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Staten Island, NY

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Have you ever been curious to visit New York City's hidden gem - Staten Island? Most people only know Staten Island as the "forgotten borough" but they're missing out if they've never set foot on this island.

But Staten Island is more than just its skyscrapers and subways. It’s a special borough- one that gives both locals and tourists alike a chance to revel in the fun beaches, historic sites, quaint mom and pop shops, and the place’s own special community vibe. 


Among New York City’s five boroughs, Staten Island is the least populated. 

To contrast: Brooklyn (New York’s largest borough) has 2.5 million residents, while Staten Island has only 480,000. Still, it has been steadily growing over the last couple of decades according to population data. 

Most Staten Islanders live in the north shore, with neighborhoods like New Dorp and Great Kills boasting some of the largest populations. 

The south shore is a bit more sparsely populated with hamlets like Tottenville and Charleston. Depending on where you visit, you may feel like you've stepped into a quaint suburb or small town.

According to the 2020 US Census, 56.1% of Staten Island's population is White, 19.6% Hispanic/Latino, 9.4% Black, and 11.9% Asian. The borough has growing immigrant populations from Russia, Italy, China, Latin America, and more. Nearly 1 in 5 residents are foreign born.

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The population density in Staten Island is 8,112 people per square mile, compared to Manhattan's 72,033 people per square mile. This lower density contributes to its suburban feel.

Staten Island's population is a bit older than other boroughs. The median age is 41 years old compared to 38 in Manhattan. 30% of households have children, and 27% are retirees.


Originally inhabited by the Lenape Native American tribe, Staten Island was colonized by Dutch settlers in the 1600s and became part of the Dutch colony of New Netherland. The British took control of the island in 1664. During the American Revolution, Staten Island served as a British military base and prison camp.

Staten Island was incorporated into New York City as a borough in 1898 as part of the Staten Island consolidation. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, built in 1964, linked Staten Island to Brooklyn and helped spur rapid development and population growth on the island in the late 20th century.

Quality of Life

Staten Island has affordable housing options ranging from apartments and condos to single-family homes. 

Compared to other New York City boroughs, real estate tends to be more reasonable here. While still giving residents the ability to commute easily into Manhattan thanks to the ferry or bridges.

So, nature lovers need not go far to commune with nature- they can enjoy outdoor activities like biking, trekking, and hiking right in their own neighborhood.

This is because Staten Island has lots of family-friendly parks and open spaces. The borough has 4,500 acres of county and state parks, thus providing enough space for its residents to enjoy the great outdoors. 

For a simple family picnic, there are numerous green spaces like the parks of Blue Belt and Clove Lakes that people of all ages can explore. 


Staten Islanders enjoy good health and wellness for a United States community. Life expectancy is 81 years, slightly above the U.S. average. 

While chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer affect Staten Islanders, rates are lower than many parts of the country. Mental health care is improving with more treatment options and reduced stigma. 

Several major hospitals are located on the island including Staten Island University Hospital, Richmond University Medical Center, and Staten Island VA Hospital. These provide comprehensive health services and emergency care for residents. With a range of health insurance options and providers, access to quality healthcare is attainable for Staten Islanders.


Staten Island is widely regarded as the safest borough in New York City. Crime rates, including violent crimes like murder and rape, are a fraction of those in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Fire and injury rates are also lower than other boroughs. 

The crime that does exist concentrates in a few lower-income neighborhoods, while most parts of Staten Island are quite secure. 

Staten Island's high safety levels contribute to its popularity among families and reputation for a peaceful way of life.

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Staten Island is quite car-dependent compared to other boroughs. Many residents commute to work via the free Staten Island Ferry to Manhattan, then use public transit from there. 

During peak hours the streets and highways see heavy traffic, especially near the ferry terminals. But traffic moves more smoothly late nights and weekends. 

For those without cars, buses provide connections across the island with routes to the ferry. Plus the Staten Island Railway offers light rail service from Tottenville to St. George. 

Those looking to bike will find Staten Island fairly bikeable, with routes like the Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk. However, options don't match the scale of bike infrastructure in Brooklyn and Manhattan. 

Staten Island has average public transit overall, and the systems meet basic needs for those without vehicles. Rush hour commuters heading off-island should plan for longer 45+ minute rides each way.

Shopping and Dining

From big malls to mom-and-pop shops, Staten Island provides plenty of retail therapy. 

The Staten Island Mall and Bricktown Centre give shoppers big name brands like Macy's, JCPenney, H&M and Old Navy. Unique boutiques in neighborhoods like Stapleton and St. George offer one-of-a-kind fashions, gifts and housewares. 

Food lovers will delight in Staten Island's array of dining options. 

Arthur Avenue in Richmond Valley parallels Manhattan's Little Italy with authentic cafes and eateries. Top spots like Blue and Enoteca Maria show off the borough's Italian heritage. International flavors abound in spots like Sri Lankan Eatery and Taqueria El Caballito. And harborfront restaurants provide scenic views alongside fresh seafood. 


Staten Island families have access to quality public and private schools. The New York City public school system operates dozens of elementary, middle and high schools across the borough. 

Staten Island's schools consistently earn higher graduation rates than other boroughs. Popular selective schools like Staten Island Tech and Susan Wagner High also boost performance. 

Parochial schools and secular privates add more education options like St. Joseph Hill Academy and Staten Island Academy. 

Higher education choices include St. John's University's Staten Island Campus and Wagner College. 

Educational attainment on the island is on par with the rest of NYC. Staten Island provides strong school systems to serve local families as well as strong CUNY and university connections for further study.

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Points of Interest

Staten Island has some unique places worth exploring:

  • Staten Island Ferry: One of New York City's most iconic sights is the Staten Island Ferry. It offers panoramic views of Manhattan's skyline and the Statue of Liberty as it makes the 25-minute journey between St. George Terminal and Whitehall Terminal. Take the ride just for the views—it’s free!
  • Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden: It’s hard to imagine that this beautiful center (which has art museums, greenhouses, and walking trails) was once a home for retired seamen. Now it’s a sprawling 83-acre oasis in the middle of suburbia, a place where you can go and wander so you can escape the hubbub of the city.
  • Fort Wadsworth: Fort Wadsworth defended New York for more than two centuries (1776 to 1995). It’s one of the nation’s oldest military installations, and is situated at a strategic spot that overlooks the New York harbor and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Currently it has a museum and viewing spots of the surrounding area.
  • Mount Loretto Unique Area: Home to old chapel ruins and one of the oldest lighthouses on the East Coast, Mount Loretto is a peaceful spot full of history. Hike the trails winding through the nature preserve and learn about Staten Island's past.
  • Historic Richmond Town: Step back in time at this living history museum portraying Staten Island in the late 18th century. Costumed guides bring the village buildings and trades to life. Spend the day immersed in colonial culture.
  • Conference House Park: On the southern tip lies this scenic park overlooking the water ways around the island. It's the site of the famous Conference House where Benjamin Franklin and John Adams negotiated with Lord Howe during the American Revolutionary War. Take in coastal views and learn about this pivotal meeting.