Borough Info > Staten Island
Culture, arts and sportsStaten Island boasts the largest collection of Tibetan art outside Tibet itself, at the cliff-hanging Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art—one of only two Himalayan-style monastery buildings in the Western world, and the only one in the United States. Similarly, the Chinese Scholar's Garden at the Staten Island Botanical Garden is the only authentic one of its kind in the country.
Residents and visitors alike can enjoy the Historic Richmond Town, is a Colonial Williamsburg-like living history restoration complete with colonial buildings and the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, an 83-acre National Historic District with 28 historic buildings set among gardens and a museum/performing arts complex. Once a refuge for retired merchant seamen, Snug Harbor's historic buildings now house art galleries, performance spaces and museums.
South Beach offers beautiful views of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. It also has a lengthy boardwalk, with playground, bocce courts, roller hockey rink, shuffleboard, ball fields and picnic areas.
Staten Island is a hiker’s paradise. The 220-acre Blue Heron Park is home to the blue heron bird, hiking trails and picnic areas. The 260-plus-acre Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve includes hiking paths and horse trails. The Greenbelt, a 2,800-acre nature preserve, includes High Rock Park and the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge.
Food and diningStaten Islanders have the advantage of having some of the region's finest, farm-fresh goods right at their doorstep. In addition to the usual grocery stores and supermarkets, every Saturday, for more than half the year, they flock to the St. George Greenmarket where dozens of farmers parade their products. Food is also part of the attraction at the Annual Richmond County Fair.
Staten Island has over a 160 different restaurant representing cuisines from all over the world. Diners can enjoy upscale continental cuisine at the atmospheric A Old Bermuda Inn, located in a supposedly haunted house, the best of Liberian (African) fare at Korto's Place and delicious Italian fare at the Portobello Café.
ShoppingStaten Island has a huge eponymous mall (The Staten Island Mall) that offers the best in shopping, entertainment and dining. Other than the mall, Staten Island boasts a variety of small specialty shops, including Cuban Crafters Cuban Style Cigars Purveyors of premium cigars, Just Pocketbooks a trendy handbag boutique, and Nach Uri a cutting edge clothing store for men.
Much of the transportation on the Island is focused on getting residents to the Staten Island Ferry, which connects to lower Manhattan. The 22-minute boat ride, which is free, connects passengers with the 1, 4, 5, R and W trains to Midtown.
The S51, S52, S78 and S81 buses get rush-hour commuters to the Ferry terminal in about 15 minutes, but passengers can also catch the Staten Island Railway from which the train ride to the terminal is about six minutes. Other commuters drive five minutes to a park-and-ride where they catch the X5 express bus to Midtown. The ride takes about one hour and 10 minutes at rush hour. The drive to Midtown via the bridge also takes about an hour.
The Staten Island-Jersey City-Hoboken bus service connects Island commuters to Path trains and New Jersey based ferry routes to Manhattan.
Staten Island is connected to New Jersey via the Bayonne Bridge, the Outerbridge Crossing, the Goethals Bridge, and to Brooklyn by the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.
Schools, colleges and universities
The College of Staten Island is one of two City University of New York (CUNY) colleges which also offers graduate-level study.
Wagner College is a coeducational private liberal arts college which emphasizes academic course work coupled with real world experience. Wagner was recently declared by the Princeton Review as having the best college theater in the nation.
St. John's University is a private, coeducational Roman Catholic university.
Real EstateBecause Staten Island is just that, an island, there is a finite amount of real estate available at any given time. Rentals don't stay on the market long. There are a variety of housing options. For example, some buyers flock to the Rosebank area which has a real small-town feel and spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. It is an enclave of mostly older homes, many of them dating back more than a century, with new construction and a few condominium and co-op buildings sprinkled in the mix.
Another desirable area is Tottenville with its parade of grand Victorian homes sharing space with compact condominiums and town houses. Condo and co-op prices are catching up with the other boroughs, but are still comparatively more affordable.