No one could have forseen that Hurricane Sandy was going to hit when From Farm to City: Staten Island 1661-2012" opened in mid-September.
The interesting new exhibity chronicles the history of Staten Island and opened at the Museum of the City of New York.
Michael Fressola of The Staten Island Advance comments: "And yet, the exhibit has things to say about Sandy. One of the most valuable objects in the show is the amazingly detailed 1853 painting, "Oystering in Princes Bay." It's a famous view of a great day's work in local waters that once supported a huge, profitable shellfish industry."
"Today, both the oysters and the "oyster reefs" they leave behind are long gone, but they're back in the news in an unexpectedly dramatic way," adds Fressola. "Getting them to regrow in and around the city is being touted as a "soft" bulwark against storms."
"Similarly, the surge-absorbing wetlands that are discernible in some of the maps in "From Farm to City" might be a better fit for low-lying flood-prone areas than the residential neighborhoods inundated in the super storm," adds Fressola.
"From Farm to City" examines change — that is, development — on the surface (topography) of the Island as it evolved: Open land became farm land and farming gave way to urbanization, according to the report.
'From Farm to City: Staten Island 1661-2012'
A multimedia examination of our changing borough
Where: Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave., Manhattan (at 103rd Street); 212-534-1672
When: Daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; extended through Feb. 10.
How much: Admission is $10, adults; $6, students/seniors; families, $20; kids under 12 & members, free.
More information: Visit MCNY.org.
There's a lot to consider, said Liz McEnaney, curator of "From Farm to City" to the Advance. "In terms of storm-wrecked residential areas near the sea, she said, "Do you just rebuild them where they were, along the shore?"
"Or, would it be safer for all concerned to put such areas to recreational use, much as they were in the 19th and early 20th Century?" she asks The Advance.
Fressola points out that there is a chapter about Staten Island left unfinished. It waits to be written. "But, Sandy has added a grim and unfinished chapter to the "Farm to City" timeline. How it will alter the Island, on the surface and otherwise, remains to be seen."
I for one would be interested in seeing this story of recovering Staten Island unfold in future museum exhibits. That is if I have anything to say about it. Stay tuned.