Richmond County High Point Trip Report

Date: March 31, 2002
Author: Dan Case

This is the highest point in New York City.

Get off I-278, the Staten Island Expressway, at Exit 12. The radio antenna near the highpoint is visible from a long way off, whether you come via the Goethals Bridge from New Jersey or the Verazzano Narrows Bridge from Brooklyn.

Go south on Slosson Avenue, which becomes Todt Hill Road within a few blocks when that street joins it from the right. Within a half-mile, the road climbs up the wooded hill and reaches the traffic light where it intersects with Ocean Terrace. Blue trail blazes will be evident on the light poles, from the Staten Island Greenbelt trail system. Although this trail can be used to enter the land around the radio tower off to the right, and ultimately reach the highpoint itself, there is no good parking around here. However, if you go one block downhill and turn left on Merrick Avenue, you'll be able to park. (I would make this trip brief, though, as more than one nearby house seems to have gated entry and receives a lot of limos with tinted windows. You may also note, at times, unmarked white vans parked nearby with two guys wearing very- wrinkled shirts and ties inside who don't look like they're delivering anything. Do not disturb them either.)

Across Todt Hill Road, you'll see a cleared yet overgrown gas pipeline easement that seems to follow (and does) the Merrick right-of-way. It's fenced off to keep motorized vehicles out, but you can easily walk by it, following the somewhat faded yellow blazes. Several hundred feet up along the trail, you'll be behind the radio antenna and see, quite clearly, the two rises on either side that break the 410-foot contour. Both are also marked by the rusted-out hulks of old cars. Do both, although Fred Lobdell is right that the southerly rise (within view of the backyard of what the sign on the road says is St. Francis Friary, as opposed to seminary on the map) is obviously higher.

The off-trail terrain here is undeveloped woodland not readily found elsewhere in New York City, and this also comes with a near-constant underbrush of thorn bushes. This does not greatly impede walking, but I would not wear shorts when doing this highpoint no matter what the season, unless you are a glutton for punishment.