Photo: Lisa Dahl

In 1843, Ralph Waldo Emerson secured his friend, the 25-year old Henry David Thoreau, a tutoring position for his brother’s children on Staten Island.

“Thoreau was particularly struck by the beauty of the island’s many giant tulip trees, which were not found in New England. He also had the luck to encounter the 17-year locusts, whose appearance and sounds he vividly described in a letter home to his mother.”

He also delights in the surprise vistas, unique to Staten Island still to this day: “When walking in the interior there, in the midst of rural scenery,  …  I have suddenly, through a gap, a cleft, or a ‘clove road’ as the Dutch settlers called it, caught sight of a ship under full sail, over a field of corn, twenty or thirty miles at sea.”

Literary Traveler by Patrick Raftery
“A Transcendentalist in New York: Thoreau’s Staten Island Experience”