Alice Austen was a photographer living on Staten Island in the end of 19th century. Born in the wealthy family, she definitely had a challenging life that ended pretty sadly. But still, it was quite a remarkable life and she left us her legacy - result of her work through the years - photos. Thousands of them.
Many of them are on exhibit at her house that she called "Clear Comfort", overlooking lower New York bay, on Staten Island, in Rosebank, close to Fort Wadsworth and Verrazano bridge, with a very nice view of Manhattan.
Yes, it is a house of a rich family, with lots of land, many sunny rooms and pretty expensive furniture. As per the photos, they used to have their own pier and maybe even a beach. Now there is a park with the few roads and looks like the city is extending the park along the shore with a nice promenade.
The museum is free, although taking donations (suggested $3 per person) and volunteers help.
There is still lots of original furniture as well as cameras Alice used.
Several bigger rooms and the hall are turned to a exhibitions with the framed photos on the walls, the exhibition changes every few months and the back room has several books with the printed photos, showing old New York City, Clear Comfort, Staten Island and upstate New York as well as people, Alice's family and friends.
But yes, the house is quite old, much more than a century now but many of the 19th century technologies are still in place, such as the window locks and rope opening mechanisms.
Well, now Staten Island is not that rural as it used to be and there are bigger houses built right next to the museum. This makes it actually even more interesting to visit the place.