South Beach in 1899 © NYPL Digital Gallery
6sqft recently brought you the history of Bowery Bay Beach, once referred to as the “Coney Island of Queens.” But over on Staten Island, there was another amusement destination that rivaled its Brooklyn counterpart.
South Beach is a waterfront community on the eastern shore behind the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The hidden gem is currently an up-and-coming neighborhood for families, with an array of small businesses, ethnic restaurants, and quaint streets. And in the summer months, the two-mile stretch of beaches comes alive. But aside from its current livability, South Beach has a rich history. In the early 20th century, the neighborhood was full of summer bungalows thanks to a beachfront lined with amusements, theaters, arcade games, and rides. Families came from Manhattan, Sandy Hook, and elsewhere to enjoy the festive resort community and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk, known as the “Riviera of New York City.”