|— Borough of New York City —|
Staten Island streets with views of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and Brooklyn in the distance
Location of Staten Island shown in yellow
|City||New York City|
|- Type||Borough (New York City)|
|- Borough Pres.||James Molinaro (R/C)|
|- Total||102.50 sq mi (265.5 km2)|
|- Land||58.48 sq mi (151.5 km2)|
|- Water||44.02 sq mi (114 km2)|
|Population (estimate for July 1, 2008)|
|- Density||8,335/sq mi (3,218.2/km2)|
|U.S. Census Bureau, 2008|
|Time zone||Eastern Standard Time (North America) (UTC-5)|
|- Summer (DST)||Eastern Daylight Time (North America) (UTC-4)|
|Area code(s)||718, 917 & 347 (overlaid)|
|Website||Official Website of the Staten Island Borough President|
Staten Island (pronounced /ˌstætənˈaɪlənd/) is a borough of New York City, New York, United States, located in the southwest part of the city. Staten Island is separated from New Jersey by the Arthur Kill and the Kill Van Kull, and from the rest of New York by New York Bay. With a population of 487,407, Staten Island is the least populated of the five boroughs but is the third largest in area at 59 sq mi (153 km2).
The Borough of Staten Island is coextensive with Richmond County, the southernmost county in the state of New York. Until 1975, the borough was officially named the Borough of Richmond. Staten Island has been sometimes called "the forgotten borough" by inhabitants who feel neglected by the city government.
Staten Island is overall the most suburban of the five boroughs of New York City. The North Shore, especially the neighborhoods of St. George, Tompkinsville, Park Hill, and Stapleton, are the most urban part of the island; it contains the officially designated St. George Historic District and The St. Paul’s Avenue-Stapleton Heights Historic District, which feature large Victorian homes. The South Shore has more suburban-style residential neighborhoods and is home to the two and one-half mile long F.D.R. Boardwalk, the fourth longest in the world. Historically, the central and southern sections of the island were once dominated by dairy and poultry farms, almost all of which disappeared in the 20th century.
The borough is accessible to Brooklyn via the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and to New Jersey via the Goethals Bridge, Outerbridge Crossing, and Bayonne Bridge. Staten Island has Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus service and an MTA rapid transit line, the Staten Island Railway, which runs from the ferry terminal at St. George to Tottenville. Staten Island is the only one of the five boroughs of New York City that does not have below-ground rapid transit. The free Staten Island Ferry connects the borough to Manhattan and is a popular tourist attraction, providing views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and lower Manhattan.
New York's Five Boroughs at a Glance
|Borough of||County of||estimate for
1 July 2008
|Source: United States Census Bureau|
Geologically, Staten Island was formed in the wake of the last ice age. In the late Pleistocene between 20,000 and 14,000 years ago, the ice sheet that covered northeastern North America reached as far south as present day New York City, to a depth of approximately the same height as the Empire State Building. At one point, during its maximum reach, the ice sheet precisely ended at the center of present day Staten Island, forming a terminal moraine on the existing diabase sill. The central moraine of the island is sometimes called the Serpentine ridge because it contains large amounts of serpentine group minerals.
At the retreat of the ice sheet, Staten Island was connected by land to Long Island because The Narrows had not yet formed. Geologists' reckonings of the course of the Hudson River have placed it alternatively through the present course of the Raritan River, south of the island, or through present-day Flushing Bay and Jamaica Bay.
As in much of North America, human habitation appeared in the island fairly rapidly after the retreat of the ice sheet. Archaeologists have recovered tool evidence of Clovis culture activity dating from approximately 14,000 years ago. The island was probably abandoned later, possibly because of the extinction of large mammals on the island. Evidence of the first permanent American Indian settlements and agriculture are thought to date from about 5,000 years ago (Jackson, 1995), although early archaic habitation evidence has been found in multiple locations on the island (Ritchie 1963).
In the 16th century, the island was part of a larger area known as Lenapehoking that was inhabited by the Lenape, an American Indian people who speak their own languages within the Algonquian languages group, and who were later named the "Delaware" by Europeans. The band that occupied the southern part of the island was called the Raritan. To the Lenape, the island was known as Aquehonga Manacknong and Eghquaons (Jackson, 1995). The island was laced with foot trails, one of which followed the south side of the ridge near the course of present day Richmond Road and Amboy Road. The Lenape did not live in fixed encampments, but moved seasonally, using slash and burn agriculture. The staples of their diet included shellfish, including the oysters that are native to both Upper New York Bay and Lower New York Bay.
The first recorded European contact with the island was in 1524 by Giovanni da Verrazzano, who sailed through The Narrows. In 1609, Henry Hudson established Dutch trade in the area and named the island Staaten Eylandt after the Staten-Generaal, the Dutch parliament.
Although the first Dutch settlement of the New Netherland colony was made on nearby Manhattan in 1620, Staaten Eylandt remained uncolonized by the Dutch for many decades. From 1639 to 1655, the Dutch made three separate attempts to establish a permanent settlement on the island, but each time the settlement was destroyed in the conflicts between the Dutch and the local tribes. In 1661, the first permanent Dutch settlement was established at Oude Dorp (Dutch for "Old Village"), just south of the Narrows near South Beach, by a small group of Dutch, Walloon, and Huguenot families. Today, the last vestige of Oude Dorp exists as the present-day neighborhood of Old Town, adjacent to Old Town Road.
At the end of the Second Anglo-Dutch War in 1667, the Dutch ceded New Netherlands colony to England in the Treaty of Breda, and what was now anglicized as "Staten Island" became part of the new English colony of New York.
In 1670, the Native Americans ceded all claims to Staten Island to the English in a deed to Gov. Francis Lovelace. In 1671, in order to encourage an expansion of the Dutch settlements, the English resurveyed Oude Dorp (which became known as Old Town) and expanded the lots along the shore to the south. These lots were settled primarily by Dutch and became known as Nieuwe Dorp (meaning "New Village"), which later became anglicized as New Dorp.
Captain Christopher Billopp, after years of distinguished service in the Royal Navy, came to America in 1674 in charge of a company of infantry. The following year, he settled on Staten Island, where he was granted a patent for 932 acres (3.8 km2) of land. According to one version of an oft-repeated but inaccurate myth, Capt. Billopp's seamanship secured Staten Island to New York, rather than to New Jersey: the Island would belong to New York if the captain could circumnavigate it in one day, which he did, according to the myth. Mayor Michael Bloomberg perpetuated the myth by referring to it at a news conference in Brooklyn on February 20, 2007.
In 1683, the colony of New York was divided into ten counties. As part of this process, Staten Island, as well as several minor neighboring islands, were designated as Richmond County. The name derives from the title of an illegitimate son of King Charles II.
In 1687 and 1688, the English divided the island into four administrative divisions based on natural features: the 5100 acre (21 km²) manorial estate of colonial governor Thomas Dongan in the central hills known as the "Lordship or Manner of Cassiltown," along with the North, South, and West divisions. These divisions would later evolve into the four townships Castleton, Northfield, Southfield, and Westfield. In 1698, the population was 727.
The government granted land patents in rectangular blocks of eighty acres (320,000 m²), with the most desirable lands along the coastline and inland waterways. By 1708, the entire island had been divided up in this fashion, creating 166 small farms and two large manorial estates, the Dongan estate and a 1600 acre (6.5 km²) parcel on the southwestern tip of the island belonging to Christopher Billop (Jackson, 1995).
In 1729, a county seat was established at the village of Richmond Town, located at the headwaters of the Fresh Kills near the center of the island. By 1771, the island's population had grown to 2,847.
The island played a significant role in the American Revolutionary War. On March 17, 1776, the British forces under William Howe evacuated Boston and sailed for Halifax, Nova Scotia. From Halifax, Howe prepared to attack New York City, which then consisted entirely of the southern end of Manhattan Island. General George Washington led the entire Continental Army to New York City in anticipation of the British attack. Howe used the strategic location of Staten Island as a staging ground for the invasion. Over 140 British ships arrived over the summer of 1776 and anchored off the shores of Staten Island at the entrance to New York Harbor, which was the largest armada to set sail until the Second World War. The British troops and Hessian mercenaries numbered at about 30,000. Howe established his headquarters in New Dorp at the Rose and Crown Tavern near the junction of present New Dorp Lane and Amboy Road. It is here that the representatives of the British government reportedly received their first notification of the Declaration of Independence.
In August 1776, the British forces crossed the Narrows to Brooklyn and outflanked the American forces at the Battle of Long Island, resulting in the British control of the harbor and the capture of New York City shortly thereafter. Three weeks later, on September 11, 1776, the British received a delegation of Americans consisting of Benjamin Franklin, Edward Rutledge, and John Adams at the Conference House on the southwestern tip of the island (known today as Tottenville) on the former estate of Christopher Billop. The Americans refused the peace offer from the British in exchange for the withdrawal of the Declaration of Independence, however, and the conference ended without an agreement.
On August 22, 1777, the Battle of Staten Island occurred here between the British and several companies of the 2nd Canadian Regiment fighting alongside other American companies. While the battle was inconclusive, with both sides surrendering over a hundred troops as prisoners, the Americans withdrew.
British forces remained on Staten Island throughout the war. Most Patriots fled after the British occupation, and so local sentiment of the remaining population was predominantly Loyalist, However, the islanders found the demands of supporting the troops to be onerous. The British kept headquarters in neighborhoods such as Bulls Head. Many buildings and churches were destroyed, and the military demand for resources resulted in an extensive deforestation of the island by the end of the war. The British again used the island as a staging ground for their final evacuation of New York City on December 5, 1783. After the war, the largest Loyalist landowners fled to Canada and their estates were subdivided and sold.
On July 4, 1827, the end of slavery in New York state was celebrated at Swan Hotel, West Brighton. Rooms at the hotel were reserved months in advance as local abolitionists and prominent free blacks prepared for the festivities. Speeches, pageants, picnics, and fireworks marked the celebration, which lasted for two days.
In 1860, parts of Castleton and Southfield were made into a new town, Middletown. The Village of New Brighton in the town of Castleton was incorporated in 1866, and in 1872 the Village of New Brighton annexed all the remainder of the Town of Castleton and became coterminous with the town.
The Conference House(seen right,http://www.conferencehouse.org/index.html) was built by a British Naval Officer in 1680. Built by Captain Christopher Billopp, this grand stone manor overlooking the Arthur Kill and Perth Amboy, New Jersey, around 1680, and his grandson, Colonel Christopher Billopp, owned the house when it was taken over by Admiral Lord Richard Howe, head of the British Forces in the Americas.
At Present this Historical site is host to many community events and Holiday celebration in Tottenville. Following in tradition with the history of Tottenville, many homeowners in town have restored their homes to their original appearance.(http://www.tottenvillehistory.com/)
Except for the areas along the harbor, however, the borough remained relatively undeveloped until the building of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964, which opened up the island to explosive suburban development by giving it direct road access to Brooklyn. The Verrazano, along with the other three major Staten Island bridges, created a new way for commuters and tourists to travel from New Jersey to Brooklyn, Manhattan, and areas farther east on Long Island. The network of highways running between the bridges has effectively carved up many of the borough's old neighborhoods. This road expansion was planned initially by Robert Moses.
Throughout the 1980s, a movement to secede from the city steadily grew in popularity, reaching its peak during the mayoral term of David Dinkins. In a 1993 referendum, 65% voted to secede, but implementation was blocked in the State Assembly.
In the 1980s, the United States Navy had a base on Staten Island called Naval Station New York. It was composed of two sections: a home port in Stapleton and a larger section around Fort Wadsworth, where the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge enters the island. Originally, this base was to be the home port for the battleship USS Iowa (BB-61), but an explosion in one of the ship's turrets led to the vessel's decommissioning. A number of other vessels, including the frigates USS Donald B. Beary FF 1085 and USS Ainsworth FF 1090 and at least one cruiser, the USS Normandy (CG-60), were based there. The base was closed in 1994 through the Base Realignment and Closure process because of its small size and the expense of basing personnel there. A subsequent plan to use the site as a movie studio headed by actor and New York native Danny Aiello faltered due to money problems. It was recently announced that the property will be converted into a mixed-use waterfront neighborhood with an announced completion date of 2009.
Opened as a "temporary landfill" in 1947, Fresh Kills Landfill was a repository of trash for the city of New York. The landfill was closed in 2001, but was briefly re-opened for the debris from Ground Zero following the September 11 attacks in 2001. The Fresh Kills Landfill has been treated and cleaned up. A park larger than Central Park is in the works. Its creeks and wetlands have been designated a Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Fresh Kills and its tributaries are part of the largest tidal wetland ecosystem in the region. Plans for the park include a bird-nesting island, public roads, boardwalks, soccer and baseball fields, bridle paths and a 5,000-seat stadium. Today, freshwater and tidal wetlands, fields, birch thickets and a coastal oak maritime forest, as well as areas dominated by non-native plant species, are all within the boundaries of Fresh Kills. Already, many of the landscapes of Fresh Kills possess a stark beauty, with 360 degree, wide horizon views from the hills, over 300 acres (1.2 km2) of salt marsh and a winding network of creeks.
In addition to the main island, the borough and county also include several small uninhabited islands:
The highest point on the island, the summit of Todt Hill, elevation 410 ft (125 m), is also the highest point in the five boroughs, as well as the highest point on the Atlantic Coastal Plain south of Great Blue Hill in Massachusetts and the highest point on the coast proper south of Maine's Camden Hills.
In the late 1960s the island was the site of important battles of open-space preservation, resulting in the largest area of parkland in New York City and an extensive Greenbelt that laces the island with woodland trails.
Staten Island is the only borough in New York City that does not share a land border with another borough (Marble Hill in Manhattan is contiguous with the Bronx).
Some of the island's open space and historic areas were incorporated in 1972 into Gateway National Recreation Area, part of the National Park System. The Staten Island Unit of Gateway NRA is joined by the Jamaica Bay Unit in Brooklyn and Queens and the Sandy Hook Unit in New Jersey. The Staten Island Unit comprises Great Kills Park, Miller Field, Fort Wadsworth, Hoffman Island, and Swinburne Island.
The Staten Island Ferry is the only direct transportation network from Staten Island to Manhattan, roughly a 25 minute trip. The St. George ferry terminal built in 1950 recently underwent a $130-million renovation and now features floor-to-ceiling glass for panoramic views of the harbor and incoming ferries. The ferry had its fare eliminated in 1997.
Unlike the other four boroughs of New York, Staten Island follows no numbered grid system to any significant degree. The only numbered grid is within a small area in New Dorp, which only goes up to 10th street and does not intersect with any numbered avenues. However, most Staten Island neighborhoods do follow some degree of grid system, but they don't follow a system where streets are perpendicular to avenues, they are not numbered, with few exceptions, and they are often not contiguous to one another. This is one reason why Staten Island is significantly suburban compared to other boroughs. Some neighborhoods, however, do follow an alphabetical organization of their streets.
Staten Island is connected to Brooklyn via the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge using I-278, the Staten Island Expressway. Once in Brooklyn, I-278 becomes the Gowanus Expressway and then the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, providing access to Manhattan through various tunnels and bridges.
Staten Island is connected to New Jersey via three vehicular bridges and one railroad bridge. The Outerbridge Crossing to Perth Amboy, New Jersey is at the southern end of Route 440 and the Bayonne Bridge to Bayonne, New Jersey is at the northern end of Route 440, which continues into Jersey City, New Jersey. From the New Jersey Turnpike, the Goethals Bridge using I-278 connects to the Staten Island Expressway. The Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Railroad Bridge carries freight between the northwest part of the island and Elizabeth, New Jersey.
The Staten Island Railway traverses the island from its northeastern tip to its southwestern tip. Staten Island is the only borough not serviced by the New York City Subway. As such, express bus service is provided by NYC Transit throughout Staten Island to lower and midtown Manhattan.
Beginning September 4, 2007, the MTA began offering bus service from Staten Island to Bayonne, NJ over the Bayonne Bridge via the S89 Bus. It allows passengers to connect to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail 34th St. Station, giving Staten Island residents a new route into Manhattan. It is notably, despite Staten Island's proximity to New Jersey, the only route directly into New Jersey from Staten Island via public transportation.
|2008||51.7% 86,062||47.6% 79,311|
|2004||56.4% 90,325||42.7% 68,448|
|2000||45.0% 63,903||51.9% 73,828|
|1996||40.8% 52,207||50.5% 64,684|
|1992||47.9% 70,707||38.5% 56,901|
|1988||61.5% 77,427||38.0% 47,812|
|1984||65.1% 83,187||34.7% 44,345|
|1980||58.6% 64,885||33.7% 37,306|
|1976||54.1% 56,995||45.4% 47,867|
|1972||74.2% 84,686||25.6% 29,241|
|1968||55.3% 54,631||35.2% 34,770|
|1964||45.5% 42,330||54.4% 50,524|
|1960||56.5% 50,356||43.4% 38,673|
Since New York City's consolidation in 1898, Staten Island has been governed by the New York City Charter that provides for a "strong" mayor-council system. The centralized New York City government is responsible for public education, correctional institutions, libraries, public safety, recreational facilities, sanitation, water supply, and welfare services on Staten Island.
The office of Borough President was created in the consolidation of 1898 to balance centralization with local authority. Each borough president had a powerful administrative role derived from having a vote on the New York City Board of Estimate, which was responsible for creating and approving the city's budget and proposals for land use. In 1989 the Supreme Court of the United States declared the Board of Estimate unconstitutional on the grounds that Brooklyn, the most populous borough, had no greater effective representation on the Board than Staten Island, the least populous borough, a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause pursuant to the high court's 1964 "one man, one vote" decision.
Since 1990 the Borough President has acted as an advocate for the borough at the mayoral agencies, the City Council, the New York state government, and corporations. Staten Island's Borough President is James Molinaro, a member of the Conservative Party elected in 2001 and reelected in 2005 with the endorsement of the Republican Party. Molinaro is the only Republican-supported borough president in New York City.
Staten Island's politics differ considerably from New York City's other boroughs. Although in 2005 44.7% of the borough's registered voters were registered Democrats and 30.6% were registered Republicans, the Republican Party holds a small majority of local public offices. Staten Island is the base of New York City's Republican Party in citywide elections. In the 2001 mayoral election, borough voters chose Republican Michael Bloomberg, with 75.87% of the vote, over Democrat Mark Green, with 21.15% of the vote. Since Green narrowly lost the election citywide, Staten Island provided the margin of Bloomberg's victory. The main political divide in the borough is demarcated by the Staten Island Expressway; areas north of the Expressway tend to be more liberal while the south tends to be more conservative. Local party platforms center on affordable housing, education and law and order. Two out of Staten Island's three New York City Council members are Republicans.
In national elections Staten Island is not the Republican stronghold it is in local elections, but it is also not the a Democratic stronghold the rest of New York City is. The borough is a Republican-leaning swing county, though like the New York suburbs in Long Island and Westchester County it has become increasingly Democratic since the 1990s.
Each of the city's five counties (coterminous with each borough) have its own criminal court system and District Attorney, the chief public prosecutor who is directly elected by popular vote. Daniel Donovan, a Republican, has been the District Attorney of Richmond County since 2004. Staten Island has three City Council members, two Republicans and one Democrat, the smallest number among the five boroughs. It also has three administrative districts, each served by a local Community Board. Community Boards are representative bodies that field complaints and serve as advocates for local residents. In the 2009 election for city offices, Staten Island elected its first black official, Debi Rose, who defeated the incumbent Democrat in the North Shore city council seat in a primary, and then went on to win the general election.
Staten Island has voted for a Democratic presidential nominee only three times since 1952: in 1964, 1996, and 2000. In the 2004 presidential election Republican George W. Bush received 57% of the vote in Staten Island and Democrat John Kerry received 42%. By contrast, Kerry outpolled Bush in New York City's other four boroughs by a cumulative margin of 77% to 22%. In the 2008 presidential election Republican John McCain won 51% of the vote and Democrat Barack Obama won 47%.
Staten Island flag
The flag is on a white background in the center of which is the design of a seal in the shape of an oval. Within the seal appears the color blue to symbolize the skyline of the borough, in which two seagulls appear colored in black and white. The green outline represents the countryside of the borough with white outline denoting the residential areas of Staten Island. Below is inscribed the words "Staten Island" in gold. Below this are five wavy lines of blue to symbolize the water that surrounds the island borough on all sides. Gold fringe outlines the flag.
|Staten Island Compared|
|People per square mile||7,588||26,403||402|
|People per square km||2,930||10,194||155|
|Per capita income||$23,905||$22,402||$23,389|
|Hispanic (any race)||15%||27%||14%|
According to the 2005–2007 American Community Survey Estimates, the borough's population was 76.6% White (67.4% non-Hispanic White alone), 10.6% Black or African American (9.5% non-Hispanic Black or African American alone), 0.4% American Indian and Alaska Native, 7.6% Asian, 0.0% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 6.0% from some other race and 1.1% from two or more races. 14.7% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
20.9% of the population were foreign born and another 1.8% were born in Puerto Rico, U.S. Island areas, or born abroad to American parents. 29.5% spoke a language other than English at home and 27.1% had a Bachelor's degree or higher.
As of 2000, there were 464,573 people, 256,341 households, and 214,128 families residing in the borough/county. The population density was 2,929.6/km² (7,587.9/sq mi). There were 163,993 housing units at an average density of 1,082.7/km² (2,804.3/sq mi). The racial makeup is 77.60% White, 9.67% Black, .25% Native American, 5.65% Asian, .04% Pacific Islander, 4.14% from other races, and 2.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.07% of the population.
As of 2000 the population represented several European ancestries:
|Staten Island population|
|By town, by census|
† estimate by the Census Bureau; * = not available
Staten Island (Richmond County) has a higher percentage of Italian-Americans than any other county in the United States, though it comes in 27th amongst Italian-American communities. Since the 2000 census, a large Russian community has been growing on Staten Island, particularly in the Rossville, South Beach, and Great Kills area. There is also a significant Polish community mainly in the South Beach and Midland Beach area.
The vast majority of the island's African-American and Hispanic residents live north of the Staten Island Expressway, or Interstate 278. In terms of religion, the population is largely Roman Catholic. The Jewish community is large enough that it would be significant in most other parts of the country, but it is relatively small compared to other parts of the New York Metropolitan Area. There is a growing presence of Egyptian Copts, the vast majority of whom are members of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
There were 156,341 households out of which 35.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.0% are married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.0% were non-families. Individuals occupied 23.2% of all households, and 8.4% of households had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.31.
The population is spread out with 25.5% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.
The median income for a household is $55,039, and the median income for a family was $64,333. Males had a median income of $50,081 versus $35,914 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $23,905. About 7.9% of families and 10.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.2% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.
In 2009, Borough President James Molinaro started a program to increase tourism on Staten Island. At the top of that program was a new website, http://www.visitstatenisland.com, the official tourism website for the Borough of Staten Island, NY. The website was developed by local web development firm Mindsaw in cooperation with the Borough Presidents office and was Launched in July 2009.
The Tourism Program also includes a "Staten Island Attractions" video that is aired in both the Staten Island and the Manhattan Whitehall Ferry Terminals, as well as informational Kiosks at the Terminals which supply printed information on Staten Island Attractions, Entertainment and Restaurants.
Artists and musicians have been moving to Staten Island's North Shore so they can be in close proximity to Manhattan but also have enough affordable space to live and work in. Recently The New York Times and NY1 News featured Staten Island as a haven for artists and musicians. Filmmakers, most of whom work independently, also play an important part on Staten Island's art scene, which has been recognized by the local government. Conceived by the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation to introduce independent and international films to a broad and diverse audience, the Staten Island Film Festival (SIFF) held its first four-day festival in 2006.
Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the Alice Austen House Museum, the Conference House, the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, Historic Richmond Town, Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, the Noble Maritime Collection, Sandy Ground Historical Museum,, Staten Island Children's Museum, the Staten Island Museum and the Staten Island Botanical Garden, home of the The New York Chinese Scholar's Garden.
While Staten Island was selected as the future site of the National Lighthouse Museum, the museum never got off the ground, after ten plus years of planning the board officially disbanded in the fall of 2009.
Historic Richmond Town is New York City’s living history village and museum complex. Visitors can explore the diversity of the American experience, especially that of Staten Island and its neighboring communities, from the colonial period to the present. The village area occupies 25 acres (100,000 m2) of a 100-acre (0.40 km2) site with about 15 restored buildings, including homes, commercial and civic buildings, and a museum.
The island is home to the Staten Island Zoo, which recently opened a newly refurbished reptile exhibit and is in the process of designing a new carousel and leopard enclosure. Zoo construction commenced in 1933 as part of the Federal Government’s works program on an eight-acre (three-hectare) estate willed to New York City. It was opened on June 10, 1936, the first zoo in the U.S. specifically devoted to an educational mandate. The Society has remained steadfast in its concentration on this goal, which is still a vital part of the Society’s current mission. The Staten Island Zoo was also the first zoo anywhere to exhibit all the 32 varieties of rattlesnakes known to occur in the United States. In the late 1960s the Zoo maintained the most complete rattlesnake collection in the world with 39 varieties.
The newly renovated St. George Theatre serves as a cultural arts center for a myriad of activities including outreach educational programs, architectural tours, television and film shoots, concerts, comedy, Broadway touring companies and small and large scale children's shows. It has featured many known artists such as The Jonas Brothers, Tony Bennett, and Don McLean.
Staten Island's local paper is the The Staten Island Advance. They also have an affiliated website called silive.com.
SI Parent, Staten Island's parenting magazine has been publishing monthly issues since 1989. Their website siparent.com debuted in 2005. The parent company, Family Resource Publications, Inc. also publishes an annual S.I. Parent Resource Handbook since 1997.
The documentary "A Walk Around Staten Island with David Hartman and Barry Lewis" premiered on public television station WNET on December 3, 2007, profiling Staten Island culture and history, including major attractions such as the Staten Island Ferry, Historic Richmondtown, the Conference House, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the Chinese Scholars Garden and many more sites.
Movies filmed partially or wholly on Staten Island include The Godfather; It takes two Working Girl; War of the Worlds; Sorry, Wrong Number; Sisters; Splendor in the Grass; GoodFellas; Donnie Brasco; Shamus; School of Rock; Two Family House; He Knows You're Alone; Analyze This; Big Daddy; The Astronaut's Wife; Scent of a Woman; Freedomland; The Toxic Avenger; Easy Money, Big Fan and Staten Island (the movie). Also independent films The Atomic Space Bug (1999), Stairwell: Trapped in the World Trade Center (2002) and A Conversation with Norman (2005) were filmed on Staten Island and directed by Jonathan M. Parisen and Dan Quinn. Combat Shock (1986) and No Way Home (1996) were filmed by Staten Island director Buddy Giovinazzo. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days was also filmed in Staten Island.
Television series shot partially or wholly on Staten Island include The Education of Max Bickford and The Book of Daniel as well as parts of many episodes of Law & Order and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The sitcom Grounded for Life was set on Staten Island, while the animated Godzilla: The Series, the Humanitarian Environmental Analysis Team (HEAT), which monitors Godzilla, has their headquarters based on Staten Island in an old ferry terminal.
Singer Christina Aguilera, David Johansen (also known as Buster Poindexter) of the New York Dolls, Ingrid Michaelson, Eamon, Rick Schroder (the actor), Alyssa Milano (the actress), and Vernon Reid of Living Colour were born or reside on Staten Island. The hard rock band White Lion and the critically acclaimed hip hop-collective Wu-Tang Clan (who dubbed the borough "Shaolin"), the band The Headlocks and rapper Shyheim all formed on Staten Island. Force MD's were from Staten Island, their top ten hit was Tender Love. Drummer A.J. Pero from Twisted Sister resides in Staten Island. Vito and the Elegants had a #1 hit in 1959 with Little Star, whIch was recorded on South Beach Staten Island. Joan Baez was born on Staten Island, and Blackie Lawless from W.A.S.P.. Staten Island plays host to a well supported punk scene, including up and coming politically oriented rock groups such as Ballz and the Roman Geez.
The late writer Paul Zindel lived in Staten Island during his youth and based most of his teenage novels in the Island. American Wildflower a novel about life on Staten Island in the 1970's was written by Bobby Clark who was born on the island and lived there for forty years.
Education in Staten Island is provided by a number of public and private institutions. Public schools in the borough are managed by the New York City Department of Education, the largest public school system in the United States.
Public high schools include:
Non-denominational - Christian
Twelve branches of the New York Public Library serve the borough.
Staten Island is the most suburban of the five boroughs of New York City. Although still predominantly residential in nature, the borough has changed significantly since the opening of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in 1964.
Staten Island can be reached by passenger ferry from Manhattan. The ferry is the best option for arriving on the island, as it passes by Liberty Island and offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline and New York Harbor. The ferry is free and operates 24 hours a day out of Battery Park in Manhattan and St. George Terminal in Staten Island. The ride to either terminal takes 30 minutes and runs about twice hourly (four times during rush hours and less frequently on weekend).
These last 3 bridges have a $8.00 toll payable only when entering Staten Island, not leaving it. The carpool toll is $2.00 with 3 or more people in a car, payable only with E-Z Pass.
A moderately priced option is to take an express bus from Manhattan to Staten Island. The $5.50 fare is payable with MetroCard, Express Bus Plus MetroCards or coin change. Dollar bills are not accepted.
The Staten Island Railway  is a hybrid of a railroad and a subway line. Fares are the same as a subway ride (US$2.25), and it runs 24 hours, at intervals from 15 minutes during weekdays to hourly overnight, synchronized to the ferry schedule. Fares are collected only at St. George Ferry Terminal, leading many to exit at the penultimate stop, Tompkinsville, and walk up Bay Street a short distance to the ferry. During rush hours, express service is provided and the locals terminate at Great Kills.
Bus routes  cover the island pretty thoroughly. There are two types of buses:
Most routes on the island meet up at the St. George Ferry Terminal. Other major transfer points include Port Richmond, with some buses terminating at Richmond Terrace at Port Richmond Avenue; the Staten Island Mall; and the Eltingville Transit Center on the South Shore, the last with MetroCard vending machines and express service to Manhattan.
Fares can be paid in quarters or dollar coins (if you can find them). You can also use a MetroCard (good for all public transportation in NYC) purchasable at some delis or at the machines located at the ferry terminal. Buses run close to schedule, but service on Staten Island is sparse outside of rush hours, and even during peak hours, the most frequent headway is 10 minutes. If possible, pick up a schedule for routes that you'll plan to take or check the Guide-A-Ride box for exact times whenever possible.
Atrium on Forest Avenue. Take the S40/S90 from bus ramp D of the terminal.
While the vast majority of Staten Island eateries are Italian, there are some gems of ethnic cuisine in the St. George and Tompkinsville neighborhoods, the area around the ferry terminal and the Staten Island Yankees stadium. Home to a large Sri Lankan community, St. George has many grocery stores and restaurants. Mostly within a mile of each other on Victory Blvd. (and in walking distance from the ferry terminal), the authentic and inexpensive restaurants serve up flavorful South Asian cuisine well worth the trip.
Staten Island can be divided into two parts: North Shore and South Shore. The South Shore is primarily suburban residential neighborhoods with small commercial establishments usually within five minutes driving distance. The North Shore has more apartment buildings and public housing, called "Projects". There is very little crime in the South Shore. Some parts of the North Shore, however, have some crime rate and you should avoid mistakenly walking into or around seedy neighborhoods by yourself at night.
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