These neighborhoods can be grouped into three regions: North Shore, Mid-Island, and South Shore. The North Shore includes the area north of the Staten Island Expressway. The South Shore generally includes the area south of the Fresh Kills. The Mid-Island takes up the area in-between.
North ShoreThe North Shore is full of older neighborhoods, which were fully developed long before the rest of Staten Island. Thanks to this, many examples of old architecture can be found here. Its neighborhoods include:
- St. George – St. George is the political center of the Island, the location of its Borough Hall and County Courthouse. It is also a transportation hub, with the St. George Ferry Terminal, and a cultural center, with many attractions. These include the Staten Island Museum, the Postcards September 11 memorial, and the St. George Theater.
- Tompkinsville – A number of ethnic restaurants can be found here in Staten Island's "Little Sri Lanka".
- Stapleton – This small waterfront neighborhood is known for just that: its waterfront. Sometimes known as the Stapleton Homeport, this stretch of water almost became a Unites States Navy base, a plan that ended due to lack of funding. Today it is mostly residential housing; however, it is still used as part of the annual New York City Fleet Week.
- Clifton – A section of this neighborhood is called Little Liberia. It is home to the largest Liberian population in the world outside of Liberia.
- New Brighton – This small neighborhood just to the west of St. George can be characterized through its main attraction–the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. Once a retirement home, Snug Harbor is now a collection of museums that showcase the best of Staten Island's culture.
- West New Brighton – This neighborhood is a separate entity from New Brighton. It is home to the Staten Island Zoo.
- Port Richmond – One of Staten Island's oldest neighborhoods, Port Richmond is home to many examples of beautiful architecture.
- Mariners Harbor – This neighborhood began as a fishing village, and is now a minor center for shopping.
- Silver Lake – This neighborhood is dominated by the lake and park of the same name. A popular place with the locals, Silver Lake is the largest body of water on Staten Island.
- Grymes Hill – Grymes Hill is home to a number of colleges, including Wagner College and St. John's University Staten Island Campus.
- Willowbrook – This large neighborhood has a peaceful vibe to it. It is home to Willowbrook Park and the College of Staten Island.
Mid-IslandThe Mid-Island section was largely undeveloped until 1964, the opening of the Verrazano Bridge. The resulting economic boom means that most of the Mid-Island's architecture is from the late 1960s and 1970s. Some of its main neighborhoods are:
- Old Town – True to its name, Old Town was the first European settlement on Staten Island. The Dutch called it Oude Dorpe.
- Todt Hill – The peak that shares the same name as the neighborhood is considered the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard. Todt Hill has many rich residents, who love to overdecorate their lawns, much to the amusement of other Islanders. These two factors contribute to the area's majestic feel.
- Dongan Hills – This large neighborhood is very peaceful. A section which borders Todt Hill is called the Dongan Hills Colony. It is home to large mansions, and offers a unique view of the Manhattan skyline.
- South Beach – Formerly home to a bustling amusement park, South Beach has quieted down a lot from its glory days as a summer getaway. Now, the area is mostly residential, with large Polish and Russian populations. The popular beach of the same name is still open.
- New Dorp – New Dorp has deep roots in history, spanning back to the American Revolution, when it was the base of the British army in New York. Now, the neighborhood is one of the area's major commercial centers. Its main thoroughfare, New Dorp Lane, is home to any type of store you could wish for–from a convenience store, to a fancy cake shop, to mom-and-pop shops, pizzerias, and a karate school.
- Richmondtown – Richmondtown is home to Historic Richmond Town, a collection of buildings dating back as far as the 18th century.
- New Dorp Beach/Oakwood Beach – These two waterfront neighborhoods were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.
- Heartland Village – The commercial center of the entire island is home to the Staten Island Mall and a number of other large and small shopping centers.
- Chelsea and Travis – Two tiny, mostly industrial neighborhoods on the western edge of the island.
South ShoreThe South Shore experienced a similar economic boom to the Mid-Island when the Verrazano Bridge opened. However, there are still many parts of the South Shore that are undeveloped, at least compared to the rest of the borough. Some of its neighborhoods are:
- Great Kills – The northernmost neighborhood on the South Shore is very residential and has a large park and marina.
- Eltingville – This humongous neighborhood is also primarily residential, but is home to a major transit center.
- Huguenot – Huguenot is named after the French Huguenots, its original settlers. Nowadays, the very suburban neighborhood is home to many other ethnicities as well.
- Rossville – Formerly farmland, Rossville has developed greatly.
- Sandy Ground – Sandy Ground (no connection to Hurricane Sandy) has great historical importance. It was the first community for freed slaves established in North America. It dates back to 1827, when slavery was abolished in New York State.
- Charleston – A very remote neighborhood, it is home to a sizable commercial sector.
- Tottenville – Tottenville is the southernmost point in New York. It developed earlier than the rest of the South Shore, thanks to its prominence as a transportation hub before the invention of automobiles. Many examples of nineteenth-century architecture can be found here.
OrientationStaten Island is New York City's only borough that lacks a predominant numbered street grid you can not depend on the numbers of the streets to tell you where you are.
Staten Island has four main highways: the Staten Island Expressway (I-278), the West Shore Expressway (NY-440), the Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway (also NY-440), and the Korean War Veterans Parkway (unofficially known as the Richmond Parkway). The Staten Island Expressway runs east-west, from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to the Goethals Bridge. The West Shore expressway runs south from the Staten Island Expressway in the northwest portion of the island to the Outerbridge Crossing in Tottenville. The Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway runs north from just east of the SIE's junction with the West Shore to the Bayonne Bridge. The Korean War Veterans Expressway branches off from the West Shore Expressway just north of the Outerbridge and runs northeast all the way to Eltingville.
Compared to the neatly-organized grid of Manhattan, the layout of Staten Island's streets may seem like a child's drawings. On the contrary, most streets run in a simple pattern. The biggest streets run east-west (parallel to the northern shore), north-south (parallel to the western shore), and northeast-southwest (parallel to the eastern and southern shores). This creates the effect of a triangle. If you know the main roads that form each side of the triangle, you won't get lost.
By ferryStaten Island can be reached by passenger ferry from Manhattan. The ferry is the most visually pleasing 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; even during the early morning hours, it never runs less than once every half hour at the half hour. You can see a current schedule on this page. The 25-minute ferry ride is also sometimes a faster trip from Lower Manhattan to Staten Island than a corresponding trip by car or bus. The ferry allows bicycles on the lower decks, where there are usually bike racks.
The St. George Ferry Terminal is also a terminal for the Staten Island Railway and many of Staten Island's local buses.
- Verrazano-Narrows Bridge connects Staten Island with Brooklyn, but you will incur a high toll of $11.52 with a New York E-Z Pass users or $17.00 for out-of-state E-Z Pass users and non-E-Z Pass users (westbound to Staten Island only; no toll eastbound).
- Bayonne Bridge connects northern Staten Island with Bayonne, New Jersey.
- Goethals Bridge connects Elizabeth, New Jersey to mid-western Staten Island.
- Outerbridge Crossing connects Perth Amboy, New Jersey and Tottenville, Staten Island.
By busExpress bus
A moderately priced option is to take an express bus from Manhattan to Staten Island. The express buses are especially handy when you are traveling to places on the South Shore, which is the furthest section of Staten Island from the ferry, and has fewer local routes running than the more densely populated North Shore. The $6.50 fare is payable with MetroCard (pay-per-ride only), Express Bus Plus MetroCards or coin change. Dollar bills are not accepted.
Most express buses run solely on weekdays. The X1, X10, and X17 run 7 days a week. The X1 runs 24/7.
The wait times for an express bus are about 4–10 minutes during rush hours, 15–30 minutes other times. The Staten Island bus map (service descriptions) covers the routes on the island.
- There is also the option of taking the S53, S79, or S93 buses from the 86th Street subway station of the R train in Brooklyn. These bus routes cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge into Staten Island. Since these are considered local bus routes, you can pay for the ride by depositing $2.50 in coins in the farebox or swiping your MetroCard.
- The S53 serves the North Shore and goes through Port Richmond and West New Brighton
- The S79 serves the Mid-Island region and the South Shore. It goes along Hylan Boulevard and Richmond Avenue to get to the Staten Island Mall.
- The S93 runs rush hours only and goes to the College of Staten Island, serving the neighborhoods near the Staten Island Expressway and Victory Boulevard.
- The local buses run routes all over Staten Island and are distinguished by the S before the route number (ex. S55, S78). They have uncomfortable plastic seats and cost $2.50. During rush hours, some buses run Limited and stop at major cross streets and transfer points. For example, the S62 starts at Jewett Avenue, making all stops east, while the S92 makes all stops west of Jewett Avenue that the S62 normally makes, while stopping only at major streets like Clove Road east of Jewett Avenue. Limited route numbers are always in the 80s and 90s, and the numbers of the local and limited routes usually correspond (S62/S92, S46/S96).
- The express buses are distinguished by the X in the coded display on the front of the bus (ex. X1, X17). These buses run from Staten Island to Manhattan, have more comfortable cloth seats, and cost $6.
Most bus 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.
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), available at some delis or at the machines 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. Because of this, it helps to be prepared: either pick up a schedule for routes that you'll plan to take, check the Guide-A-Ride boxes at bus stops for exact times or use the MTA's BusTime system to track buses.
A Staten Island bus map is available on this page.
ParksAs the official "Borough of Parks", Staten Island has a large collection of parks. They range from modest playgrounds to immense expanses of raw nature.
All parks operated by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation are open 6AM–1AM, but the Greenbelt is operated by the Greenbelt Conservancy and Gateway is operated by the National Park Service. Parks affiliated with schools are the only exception. These are open from dawn to dusk, and it is generally considered good etiquette to stay out of the park if schoolchildren are playing in it.
Some parks in Staten Island are:
address: Amboy Road & Riedel AvenueA small park that is not much more than a clearing and some trees. A monument to the man the park was named for, Roald Amundsen, stands in the center of it.
address: Poillon Avenue & Amboy RoadA large park on the South Shore known from its large collection of wildlife, from birds to wildflowers. True to its name, the park is a known habitat for blue herons.
address: Adelaide Avenue & Emilra StreetThis deceivingly small park has two large asphalt playgrounds, two smaller ones, a grass field, a baseball field, basketball courts, and a jungle gym. It is always peaceful and rarely crowded, as it is shared by Public School 50 during school hours.
address: Wild Avenue & Pearson StreetOnly in the first stages of development, this mega-park is set to be 2,200 acres—three times the size of Central Park. It will cover the wild areas of the Fresh Kills, as well as what was formerly the Fresh Kills Dump. The first section of the park, Schmul Park, in Travis, features a large and colorful playground for kids, along with basketball courts, handball courts, and an open grass field.
- A portion of the Gateway National Recreation Area, called the Staten Island Unit, is located here. It consists of three parks:
Fort WadsworthDating back to 1663, this fort was used during both the American Revolution and the War of 1812. It remained active until 1995. It is now semi-active, with its main use being local headquarters for the United States Coast Guard. Tours are available.
Miller FieldThis park was operated as a United States Army airfield from 1919-1969. Now, it is a large, mostly grass park with baseball fields, soccer fields, and a children's playground.
Great Kills ParkThis park is home to a large woodland and a number of beaches. A small portion of the beach is closed for radiation screenings.
phone: +1 718 667-6042address: Hylan Boulevard & Sharrott AvenueThis park is home to the creek that shares its name, as well as a variety of wildlife. One of the most notable is the purple martin. The park has one of the very few colonies in the New York Metro.
Mount Loretto Unique AreaNature preserve on the South Shore with hiking trails and shoreline access. Fishing is permitted along the beach or the freshwater pond inside the area. Most of the land is minimally developed, and is an excellent place to observe wildlife. An abandoned orphanage on-site, after which the area was named, burnt down in 2000.
South Beach & BoardwalkThis beach is a pleasant place to relax. The water is safe enough to swim in, but it's not the best you can get (you'd get a better deal down the Jersey Shore or on Long Island). The boardwalk, one of the longest in the United States, is great for running or biking.
Von Briesen ParkThe former estate of Arthur Von Briesen is now a small, hilly park.
address: Eton Place at Richmond Avenue or Victory Boulevard at Morani StreetA large park with a carousel.
address: 2 Hylan Blvd
phone: +1 718 984-6046address: 298 Satterlee StDates back to 1680, and held an abortive peace conference during the Revolutionary War.
address: Richmond Road & Arthur Kill Road
Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Artphone: +1 718 987-3500address: 338 Lighthouse AveAmerican woman Jacques Marchais had a dream of traveling to Tibet. While she never made it, her extensive collection of Tibetan artifacts was made into a museum in 1947. The museum now holds over 120 pieces of beautiful Tibetan art. The museum's authenticity was praised by the Dalai Lama.
Staten Island Children's Museumaddress: 1000 Richmond Terrace (Snug Harbor)
phone: +1 718 727 1135address: 1000 Richmond Terrace, Building A
phone: +1 718-390-0040address: 200 The Promenade
PostcardsStaten Island's September 11th memorial honors all of its residents that lost their lives on Sep 11, 2001.
Snug Harbor Cultural CenterThis is the largest collection of Greek revival, temple style buildings in America. A true architectural gem featuring the Staten Island Botanic Garden, which features an authentic Chinese Scholar's garden (created by actual Chinese scholars!). There is also an art museum, the John A. Noble Collection, on the grounds. This is one of the most beautiful places in New York, a place even the most jaded New Yorker will marvel at.
phone: +1 718 720-9265address: at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at 75 Richmond TerraceGo to a game of this A-class Minor League Baseball team, an affiliate of the New York Yankees. Come for a relaxed, fun time, away from the smothering hustle and bustle of the major leagues.
phone: +1 718-442-3100address: 614 BroadwayIt's in West New Brighton, and is a fun destination for younger children as well as animal enthusiasts. The zoo used to have the most snake species of any zoo in the world. It no longer holds that title, but still has a substantial reptile wing.
address: Various locationsCome and visit one of the largest public library collections in the world. Just sit down with one of the millions of good books and relax. You can also use a computer or take books outside of the library, although you first must register for one of the library's famous red and blue cards. For the history buff in you, every Staten Island branch has a file cabinet marked Staten Island Local History with fascinating documents relating to Staten Island's history. A list of Staten Island locations can be found below.
United Artists Theateraddress: 2474 Forest AveThe biggest movie theater on the island is a great place to relax and watch a flick.
Atrium Stadium Theatersphone: +1 718 984-7600address: 680 Arthur Kill RdAnother large movie theater, the Atrium is also great for taking in a movie.
phone: +1 718 761-6800address: 2655 Richmond AveThe Staten Island Mall is the largest mall in New York City and the center of retail life in Staten Island. There are three anchor stores: Macy's, JCPenney, and Sears. There is also a large food court and a variety of smaller stores. In the vicinity, there are a number of sizable shopping centers.
address: 2700-2900 Veterans Road WestTaking up 400,000 square feet, this mall houses a small number of large stores.
address: 2630-2670 Hylan BlvdA smaller shopping center, Hylan Plaza is still home to a number of retail stores alongside numerous mom-and-pop shops. It's located along a line of smaller shopping centers.
address: 55 Richmond TerraceOnly outlet mall in New York City
A type of business that is becoming increasingly common on Staten Island is the farmers' market. A number of markets can be found on Staten Island, including the following:
address: Hyatt Street and St. Marks Place
Staten Island Mall Greenmarketaddress: Staten Island Mall main parking lot
address: 1000 Richmond TerraceThis market sells products only grown on-site.
phone: +1 718 273-7770address: 120 Bay StLaid back eatery. Cool decor. Excellent appetizers and burgers. Great beers on tap. Entertainment weekly!
phone: +1 718 442-9401address: 524 Port Richmond AveIt is reasonably priced and has tasty dishes besides pizza.
Gennaro'sphone: +1 718 979-2382address: 413 New Dorp LnWhile it is overshadowed by the hordes of fancier pizza parlors on the island, Gennaro's is perfect if you're looking for a cheap slice the whole family can enjoy.
Goodfella'saddress: 1817 Victory BlvdFamous for their vodka pizza, the recipient of several awards.
Joe And Pat'sphone: +1 718 981-0887address: 1758 Victory BlvdSpecializes in an extraordinarily thin pizza that is one of the best slices in the city. Uniquely thin without too much cheese, Joe and Pat's slices are some of the lightest in the city. Try the eggplant fries.
Pizzeria Giovephone: +1 347 286-0635address: 278 New Dorp LnA small pizzeria known for its authentically Italian thin crust pizza. Unlike New York pizza, it is cooked in a wood-fired oven. It has been featured on the TV show Throwdown with Bobby Flay.
address: 501 Port Richmond AveThe original store of the successful chain of stores serving light, refreshing ices. The chain has numerous other locations in the New York Metro, including a handful in other Staten Island neighborhoods. They are in New Dorp, Great Kills, Eltingville, Huguenot, and Pleasant Plains. The full list can be found here.
Bay House Bistroaddress: 574 Bay StOne of the best Asian take outs going. Focus on the appetizers, heavily influenced by Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly Malaysian. Try the roti canai or the curry veggie pies.
Taqueria Gallo Aztecaphone: +1 718 273-6404address: 75 Victory BlvdThe cemitas are to die for, a sandwich with your choice of meat, with avocado, chipotle peppers, quesillo, and beans. One of the best sandwiches you'll ever have.
phone: +1 718 815-9200address: 585 Forest AveFun Tex-Mex restaurant with generous portions, bar is on the lower level, and restaurant is upstairs.
Besoaddress: 11 Schuyler StSpanish restaurant with live music occasionally. Tapas and sangria bring some much needed class to the neighborhood. A short walk from the ferry and a great place to eat.
Real Madridphone: +1 718 447-7885address: 2073 Forest AveA restaurant with authentic Spanish food.
Spain Restaurantphone: +1 718 816-8237address: 502 Jewett AveA Spanish restaurant
Lakshmis's Restaurantaddress: 324 Victory BlvdMainly a take-out establishment but has a few chairs and tables. The menu is comprehensive, offering Homemade Roast (Ros) Paan, Achchu Paan, Kimbula Paan, Malu Paan, Malu Roti, Elawalu Roti, Kalu Thothol, and other Sri Lanka delicacies. Take the S61, S62, or S66 to Cebra Avenue (from Bus Ramp A)
Lakruwanaaddress: 226 Bay StOne of the more elegant eateries. Its fine decor and delicious meals belie the outrageously inexpensive prices. Sundays offer a lunch and dinner buffet.
New Asha Restaurantaddress: 322 Victory BlvdOffers many of the same items at competitive prices. Has been named #1 by the Village Voice Cheap Eats in the past. Featured on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. Try a mutton roll! There are several Sri Lankan groceries that dot the street on the 15-20 minute walk from the ferry.
Nurnberger Bierhausaddress: 817 Castleton AveOffers a wide variety of imported German beers and well-prepared, authentic German food. There is an outside beer garden that offers a limited menu, open in seasonable weather. Beers are served in liter steins and the food is as good as any you will find in Germany.
- There is beer on the Staten Island Ferry. It is cheap (by NYC standards). A 16-ounce can of Bud or Miller will cost $3.50.
phone: +1 718 370-8555address: 310 Wild AveStraightforward hotel.
address: 1100 South Ave
Holiday Inn Expressphone: +1 718 276-8689address: 300 Wild Ave
The northern and southern portions of Staten Island are pretty different in the amount of crime and the type of crime found there.
The North Shore has a somewhat elevated crime rate compared to the rest of the Island. It is home to large low-income housing projects. This attracts a lot of both petty crime and more serious crimes. Be careful when walking alone at night.
Once you get below the Staten Island Expressway, however, the situation changes. The South Shore has a relatively low crime rate. Residents often joke about it, saying that the local burglars are nice enough to wait until your car is unlocked to rob it.
Travelers to the South Shore with seasonal allergies may be better-advised to worry about high pollen counts during the spring. There are dozens of trees on most South Shore streets (so many you may not believe you're still in New York City). If you have severe allergies, consider addressing the problem before coming to Staten Island in April or May.
In addition to pollen, trees also bring pesky critters. Please take necessary precautions if you have severe allergies or a strong aversion to any of the following:
- Birds and (perhaps more importantly) their droppings
- Woodpeckers, owls, or other common large birds
phone: +1 718 442-8560address: 5 Central Ave
phone: +1 718 727-0427address: 132 Canal St
phone: +1 718 442-1416address: 976 Castleton Ave
phone: +1 718 442-0158address: 75 Bennett St
phone: +1 718 494-1642address: 2550 Victory BlvdThe only Staten Island branch open on Sundays.
phone: +1 718 816-5834address: 21-25 Robin Rd
phone: +1 718 351-1444address: 1617 Richmond Rd
phone: +1 718 351-2977address: 309 New Dorp Ln
phone: +1 718 668-0413address: 200 Clarke Ave
phone: +1 718 984-6670address: 56 Giffords Ln
phone: +1 718 984-4636address: 830 Huguenot Ave
phone: +1 718 984-0945address: 7430 Amboy Rd
phone: +1 212 621-0690address: 206 South Avenue
The first order of business is to make sure you've gone completely through New York City. Each of the four other boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx) have their own attractions and features you'll want to see.
If you're done in New York, Staten Island is a great launching pad for a trip in New Jersey. Some places to go are:
- Nearby towns – If you just want to relax after the hustle and bustle of New York City, you can visit Bayonne to the north, Elizabeth to the northwest, Linden to the west, or Perth Amboy to the southwest.
- Jackson – Further south than Perth Amboy, Jackson is home to one main attraction: Six Flags Great Adventure. This amusement park is the biggest theme park in the Northeastern United States. It is also home to a safari park and a water park (Hurricane Harbor). Its biggest attraction, however, is Kingda Ka, which is the world's tallest roller coaster at 456 feet above the earth.
- Sandy Hook – This narrow strip of land of the coast of New Jersey is home to the Sandy Hook Unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area.
- The Jersey Shore – The ultimate destination for summer fun in the Mid-Atlantic is right near New York City.
- Atlantic City – The gambling capital of the Eastern U.S. is also home to a popular beach & boardwalk.
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – If need be, you can always skip New Jersey and go straight on to the City of Brotherly Love.