Grasmere, a neighborhood on Staten Island’s East Shore, boasts a history that combines intrigue with scenic beauty. It lies to the west of Arrochar and is bordered by Emerson Hill to the west and Hylan Boulevard to the south.
Grasmere’s history dates back to 1661 when English settlers arrived, drawn by the promise of fertile farmland. For much of its early existence, Grasmere remained a rural area, largely untouched by urban development.
In the early 19th century, residential development began to shape Grasmere’s landscape. Notably, the real estate market in the neighborhood experienced significant growth in the early 20th century, coinciding with the extension of the Staten Island Railway into the area. This development marked a turning point in Grasmere’s history, paving the way for the vibrant community it is today.
Map of Grasmere
The Origins of Grasmere, Staten Island
In 1788, the towns of Northfield, Southfield, Westfield, and Castleton were developed on Staten Island. These towns encompassed the whole of Staten Island and were comprised of many small villages. In the town of Southfield, which was actually made up of the eastern villages of Staten Island, there was the village of Concord. During the nineteenth century, a community now known as Grasmere was developed by a Sir Roderick Cameron.
While it’s often misconstrued that Sir Roderick Cameron named it after the beautiful village of Grasmere in England’s Lake District, the truth is that he was born in Canada. His naming of the Staten Island neighborhood, during the mid-19th century, is shrouded in a bit of mystery. Sir Cameron was a wealthy businessman and co-founder of R.W. Cameron and Company, a shipping company. In 1883, he was knighted by Queen Victoria and traveled extensively. It’s possible that during his travels, he visited the Lake District and found a resemblance between the Staten Island neighborhood’s many lakes and England’s Grasmere.
The Ice Harvesting Era
During the 1800s, Staten Island’s lakes and ponds, including those in Grasmere, were bustling with activity. Ice harvesting was a lucrative business, and a man named Philip Brady played a significant role in the neighborhood’s history. Whether he owned the land before Sir Roderick Cameron or acquired it from him remains uncertain. Nevertheless, a dam was placed on a swamp in the area, converting it into a pond known as Brady’s Pond. Today, Brady’s Pond is New York City’s only freshwater pond where visitors can swim. The pond and the park that surrounds it are popular recreational spots, accessible to both residents and visitors alike.
Grasmere offers a convenient commute, with the Grasmere Station of the Staten Island Railway, the Staten Island Expressway, and various local and express bus routes. Residents have several bus options, including routes like the s53, s74, s78, x15, and more. These routes connect Grasmere to various destinations across Staten Island and even into Manhattan.
Education in Grasmere
For students living in Grasmere, there are numerous educational options. Public schools like P.S. 48, Concord High School, and the Michael J. Petrides School are nearby. Additionally, several Catholic schools serve the area, such as the Academy of St. Dorothy and St. Joseph Hill Academy High School. Private schools, including the Trinity Lutheran School and the Staten Island Academy, are also available.
Grasmere is home to 4,873 residents, with a median age of 40. A nearly equal gender distribution is seen, with 49.09% males and 50.89% females. The majority of the population is U.S.-born citizens, while non-U.S.-born citizens make up a significant portion.
Real Estate Trends in Grasmere
Grasmere, today, is a pristine community that boasts one of the best commutes to Manhattan and Brooklyn, thanks to its proximity to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Grasmere is a sought-after neighborhood for homebuyers. The median home price is approximately $709K, with various housing styles available. The neighborhood’s real estate market has seen some fluctuations, but it remains a desirable place to live.
Low Crime, Pleasant Atmosphere
Grasmere boasts a low crime rate and is characterized by its welcoming community atmosphere. The presence of parks, restaurants, and shopping centers adds to the overall appeal.
Recreation at Brady’s Pond
Tucked away off the Staten Island Expressway and near Clove Road is one of the borough’s natural gems – Brady’s Pond in Grasmere. It’s the only freshwater pond on Staten Island suitable for swimming, making it a popular spot for recreational activities.
Grasmere offers a unique blend of history, tranquility, and convenience. With a rich past and a bright future, this Staten Island neighborhood continues to be a sought-after place to live. Whether you are drawn to its history, natural beauty, or convenient location, Grasmere has something to offer to residents and visitors alike.
Greetings! I'm Dr. Andrew Stepanov, a passionate explorer of Staten Island's vibrant neighborhoods. Rooted in the heart of the borough as a devoted resident, I've dedicated myself to unveiling the unique history and experiences that define Staten Island. Through my blog, Staten Island Explorer, I aim to share insights into the rich diversity shaping our community. Come join me on a journey to uncover hidden gems, embrace diverse cultures, and revel in the beauty that makes Staten Island a place I am truly honored to call home.