Arden Heights, Staten Island, New York City
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Arden Heights is a name increasingly applied to the western part of Annadale, a neighborhood located on the South Shore of Staten Island, New York, USA. The name "Arden Heights" is found on most maps of New York City, including Hagstrom's.
Erastus Wiman, a noted Staten Island real estate developer, coined the name "Arden Heights" in 1886; the neighborhood's name probably refers to the hill that currently looms above the Village Greens shopping center and housing development. (The moniker likely does NOT refer to the now-shuttered Fresh Kills Landfill, at the western end of Arden Avenue. The landfill did not exist until the mid-20th Century.)
Long noted for being the site of St. Michael's Home For Children, a Roman Catholic orphanage, Arden Heights underwent a serious transformation when the aforementioned Village Greens, New York City's first planned urban development (or PUD), opened there in 1971. Ground was broken for the project by Mayor John V. Lindsay, who in the late 1960s proudly announced that travel time from the Greens to Lower Manhattan would average one hour 15 minutes -- just about the same when taking a bus in 2006.
The Greens feature clustered townhomes built around looped streets -- one way in, one way out. Off of the main thoroughfares of Arden Avenue and Arthur Kill Road, these streets -- Hampton Green, Forest Green, Dover Green and Carlyle Green -- provides a relatively traffic-free environment and ample parking, making Village Greens a unique place to live in an otherwise overdeveloped Staten Island. (Some Greens feature detached homes, which naturally fetch a higher market price than the townhomes, which are often clustered eight apiece.)
Other "Greens" -- namely Rolling Hill Green -- were built on land intended for the Village Greens but, for reasons unknown (some conjecture that the developers ran out of cash and construction workers) were never built.
About a mile north of the "Greens" is the Aspen Knolls development, located off of Arthur Kill Road, next to the St. John Neumann Church. Originally intended as housing for naval personnel the be based in Stapleton, when this project was cancelled in 1994, the developer opted to market the one, two, and three bedroom homes to the public. The complex includes playing fields and a community center.
A shopping center was simultaneously developed to serve the residents of Village Greens, as well as a New York City public elementary school; the Greens also features a 16-acre common park, featuring expanses of green grass, trees and -- most astonishingly -- two Olympic-sized swimming pools. Today, the project stands at the center of a community bearing its own identity, separate from that of Annadale.
A large percentage of the residents of the condominium - and the many single-family homes that have since been built around it - are Jewish and Italian, giving Arden Heights more common ground with such Mid-Island neighborhoods as Willowbrook than with Annadale and other South Shore communities.
In 1982 the orphanage, situated off of Arthur Kill Road, closed, with some of the land on which it stood being sold to developers (who have since built the Aspen Knolls development) and the remainder set aside for use as a church, named for the recently-canonized St. John Neumann. The church also maintains a convent for the Presentation Sisters on the east side of the property; in 2005 a section of this land was sold off, with new home construction to follow here too - still another sign of the continuing housing boom on Staten Island, which has gone on virtually uninterrupted since the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened in 1964.
Chicago Cubs pitcher Jason Marquis, though born in Manhasset, was raised in Arden Heights and attended Tottenville High School.
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