The least populated of the New York City boroughs, Staten Island is the third largest in area. Separated from New Jersey by the Arthur Kill and the Kill Van Kull and from the rest of New York City by the New York Bay, Staten Island is in the southwestern corner of the city.
A highly suburban area, the borough became a fully European settlement when Raritan band of the Unami division of the Lenape Indians ceded the land to England in 1670 after decades of first Dutch then British habitation.
Staten Island’s separate towns and villages were dissolved in 1898 when it was consolidated with the City of Greater New York, then known as the Borough of Richmond until 1975.
Staten Island residents voted 65% to 35% in 1993 in favor of separation from New York City, but the separation was blocked by the state legislature.
Progression and Vitalization
The cost of living in Staten Island is high on the Cost of Living Index, but wages follows the general upward trend. For comparison, a salary of $50,000 in Atlanta, GA, would have to equate with approximately $87,000 to live in Staten Island.
Housing in the borough is predominately via single residence homes. Approximately 35% of the housing units are apartments and rented houses, and roughly 65% of the islands housing are owned homes. Considering the 5.4% projected growth for the borough, the borough’s council is considering additional development of the island’s North Shores.
Staten Island has a predominately Caucasian population, but other ethnic groups are migrating to this quiet borough community.
- Black Americans: 10.2%
- American Indian and Native Alaskan: 0.2%
- Asian: 7.4%
- Other or Mixed Ethnicity: 7.5%
The Staten Island Ferry is the only direct method of transportation between the island boroughs of Staten Island and Manhattan, though the Verranzano-Narrows Bridge joins it with Brooklyn. New Jersey connects via three separate vehicular bridges and a rail bridge. Public transportation in Staten Island comprises the Staten Island Rail and both intra-borough buses and express service into lower and midtown Manhattan.
Staten Island boasts numerous public and private schools and academies for grades K through 12 and three university or college campuses within the borough.
Staten Island depends on tourism and industry for its economic base. Many of the borough’s residence commute to other boroughs or to New Jersey for employment opportunities. However, North Shore development considerations may expand not only residential property but also commercial and industrial lots, as well.
Staten Island has long been a proud supporter of the Arts. The borough is enjoying increasing immigration of artists, musicians, and cultural organizations. Film making is finding a home in Staten Island; the Staten Island Film Festival launched its inaugural four-day fest in 2006.
There are almost a dozen museums in Staten Island, only a few of which are:
- Sailors Snug Harbor Cultural Center: A collection of significant 19th century buildings.
- Alice Austen Museum: Dedicated to the life and photographic work of Staten Island native, Elizabeth Alice Austen (March 17, 1866-June 9, 1952).
- Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art: One of the nation’s most extensive collection of Himalayan artifacts.
Additional entertainment, restaurants, and attractions are interspersed throughout the island and nearby across the water.
Staten Island projects and upholds a reputation of calm and culture. Sports, music, graphic and performing arts are celebrated and enveloped by both residents and visitors, and the lightly populated borough embraces its separation and relative independence from the crowded environments of other boroughs of New York City.