"Poor Man's Bermuda" in Staten Island? Not anymore

For a century, 41 families have had a sweet deal on public land in Staten Island. But summer is finally over.

But the historical designation efforts are a losing battle for club members: A property can only be listed on the national register with the owner's consent. In this case, of course, the owner is the Parks Department—and this is about the last thing that the Parks Department will consent to.

Meanwhile, the people of Cedar Grove say they are deeply offended that Benepe hasn't paid a single visit to the community he is about to tear down. They say they've asked him multiple times. Benepe says he doesn't remember getting an invitation.

In a way, the whole thing circles back to Robert Moses. In recent years, Moses has been remembered more for being the master builder of traffic-clogged highways and the callous gutter of poor, disenfranchised neighborhoods. But Moses was also, of course, the city's greatest developer of public beaches and parks. When he left his position as chief of the state's park system, in 1960, the state had added more than a million acres of parkland.

When it comes to the south shore of Staten Island, Moses may never have gotten his highway. But it looks like he'll finally get his park.

edwoskin@villagevoice.com

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