Once Upon a Time in Staten Island, a Short Film Exploring the Borough from 1940-1963

Historian, producer and longtime Staten Islander Arthur Siegel created this documentary about Staten Island between 1940 and 1963.

Following the curious summertime adventures of a typical 12-year old of 1951, this unique 59-minute film evokes memories of Staten Island’s rural past at mid-20th century. It is essentially a nostalgic, looking-back piece but also historical, environmental, documentary and cultural. Nevertheless during its final 20 minutes the film poses critical questions about the dubious benefits of redundant urban sprawl with its attendant crowding and congestion and the traditional rural qualities of life we have traded for it. You needn’t have been a resident of Staten Island during the mid-20th century to empathize with the film’s message. The theme is virtually universal. I have already sold almost 2,000 copies locally and nationally. A civic-minded Florida resident recently ordered six copies to distribute to his local town planning board. This film is a virtual poster boy for the problems of urban sprawl.

The full-length documentary is available for purchase from Siegel's production company.

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