Alice Austen Park

Alice Austen House & Park Is April’s Park Of The Month!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
No. 22

Overlooking the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and Bruno Beach on the New York Bay is Alice Austen House & Park, a preserved slice of old New York resting in a peaceful corner of Staten Island’s north shore. The house was the long-time home of Alice Austen, a groundbreaking and legendary photographer known for her bold images and colorful lifestyle. Austen was an avid gardener and a founding member of the Staten Island Garden Club. Parks planters have used plant species appearing in Austen’s photos of her garden to preserve the park just as Austen enjoyed it.

“Alice Austen House & Park brings history to life in a picture-perfect setting,” said Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “The landmark house and museum is a must-see New York attraction for nature enthusiasts and culture lovers alike. The park’s grounds and gardens on the Staten Island shoreline, and the unparalleled views of the Narrows and the many ships that pile in our harbor, provide one of the most peaceful and idyllic spots in the city.”

Alice Austen House is both a New York City Landmark and a National Historical Landmark. The oldest parts of the house date back to the 1690s, when New Amsterdam had just become New York and some of the City’s earliest residents still walked the streets. The house holds the Alice Austen Museum, protecting and showcasing many of the over 7,000 photographs the artist made in her lifetime. The park is also home to the McFarlane-Bredt House, another City landmark. Built in 1845, it housed the New York City Yacht Club during the club’s rise to international prominence in the mid-19th century.

Alice Austen was one of the first female photographers in the United States to work outside a studio. Her realistic and documentary photographs captured Americans and New Yorkers as they actually lived forty years before photojournalism got its name. Her work ran the gamut of City life, from newly arrived immigrants at Ellis Island, to the postmen, police officers, and fish mongers of downtown streets, to the long-vanished ritualized leisure pursuits of Staten Island’s 19th century upper-middle class. Perhaps her favorite subject of all was her estate on the bay – April’s Park of the Month.

You can watch an It's My Park! video about Alice Austen House here.

Park of the Month introduces some of our greatest parks and recreation centers to curious New Yorkers and visitors alike. Visit for more information about Alice Austen House & Park and for an archive for past featured parks.

Directions to Alice Austen Park

  • Alice Austen Park

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