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The Dutch settled Great Kills in the early 1600s. In the late 1600s, the British took over the area and split Great Kills down the middle.Read more about Great Kills
When the sections were finally reunited, the area then adopted the name Giffords, after Daniel Gifford, a commissioner from the area. It then took on the name Crooke’s Point when John J. Crooke, a successful businessman and aspiring naturalist, bought it in the 1880s.
The word “kill” is actually Dutch for stream or creek, and thus the area was named Great Kills for the plethora of the latter dancing through it.
Great Kills Park and Beach, built in 1949, is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, a 26,000-acre recreation area that sweeps through three different New York City boroughs and Northern New Jersey, in addition to Staten Island. The term “recreation” is used because the activities at Great Kills are diverse and seemingly never ending! Nature trails dot the property, a huge fishing area pulls in some of the fishing aficionados from around the area, a marina houses commercial boats and residents boats alike, and playing fields of every kind are littered throughout.
Great Kills also has ecological importance; it boasts the only nesting site for osprey in Staten Island, and helps the rare birds to procreate with cleverly designed nesting beds. Only in the past twenty years has the Seaside Wildlife Nature Park been revitalized. Once a bastion of garbage and litter, the city decided to transform it over the past two decades into the beautiful park that it is today. A graceful gazebo accentuates the lovely area for picnicking and playing.
To get a bite to eat, stop by the Mansion Grand at Great Kills Harbor, which was recently rebuilt and improved upon after suffering blows from the angst of Hurricane Sandy. Another great beach is Crescent Beach, which is maintained and kept up by the Crescent Beach Civic Association. The beach is alive with festivities in the summertime, when frequent block parties beckon to residents with music, food, good humor, and incredible sunsets.