Clamming on Staten Island – March, 1903:

“Clams is fine! Fish sells twick, but clams sells twicker.” So all the Prince’s Bay skippers solemnly declare. Just now the number of amateur clammers is increasing. During the past few days, the tides were surprisingly high and low, especially low.

In the Great Kills of Staten Island, famous for its weakfishing in the summer months, people walked across the channel from the foot of Giffords Lane all the way to Jimmy Aston’s Point. Jimmy Aston’s Point isn’t down on the Government chart, probably because Jimmy’s isn’t always there; but it is as well known to the skippers as the Vanderbilt Tomb is to the New Dorpers.

Taking advantage of the absence of the water, crowds of amateur clammers go to Giffords to dig for “soft shells.” They come from New York, from New Jersey, from all points of Staten Island, and even from the shores of Long Island, where one might imagine that they had clams enough nearer home. They bring baskets, bags, rubber boots and wagons. They go home in high spirits, happier than their clams. The queer thing about it all is that most of the amateur clammers are ardent rod and reel men, and that goes to show that there is some mysterious connection between the joys of casting and trolling and the delights of digging.


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