Horse drawn carriages, wagons and more: this is what the roads on Staten Island looked like back in the day


STATEN ISLAND, NY – Before potholes and traffic, there were horse-drawn carriages and trolleybus tracks on the streets of Staten Island.

The Borough’s roads have undergone a drastic change over the years, from the construction of Staten Island’s freeways to the paving of its dirt roads.

But perhaps the biggest change in traffic in the borough came after the construction of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.

We have proof of that. Here are the best throwback photos of what the streets of Staten Island looked like.

Amboy Road in Pleasant Plains shows horse-drawn carriages and carts in 1910 (Richmondtown print)

Streets of Staten Island

It was the view of Victory Boulevard, from Bay Street to Tompkinsville in 1935, when the roads were paved with concrete blocks the size of a brick and the streetcar tracks were still there. Most of those buildings on the left have been demolished and replaced with a Burger King restaurant on this acre of property.

Streets of Staten Island

Hyatt Street – St. George – Streetcar tracks – used by the Midland Railway and later the city-operated “Red Mikes” – were still on Hyatt Street, St. George, in 1936 when these WPA men began to widen the street, removing some of the wide sidewalk revolving around the St. George branch library. The parking meters came much later.

Streets of Staten Island

Chemin Amboy and Avenue Richmond, 1935 (previous archive photo)

Streets of Staten Island

Richmond Avenue and Vreeland Street, Port Richmond circa 1956 (Courtesy of Historic Richmond Town)

Streets of Staten Island

Bentley Street, from the Perth Amboy ferry, Tottenville at the turn of the century. The old Tottenville-Perth Amboy ferry was one of several ferry routes from Staten Island to New Jersey in the early 1900s. The ferry landed at the foot of Bentley Street in Tottenville. The ferry stopped operating in 1963 due to a drop in ridership as more people turned to their cars and started using the Outerbridge Crossing (courtesy Staten Island Museum)

Streets of Staten Island

Hylan Boulevard and Old Town Road in Staten Island, circa 1939 (Staten Island Advance file photo)

Streets of Staten Island

Cars driving on Jersey Street in 1939 (Staten Island Advance file photo)

Streets of Staten Island

Staten Island Rapid Transit Station on Richmond Avenue in Eltingville circa 1940 (Advanced Photo of Staten Island)

Streets of Staten Island

1967: A semi-trailer and two cars are hopelessly stranded in the snow on Narrows Road South, near Hylan Boulevard, in Grasmere. (Staten Island Advance / Frank J. Johns)

Streets of Staten Island

The view north from Annadale Road in Annadale shows exit signs on the way to the new Richmond Parkway, as Section 2 was nearing completion in 1968. (Photo by Barry Schwartz)

Streets of Staten Island

1969: This hand-written sign above the painted directional sign for Clove Road is a boon for motorists looking for Hylan Boulevard or Richmond Road and not wishing to embark on a journey among the scenic but confusing trails of ‘Emerson Hill. Authorities have yet to officially recognize the route, it seems, so makeshift directions will have to suffice. (Advanced file photo)

Streets of Staten Island

Bay Street traffic circa 1969 (photo by Barry G. Schwartz)

Streets of Staten Island

Traffic jams on Rockland Avenue and Richmond Road in Egbertville date back to 1969. (Photo by Robert J. Parsons)

Streets of Staten Island

Traffic near the fire on Bay Street and Broad Street in 1969 (photo by Barry G. Schwartz)

Streets of Staten Island

1971: Town workers build an island in the middle of Emerson Drive, Emerson Hill, at the intersection of the Staten Island Expressway service road at the Clove Road overpass. Many drivers once walked up the driveway, thinking it was a through street. (Staten Island Advance / Tony Carannante)

Streets of Staten Island

The span of the Outerbridge level crossing looms over construction of a new seven-lane toll in 1972. (Photo by Robert Parsons)

Streets of Staten Island

Walkway overpass over traffic on Richmond Avenue in 1979 (photo by Robert Parsons)

Streets of Staten Island

Forest Avenue circa 1979 (photo by Robert Parsons)

Streets of Staten Island

1991: A new road sign proclaims it at the corner of rue Quintard and boulevard Hylan. But just cross the boulevard and “Quintard Street” becomes Old Town Road. (Staten Island Advance / Frank J. Johns)

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