SIM-05: Waterfront Watch Collection
Scope and Contents
The Waterfront Watch of Staten Island Collection consists of approximately 3/4 linear feet of material covering the years 1971 to 1974, with the bulk of material from February 1973 to May 1973. The collection contains correspondence, publications, lobbying packets, financial records, photographs, maps, and news clippings. Although Waterfront Watch was only active for a few months, the collection offers a wide variety of material on Waterfront Watch, the South Richmond Bill, and the South Shore of Staten Island. Administrative records, however, are notably lacking. There are no minutes or records of administrative functions apart from a brief "statement of policy and position" paper and a few financial records. It is probable that, due to the brief and informal nature of the organization, no such records were kept. The collection does, however, contain a rich variety of material documenting the defeat of the South Richmond Bill and the policy positions and concerns of Waterfront Watch. Another issue, which pertains to the entire collection, is that much of the material in the collection is undated. However, due to the organization's brief period of activity, the material can still be evaluated within a fairly specific time frame. The organizational records contain two folders of undated material related to the organizational functions of Waterfront Watch. This series is not comprehensive and, aside from a list of officers and a brief page of notes, offers little information about the formation or administration of the organization. However, the correspondence file fills some of the gaps left by the absence of administrative records. The correspondence file consists of one folder of correspondence from January to September 1973. The publications series offers a detailed view of two of Waterfront Watch's most important activities - community education and lobbying. The publications file is useful in determining the positions and policies of the Waterfront Watch and also provides background information about the South Richmond Bill and the environment of the South Shore. The report written by Waterfront Watch in January 1973 is a particularly valuable source of information. The public relations file and the financial records are incomplete, but both provide some information regarding two crucial functions of the organization. The material in the public relations series is undated. The financial records contain comprehensive records of donations received and scattered banking material, receipts, and financial registers covering the years 1972 to 1974. The Waterfront Watch collection contains a series containing reference material from 1971 to 1973. The series is comprised mostly of legislative material and background material on local politicians, presumably used in the group's lobbying efforts. The photographs series contains undated but mostly labeled photographs of the South Shore shoreline and wildlife. The photographs would be of particular interest to those studying the development of the South Shore of Staten Island. The news clippings file contains the most comprehensive information about the history of the South Richmond Bill and the Waterfront Watch organization. The news clippings file runs from January to September 1973, with particularly good coverage of the opposition to the South Richmond Bill. The news clippings file also includes advertisements placed in local newspapers by Waterfront Watch.
- 1971 - 1974
Biographical / Historical
Waterfront Watch was an organization of environmentalists from the South Shore of Staten Island. The organization formed after the annual meeting of the Richmond County Yacht Club in December 1972. The president of Waterfront Watch, Allen A. Peters, was a member of the Richmond County Yacht Club, as were several other officers and members of Waterfront Watch. The purpose of the organization was to fight the passage of the South Richmond Development Corporation Bill. The South Richmond Development Corporation Bill, also known as the South Richmond Plan, provided for a semi-public development corporation for southwest Richmond County. The proposed South Richmond Development Area included Great Kills Park and adjacent waterfront and underwater land. This land had also been designated for inclusion in the Gateway National Urban Recreation Area. Senator John Marchi, the prime sponsor of the South Richmond Bill, introduced the bill into the New York State Legislature during the 1972 and 1973 sessions. The bill passed twice in the Senate but failed to pass the Assembly. Senator Marchi decided not to reintroduce the bill after it died in an Assembly committee at the end of the 1973 legislative session. Waterfront Watch opposed the South Richmond Development Corporation because they feared its environmental impact on the South Shore. The inclusion of Great Kills Park was of great concern to the Waterfront Watch, as was the possibility of an offshore landfill. Ultimately, the land was transferred to the federal government when the Gateway Bill was signed into law on June 19, 1977. Many local organizations joined the Waterfront Watch in opposition to the South Richmond Bill, including the Civic Congress of Staten Island and Gateway Citizens Committee. In addition, Borough President Robert Connor and Assemblymen Lucio T. Russo and Edward J. Amann opposed the bill. Amann was a particularly vocal opponent of the bill and he played a crucial role in the bill's defeat in the Assembly in both 1972 and 1973. The Waterfront Watch dissolved in May 1973 after the defeat the South Richmond Bill.
.75 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Waterfront Watch was an organization of environmentalists from the South Shore of Staten Island. Their purpose was to fight the passage of the South Richmond Development Corporation Bill. Ultimately, the bill failed to pass the New York State Assembly and was never reintroduced. Collection materials cover the years 1971 to 1974, with the bulk of materials from February 1973 to May 1973. The collection contains 2 correspondence, publications, lobbying packets, financial records, photographs, maps, and news clippings. The publications file includes position papers, fact sheets, lobbying packets, and a report written by the Waterfront Watch. In addition, the collection has an extensive news clippings file on the South Richmond Bill.
The Waterfront Watch Collection is divided into eight series:
ORGANIZATIONAL RECORDS CORRESPONDENCE PUBLICATIONS PUBLIC RELATIONS FINANCIAL RECORDS REFERENCE MATERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS NEWS CLIPPINGS
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated by Donald E. Peters on behalf of Waterfront Watch of Staten Island in 2001.
Collection processed by Jacquelyn Ferry.
- City planning--New York (State)--New York--Richmond County Subject Source: Local sources
- Environmentalism -- New York (State) -- Richmond County Subject Source: Local sources
- Lobbying Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Language of description
- Script of description