The Forgotten Borough:
Staten Island and the Subway

Mon, Sep 18, 2023
Columbia University Press, 2023

Is transportation destiny? In The Forgotten Borough: Staten Island and the Subway, historian Kenneth M. Gold argues that the borough's lack of a subway connection is at the heart of its social, political, and historical identity. In his new book, Gold, who is also a co-editor of Discovering Staten Island: A 350th Anniversary Commemorative History, tracks the multiple failed attempts to bring mass transit and transportation infrastructure to Staten Island in the century before the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge changed the borough's relationship to Greater New York in 1964.

The Forgotten Borough first focuses on Staten Island in the late-nineteenth century and its incorporation into New York City in the 1890s, then analyzes a succession of plans to connect Brooklyn and Staten Island via a freight and passenger tunnel. Proponents, like real estate developers and residents, were hopeful about potential profits and the ease of commuting, but ultimately the competing interests of organizations such as the Transit Commission, the Port of New York Authority, and the Public Service Commission, could not align. Gold concludes with an account of the alternate connection opportunities which eventually led to the opening of Robert Moses's Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in 1964.

Kenneth M. Gold

Kenneth M. Gold is professor of educational studies and founding dean of the School of Education at the College of Staten Island (CUNY). He is also the author of School's In: The History of Summer Education in American Public Schools (2002) and co-editor of Discovering Staten Island: A 350th Anniversary Commemorative History (2011).


The video begins with an introduction of the author Kenneth M. Gold by Museum Director Carol Willis. Gold's illustrated talk follows, then a dialogue with Willis and Q&A.