On the southern end of Staten Island, the neighborhood of Arden Heights features a diverse stock of housing. This section of the island is dominated largely by townhome and condo developments, namely Aspen Knolls and the award-winning Village Greens. At the start of the nineteenth century, the majority of families owned large plots of land and as such, Arden Heights offers many detached homes as well.
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Arden Heights history dates back to the sixteenth century. In 1657, Robert Bedell left his home country of England and settled in Long Island where he raised many children with his wife Blanche. Robert’s grandson Joseph Bedell was born on Long Island in 1698. Once he grew to marrying age, he found a wife named Hannah Dissoway. The couple relocated to Staten Island and settled in the area now known as Arden Heights where they would raise a family of their own.
Known in the early 1700’s as “Marshland,” the intersection of present-day Richmond Avenue and Arthur Kill road became the chosen spot where Joseph and Hannah put down roots. Just prior to the revolutionary way, the new Bedell House was built here on a vast swath of property. This home was likely built by Joseph Bedell and his son who shared the same name.
The Bedell family was widely known for their generosity. They allowed American Indians to hold a peace conference in the Bedell family house prior to the Revolutionary War. This was a meeting between several different local tribes and the house served to shelter native chiefs during their stay. During the Revolutionary War, the home actually sheltered British soldiers.
Two more generations of Joseph Bedell Jr.’s later, Hetty Seguine married into the family (and Staten Islanders may also know where her maiden name is used). The Bedell family home stood until 1897.
In 1876, the area of Marshland became known as Green Ridge. But this new name did not stick around long. About a decade later, famed real estate developer Erastus Wiman had named the forest inside what we now know as Village Greens to Woods of Arden. This was a reference to the Forest of Arden in William Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It.”
About a century later, Mayor John V. Lindsay announced the first large-scale New York City residential development planned for Staten Island. During the 1970’s, nine separate villages were set to be constructed within this development. Resulting from funding shortfalls, only four of these villages came to fruition within the project, which upon completion was coined Village Greens. The name stemmed from each looped street, consisting of primarily townhomes, ending in the word “green”: Dover Green, Carlyle Green, Forest Green, and Hampton Green.
Life in Arden Heights
The Village Greens community has received awards due to its innovative construction. Each Village consists of a looped one-way street with mostly attached townhomes and some detached properties. Through a relatively low HOA fee, residents here have access to 10-acre park, two Olympic sized swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball diamonds, and children’s play areas. PS 4 even affords children here the opportunity to walk to school without crossing the street! Those living in this area are served by Village Greens shopping center.
The second development Arden Heights is known for is Aspen Knolls. Just north of Village Greens, this private community offers a large amount of brick and vinyl siding townhomes at an affordable price. Originally built to house Naval families, the development also features a community center and recreation areas. Around 4,000 residents live in these 944 single-family units, which were constructed between 1995 and 2006.
In addition to these housing developments, a number of unique homes exist in the area, including some of the only California-style ranch homes you will find on the island on Forrestal Avenue.
Schools and Transportation
Arden Heights is within commuting distance of Manhattan, making it a wonderful neighborhood to safely raise a family with access to the country’s biggest economy. A number of express bus routes serve the area: x17, x17c, x17j, x19, and the x23. Local bus routes serving Arden Heights include the s55, s56, and s74. The Eltingville Transit center provides a hub nearby, allowing you to transfer to many different locations.
For those who drive, Arden Heights encompasses both the Korean War Veterans Parkway and I-440 The West Shore Expressway. Several main roads offer quick commute times to other parts of the south shore as well, namely Arden Avenue, Richmond Avenue, Annadale Road, and Arthur Kill Road. Annadale is the closest stop on the Staten Island Railroad.
In addition to the Village Greens area elementary school PS 4, kids here can attend PS 42 The Eltingville School, IS 75 Frank D Paulo School, and Tottenville High School. There are also many private schools nearby including St. Clare, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Eltingville Lutheran School, and The Rabbi Jacob Joseph School.