Annadale, the view to the west is the Atlantic Highlands of New Jersey; to the east is Great Kills Park in the Gateway National Recreation Area.
Annadale is a neighborhood of predominantly one- and two-family homes, but several grand houses, one with castle-like turrets, are visible along the shoreline. Built over the last 10 years, they average 6,000 square feet.
While Annadale still has a few wooded streets without sidewalks, for the most part it resembles suburban Long Island or New Jersey. But its heart, the 222-acre Blue Heron Park, is still in the country.
The park, which started in 1972 as 26 acres, is now nearly 10 times larger, with meadows, ponds, streams and woodlands and a new $2.5 million, 5,000-square-foot Nature Center. Guided, free weekend tours through fields of sweet white violets, lilies and peepers inhabited by muskrats, wood ducks and warblers and its namesake stork-like aquatic bird are conducted from 11 A.M. to 4 P.M. on Saturdays and noon to 4 P.M. on Sundays year round.
John Grieco, who moved to Annadale in 1990 looking for a bigger house for his wife, Rose, and their growing family, lives at 133 Tallman Street, a dead-end road right in the middle of Blue Heron Park. Their three-bedroom raised ranch was purchased for about $350,000. They had lived in Manalapan, N.J., but thought it was too suburban. ”I grew up in Brooklyn and I like communities where kids play outside,” says Mr. Grieco, a banker. ”I thought it was strange to have to make play dates for our kids.”
Their son, Nicky, 10, is in fifth grade at the k-5, 263-pupil P.S. 5, one of two elementary schools that serve Annadale. ”Parents organize book fairs and publish the yearbook and school newspaper, as well as serve as reading volunteers,” said Katherine Corso, the principal. ”Our outdoor family picnics exemplify the relationship between our school, home and the community.”
Jackie Grieco, 15, is a sophomore at the 3,800-student Tottenville High School in its Classics Institute, an honors program centered around the humanities, especially English and history. She is studying both Latin and Italian. The school also offers a Science Institute stressing research with science and math courses for pre-med, pre-dental and pre-engineering students.
”Last year the program produced two Westinghouse Science Research Program competition semifinalists,” said Michael Marotta, the principal.
The school’s football and baseball teams won citywide championships last year, Mr. Marotta said, and the last six years it has won more than a dozen city championships in football, baseball, soccer and track.
Of the 285 graduates last June, 97 percent went on to higher education.
At I.S. 7, one of two intermediate schools serving Annadale and covering grades 6 to 8, Nancy Lisiewski, the principal, said her school conducts the ”largest service learning programs for 12- to 14-year-olds in the country.” Of its 925 students, she said, 250 volunteer daily at such after-school programs as day care and remedial reading. The school has at least four computers in every classroom and three computer labs with 30 computers each.
LAST year, the 1,500-student I.S. 75 received a $350,000 grant from the Annenberg Challenge for the Arts. Ten teachers and their principal, Julie El Saieh-Wolfe, attended a class last summer at Princeton University to learn how to write an opera, from its libretto to its music — as well as how to make footlights from tin cans. The teachers will now pass their knowledge along to their students. The grant also allows the Metropolitan Opera Guild to provide an adviser artist to help in the program, which will eventually see a school production of an original opera.
Ronald Stucker can trace the history of P.S. 36, the other elementary school serving the community, back to his 73-year-old great-uncle, who attended the school when it was a two-room schoolhouse with kindergarten through grade 4 in one room and grades 4 through 8 in the other. Today his two stepsons, Robby, 9 and Timmy, 6, attend the school, but the building that Mr. Stucker and his father attended is the third-grade annex and a newer structure built in 1974 sits in front of it.
Two Roman Catholic schools serve Annadale, the 1,350-student St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School and Holy Child Preschool, with 403 children from 18 months old to age 4. Elaina Pecora, its principal, says 403 children from 18 months to 4 years old attend the school. ”Pet sitting” lets children take the school’s pets home on weekends to learn more about animals, said Mrs. Pecora, adding that they also learn to read music.
The high school has advanced placement courses in English, history, chemistry, biology and calculus. Tuition is $295 a month, and will rise to $305 in September, said Msgr. Joseph Ansaldi, the principal.
Among the earliest settlers in the Annadale area were the Huguenots, who fled France to the largely Protestant Dutch colony of Staaten Eyelandt after 1685 when Henry IV revoked the Edict of Nantes, which had given them political equality. The neighborhood’s name honors Anna Seguine, a member of one of the old French Huguenot families.
Original Huguenot families are remembered in such street names as Poillon Avenue and in its neighboring community, Huguenot. By the 19th century, German and Irish immigrants settled in Annadale.
Over the past 18 months, a merchants’ association has been started to rejuvenate the town center where delis, restaurants, pizzerias and Chinese takeout stores form a town circle. Graffiti removal has helped bring more shoppers to town, according to Fred Limeri, president of the Annadale Merchants Association and head of the Limeri Insurance Agency.
Town houses came to Annadale in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s with 300 units around a three-acre common area in a development called Village Green. Through the 70’s and 80’s, the new construction sectioned off Annadale into such new areas as Arden Heights and Southeast Annadale. Today, however, new town houses are almost becoming nonexistent, says Fred Shayewitz, owner/broker at Richmond Homes/Better Homes & Gardens.
”Builders are now sticking to semi-detached and detached houses,” he said. Town houses range in price from $135,000 to $190,000 and in size from 1,250 to 1,800 square feet.
But while the town-house market lags, other housing is booming. Over the last eight years, 2,500 new units have been added to the existing 8,000 homes, said Mark Muscaro, executive vice president of the Building Industry Association of New York City.
THE community’s big custom homes are on the west side of Arden Avenue between Amboy Road and Raritan Bay and sell from $600,000 on up to more than $1 million. ”The noncustom home prices here run from $250,000 to $750,000,” said Thomas A. Maira, owner/broker of Maira Real Estate. From Amboy Road to the Korean War Veterans Parkway, the new name for the Richmond Parkway, there are mostly small ranches, costing about $200,000 to $230,000.
A community of 21 center-hall colonial custom homes, called Encore Homes, each with four bedrooms, ”are 75 percent built and 60 percent sold and moved in,” according to the developer, Otto Savo, president of Dora Homes. The 4,400-square-foot homes are between Amboy Road and South Railroad Street on Bennett and Downes Avenues and cost from $650,000 to $700,000.
On Arden Avenue between Amboy and Annadale Roads, ”there are 24 detached one-family homes whose foundations are in, with the frames being constructed presently,” said Mr. Maira. He added that there were also three sets of three semi-detached homes being built at North and South Railroad Streets and Arden Avenue, as well as at Pompey and Arden.
But there’s a squeeze on finding sites for new construction. ”Land for building new homes is starting to become hard to come by and builders are looking for big, older homes to knock down and build four houses on the same property,” said Mr. Shayewitz.
One builder’s plans for a new development of expensive homes has brought attention, and controversy, to a part of Annadale with an unusual history. Last August, a Civil Court judge ordered the eviction by next month of 50 year-round residents of a waterfront area called Spanish Camp to make way for a new development of million-dollar homes. Among the dozens of bungalows that face demolition are three that the late Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, and several of her associates lived and worked in. By the way, you should check this injustice gods among us hack tool in the new website, I found later. You can use sims freeplay cheats on a computer or on a mobile device. It all depends on you, how you comfortable. Who knows, msp hack tool may be the unique in the market. Most players suggest to use only dragonvale cheats without jailbreak, maybe they are right.
The property is being sold to a developer, John J. DiScala, by the 70-year-old Spanish Naturopath Society, whose members were united by heritage and an interest in vegetarianism. While the cottages themselves were bought and sold, ownership of the land remained with the society, which eventually decided to sell it for development. Mr. Di Scala says discussions are still under way about the fate of the Dorothy Day house, but that he plans to build 38 homes in the area, which he will call Central Park East.
Photos: ”On the Market” — 3-bedroom, 1 1/2-bath town house, tennis, park on grounds at 193 Hampton Green, $139,000. 2-family (3-bedrooms, 3 baths in primary apartment) at 786 Drumgoole Road East, $339,000. 4-bedroom, 2 full-, 2 half-bath waterfront mansion at 80 Nicolosi Drive, $2.7 million. Welcome sign, left, at the intersection of Belfield Avenue and Annadale Road in Annadale. The Staten Island Rapid Transit station, where commuters embark for the 25-minute ride to the ferry terminal for the trip to Manhattan. Homes under construction on Arbutus Avenue, off Nicolosi Drive. (Photographs by Eddie Hausner for The New York Times) Chart: ”GAZETEER” POPULATION: 13,480 (1997 estimate). AREA: 1.8 square miles. MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME: $78,780 (1997 estimate). MEDIAN PRICE OF A ONE-FAMILY HOUSE: 209,000. MEDIAN PRICE A YEAR AGO: $190,000. MEDIAN PRICE 5 YEARS AGO: $181,500. MEDIAN PRICE OF A 2-FAMILY HOUSE: $338,000. MEDIAN PRICE A YEAR AGO: $314,000. MEDIAN PRICE 5 YEARS AGO: $296,000. MEDIAN PRICE OF A 2-BEDROOM TOWN HOUSE: $147,000. MEDIAN PRICE A YEAR AGO: $136,500. MEDIAN PRICE 5 YEARS AGO: $132,000. MIDRANGE RENT FOR A 2-BEDROOM APARTMENT: $850. DISTANCE FROM MIDTOWN MANHATTAN: 13 miles. RUSH-HOUR COMMUTATION TO MIDTOWN: 25 minutes on the S.I.R.T. to St. George terminal, 20 minutes on ferry and 20 minutes on 1, 9, 4, or 5 subway; 70 minutes by Academy express bus, $5 one way, or by 17X city express bus, $3 one way. GOVERNMENT: City Councilman Stephen J. Fiala, Republican. CODES: ZIP, 10312; area, 718. NEW LIFE FOR OLDEST HOUSE: The 222-acre Blue Heron Park will be expanded by .67 acre when, probably within the next six months, the city takes title to Brougham Cottage, an 18th-century farmhouse. The home is the oldest continuously lived-in house on Staten Island, according to Jack Baird, president of the Friends of Blue Heron Park. Dorothy Brougham, who lives in another section of Staten Island, can trace her family’s connection to the house back to 1851, when her grandmother, then 6 years old, moved in. She married A. E. Brougham at the house in 1872 and Dorothy Brougham’s father was brought up there. Walter Mallien, the home’s present owner, who is in his 90’s, will continue to live in the house. It is hoped that it will eventually become a house museum. The house was dated to 1720 when a British penny was found in its cornerstone. Map of Staten Island, highlighting Annadale.