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The interesting thing about this question is that, while I grew up on the Island before Da Bridge was built, and the expressways, I can't remember the destruction of places of note or historical interest.

I recall the Greenbelt controversy, very slightly, where Islanders banded together to protect and preserve as parkland some sizeable wooded acreage. Understand they succeeded, but I was off the Island by then.

Expressways often divide communities, cutting them into pieces; don't recall anything about that, either, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

In those days, in New York, fighting City Hall was proverbially difficult, as in "You Can't Fight..." The StatNisland Greenbelt movement was one of the early success stories, back East. San Francisco was one of the earlier ones out here, on the Left Coast, using the term advisedly. Saved the Bay and blocked a freeway across town to the Golden Gate Bridge, cold. Also saved the Cable Cars (death on wheels) for da tourists, SF's "sine qua non," to quote the original West Coast Indians.

Understand that in N.Y. they are even cleaning up the Hudson River to the point that fish are now to be seen there. Will wonders never cease.

I wonder what the beaches on StatNisland look like these days.

Do they still have the bathhouse at Great Kills? The original FDR wooden boardwalk along South Beach? The "new" bathhouses at Midland?

The balls of tar?

Swimming there as a youngster I always felt I'd become immunized against any disease that N.Y. had to offer.


PS - The water temperature was always comfortable to swim in during summer off StatNisland. Off San Francisco, the water's around 55 degrees and few people go in without wearing a full wetsuit and booties, including the hardy board surfers and windsurfers, inside and outside the bay.

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