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Great Kills, NY

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Great Kills has a lot going for it - the area offers up a top-notch quality of life with convenience, all in a gorgeous waterfront setting.

You'll always find something fun happening down by Great Kills Harbor or at the popular Great Kills Park. From swimming and boating to chilling out with an ice cream cone, there's plenty of ways to enjoy the waterfront.

If you want a chance to connect with nature, get active outdoors, and experience a cozy small town vibe without venturing too far from the city, Great Kills is a perfect match.


According to a 2020 census, Great Kills has a population of 40,853 and a population density of 11,272.2 people per square mile. This makes it one of the densest neighborhoods on Staten Island.

While Great Kills has been around for centuries, it didn't start rapidly growing until the 1950s when the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge connected Staten Island to Brooklyn. This influx of new residents transformed Great Kills from a quiet rural area into a thriving suburb.

Great Kills' population is predominantly white, at about 87%, with Latinos making up 8% of residents. The neighborhood also has small but growing Asian and African American populations.

Over 20% of the population is under 18 years old, while 26% are 25 to 44 years old. Seniors over 65 make up 16% of the neighborhood.

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The name "Great Kills" comes from the Dutch word "kil", meaning creek or channel.

The eastern half of modern-day Great Kills was known as Clarendon in the colonial era, while the western half was called Newtown. For a time they were jointly called Giffords, after an early settler. From the 1680s to 1898, Great Kills was split between the towns of Southfield and Westfield.

Great Kills made history in 1884 when it hosted the first ever middleweight boxing title fight between Jack Dempsey and George Fulljames. In 1933, part of Great Kills Park was the site of an important early rocket launch.

Some of the oldest structures in Great Kills are the Poillon-Seguine-Britton House from the 18th century and St. Clare's Catholic Church built in 1928. The iconic "Welcome to Great Kills" sign on Amboy Road has stood for decades.

Quality of Life

Great Kills residents enjoy a high quality of life. The neighborhood's abundant green spaces and cleaner air (12% less polluted than the city average) are major draws for families, who appreciate the small-town feel and big-city convenience.


Great Kills residents enjoy excellent health outcomes compared to the New York City average. Life expectancy at birth is 81.3 years, on par with the citywide rate. Rates of preterm births and teen pregnancies are lower than average. (Source: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene)

Childhood obesity affects 17% of Great Kills children, compared to 20% citywide. When it comes to nutrition, 95% of adults eat fruits and vegetables daily, exceeding the city rate of 87%. Opportunities for exercise abound with parks, marinas, and recreation centers.

Among adults, smoking rates are slightly higher at 17% versus 14% citywide. But other health risk factors like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity are at or below average. 

Hospitals in the area include: 

  • Staten Island University Hospital - South Campus. This full-service 488-bed hospital in nearby Prince's Bay provides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care. Services range from maternity and pediatrics to cancer care, surgery, and 24/7 emergency care.
  • Staten Island University Hospital - North Campus. SIUH's second major campus is a 317-bed facility in Grymes Hill. It offers a wide array of specialties including orthopedics, neurology, and psychiatry.
  • ​Richmond University Medical Center, a busy 427-bed hospital in West New Brighton, offers emergency, surgical, and other services, including a Level 1 trauma center.

With three full-service hospitals within a short drive and plentiful options for outpatient care nearby, Great Kills residents can conveniently access high-quality medical treatment when needed.

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Believe it or not, Great Kills is one of the safest parts of New York City. Major crimes here dropped a whopping 80% between the 1990s and 2010s. Murder, rape, robbery - you name it, the rates are way lower than the city average.

Folks feel comfortable letting their kids run around and play outside thanks to the low crime. Parks and rec spaces provide safe fun.

Community ties are strong here. Churches, schools, the library - they get people engaged and foster pride in the area. The police keep an active presence year-round too.

Year-round, Great Kills' residential character, civic pride, and active police presence combine to keep this a secure place to live, work, and visit.


Getting around Great Kills is a breeze thanks to the neighborhood's transit options. The Staten Island Railway stops right in Great Kills at the station on Giffords Lane near Amboy Road. Trains run 24/7, with express service to the St. George Ferry Terminal during rush hour.

ModeNumber of stopsFrequency
Bus11Every 15-30 minutes during peak hours
Ferry1Every 30 minutes
Subway1Every 20 minutes

If you prefer buses, Great Kills has a bunch. Local routes like the S54, S74, S78, and S79 connect to other parts of Staten Island. Express buses including the SIM1, SIM5, SIM6, and SIM9 provide direct service into Manhattan. Major bus corridors in the neighborhood are Amboy Road, Arthur Kill Road, and Hylan Boulevard.

Driving is convenient too with the area's proximity to major highways like the West Shore Expressway and Korean War Veterans Parkway. Parallel parking is usually easy to find on the neighborhood's residential streets.

Great Kills Harbor has several private marinas, along with the public Nichols Marina in Great Kills Park. So boats are a popular way to enjoy the waterfront.

Shopping and Dining

The main commercial drags are Hylan Boulevard, Amboy Road, and Arthur Kill Road. These are lined with grocery stores, pharmacies, boutiques, restaurants, and more.

For groceries, there's ShopRite, Stop & Shop, and Key Food. Pharmacies include Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens. Great Kills is home to outposts of national chains like

Marina Cafe and The Landing are popular waterfront restaurants near Great Kills Harbor. And don't miss Killmeyer's Old Bavarian Inn, a classic German beer hall that's been a local staple since the 1860s.

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The neighborhood is known borough-wide for its quality schools and commitment to learning.

Public schools in the neighborhood get high marks for quality. P.S. 8 and P.S. 32 are standout elementary schools, while Barnes Intermediate School provides excellent middle school education.

Many Great Kills students go on to attend nearby Susan E. Wagner High School or farther flung Staten Island academic powerhouses like Tottenville High School. Almost 90% of South Shore high schoolers graduate on time.

St. Clare's Catholic School has educated Great Kills children for over 90 years. The parochial school is known for strong academics and school spirit.

Adult learners can further their education at the College of Staten Island's nearby campus. The public college offers associate's and bachelor's degrees, plus master's programs.

Great Kills also provides lifelong learning through the New York Public Library branches at Giffords Lane and Clarke Avenue. Public programming caters to book lovers of all ages.

Points of Interest

  • Great Kills Park - Part of the National Park Service's Gateway Recreation Area, this park features a beach, fishing areas, trails, sports fields, and the Nichols Marina. It's a prime spot for swimming, boating, bird watching, and enjoying the waterfront.
  • Great Kills Harbor - The harbor offers pleasant views and waterside dining. Marina Cafe and The Landing are popular restaurants on the harbor. You can also stroll along the promenade or book a fishing charter.
  • Great Kills Little League - Baseball fans will enjoy catching a game at one of Staten Island's 8 Little League fields. In 2011, Great Kills won the New York State Little League Championship.
  • Italian restaurants - Great Kills dining scene is known for cozy, quality Italian food. From pizza to pasta, you'll find red-sauce joints like Sister's Restaurant and Aldo's hiding on side streets.
  • Great Kills Swim Club - This private swim club with over 500 member families is home to competitive swimming and diving. It was featured in the movie Staten Island Summer.
  • St. Clare's Church - This prominent Catholic church and school has served the community since 1928. Its architecture and memorial flame honor local 9/11 victims.
  • Poillon-Seguine-Britton House - The historic 17th century house, once added to the National Register of Historic Places, was demolished after a fire but stood as a reminder of the colonial era.