Clifton is a neighborhood on the North Shore of Staten Island in New York City, United States. It is an older waterfront neighborhood, facing Upper New York Bay on the east. It is bordered on the north by Stapleton, on the south by Rosebank, on the southwest by Concord, and on the west by Van Duzer Street.
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The name "Clifton" for the area dates to 1817, when a town by the name, larger in area than the present neighborhood, was laid out along the waterfront. In its early history, much of the surrounding land was owned by the Vanderbilt family. As a young man, Cornelius Vanderbilt established ferry service from the waterfront to Manhattan at the foot of present Vanderbilt Avenue. Bayley Seton Hospital, north of Vanderbilt Avenue, was formerly the United States Public Health Service Hospital and housed the original headquarters of the National Institutes of Health (now located in Bethesda, Maryland).
In the 1840s the Townsend family built a huge home that had turrets so it was called the Townsend Castle. It was located at what is now Townsend Avenue and Tompkins Avenue. In the 1870s many roads and large homes were built near the water. The area has many Victorian houses left from the late 1800s in the area from Vanderbilt to Norwood Avenues.
In the 1850s Clifton was the birthplace of the Republican Party (United States). The earliest meetings of the party were at the Clifton Park Pagoda. Early Presidential Speeches were made by John C. Frémont of Staten Island, Horace Greely and George William Curtis of Staten Island . These were considered the founders of the GOP. The park is gone, it was located at the Vanderbilt Ferry Landing at the foot of Townsend Avenue and Greenfield Avenue. John C Fremont was the first Republican Presidential Candidate.
In the 1870s Clifton was the home of the clubhouse of New York Yacht Club. It was the site of the Americas Cup Races from 1870 to 1900. It was also home of the Clifton Yacht Club and the Clifton Tennis Club.
In 1900 the Fox Hills Golf Club encompassed the entire area of where the Park Hill Apartments are now. There was a big clubhouse on Vanderbilt Avenue. Many tournaments were held there until the 1935 when it closed. The land was taken over by the government and used for military barracks during World War II. By the 1950s, it evolved into a middle-class, multi-ethnic community of civil employees including firemen, teachers, and doctors.
For Park Hill - See Park Hill, Staten Island, NY Park Hill, Staten Island, NY is not actually in "Clifton" maps and has always been its own distinct neighborhood . See the link for Park Hill. Clifton neigborhood runs from Bay Street ( Clifton Train Station) to Park Hill, Staten Island, NY, to Stapleton and Rosebank. The houses in Clifton are mostly one family homes.
- Ralph Munroe - famous Yacht designer.
- Alice Sargent Johnson – artist
- William Emerson – judge, lived on Tompkins Avenue near Vanderbilt Avenue, eldest brother of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
- Henry David Thoreau – author, spent summers at the Emerson house in the 1840s, where he tutored the children of Judge William Emerson and penned several letters to Ralph Waldo Emerson. He wrote Staten Island is a beautiful garden.
- John Carrère – architect who designed New York Public Library; lived in Clifton. He designed the Vanderbilt Houses that still stand at Vanderbilt and Tompkins Avenue.
- Frederick Law Olmstead Lived in Clifton with his family. The ferry stopped at Vanderbilt landing.
- Wu-Tang Clan – hip-hop group; 6 of 9 members—RZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Inspectah Deck, Cappadonna, and U-God—are from Staten Island.
- Gus Edwards - NFL player for the Baltimore Ravens.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Clifton, Staten Island.|
- Anonymous, Illustrated sketch book of Staten Island, NY: Its industries and commerce, New York 1886 page 133, Excerpt at www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nyrichmo .
- Stapleton, Clifton, and Rosebank, forgotten-ny.com.
- Liberian asylum-seeker keeps memory of victims alive
- Eibs Park at New York City Parks Department