2 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, New York City. Is that the address of my house — no it’s not.
But it does have one great view of the Verrazano Bridge and The Narrows. What is this place — the Alice Austen House.
Who Is Alice
The Alice Austen House was — you guessed it — the home of Alice Austen; also known as “Clear Comfort.” The house originally belonged to Alice’s grandparents. And today the house is a museum which can be rented for special occasions.
Austen was a photographer for the better part of her life. She was born Elizabeth Alice Munn
on March 17, 1866 in Staten Island and died June 9, 1952 in Staten Island. Munn quickly took to photography — about the age of 10. And with the help of her uncles Alice spent the next 40 years of her life deeply connected to photography.
By the time Austen died, her portfolio stood about 8,000 photographs. Her collection is now mainly in the possession of the Staten Island Historical Society at Historic Richmond — they own over 7,000 items. The collection can only be seen by appointment. I am assuming the remainder of Austen’s work is lost because the Alice Austen House Museum — which is open to the public — only owns about 300 items.
I took this photo not knowing one single thing about Austen. I have driven by the house a number of times and always thought — “who is Alice Austen?” I am now very interested in her life and I am making plans to make an appointment to see her work.
Call To Action
Many people — with exception of Staten Islanders — don’t set foot on the Island. Why — well it’s out of the way. The only two ways off or onto Staten Island are by ferry or bridge. But if you have ½ a day or so take a drive to 2 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, New York City — and drop by the “Clear Comfort.”