New Dorp’s original title was Nieuwe Dorp, which means “New Town” in Dutch.
It was aptly named that because it was settled upon the destruction of “Oude Dorp” (Old Town) by the Peach War of 1655. New Dorp played a pivotal role in the Revolutionary War, when General Howe established his headquarters there during the war.
A cool spot to soak in the history of Staten Island is Moravian Cemetery. Established in 1740, it is the largest cemetery in Staten Island. The Vanderbilts, undeniably the most influential residents of New Dorp, have their own mausoleum on their separate section of the cemetery, as they donated 13 acres of land to help establish it.
The Vanderbilts arrived in New Dorp from Holland in the 1650s. Not always the wealthy hegemons we remember them to be today, their legacy is largely owed to Cornelius Vanderbilt, whose first venture was ironically operating a passenger ferry between Staten Island and New York City. He took his success on the seas and translated it into a transatlantic steamship company, which was contracted during the War of 1812 to deliver supplies to forts along the Hudson.
Vanderbilt then moved onto railroads, which proved to be the golden ticket for the Vanderbilts. Cornelius was one of America’s first millionaires, and he was so integral to the financial infrastructure of our country that upon his death in 1877, the New York Stock Exchange closed for three days.
Vanderbilt was also the original owner of Miller Field, which is now a popular park. Before it was taken over by the National Park Service, the American government operated it as an airfield. It is named after James E. Miller, the first American aviator to be killed in action. It was used actively by the government until 1969, when its use as an airfield became obsolete and it was turned into the park it is today.
Another cool historical spot is Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club, which, prior to hosting some of the funniest New Yorkers of our day and age, functioned as the Lane Theater from 1938 until the 1980s. Its very first screening was “100 Men and a Girl,” starring Deanna Durbin.
New Dorp has convenient access to the city, Brooklyn, and the rest of Staten Island, as multiple buses and the train from the Staten Island Ferry all make stops in New Dorp.
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