From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Nichols Great Kills Park Marina

New York
40° 32'16.4"N 74° 07'54.2"W

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Nichols Great Kills Park Marina is located close to Crooke's Point in the Great Kills park, on Staten Island, New York.

Crooke's Point was named after John J. Crooke, who lived in a wooden house close to the beach in 1860. By 1916, the narrow spit of land was eroded away until Cooke's Point became an island. In 1929, the city bought Crooke's Point and adjacent land and started to build a public park. Most work was put on hold due to the Great Depression of the 1930's and then World War II.

Great Kills Harbor, which is located in the park, was created in the 1940s by expanding and reconnecting Crooke's Island to the rest of Staten Island, using landfill and dredge material. The park was finally opened in 1949. A marina was built in the 1960's and was operated by the city.

The marina eventually grew to 350 slips, providing hauling and launching facilities, including winter storage on land. In 2013, Hurricane Sandy destroyed the marina. Due to severe upland flooding and the loss of many boats, most of the docks and pilings were swept away in the storm, the National Park Service decided to suspend all operations and to close the marina. A concerned group of boaters from the marina formed a grass roots marina advocacy group and with the help of many prominent local politicians, they were able to convince the Park Service to reconsider their position. As of the spring of 2015, the marina has been totally rebuilt with 250 slips, all new state of the art Sullivan Flotation docks, steel pilings, potable water, and metered electric.

The park's 15 million cubic yards of 1940s-era landfill included sanitary and medical waste. In 2005, radioactive radium (226Ra, once used in cancer treatments) was found in the sand at a depth of about 1–1.5 feet (30–40 cm). Directly at the sources, investigators measured gamma radiation about 200 times higher than the natural background level. Nearly half the park has been closed to the public since 2009, and the National Park Service expects to complete a comprehensive study in 2020 for its long-term decontamination project.