Todt Hill is one of the most secluded, rural, and expensive residential neighborhoods in New York City. Located just 7 miles from mid town Manhattan, it has no stores, restaurants, apartments, townhouses or bus stops. The building lots are large by New York City standards, with a minimum zoning requirement of 10,000 square feet. Houses in the 2 square mile neighborhood are expensive with some selling for as much as $6 million. The most expensive section is on the grounds of the 135-acre Richmond County Country Club, the only privately owned golf course in New York City. Most Todt Hill residents never meet there neighbors because of their desire for privacy. It’s an area where people keep to themselves but are still very active in the community with a bustling civic association.
Two small, natural ponds are found on Todt Hill, and a Roman Catholic priory is located near the summit. Staten Island Academy, a private school, moved its campus to Todt Hill in the 1960s. There is a golf course adjoining the Moravian Cemetery, each of which has a man-made pond. Among the celebrities buried in the Moravian Cemetery is the rail and steamship magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, whose family owns a large mausoleum there.
Todt Hill [elevation 410 ft (125 m)] is a hill formed of serpentine rock on Staten Island, New York. It is the highest natural point in the five boroughs of New York City and the highest elevation on the entire Eastern Seaboard from Florida to Cape Cod. The summit of the ridge is largely covered in woodlands as part of the Staten Island Greenbelt, although much of the surrounding area is developed and residential.
The name Todt comes from the German language word for “dead” and may refer to the cemetery (the present Moravian Cemetery) on the southwestern foot of the ridge near the town of New Dorp that has been in use since colonial days. An alternate explanation is that the name was given by early Dutch settlers because of treeless rocky exposures on the hilltops ice vendors who harvested ice from ponds on the hill and sold it to Nieuw Amsterdam, which later became New York. Because they had to maneuver their laden sleds down the slippery slopes, the vendors named the hill ”death.” Yet another version of the origin of the name appeared in The Staten Islander, a local paper, in 1856. It traced the name to a 17th-century skirmish between some Indians and settlers.
In 1972, Francis Ford Coppolla filmed The Godfather in and around New York City including Staten Island. The infamous Corleone compound was located on Longfellow Road in Todt Hill. Many scenes from the film including the wedding scene was shot in Todt Hill.
Today, Todt Hill is home to doctors, dentists, business owners, judges, politicians, professional athletes, and movie/television/radio personalities. John Franco of the New York Mets resides here. Robin Quivers, the famous Howard Stern sidekick, also resides here.