Best 300-year-old ladies on Staten Island (2008)

Historic Richmond Town

It's hard these days to find someone who can craft baskets or make soap by firelight—unless you're at Historic Richmond Town, where, depending on which aged house you enter, you might meet a lass trapped in time anywhere from 1690 to the early days of the 20th century. For other-borough residents who tend to scoff at the Isle of Staten and avoid traveling there at all costs, Historic Richmond Town offers a view of the island's past as a center for maritime industry and, yes, brewskis. In the old days the island's mostly German population opened a slew of breweries, saloons, and sudsy resorts, so that by the 1870s the rest of the city viewed the island as "a reservoir of Teutonic beer." The pendulum swung the other way in the 1880s, when Christopher S. Williams and William H. Boole bought land that they eventually turned into "Prohibition Park," a haven for the temperance movement complete with bowling alley, tennis courts, and not a drop of the firewater. Luckily, this dry spell passed; there are plenty of places on to get a brew, although few Teutonic types still do the serving.


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