One of the best things about the sylvan acreage of Farm Colony on Staten Island is that the bucolic woods help disguise the crumbling, graffiti-stained buildings from the surrounding neighborhood. Staten Island's Farm Colony was formed as a sort of sprawling work farm/poor house for the able-bodied but indigent in 1829. The institution was closed in the 1970s and a portion of the property was designated an historic district, but it has been mostly neglected since then. For years politicians and developers have wanted to reincorporate Farm Colony into mainstream Staten Island real estate, but to no avail. City Council member James Oddo told The WSJ, "This property has been the bane of my existence since I got into office." And this may be Farm Colony's biggest booster!
A plan to offer Farm Colony as a venue for the applied sciences technology campus that is destined for Roosevelt Island gained an unsurprisingly small amount of traction. Mr. Oddo would still like to see it used as a place for senior or academic housing, although the paintballers who currently use the crumbling buildings for target practice may wish things remain just as they are now. The City is accepting expressions of interest in redeveloping the site until May 31st.
· City Tries Again to Activate S.I. Site [WSJ]
· New York City Farm Colony [Nathan Kensinger Photography]