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SIM-13: A Guide to the Frank Duffy Collection

Identifier: SIM-13

Scope and Contents

This collection contains materials pertaining to the struggle between conservationists attempting to preserve the Staten Island Greenbelt and developers trying to construct a new highway to link two pre-existing expressways. It contains copies of legal cases against the State and City of New York which ultimately led to the defeat of the project. It also contains newspaper clippings and copies about the issue from various papers, such as the Wall Street Journal, the Staten Island Advance, and others. Position papers and other documents pertaining to this issue are also present in this collection. Note: A book was separated from this collection: “Annadale-Huguenot: Planning for a New Residential Community on Staten Island” by Raymond & May Associates. It can be found in the Special Collections; HT168.S7 R3


  • Creation: 1965 - 1971

Biographical / Historical

Frank Duffy helped fight a plan to construct a highway through part of the Staten Island Greenbelt. The material in this collection mostly documents the law suit Duffy helped initiate as a member of the Staten Island Citizen’s Planning Committee. In the 1960’s, as Staten Island began to grow considerably in population and development, a proposal developed to connect the West Shore Expressway and the Staten Island Expressway. The plan for this highway would take it directly through the Greenbelt, a large park and nature preserve. Due to public protest and resistance, planners created severaln alternate proposals. One plan, named Alternate 6 and supported by Governor Nelson Rockefeller, would go through less of the greenbelt but would still cut through it. Another plan, titled Alternate 4 and supported by Mayor John Lindsay, would avoid the greenbelt and the removal of homes, but would not be as long. A public hearing held on March 25th, 1969 at the College of Staten Island, headed by Irving Scheinbart, the Regional Planning Engineer, decided that Alternate 4 was a better proposal. The governor’s office, still interested in Alternate 6, continued to push for its completion, and ultimately received the approval of the mayor after a long stalemate. This resulted in legal action by several Staten Island organizations, including the Staten Island Greenbelt – Natural Areas League, the Staten Island Citizens Planning Committee, and the Greenbelt Emergency Conference. They filed an injunction against both New York State and New York City, claiming that the construction would “violate the social and natural values of the Staten Island Greenbelt.” The court held in favor of the plaintiffs in the suit, and construction was permanently halted. Frank Duffy, along with many other prominent Staten Island environmentalists, was part of the effort to preserve the greenbelt.


1 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Materials in this collection document efforts to prevent a highway construction project in the Staten Island Greenbelt, a park that preserves a natural landscape.


The items in this collection are arranged to permit the user to see the development of the grassroots movement to preserve the Greenbelt.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

These photographs were donated to the CSI Archives & Special Collections in May 2007 by Lois Duffy.

Processing Information

Final processing done by Katie Fernandez.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the CSI Archives & Special Collections Repository