Sunday, December 28, 2014

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NY1 combs the five boroughs, the Hudson Valley and Long Island for interesting outdoor activities and places to see.

Conference House Park Offers Glimpse into Old Staten Island

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As we continue our look at interesting things to do outdoors around the city, we head to the southern-most tip of New York state—to a park on Staten Island. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.

With over a mile and a half of waterfront and a natural beach that's been spared from crowds of sunbathers, Conference House Park is a hidden gem on Staten Island's south shore.

The roughly 270 acre park is an environmentalist's dream, boasting freshwater marshes, bluffs and coastal dunes.

"Everything that Staten Island was and as parks is working on is found in here in Conference House Park," says Conference House Park Director John Kilcullen.

Six miles of trails throughout the park make it popular with Staten Island runners and bicyclists.

Birdwatchers and fishermen dot the shore, and artists paint in the shade of the trees.

Five of the buildings at the site are historical, including the Conference House itself, which was the site of a failed peace attempt to end the revolutionary war.

"The house is one of the only colonial era houses still standing on Staten Island, in New York City," Kilcullen says.

The Parks Department recently started offering more cultural programming. It's part of an initiative that's meant to give visitors even more reasons to check out the park.

"It really has so many different facets to it; it's so multi-dimensional and it's just beautiful. I mean, you come here and you really do not feel like you're in New York City," says Staten Island Parks Commissioner Adena Long.

"It's a family place. It's not a place where you have kids hanging out, abusing it. The people that come down here enjoy it," says area resident Bob Winkworth.

For the first time ever this fall, all of the old buildings on the site will be open to the public as the park participates in Open House NY.

The annual city-wide event invites New Yorkers to check out various cultural and architectural gems in the area.

Conference House officials are hoping for a huge turnout and encouraging everyone to come out and see what the park has to offer. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP