New Dorp, Staten Island

From Academic Kids

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The approximate area of the neighborhood of New Dorp on Staten Island is shown highlighted in orange.
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A worker enters a lumberyard in New Dorp. Despite being in the center of Staten Island, New Dorp has retained many characteristics of being a small town.

New Dorp is a neighborhood in the area of Staten Island, New York, USA referred to by the island's residents as the South Shore, although some observers prefer to classify its location as part of the "East Shore." The community lies near the foot of Todt Hill, and Grant City lies immediately to its north, with Oakwood bordering it on the south. Formerly one of the most important towns on the island before suburbanization, it was the center of much activity during the American Revolution. Despite surrounding development, the neighborhood has retained its distinct character as a town and is one of the most thriving commercial centers on the island.

Like all of Staten Island, the area of New Dorp was populated by American Indians going back over 10,000 years. At the time of the arrival of the Europeans in the 17th Century, it was inhabited primary by the Raritans and other subgroups of the Lenape tribe.

The first recorded European settlement of the area was in 1671. The English, after having taken over the New Netherlands colony from the Dutch, expanded the previous Dutch settlements along the South Shore at Oude Dorp ("Old Town") which had been established ten years earlier. In the late 19th century, it became the home to members of the prominent Vanderbilt family, many of whom are buried here in the Moravian Cemetery.

Today, the neighborhood's population is predominantly Italian-American (with many residents of Irish and Polish ancestry as well) and a large majority belong to the Roman Catholic Church.

In the early 1970s, the neighborhood attracted unfavorable publicity when an African-American physician, Dr. Alberto Charles, and his wife, a social worker employed by the city, purchased a home there, only to have it destroyed by arson before the couple had an opportunity to move into it. Three neighborhood residents — two police officers and a stockbroker — were subsequently convicted on federal civil rights charges in connection with the blaze (Dr. Charles and his wife eventually settled in the island's New Brighton section).


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