South Beach-Franklin Delano Roosevelt Boardwalk
We gotta send Staten Island some love, so what better way than exploring their beautiful waterfront? South Beach-FDR Boardwalk is a picturesque beachfront filled with baseball fields, playgrounds, a roller hockey rink, and a beautiful dolphin fountain. It is the perfect place for a retreat from city life without ever leaving the five boroughs.
In the mid-1800s, the local residents of Midland Beach and South Beach realized the potential to make a buck via their beautiful beaches. In the summer, Manhattan can be oppressed by sweltering heat. Staten Island offered a fabulous nearby alternative. Hotels, bathing pavilions, theatres, beer gardens, and a ferris wheel soon popped up along the beach enticing visitors. Finally, in 1906, Happyland Amusement Park opened. With Japanese Tea Gardens, a Venetian Carnival, and shooting gallery, Happyland provided an alternative to Coney Island for New Yorkers. That is, until the Great Depression took its toll. By 1935 Happyland had closed its doors and been transformed into a WPA project. To help create jobs and spur on financial recovery from the depression, president Franklin Delano Roosevelt vested the beachfront property to the City and renovations began. Jobs were created when depression era workers came in to remove the now deteriorating musical halls and carousels. In 1939, the newly renovated park was dedicated to FDR and the two and a half mile long beach front property we know today as South Beach FDR Park was created.
Today’s park offers 170 acres of Sun and Sand. Lifeguards are on duty Memorial Day-Labor Day each summer, 10a.m.-6 p.m. During these times swimming is allowed. Showers and restrooms are available for your convenience. There is also a playground with sprinklers available for those who don’t want to brave the Harbor. (Though we promise you, if you do brave the water, will NOT grow a third eye.) In the colder months, October through May, fishing is permitted. The real draw year round is the beautiful boardwalk. It’s two and a half miles long, making it the fourth longest boardwalk in the world. It is a wonderful place to jog, bike, or just sit out and enjoy the beautiful view of the Verazzano Bridge and sailboats navigating the harbor. To get there from Manhattan, all you have to do is take the Staten Island Ferry (FREE FUN!) then hope on the S51 bus to Father Capadanno Blvd. and Sand Lane.