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Staten Island (n.)
|— Borough of New York City —|
|Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, looking towards Staten Island from Brooklyn.|
|City||New York City|
|• Type||Borough (New York City)|
|• Borough Pres.||James Molinaro (C)|
|• Total||102.50 sq mi (265.5 km2)|
|• Land||58.48 sq mi (151.5 km2)|
|• Water||44.02 sq mi (114.0 km2)|
|Population (April 2010 U.S. Census)|
|• Total||468, 730|
|• Density||8,163.1/sq mi (3,151.8/km2)|
|[2010 Census pop. as estimated in March 2011; density is July 2006 estimated pop. on land area of 2000  ]|
|Time zone||Eastern Standard Time (North America) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||Eastern Daylight Time (North America) (UTC-4)|
|Area code(s)||347, 718, 917, 929|
|Website||Official Website of the Staten Island Borough President|
Staten Island / / is a borough of New York City, United States, located in the southwest part of the city. Staten Island is separated from New Jersey by the Arthur Kill and the Kill Van Kull, and from the rest of New York by New York Bay. With a population of 468,730, Staten Island is the least populated of the five boroughs but is the third-largest in area at 59 sq mi (153 km2). The Borough of Staten Island is coextensive with Richmond County, the southernmost county in the state of New York. Until 1975, the borough was officially named the Borough of Richmond. Staten Island has been sometimes called "the forgotten borough" by inhabitants who feel neglected by the city government.
Staten Island is overall the most suburban of the five boroughs of New York City. The North Shore — especially the neighborhoods of St. George, Tompkinsville, Clifton, and Stapleton — is the most urban part of the island; it contains the officially designated St. George Historic District and the St. Paul’s Avenue-Stapleton Heights Historic District, which feature large Victorian homes. The South Shore has more suburban-style residential neighborhoods. The East Shore (South Beach) is home to the 2.5-mile F.D.R. Boardwalk, the fourth-longest in the world. Historically, the central and southern sections of the island were dominated by dairy and poultry farms, almost all of which disappeared in the 20th century. Staten Island used to claim the largest landfill in the world. It was closed in 2001, then shortly afterward temporarily reopened to accept the debris from the September 11th attacks. The landfill is being made into what will be New York City's largest public park.
Motor traffic can reach the borough from Brooklyn via the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and from New Jersey via the Outerbridge Crossing, Goethals Bridge, and Bayonne Bridge. Staten Island has Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus service and an MTA rapid transit line, the Staten Island Railway, which runs from the ferry terminal at St. George to Tottenville. Staten Island is the only borough that lacks below-ground rapid transit. The free Staten Island Ferry connects the borough to Manhattan and is a popular tourist attraction, providing views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and lower Manhattan.
New York's five boroughs overview
|Borough of||County of||1 July 2011
|Source: United States Census Bureau|
As in much of North America, human habitation appeared in the island fairly rapidly after the retreat of the ice sheet. Archaeologists have recovered tool evidence of Clovis culture activity dating from approximately 14,000 years ago. This evidence was first discovered in 1917 in the Charleston section of the island. Various Clovis artifacts have been discovered since then, on property owned by the Mobil Oil corporation. The island was probably abandoned later, possibly because of the extinction of large mammals on the island. Evidence of the first permanent American Indian settlements and agriculture are thought to date from about 5,000 years ago (Jackson, 1995), although early archaic habitation evidence has been found in multiple locations on the island (Ritchie 1963).
Rossville points; a distinct type of arrowhead which defines a Native American cultural period which spans the Archaic period to the Early Woodland period, dating from approximately 1500 to 100 BC., are named for the Rossville section of Staten Island where they were first recognized, having been found in the vicinity of the old Rossville Post Office building.
At the time of European contact the island was inhabited by the Raritan band of the Unami division of the Lenape. The Lenape who spoke Lenape one of the Algonquian languages called Staten Island Aquehonga Manacknong part of the Lenape homeland known as Lenapehoking. The Lenape were known to the Europeans as the "Delaware" because they inhabited both shores of the Delaware River.
The island was laced with foot trails, one of which followed the south side of the ridge near the course of present day Richmond Road and Amboy Road. The Lenape did not live in fixed encampments, but moved seasonally, using slash and burn agriculture. Shellfish was a staple of their diet, including the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) which was abundant in the waterways throughout the present day New York City region. Evidence of their habitation can still be seen in the form of shell middens along the shore in the Tottenville section, where finding oyster shells larger than twelve inches (305 mm) is not uncommon.
Burial Ridge; a Lenape burial ground located on a bluff overlooking Raritan Bay in what is today the Tottenville section of Staten Island is the largest pre-European burial ground in New York City. Bodies have been reported unearthed at Burial Ridge during various periods in the nineteenth century from 1858 onward. After conducting independent research which included unearthing bodies interred at the site, ethnologist and archaeologist, George H. Pepper, was contracted in 1895 to conduct paid archaeological research at Burial Ridge by the American Museum of Natural History. The burial ground today is unmarked and lies within the confines of Conference House Park.
The first recorded European contact with the island was in 1524 by Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, who in the employ of the French crown, sailed through The Narrows on the French ship La Dauphine and anchored for one night.
In 1609, the English explorer Henry Hudson sailing for the Dutch sailed into Upper New York Bay on his ship the Half Moon. Staaten Eylandt (literally "States Island") was named in honor of the Dutch parliament known as the Staten-Generaal.
The first permanent Dutch settlement of the New Netherland colony was made on Governor's Island in 1624, which had been used as a trading camp by them for over a decade before. In 1626 the colony transferred to the island of Manhattan, and was newly designated as the capital of New Netherland. Staaten Eylandt nevertheless remained uncolonized by the Dutch for many decades. From 1639 to 1655, the Dutch made three separate attempts to establish a permanent settlement on the island, but each time the settlement was destroyed in the conflicts between the Dutch and the local tribes. In 1661, the first permanent Dutch settlement was established at Oude Dorp (Dutch for "Old Village"), just south of the Narrows near South Beach, by a small group of Dutch, Walloon, and Huguenot families. Today, the last vestige of Oude Dorp exists as the present-day neighborhood of Old Town, adjacent to Old Town Road.
|Staten Island historic timeline|
Staten Island historic timeline - Pre-1600s to 1700
Henry Hudson, an English explorer sailing under the sponsorship of Holland, enters New York Bay in the ship Halve Maen (Half Moon). He names the island Staaten Eyelandt in honor of the Dutch Parliament - the States General or Staaten.
From the journal of Captain David Pietersen De Vries: "Anno 1639 The 5th January I sent my people to Staten Island to begin to plant a colony there and build." This is the beginning of the first European settlement on Staten Island. By 1641 the colony is abandoned due to conflicts with the Native Americans (The Pig War).
1642 A second colony is established under the sponsorship of Cornelis Melyn. It is also abandoned due to Native American opposition in 1643 (The Whiskey War).
1650 Baron van der Capellan toe Ryssel makes a third attempt at colonization but only manages to sustain his colony until 1655, again due to Native American opposition (The Peach War).
1661: August 20 Nineteen Dutch and French Huguenot colonists form the first permanent European settlement on Staten Island at Oude Dorp, near present day South Beach.
1664: August 18 English forces capture the Dutch Blockhouse (at the present site of Fort Wadsworth) defending Staten Island. By August 29 the Dutch surrender all of New Amsterdam.
1663 Western organized religion debuts on Staten Island as the Reverend Samuel Drisius starts bi-monthly visits to the Oude Dorp colonists.
1670: April 13 Native Americans give up Staten Island in an agreement with the English Colonial Governor Francis Lovelace. Native American concepts of allowing the use of land without granting ownership (which they felt no individual was entitled to own) cloud the validity of such land agreements.
1676: March 25 Captain Christopher Billopp granted ownership of the southern portion of Staten Island where he builds the house that will become known as the Conference House after the Revolutionary War.
1683: November 1 King Charles II of England renames Staten Island Richmond County after James the Duke of Richmond.
1695 (approximately) Voorlezer's House, thought to be the oldest existing school building in the United States, is built by the Dutch Reformed Church. It is now part of Historic Richmond Town.
Staten Island historic timeline - 1700s to 1800
1729 Richmond Town is established as the county seat of Richmond County
1747 First ferry established between Manhattan and the North Shore.
1774: June 21 Daniel D. Tompkins, Island resident who developed Tompkinsville, is born in what is now Scarsdale, N.Y. New York Governor from 1807 to 1817 and Vice President of the United States under President James Monroe. He was a leader in the fight to abolish slavery in New York State.
1776: July 2–3 9,000 Redcoats commanded by British General William Howe land on Staten Island and set up headquarters in New Dorp. During the Revolutionary War, the British presence on mainly loyalist Staten Island will climb as high as 30,000 British troops.
1776: September 11 John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Edward Rutledge hold peace talks with British commander William Howe. Howe offers clemency in return for surrender at the home of loyalist Lt. Col. Christopher Billopp in Tottenville now called the "Conference House". The conference fails and the American Revolution continues.
1780: January 15 2,500 American troops march across the frozen Kill Van Kull from Elizabeth, New Jersey to Port Richmond and attack British positions in West Brighton and New Brighton. Loyalist spies report the movements of the Americans allowing the British to call for reinforcements who push the American forces back across the ice to New Jersey.
1783: December 5 The last British troop ship departs the newly formed United States from Staten Island. Staten Island crowds gather to jeer the departing warships as they pass through the Narrows. The last shot of the Revolutionary War is fired from a departing British vessel at the Staten Islanders. By the end of the war, Staten Island was almost completely deforested to supply fuel for British army campfires.
1788 Staten Island is divided into four official townships: Northfield, Southfield, Westfield, and Castleton.
1794: May 2 "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt is born on Long Island and moved to Stapleton, Staten Island as a child. He began sail-powered ferry service between Staten Island and Manhattan which he expanded into a railroad and shipping empire. At one point he was the richest man in America. Vanderbilt went to school in Port Richmond until the age of 11. The Vanderbilts later moved to a Stapleton house that stood at the present site of the Paramount Theater on Bay Street, Stapleton
1799 Creation of a Quarantine station for immigrants with Yellow Fever and Small Pox is authorized to move from Bedloe (now Liberty) Island to Tompkinsville. Elizabeth Bayley Seton, the first American Roman Catholic Saint, assists her father, the New York City Health Officer, Dr. Richard Bayley.
Staten Island historic timeline - 1800s to 1900
1812 Fort Richmond (now Fort Wadsworth) protects New York City from invasion by the British during the War of 1812. Several British ships are sighted off Sandy Hook, New Jersey in 1813 but do not risk passing under the guns of the Staten Island fortress. Daniel D. Tompkins leads the effort to bolster the fort's defenses creating Fort Tompkins which sits at the top of the hill. By 1815, when the war's end was announced in New York, 900 cannons lined the shores around Fort Richmond. The fort is currently part of the Gateway National Recreation Area.
1816: March 31 Modern day Victory Boulevard begins existence when the Richmond Turnpike Company is incorporated. Their coaches connected ferries from Manhattan at Tompkinsville to New Jersey bound ferries in Travis. It is owed by Daniel D. Tompkins and promoted as the fastest route from New York to Philadelphia.
1817: November 29 The first steam ferry begins service between Manhattan and Tompkinsville. Because of the high price of the commute (12 ½ cents each way) the ferry attracts primarily wealthy New Yorkers settle on the North Shore of Staten Island.
1819 Factoryville established in present day West New Brighton.
1827 After a long struggle, led by Staten Islander Daniel D. Tompkins, slavery is abolished in New York State.
1827: October 17 The weekly newspaper the Richmond Republican, the first newspaper to cover Staten Island is produced (but printed inManhattan).
1828: February 23 Capt. John Jackson buys land in Westfield (Sandy Ground), first record of a black man buying land in Richmond County
1828 The first Prince's Bay Lighthouse is constructed
1830s (approx.) Charles Goodyear opens a factory near his West New Brighton home to produce rubber toys, maps and surgical bandages. Goodyear revolutionized the rubber industry when he accidentally dropped a mixture of sulfur and rubber on a hot stove creating the process known as "vulcanization" (patented 1844) that strengthened rubber so that it could be used in industry. 1830s Newly freed blacks from Manhattan and free Maryland oystermen begin settling at Sandy Ground (parts of Rossville, Woodrow, Pleasant Plains and Charleston)
1833 Sailor's Snug Harbor opens as the nation's first home and hospital for retired seamen. Its benefactor, Captain Robert Randall, created the institution in his will as a way to repay the sailors who had created his family's fortune.
1835 New Brighton, one of America's earliest suburban communities, was created. It featured a large hotel and Greek Revival style homes facing the Kill Van Kull. The development included part of today's St. George.
1836: September 12 Aaron Burr, former Vice President of the United States, dies in Port Richmond.
1839 Robbin's Reef Lighthouse, in Upper New York Bay near the St. George Ferry terminal, in commission. In 1886 Kate Walker became the keeper upon her husband's dying words: " Mind the light, Kate". She was one of a very small number of female lighthouse keepers in the nation. She rescued over 50 people during a career that lasted until 1919.
1839 St. Peter's, The Island's first Catholic parish is established in New Brighton.
1843-1844 Author Henry David Thoreau lives on Staten Island while tutoring the children of Ralph Waldo Emerson's brother, William Emerson.
1850 Italian born inventor Antonio Meucci comes to Staten Island from Cuba to develop and patent his telephone. His experiments with medical shock treatments had revealed the possibility of transmitting the human voice over electrical wires. Because Meucci lacked the funds to patent his invention the credit for the invention of the telephone eventually went to Alexander Graham Bell.
Ca. 1850 African Americans from New York City and the surrounding region began to settle permanently at Sandy Ground in the Woodrow/Rossville Area. They established the A.M.E Zion Church there. In the 1860s and 1870s free black oystermen from Snow Hill, a Maryland town on the Chesapeake Bay, greatly expand the community.
1851 Giuseppe Garibaldi military leader of Italian unification comes to Staten Island for two years supporting himself as a candle maker while living with Antonio Meucci in Rosebank.
1854 Kreischerville is founded in Southwest Staten Island. It was the home of clay mining operations (the remnants of which are still visible at Clay Pit Ponds State Park) and brick manufacture.
1856: January 21 Staten Island Historical Society is founded.
1858: September 1 Fearing the spread of contagious disease a mob of Staten Islanders burn the Quarantine Hospital in Tompkinsville. The hospital served immigrants to the US who were thought to be too ill to enter the country.
1860: April 23 The first passenger train on the Staten Island Railroad begins operating between Eltingville and Clifton (Vanderbilt's Landing)
1860 June Staten Island gets its first magnetic telegraph line.
1860 July Richmond County Mirror, first newspaper printed on Staten Island is published.
1861-1865 During the Civil War Staten Island helps the Union War effort in several ways. Many Union regiments assemble on Staten Island to train before heading to battle including the Clinton Rifles, 178th and 145th Regiments. Staten Island ferryboats were mounted with cannons and served in the Union Navy. Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, longtime Staten Island resident, led an African American Regiment into battle.
1863 St. George chosen as the site for a Lighthouse Depot to develop more effective lighthouses and distribute lamps and lenses throughout the country. In 1998 the site was selected as the home of the National Lighthouse Museum.
1863: July 14 Civil War draft riots spread to Staten Island. Homes of African Americans in Stapleton are burned as blacks are unfairly blamed for causing the war. At least 5 are killed on Staten Island and many others injured.
1866: March 17 Noted Island photographer, Alice Austen, is born. The pioneering woman photographer captured thousands of images of Staten Island and New York City life. Her Rosebank home, "Clear Comfort", overlooking the Narrows is preserved as the Alice Austen Museum.
1867 Anna Harriet Leonowens opens a West New Brighton School on Richmond Terrace. She is best known for tutoring the 67 children of the King of Siam and the musical based on her experience - "The King and I".
1870 Swinburne Island, a man-made island off of South Beach, is constructed as a Quarantine hospital for immigrants arriving in America with contagious diseases. It replaces the quarantine ships which had housed the sick immigrants since the burning of the Tompkinsville Quarantine Station in 1858. Originally named Dix Island, after a former New York Governor, the name was soon changed to Swinburne after the Civil War Hero and surgeon who headed the development of the Island: John S. Swinburne.
1870 First defense of the America's Cup in the waters off Staten Island. The New York Yacht Club is based in a clubhouse located next to the Alice Austen House in Rosebank. The sailing yachts Magic and the original champion America are among the boats to defeat the British challenger Cambria.
1871: July 30 The worst accident in the history of the Staten Island ferry occurs. A boiler explosion aboard the ferryboat Westfield II kills over 125 passengers and injures over 200 as it departs South Ferry.
1873 Hoffman Island, a second man-made Quarantine Island, is completed off the shore of South Beach. Conditions on the both quarantine islands were often overcrowded and unsanitary. In 1901 7,801 people were detained on Hoffman Island. Use of the hospitals declined until they were finally closed in the 1920s. From 1931 to 1937 the island was used as a bird quarantine station for imported parrots. The island is named for John T. Hoffman, a former New York City Mayor and New York State Governor.
1874: March 20 Mary Ewing Outerbridge brings tennis to the United States for the first time. After seeing the game of lawn tennis played on a vacation to Bermuda Ms. Outerbridge decides to bring back the equipment and sets up the first court in St. George.
1880 Mary Ewing Outerbridge introduces tennis to the United States. After seeing the game played in Bermuda she sets up the first US tennis court on Staten Island. Tennis begins to spread widely and the first National Lawn Tennis Tournament is held at the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Club.
1881: September The forerunner of the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences is founded by a group of local naturalists. The group calls themselves the Natural Science Association.
1882 The American Linoleum Manufacturing Company first introduces Electricity to Staten Island in Travis when they install electric lighting. Telephone service is also introduced to the Island this same year.
1883: November 29 Father John Christopher Drumgoole, a Catholic Priest, founds founds St. Vincent's Home for Homeless Newsboys at Mount Loretto on Staten Island's South shore. The facility provides care for thousands of homeless children.
1884 Tompkinsville's Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, becomes Staten Island's first Jewish congregation.
1886: March 8 The first ferry terminal at St. George opens combining a rail connection in the same building allowing for a fast transfer to points on the south shore.
1886: March 27 Richmond County Advance begins publication.
1886: April The Metropolitan Baseball Club of the American Association begins play at their St. George stadium. Before coming to Staten Island the team played in what many consider to be the first world series when they lost to the National League's Providence Grays in 1884.
1888: Sept. 26 First street lights brighten Richmond Terrace
1889: June 13 The first bridge from Staten Island to New Jersey is opened. The railroad bridge connects Howland Hook to Elizabeth New Jersey. It was later torn down to make room for the Goethals Bridge.
1895 Staten Island Chamber of Commerce founded.
1898: January 21 Staten Island joins New York City. 73% of Staten Islanders approve the referendum that combines the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island into a single city. Up to this point Richmond County had been administered as five townships.
1899: Feb. 6 First library opens in Tottenville, gift of Andrew Carngie
Staten Island historic timeline - 20th century
1903: Nov. 24 St. Vincent's Hospital in West Brighton opens
1904: February 9 Curtis High School opens in St. George. Named for the writer, editor, orator George William Curtis.
1905: October 25 The City of New York takes control of the Staten Island Ferry due to dangerous conditions created by private ferry operators.
1906: May 2 Borough Hall in St. George is dedicated.
1907: October Procter & Gamble Corporation opens a factory in Mariners Harbor where they produce Ivory Soap and other products for more than 80 years.
1912 Staten Island Lighthouse on Lighthouse Hill begins operation, guiding ships from the Atlantic Ocean into Lower New York Bay.
1912: June 21 Abel Kiviat, a Curtis High School Track Star, wins the Olympic silver medal for the 1,500-meter run in Stockholm, Sweden. He also captures gold with the U.S. 3,000-meter relay team. He is the cabinmate of track great Jim Thorpe on the ship to Sweden.
1913: November 12 Sea View Hospital opens to treat Tuberculosis patients, becoming a national leader in the field.
1916 The New York Bay Oyster industry, long vital to Staten Island's economy, is shut down by the New York City Health Department. Fears of Typhoid caused by the polluted water force the closure. Staten Island Oysters had been considered great delicacies around the United States and Europe. Recent efforts have been made to reintroduce oysters into New York Bay.
1914-1918 World War I. More than 5,000 Staten Islanders join the armed services, more men per capita than any county in the United States. 160 are killed in action. 9,000 workers are employed building steel cargo ships for the war effort at the Standard Shipbuilding Company on Shooter's Island.
1918 Wagner College moves to Staten Island from Rochester, NY. The campus is established on the Cunard Estate, former home of the famed British shipping line's American operations manager. The college has only 16 students at the time.
1918: June Staten Island Advance begins daily publication
1919 The former New Dorp farm of William H. Vanderbilt is converted into a coastal air defense station. Named Miller Field air in 1920 for Captain James E. Miller an American airman killed in France during World War I.
1922 The poet Langston Hughes lives and works for a season on a Staten Island farm growing vegetables.
1923 Ground is broken in St. George and Brooklyn for a subway line connecting the two boroughs. It is never completed.
1928: June 20 The Outerbridge Crossing and the Goethals Bridge, both connecting Staten Island to New Jersey, open on the same day.
1929 The Staten Island Stapleton's, a long time Island semi-professional team, joins the National Football League.
1931: November 15 The Bayonne Bridge opens connecting Elm Park, Staten Island and Bayonne New Jersey. It is the longest Steel Arch Bridge in the world when it is completed, just slightly longer than the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia.
1935: Nov. 19 Construction of the FDR Boardwalk in South Beach begins
1936: June 10 The Staten Island Zoo, in Barrett Park, opens.
1938 The US Maritime Service opens a training school for merchant marines on Hoffman Island. By 1943 the school enrolled 1200 students. By 1947 the school outgrew the island and moved to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. 1939: July 4 Dedication ceremonies held for FDR Boardwalk in South Beach, including huge parade with bathing beauties and babies. Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia cuts ribbon. 1942: March An explosion in the Unexcelled Manufacturing Company, a fireworks plant in Graniteville kills five employees 1943: May 11 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill used the North Shore Branch Staten Island Railway en route to a meet President Franklin D Roosevelt in Washington DC after his ship had landed in Tompkinsville.
1941-1945 Staten Island fights World War II. A submarine net stretching from Miller Field across the Narrows prevents attacks by German submarines in New York Harbor. Troops train at Miller Field before being sent to fight in Europe and Africa. 250 Italian Army prisoners of war are housed on Staten Island. Anti-aircraft batteries are built on the island to defend New York City against potential air attacks which never happen.
1946: June 25 Raging fire consumes St. George ferry terminal; killing three, injuring 280 and destroying 17 trains
1947 Halloran General hospital is converted from military use to the Willowbrook State Hospital.
1947 The Jacques Marchais Tibetan Museum, modeled after a Tibetan mountain temple, is constructed on Lighthouse Hill. The museum has a large collection of Tibetan art and was visited by the Dalai Lama in 1991.
1948: April 16 Fresh Kills Landfill opens. Planned only as a "temporary" solution to New York's trash disposal problem the landfill will grow to become the world's largest. The landfill operated for more than 50 years.
1948: April 22 New York City's first drive-in theater opens in New Springville
1950 The Korean War begins. Fears of an air attack on New York City bring Staten Island anti-aircraft batteries back to full strength. The Korean War Veterans Memorial Parkway, formerly the Richmond Parkway, now honors Staten Islanders who served in the Korean War.
1953 Passenger runs along the North Shore Railroad, connecting St. George and Mariner's Harbor, are abandoned.
1954 "Nike" guided surface-to-air missiles are based at Fort Wadsworth continuing an active military role for the fort which began when the Dutch constructed a block house on the spot in the 1600s.
1956: March Staten Island Community College (CUNY) opens in St. George.
1958 Richmondtown Restoration, now called Historic Richmond Town, opens. In Staten Island's answer to Colonial Williamsburg, costumed guides reenact historical Staten Island trades and home life in original historic buildings.
1960 December 16 128 people are killed in a mid-air collision between a TWA plane and a United Airlines plane over Staten Island's Miller Field. The TWA plane rains wreckage down on Miller Field while the United plane flies as far as Park Slope Brooklyn before crashing. It is the worst air disaster in US history to that point.
1963: January Island's last brewery, Piels' Bros. in Stapleton is closed
1963: April 20 Black Saturday: Three brush fires - one starting in Rossville, one in Tottenville and another in Mariners Harbor - destroy 100 houses, leave more than 500 homeless. The fires cause more than $2 million in damage and level many of the historic houses in the Sandy Ground community
1964: August 29 Mid-Island Little League defeats Monterrey Mexico 4-0 to win Little League World Series. Islander Dan Yaccarino pitched a no-hitter.
1964: November 21 The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn opens. Othmar Amman, designer of the Bayonne Bridge, designed the bridge. Then the largest suspension bridge in the world, the design had to incorporate the curvature of the earth and seasonal expansions and contractions which drop the roadway twelve feet lower in the summer than the winter. The bridge began a massive building and population boom on the Island that continues into the present day.
1964: December 18 NYC approval is given to establish a "Greenbelt" park reaching from Sea View to New Dorp.
1965 At the first meeting of the newly created New York City Landmarks Commission 6 Sailor's Snug Harbor buildings are designated as landmarks, saving them from demolition.
1966: Oct. 11 President Lyndon B. Johnson attends the dedication ceremony of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
1971 Jerry Rivers, (Geraldo Rivera) brings the abuse of disabled students at the Willowbrook State School to national attention. The publicity leads to the closing of the school.
1971 St. John's University opens an Island campus after acquiring the all women's College of Notre Dame.
1971: May 4 Staten Islander Paul Zindel wins the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play "Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds." Zindel, a former chemistry teacher at Tottenville High School, draws inspiration for his works from local sites and personas. A prolific author of literature for adolescents, Zindel's most popular works include "The Pigman" and "My Darling, My Hamburger."
1973: August 9 The Staten Island Mall opens. Stores in traditional shopping areas such as Port Richmond relocate or close due as the large chain stores gather together in one location.
1973: Feb. 10 An empty 500,000 barrels (79,000 m3) liquefied natural gas (LNG) tank in Bloomfield explodes, killing 40 workers cleaning the inside. The incident, which stands as the borough's worst industrial accident ever, energizes local opposition to filling larger tanks, in Rossville, with the gas. The tanks are never filled, ending a 13-year battle against the plan.
1974 The Staten Island Children's Museum opens in a storefront. In 1986 the museum moves to its current location in Snug Harbor Cultural Center.
1974 Thanks in part to the Clean Water Act of 1972, wading birds are first spotted returning to the cleaner waters around Staten Island. By 1994 there were approximately 1300 pairs of wading birds on Shooters Island (43 acres (170,000 m2)), Prall's Island (80 acres (320,000 m2)), and the Isle of Meadows (101 acres (0.41 km2)). New species include ibis, heron, and egret.
1974 The Staten Island Children's Museum opens in a storefront. In 1986 the museum moves to its current location in Snug Harbor Cultural Center.
1975 The Borough of Richmond is officially renamed the Borough of Staten Island.
1976: June The last of the retired sailors relocate from Sailor's Snug Harbor to Sea Level, North Carolina.
1976: July 1 New York City takes possession of the Sailor's Snug Harbor. It begins its new life as the Snug Harbor Cultural Center with museums, artists' studios, performance halls and botanical gardens.
1976: July 4 New York Cit celebrates the US Bicentennial with a parade of tall ships in the Narrows and harbor.
1984 Prall's Island in the Arthur Kill is acquired by the New York City Parks system as an 80-acre (320,000 m2) bird sanctuary.
1985: December 23 The Muslim Majlis Mosque, Staten Island's first Islamic house of worship, is founded in Concord.
1986 The "Teleport" is opened by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey providing satellite and fiberoptic telecommunications to businesses.
1990 Several oil spills in New York Harbor turn back many of the gains made by nature in reclaiming the waterways around Staten Island. In January an Exxon pipeline spilled 567,000 US gallons (2,150 m3) of fuel oil into the Arthur Kill damaging an estimated 197 acres (0.80 km2) of salt marsh and killing about 700 birds. Fortunately, the local herons, ibis and egrets had migrated south at the time.
1990 The Stapleton Homeport opens providing major facilities for the docking of US Navy war ships. It closed in 1994 due to budget cuts.
1993 The College of Staten Island starts moving to its new campus on the grounds of the former Willowbrook State School.
1993: November 65% of Staten Island voters approve a draft charter for an independent City of Staten Island but the charter is not adopted by the state government.
1996: Jan. 8-9 Staten Islands worst blizzard on record. 30 inches of snow falls
1996: May 23 The New York State Senate approves the closing of the Fresh Kills Landfill.
Staten Island historic timeline - 21th century
2001: September 11 Members of the Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organization, Al-Qaeda, hijack and crash two passenger jets into the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan; killing nearly 3,000 people. Staten Island bears much of the loss of life, nearly 300 residents, with a large numbers of firemen and World Trade Center workers living on Staten Island. The Fresh Kills landfill is chosen to hold the debris from the towers and serves as a crime lab for police investigators searching for human remains.
2003: February 21 Oil barge explodes on Staten Island
2003: August 14 All of Staten Island, New York City and seven other states across the Northeast and the Midwest, as well as parts of Canada, go dark late in the afternoon and stay that way for at least 12 hours in the biggest electrical blackout to affect the region in decades.
2003: October 15 In one of the bloodiest public transportation accidents in Staten Island History, the ferryboat Andrew J. Barberi plows into a concrete pier in St. George, killing 11 and injuring 70. The ship's pilot, Assistant Capt. Richard J. Smith, is sentenced to 18 months in prison.
This historic timeline was posted by www.StatenIslandHistory.com
At the end of the Second Anglo-Dutch War in 1667, the Dutch ceded New Netherlands colony to England in the Treaty of Breda, and the Dutch Staaten Eylandt, anglicized as "Staten Island", became part of the new English colony of New York.
In 1670, the Native Americans ceded all claims to Staten Island to the English in a deed to Gov. Francis Lovelace. In 1671, in order to encourage an expansion of the Dutch settlements, the English resurveyed Oude Dorp (which became known as Old Town) and expanded the lots along the shore to the south. These lots were settled primarily by Dutch and became known as Nieuwe Dorp (meaning "New Village"), which later became anglicized as New Dorp.
Captain Christopher Billopp, after years of distinguished service in the Royal Navy, came to America in 1674 in charge of a company of infantry. The following year, he settled on Staten Island, where he was granted a patent for 932 acres (3.8 km2) of land. According to one version of an oft-repeated but inaccurate myth, Capt. Billopp's seamanship secured Staten Island to New York, rather than to New Jersey: the Island would belong to New York if the captain could circumnavigate it in one day, which he did, according to the myth. Mayor Michael Bloomberg perpetuated the myth by referring to it at a news conference in Brooklyn on February 20, 2007.
In 1683, the colony of New York was divided into ten counties. As part of this process, Staten Island, as well as several minor neighboring islands, were designated as Richmond County. The name derives from the title of Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond, an illegitimate son of King Charles II.
In 1687 and 1688, the English divided the island into four administrative divisions based on natural features: the 5,100-acre (21 km2) (21 km²) manorial estate of colonial governor Thomas Dongan in the central hills known as the "Lordship or Manner of Cassiltown," along with the North, South, and West divisions. These divisions would later evolve into the four townships Castleton, Northfield, Southfield, and Westfield. In 1698, the population was 727.
The government granted land patents in rectangular blocks of eighty acres (320,000 m²), with the most desirable lands along the coastline and inland waterways. By 1708, the entire island had been divided up in this fashion, creating 166 small farms and two large manorial estates, the Dongan estate and a 1600 acre (6.5 km²) parcel on the southwestern tip of the island belonging to Christopher Billop (Jackson, 1995).
In 1729, a county seat was established at the village of Richmond Town, located at the headwaters of the Fresh Kills near the center of the island. By 1771, the island's population had grown to 2,847.
The island played a significant role in the American Revolutionary War. On March 17, 1776, the British forces under Lord William Howe evacuated Boston and sailed for Halifax, Nova Scotia. From Halifax, Howe prepared to attack New York City, which then consisted entirely of the southern end of Manhattan Island. General George Washington led the entire Continental Army to New York City in anticipation of the British attack. Howe used the strategic location of Staten Island as a staging ground for the invasion. Over 140 British ships arrived over the summer of 1776 and anchored off the shores of Staten Island at the entrance to New York Harbor, which was the largest armada to set sail until World War II. The British troops and Hessian mercenaries numbered at about 30,000. Howe established his headquarters in New Dorp at the Rose and Crown Tavern near the junction of present New Dorp Lane and Amboy Road. It is here that the representatives of the British government reportedly received their first notification of the Declaration of Independence.
In August 1776, the British forces crossed the Narrows to Brooklyn and outflanked the American forces at the Battle of Long Island, resulting in the British control of the harbor and the capture of New York City shortly thereafter. Three weeks later, on September 11, 1776, the British received a delegation of Americans consisting of Benjamin Franklin, Edward Rutledge, and John Adams at the Conference House on the southwestern tip of the island (known today as Tottenville) on the former estate of Christopher Billop. The Americans refused the peace offer from the British in exchange for the withdrawal of the Declaration of Independence, however, and the conference ended without an agreement.
On August 22, 1777, the Battle of Staten Island occurred here between the British and several companies of the 2nd Canadian Regiment fighting alongside other American companies. The battle was inconclusive. Both sides surrendered over a hundred troops as prisoners, and the Americans withdrew.
British forces remained on Staten Island throughout the war. Most Patriots fled after the British occupation, and so local sentiment of the remaining population was predominantly Loyalist, However, the islanders found the demands of supporting the troops to be onerous. The British kept headquarters in neighborhoods such as Bulls Head. Many buildings and churches were destroyed, and the military demand for resources resulted in an extensive deforestation of the island by the end of the war. The British again used the island as a staging ground for their final evacuation of New York City on December 5, 1783. After the war, the largest Loyalist landowners fled to Canada and their estates were subdivided and sold.
On July 4, 1827, the end of slavery in New York state was celebrated at Swan Hotel, West Brighton. Rooms at the hotel were reserved months in advance as local abolitionists and prominent free blacks prepared for the festivities. Speeches, pageants, picnics, and fireworks marked the celebration, which lasted for two days.
In 1860, parts of Castleton and Southfield were made into a new town, Middletown. The Village of New Brighton in the town of Castleton was incorporated in 1866, and in 1872 the Village of New Brighton annexed all the remainder of the Town of Castleton and became coterminous with the town.
The Conference House was built by a British Naval Officer in 1680. Built by Captain Christopher Billopp, this grand stone manor overlooking the Arthur Kill and Perth Amboy, New Jersey, around 1680, and his grandson, Colonel Christopher Billopp, owned the house when it was taken over by Admiral Lord Richard Howe, head of the British Forces in the Americas.
The construction of the Verrazano Bridge, along with the other three major Staten Island bridges, created a new way for commuters and tourists to travel from New Jersey to Brooklyn, Manhattan, and areas farther east on Long Island. The network of highways running between the bridges has effectively carved up many of Staten Island's old neighborhoods.
The Verrazano had another effect, opening up many areas of the borough to residential and commercial development, especially in the central and southern parts of the borough, which had previously been largely undeveloped. Staten Island's population doubled from about 221,000 in 1960 to about 443,000 in 2000.
Throughout the 1980s, a movement to secede from the city steadily grew in popularity, reaching its peak during the mayoral term of David Dinkins. In a 1993 referendum, 65% voted to secede, but implementation was blocked in the State Assembly.
In the 1980s, the United States Navy had a base on Staten Island called Naval Station New York. It was composed of two sections: a home port in Stapleton and a larger section around Fort Wadsworth, where the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge enters the island. Originally, this base was to be the home port for the battleship USS Iowa (BB-61), but an explosion in one of the ship's turrets led to the vessel's decommissioning. A number of other vessels, including the frigates USS Donald B. Beary FF 1085 and USS Ainsworth FF 1090 and at least one cruiser, the USS Normandy (CG-60), were based there. The base was closed in 1994 through the Base Realignment and Closure process because of its small size and the expense of basing personnel there. It was recently announced that the property will be converted into a mixed-use waterfront neighborhood with an announced completion date of 2009.
Opened as a "temporary landfill" in 1947, Fresh Kills Landfill was a repository of trash for the city of New York. The landfill was closed in 2001, but was briefly re-opened for the debris from Ground Zero following the September 11 attacks in 2001. The Fresh Kills Landfill has been treated and cleaned up. A park larger than Central Park is in the works. Its creeks and wetlands have been designated a Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Fresh Kills and its tributaries are part of the largest tidal wetland ecosystem in the region. Plans for the park include a bird-nesting island, public roads, boardwalks, soccer and baseball fields, bridle paths, and a 5,000-seat stadium. Today, freshwater and tidal wetlands, fields, birch thickets and a coastal oak maritime forest, as well as areas dominated by non-native plant species, are all within the boundaries of Fresh Kills. Already, many of the landscapes of Fresh Kills possess a stark beauty, with 360 degree, wide horizon views from the hills, over 300 acres (1.2 km2) of salt marsh and a winding network of creeks.
During the Paleozoic Era, the tectonic plate containing the continent of Laurentia and the plate containing the continent of Gondwanaland were converging, the Iapetus ocean that separated the two continents gradually closed and the resulting collision between the plates formed the Appalachian Mountains. During the early stages of this mountain building known as the Taconic orogeny, a piece of ocean crust from the Iapetus ocean broke off and became incorporated into the collision zone and now forms the oldest bedrock strata of Staten Island, the serpentinite. This strata of the lower paleozoic (approximately 430 million years old) consists predominantly of the serpentine minerals, antigorite, chrysotile, and lizardite, it also contains asbestos and talc. At the end of the Paleozoic era (248 million years ago) all major continental masses were joined into the supercontinent of Pangaea.
At the retreat of the ice sheet, Staten Island was connected by land to Long Island as The Narrows had not yet formed. Geologists' reckonings of the course of the Hudson River have placed it alternatively through the present course of the Raritan River, south of the island, or through present-day Flushing Bay and Jamaica Bay.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough-county has a total area of 102.5 square miles (265.5 km²). Land comprises 58.5 square miles (151.5 km²) and water 44.0 square miles (114.0 km²) of it (42.95%).
In addition to the main island, the borough and county also include several small uninhabited islands:
The highest point on the island, the summit of Todt Hill, elevation 410 ft (125 m), is also the highest point in the five boroughs, as well as the highest point on the Atlantic Coastal Plain south of Great Blue Hill in Massachusetts and the highest point on the coast proper south of Maine's Camden Hills.
In the late 1960s the island was the site of important battles of open-space preservation, resulting in the largest area of parkland in New York City and an extensive Greenbelt that laces the island with woodland trails.
Staten Island is the only borough in New York City that does not share a land border with another borough (Marble Hill in Manhattan is contiguous with the Bronx).
Staten Island comprises hundreds of acres of federal, state, and local park land including the "greenbelt" and "blue belt" park systems and the Gateway National Recreation Area.
U.S. Park Police Officers and NPS Law Enforcement Rangers patrol the above on Staten Island. The National Park Service also maintains wildland firefighters and wildfire brush trucks in Staten Island to combat recurring wildland fires in the federal parks in Staten Island, historically common at Great Kills Park.
There are two parks managed by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation located on Staten Island:
New York State Park Police troopers are assigned to patrol the state owned parks as well as the surrounding streets adjacent to the state lands
There are two parks managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation:
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation troopers patrol the lands and perform law enforcement duties. A NYS DEC Forest Ranger is also always assigned to the Staten Island district to provide law enforcement and wildfire suppression throughout the island.
There are 156 parks managed by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation in Staten Island including:
|2008||51.7% 86,062||47.6% 79,311|
|2004||56.4% 90,325||42.7% 68,448|
|2000||45.0% 63,903||51.9% 73,828|
|1996||40.8% 52,207||50.5% 64,684|
|1992||47.9% 70,707||38.5% 56,901|
|1988||61.5% 77,427||38.0% 47,812|
|1984||65.1% 83,187||34.7% 44,345|
|1980||58.6% 64,885||33.7% 37,306|
|1976||54.1% 56,995||45.4% 47,867|
|1972||74.2% 84,686||25.6% 29,241|
|1968||55.3% 54,631||35.2% 34,770|
|1964||45.5% 42,330||54.4% 50,524|
|1960||56.5% 50,356||43.4% 38,673|
Since New York City's consolidation in 1898, Staten Island has been governed by the New York City Charter that provides for a "strong" mayor-council system. The centralized New York City government is responsible for public education, correctional institutions, libraries, public safety, recreational facilities, sanitation, water supply, and welfare services on Staten Island.
The office of Borough President was created in the consolidation of 1898 to balance centralization with local authority. Each borough president had a powerful administrative role derived from having a vote on the New York City Board of Estimate, which was responsible for creating and approving the city's budget and proposals for land use. The Office of Borough President became one focal point for opinions over the Vietnam War when former intelligence agent and peace acrtivist Ed Murphy, ran for office in 1973, sponsored by the Staten Island Democratic Association (SIDA) and was supported by those who exposed Willowbrook, promoted civil rights and health care activists. Ed Murphy's combat veteran status deflected traditional right wing attacks on liberals and the campaign facilitated the emergence of more liberal politics on Staten Island. In 1989 the Supreme Court of the United States declared the Board of Estimate unconstitutional on the grounds that Brooklyn, the most populous borough, had no greater effective representation on the Board than Staten Island, the least populous borough, a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause pursuant to the high court's 1964 "one man, one vote" decision.
Since 1990 the Borough President has acted as an advocate for the borough at the mayoral agencies, the City Council, the New York state government, and corporations. Staten Island's Borough President is James Molinaro, a member of the Conservative Party elected in 2001 and reelected in 2005 with the endorsement of the Republican Party. Molinaro is the only Republican-supported borough president in New York City.
Staten Island's politics differ considerably from those of New York City's other boroughs. Although in 2005 44.7% of the borough's registered voters were registered Democrats and 30.6% were registered Republicans, the Republican Party holds a small majority of local public offices. Staten Island is the base of New York City's Republican Party in citywide elections. In the 2001 mayoral election, borough voters chose Republican Michael Bloomberg, with 75.87% of the vote, over Democrat Mark Green, with 21.15% of the vote. Since Green narrowly lost the election citywide, Staten Island provided the margin of Bloomberg's victory. The main political divide in the borough is demarcated by the Staten Island Expressway; areas north of the Expressway tend to be more liberal while the south tends to be more conservative. Local party platforms center on affordable housing, education and law and order. Two out of Staten Island's three New York City Council members are Republicans.
In national elections Staten Island is not the Republican stronghold it is in local elections, but it is also not the Democratic stronghold the rest of New York City is. The borough is a Republican-leaning swing county, though like the New York suburbs in Long Island and Westchester County it has become increasingly Democratic since the 1990s.
Each of the city's five counties (coterminous with each borough) has its own criminal court system and District Attorney, the chief public prosecutor who is directly elected by popular vote. Daniel Donovan, a Republican, has been the District Attorney of Richmond County since 2004, and was the Republican nominee for New York Attorney General in 2010. Staten Island has three City Council members, two Republicans and one Democrat, the smallest number among the five boroughs. It also has three administrative districts, each served by a local Community Board. Community Boards are representative bodies that field complaints and serve as advocates for local residents. In the 2009 election for city offices, Staten Island elected its first black official, Debi Rose, who defeated the incumbent Democrat in the North Shore city council seat in a primary, and then went on to win the general election.
Staten Island has voted for a Democratic presidential nominee only three times since 1952: in 1964, 1996, and 2000. In the 2004 presidential election Republican George W. Bush received 56% of the vote in Staten Island and Democrat John Kerry received 43%. By contrast, Kerry outpolled Bush in New York City's other four boroughs by a cumulative margin of 77% to 22%. In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain won 52% of the vote in the borough to Democrat Barack Obama's 48%.
Staten Island flag
The flag is on a white background in the center of which is the design of a seal in the shape of an oval. Within the seal appears the color blue to symbolize the skyline of the borough, in which two seagulls appear colored in black and white. The green outline represents the countryside of the borough with white outline denoting the residential areas of Staten Island. Below is inscribed the words "Staten Island" in gold. Below this are five wavy lines of blue to symbolize the water that surrounds the island borough on all sides. Gold fringe outlines the flag.
At the 2010 Census, there were 468,730 people living in Staten Island, which is an increase of 5.6% since the 2000 Census.
Staten Island is the only borough with a non-Hispanic White majority.
According to the 2010 Census, 64.0% of the population was non-Hispanic White, down from 80% in 1990, 10.6% Black or African American, 0.4% American Indian and Alaska Native, 7.5% Asian, 0.2% from some other race (non-Hispanic) and 2.6% of two or more races. 17.3% of Staten Island's population was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (of any race).
In 2009, approximately 20.0% of the population was foreign born, and 1.8% of the populace was born in Puerto Rico, U.S. Island areas, or born abroad to American parents. Concordantly, 78.2% of the population was born in the United States. Approximately 28.6% of the population over five years of age spoke a language other than English at home, and 27.3% of the population over twenty-five years of age had a bachelor's degree or higher.
According to the 2009 American Community Survey, the borough's population was 75.7% White (65.8% non-Hispanic White alone), 10.2% Black or African American (9.6% non-Hispanic Black or African American alone), 0.2% American Indian and Alaska Native, 7.4% Asian, 0.0% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 4.6% from Some other race, and 1.9% from Two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race made up 15.9% of the population.
According to the survey, the top ten European ancestries were the following:
Since the 2000 census, a large Russian community has been growing on Staten Island, particularly in the Rossville, South Beach, and Great Kills area. There is also a significant Polish community mainly in the South Beach and Midland Beach area and there is also a large Sri Lankan community on Staten Island, concentrated mainly on Victory Boulevard on the northeastern tip of Staten Island. The Little Sri Lanka in the Tompkinsville neighborhood of Staten Island is one of the largest Sri Lankan communities outside of the country of Sri Lanka itself.
The vast majority of the borough's African American and Hispanic residents live north of the Staten Island Expressway, or Interstate 278. In terms of religion, the population is largely Roman Catholic. There is a growing presence of Egyptian Copts, the vast majority of whom are members of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
The median income for a household is $55,039, and the median income for a family was $64,333. Males had a median income of $50,081 versus $35,914 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $23,905. About 7.9% of families and 10.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.2% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.
In 2009, Borough President James Molinaro started a program to increase tourism on Staten Island. At the top of that program was a new website, visitstatenisland.com.
The tourism program also includes a "Staten Island Attractions" video that is aired in both the Staten Island and the Manhattan Whitehall ferry terminals, as well as informational kiosks at the terminals, which supply printed information on Staten Island attractions, entertainment and restaurants.
Artists and musicians have been moving to Staten Island's North Shore so they can be in close proximity to Manhattan but also have enough affordable space to live and work in. Recently The New York Times and NY1 News featured Staten Island as a haven for artists and musicians. Filmmakers, most of whom work independently, also play an important part on Staten Island's art scene, which has been recognized by the local government. The Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island is Staten Island's local arts council and helps support local artists and cultural organizations with regrants, workshops, folklife and arts-in-education programs, and advocacy. Conceived by the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation to introduce independent and international films to a broad and diverse audience, the Staten Island Film Festival (SIFF) held its first four-day festival in 2006.
Historic Richmond Town is New York City's living history village and museum complex. Visitors can explore the diversity of the American experience, especially that of Staten Island and its neighboring communities, from the colonial period to the present. The village area occupies 25 acres (100,000 m2) of a 100-acre (0.40 km2) site with about 15 restored buildings, including homes, commercial and civic buildings, and a museum.
The island is home to the Staten Island Zoo, which recently opened a newly refurbished reptile exhibit and is in the process of designing a new carousel and leopard enclosure. Zoo construction commenced in 1933 as part of the Federal Government's works program on an eight-acre (three-hectare) estate willed to New York City. It was opened on June 10, 1936, the first zoo in the U.S. specifically devoted to an educational mandate. The Society has remained steadfast in its concentration on this goal, which is still a vital part of the Society's current mission. The Staten Island Zoo was also the first zoo anywhere to exhibit all the 32 varieties of rattlesnakes known to occur in the United States. In the late 1960s, the Zoo maintained the most complete rattlesnake collection in the world with 39 varieties.
Movies filmed partially or wholly on Staten Island include:
American Wildflower, a novel about life on Staten Island in the 1970s was written by Bobby Clark, who was born on the island and lived there for forty years.
Lois Lowry, the author of The Gossamer and many other books, attended school on Staten Island.
Writer Paul Zindel lived in Staten Island during his youth and based most of his teenage novels in the island.
Staten Island also has a local music scene. Most shows are at The Full Cup or the old Dock Street in Stapleton. These venues in the North shore are part of the art movement mentioned above. Local bands include many punk, ska, hardcore punk, indie, metal, and pop punk bands. Most of these bands have their shows taped and allow free download of their music and shows which are posted on social media sites like Facebook under "The Staten Island Local Show Closet".
Musicians who were born or reside on Staten Island and groups that formed on Staten Island are found at List of people from Staten Island.
The beautiful, newly renovated St. George Theatre serves as a cultural arts center for a myriad of activities including outreach educational programs, architectural tours, television and film shoots, concerts, comedy, Broadway touring companies, and small and large scale children's shows. It has featured many known artists such as The B52s, The Jonas Brothers, Tony Bennett, and Don McLean. In 2012, the NBC musical-drama Smash utilized the St. George Theatre for various scenes set on the Broadway stage.
Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the Alice Austen House Museum, the Conference House, the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, Historic Richmond Town, Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, the Noble Maritime Collection, Sandy Ground Historical Museum, Staten Island Children's Museum, the Staten Island Museum and the Staten Island Botanical Garden, home of The New York Chinese Scholar's Garden can all be found on the island.
The National Lighthouse Museum is currently untertaking a major fundraising project and hopes to open in 2012, and the Staten Island Museum (art, science, and history) plans to open a new branch in Snug Harbor by 2011/2012.
Education in Staten Island is provided by a number of public and private institutions. Public schools in the borough are managed by the New York City Department of Education, the largest public school system in the United States.
Public middle schools include Intermediate Schools 2, 7, 14, 16, 21, 24, 27, 32, 34, 35,42, 49, 51, 61, 63, 72 and 75, and 861, a K to 8 school as well as part of the Petrides School (which runs from kindergarten to High School)
Public high schools include:
Moore Catholic and St. Joseph by the Sea are the only co-educational Catholic high schools on the island.
Staten Island is connected to New Jersey via three vehicular bridges and one railroad bridge. The Outerbridge Crossing to Perth Amboy, New Jersey is at the southern end of Route 440 and the Bayonne Bridge to Bayonne, New Jersey is at the northern end of Route 440, which continues into Jersey City, New Jersey. From the New Jersey Turnpike, the Goethals Bridge using I-278 connects to the Staten Island Expressway. The Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Railroad Bridge carries freight between the northwest part of the island and Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Unlike the other four boroughs of New York, Staten Island follows no numbered grid system to any significant degree. The only numbered grid is within a small area in New Dorp, which only goes up to 10th street and does not intersect with any numbered avenues. However, most Staten Island neighborhoods do follow some degree of grid system, but they don't follow a system where streets are perpendicular to avenues, they are not numbered, with few exceptions, and they are often not contiguous to one another. This is one reason why Staten Island is significantly suburban compared to other boroughs. Some neighborhoods, however, do follow an alphabetical organization of their streets.
Staten Island is connected to Brooklyn via the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge using I-278, the Staten Island Expressway. Once in Brooklyn, I-278 becomes the Gowanus Expressway and then the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, providing access to Manhattan through various tunnels and bridges.
It is of note that Staten Island was, at one point, concurrently home to the longest vertical lift bridge, steel arch bridge, and suspension bridge in the world; the Arthur Kill Bridge, Bayonne Bridge, and Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, respectively. The Arthur Kill Bridge still holds the title for longest vertical lift bridge, while the Bayonne and Verrazano bridges are now the 4th and 8th longest, in their respective categories.
The only pedestrian link to Staten Island is via a footpath on the Bayonne Bridge.
Staten Island is the most auto-centric borough in New York City, with only 18.4% of all households being autoless. Citywide, the rate is 55%.
Public transportation on the island is limited to:
The Staten Island Ferry is the only direct transportation network from Staten Island to Manhattan, roughly a 25 minute trip. The St. George ferry terminal built in 1950 recently underwent a $130-million renovation and now features floor-to-ceiling glass for panoramic views of the harbor and incoming ferries. The ferry had its fare eliminated in 1997. Currently, the Staten Island Ferry is undergoing ramp renovations that are speculated to be complete in 2014.
The Staten Island Railway traverses the island from its northeastern tip to its southwestern tip. The Staten Island Railway previously had its own police service, Staten Island Rapid Transit Police. SIRT Police was consolidated into the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police in 2005. MTA Police officers patrol the Island's only passenger railway. Staten Island is the only borough not serviced by the New York City Subway, as the Staten Island Tunnel was abandoned in the middle of construction in the 1920s. It lies dormant beneath Owl's Head Park in Brooklyn. As such, express bus service is provided by NYC Transit throughout Staten Island to lower and midtown Manhattan.
There have been proposals to revive the North Shore Branch of the Staten Island Railway for passenger service. There is also a proposal to build a West Shore Line that would go in the center of the Dr. Martin Luther King Expressway, Staten Island Expressway, and West Shore Expressway, continuing to Richmond Valley, Staten Island to connect with the main line of the Staten Island Railway. See Staten Island light rail.
NYC Transit provides local and limited bus service with over 30 lines throughout Staten Island; two lines (the S53/93 and S79) provide local/limited service over the Verazzano Bridge to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Express bus service to Manhattan via the Verrazano Bridge and BQE is also available for a $5.50 fare each way. Beginning September 4, 2007, the MTA began offering bus service from Staten Island to Bayonne, New Jersey over the Bayonne Bridge via the S89 Bus. It allows passengers to connect to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail's 34th St. Station, giving Staten Island residents a new route into Manhattan. It is notably, despite Staten Island's proximity to New Jersey, the only route directly into New Jersey from Staten Island via public transportation.
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