As the least populated borough of New York City, Staten Island is tranquil and pastoral. The eastern part of this island is surrounded by the gentle waves of the New York Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean. Perhaps the most famous icon of the borough is the Staten Island Ferry, which has been in service since the late 19th century. Staten Island doesn’t have enormous skyscrapers, but it does offer plenty of charming specialty attractions, like the Historic Richmond Town, Snug Harbor, and St. George Theater.
Attractions and Sightseeing
A visit to the Staten Island Museum is a great way to learn about the rich history and culture of Staten Island. Housed in the historic St. George Building, this multi-level museum has exhibits that focus on art, natural science, maritime industries, and anthropology.
Some of the oldest buildings on the island are located at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. Consisting of Classical Revival properties, this complex housed sailors during the 1800s. Castle-style buildings, cemeteries, and lighthouses are located on this historic site that’s also beautified by its own botanical garden with Chinese themes.
History buffs should embrace Historic Richmond Town, which offers a glimpse into life on the island during colonial times and immediately after the birth of the nation. This living history museum is staffed by enthusiastic volunteers and paid workers who dress in period costumes, use traditional tools and create awesome crafts.
Another popular historic site in Staten Island is Fort Wadsworth, which played a crucial role in the early coastal defense system of the country. The casemates and batteries of this fort overlook the iconic Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
An itinerary to the island should also include visits to the Noble Maritime Museum, Tibetan Museum, and National Lighthouse Museum. Youngsters will love the Staten Island Children’s Museum which has fun exhibits with interactive features.
Entertainment and Sports
The Staten Island Yankees have been based in the borough since 1999. This minor league team plays home games at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark, which accommodates just over 7,100 spectators. As you might have guessed, this franchise is affiliated with the New York Yankees of the MLB. Overlooking the New York Harbor, the ballpark has one of the most scenic settings in the nation.
One of Staten Island’s premier entertainment venues is the St. George Theater. Since its opening during the height of the Roaring Twenties, this vaudeville-style venue has entertained countless guests from all over the New York City metropolitan area. Today, the theatre still retains many of its original decorative elements in the Baroque style. Elegant chandeliers, spiraling staircases, cascading balconies, and windows with stained glass highlight the impressive interior design. More than 1,900 spectators can enjoy music concerts, theatrical performances, and other shows in this grand venue.
The most exciting way to get to Staten Island is by riding the historic Staten Island Ferry. Occupying the southern tip of Lower Manhattan, Whitehall Terminal is the main departure point. After approximately a 10-minute ride on the New York Harbor, you’ll arrive at St. George Terminal.
Both of these ferry terminals are served by public transportation, including the New York City subway and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) buses. Staten Island has a relatively suburban layout compared to other boroughs, so driving by car isn’t a hassle.
Interstate 278 runs through the northern portion of the island. This busy highway also links Staten Island with the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn. Additionally, a scenic drive along Hylan Boulevard reveals the natural beauty of the borough’s eastern coastline.