Well, ya see, the neighborhoods I lived in were pretty much that way already by the 1940s. There wasn't any room to build houses between the houses that were already there. Couldnt have been more than ten or twelve feet between them.
There was only one empty lot that we used for baseball, but it was a really cruddy ball field--no grass at all, mostly rocks, and it sloped downhill towards the Terrace and sea level.
So I'm sorry, but I'm completely confident that I wouldn't be disappointed in SI if I were to go back. I never saw much of the island south of Forest Avenue anyway, so how could I miss what I never knew? The Staten Island I come from was almost entirely lower-low-middle class and pretty crowded. I loved it.
I once read in some old book--early 20th century, I guess it was--that Staten Island is "rural and maritime." That really mystified me. Maritime I knew about, but rural? There used to be a small herd of dairy cows at Snug Harbor, but that was about as rural as I knew of. A trip to Al Deppe's was pretty rare for us with our "A" gas rationing sticker, and I thought of it as an excursion. Almost like a trip to Macy's.
I doubt that I can be talked out of it. I loved the place, and I'll continue to love it no matter what. NO MATTER WHAT, DO YOU HEAR? A-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!
By the way, a couple of blocks from where I live there's a neighborhood that looks exactly the way I remember Staten Island, and I love that, too. Maybe I'll find a camera and post some pictures of that area.
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