Mount Loretto Unique Area is a 194-acre open space reserve and nature preserve administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on Staten Island, New York City.
The area that encompasses the Mount Loretto Unique Area was purchased from the Archdiocese of New York by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in 1999. Mount Loretto was once the largest orphanage and the largest farm in New York State, originally started by an Irish Catholic priest, Father John Christopher Drumgoole, founder of the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin in Manhattan, an organization to help poor and disposed children. He purchased the Staten Island land for the orphanage in the 1890s and named it Mount Loretto in honor of one of the nuns that worked with him at the mission. The property contained various buildings during its history as an orphanage including St. Elisabeth’s girls dormitory a large Victorian Era building which was destroyed by arson during the time title to the land was being transferred to the state. It was served by the Mount Loretto Spur of the Staten Island Railway.
Today, Mount Loretto has approximately one mile of shoreline fronting Prince’s Bay and Raritan Bay. Along the shoreline are the highest ocean-facing bluffs in New York State, which reach a height of 75 feet. Across from the park is the Church of St. Joachim and St. Anne, used as a set for the exterior church views in the film The Godfather.