Staten Island

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This article is about the borough in New York City. For other uses, see Staten Island (disambiguation).
Image:Staten Island Highlight New York City Map Julius Schorzman.png
Staten Island, in yellow, lies to the southwest of the rest of New York City.

Image:Map of New York highlighting Richmond County.png

Staten Island is one of the five boroughs of New York City. Situated on an island of the same name that is the most geographically separate of the city's boroughs, Staten Island is the least populated of the five boroughs.

The Borough of Staten Island is coterminous with Richmond County, the southernmost county in the state of New York. Until 1975 the borough was officially named the Borough of Richmond.<ref>New York Public Library Staten Island Timeline, accessed January 16, 2006</ref>

With a population of just over 460,000, Staten Island is often called 'the forgotten borough' or 'the step-sister borough', as it is much less well-known than its four sisters, The Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. It is the smallest of the 5 boroughs in population, and third largest in area, being 59 sq. mi. (approx. 130 km). On some maps, it is completely forgotten.

By far the least populated, most ethnically homogeneous and most remote borough of New York City, Staten Island is primarily suburban. Much of the central and southern sections of the island were once dominated by dairy and poultry farms, some of which were still in existence as recently as the early 1960s. Some areas have an urban feel comparable to the areas of Eastern Queens and Northern Bronx. The borough's steady rise in population since the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge has added to a sharp increase in traffic that plagues the island and is a cause of frequent road repairs and accidents.

Staten Island is also known for the Fresh Kills Landfill, the repository of garbage from all of New York City for 53 years. The landfill was closed in 2001<ref>[Fresh Kills: Landfill to close]</ref>, and there is an ongoing attempt to decontaminate the land and rehabilitate it for recreational uses.

Contents

[edit] History

The bedrock of the island is a diabase formed during the volcanic eruptions that created much of the bedrock of northern New Jersey, including the New Jersey Palisades, approximately 200 million years ago. As an island, Staten Island was formed in the wake of the last ice age. In the late Pleistocene between 20,000 and 14,000 years ago, the ice sheet that covered northeastern North America reached to as far south as present day New York City, to a depth of approximately the same height as the Empire State Building. At one point, during its maximum reach, the ice sheet precisely ended at the center of present day Staten Island, forming a terminal moraine on the existing diabase sill. The central moraine of the island is sometimes called the Serpentine ridge because it contains large amounts of that particular mineral.

Image:StatenIslandNature.jpg
Staten Island Nature
At the retreat of the ice sheet, Staten Island and Long Island were not yet separated by The Narrows, which had not yet formed. Geologists reckoning of the course of the Hudson River have placed it alternatively through the present course of the Raritan River, south of the island, as well through present-day Flushing Bay and Jamaica Bay.

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. The island was probably abandoned later, possibly because of the extinction of large mammals on the island. Evidence of the first permanent American Indians settlements and agriculture date from about 5,000 years ago (Jackson, 1995).

In the Sixteenth Century, the island was part of a larger area known as Lenapehoking that was inhabited by the Lenape, an Algonquian American Indians people also called the "Delaware". The band that occupied the southern part of the island was called the Raritans. To the Lenape, the island was called "Aquehonga Manacknong" and "Eghquaons" (Jackson, 1995). 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. The staples of their diet included shellfish, including the oysters that are native to both Upper New York Bay and Lower New York Bay.

[edit] Staaten Eylandt

The first recorded European contact with the island was in 1524 by Giovanni da Verrazzano who sailed through the Narrows. In 1609, Henry Hudson established Dutch trade in the area and named the island Staaten Eylandt after the Staten-Generaal, the Dutch parliament.

Although the first Dutch settlement of the New Netherlands colony was made on Manhattan in 1620, Staaten Eylandt 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.

[edit] Richmond County

Image:RichmondtownStreet.jpg
Historic Richmondtown, museum complex is located in the heart of Staten Island

At the end of the Second Anglo-Dutch War in 1667, the New Netherlands colony was ceded to England in the Treaty of Breda, and what was now 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.

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 an illegitimate son of King Charles II.

In 1687-1688, the English divided the island into four administrative divisions based on natural features, called the North, South, and West divisions, as well as the 5100 acre (21 km²) manorial estate of colonial governor Thomas Dongan in the central hills known as the "Lordship or Manner of Cassiltown." These divisions would later evolve into the four townships Northfield, Southfield, Westfield and Castleton.

Image:RichmondtownNature.jpg
Richmond town is nature-rich

Land patents in rectangular blocks of eighty acres (320,000 m²) were granted, with the most desirable lands being along the coastline and inland waterways. By 1708, the entire island had been divided up through this fashion into 166 small farms and two large manorial estates, the Dongan estate as well as 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.

The island played a significant role in the American Revolutionary War. In the summer of 1776, the British forces under William Howe evacuated Boston and prepared to attack New York City. Howe used the strategic location of Staten Island as a staging ground for the attack. 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.

The following month, in August 1776, the British forces crossed the Narrows to Brooklyn and routed the American forces under George Washington at the Battle of Long Island, resulting in the British capture of New York. 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.

British forces remained on Staten Island throughout the war. Although local sentiment was predominantly Loyalist, the islanders found the demands of supporting the troops to be onerous. 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. New Brighton became the summer home of President Lincoln.

[edit] Consolidation with New York City

Image:Verrazano-Narrows-Bridge.jpg
The Verrazano Narrows Bridge connected the island to Brooklyn and accelerated a new era of development

All these towns and the villages within them were abolished in 1898 when the City of Greater New York was consolidated, with Richmond as one of its five boroughs.

Except for the areas along the harbor, however, the borough remained relatively underdeveloped until the building of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in 1964, which is considered the watershed event in the history of the borough, since it opened up the island to explosive suburban development by giving it direct road access to Brooklyn. The Verrazano, along with the other three major Staten Island bridges, created a new way for commuters and travelers to reach Brooklyn, Manhattan and areas further east on Long Island, by car from New Jersey, and the network of highways running between the bridges has effectively carved up many of the borough's old neighborhoods. This road expansion was planned initially by Robert Moses.

Some of the island's open space and historic areas were incorporated in 1972 into Gateway National Recreation Area, part of the National Park System. The Staten Island Unit of Gateway NRA is joined by the Jamaica Bay Unit in Brooklyn and Queens and the Sandy Hook Unit in New Jersey. The Staten Island Unit is comprised of Great Kills Park, Miller Field, Fort Wadsworth, as well as Hoffman Island and Swinburne Island.

Throughout the 1980s, a movement which had as its goal the secession of Staten Island from the city steadily grew in popularity, reaching its peak during the mayoral term of David Dinkins. The movement largely evaporated with Rudolph Giuliani's election as mayor in 1993, although some pro-secession sentiment remains.

In the 1980s, the United States Navy had a base on Staten Island, Naval Station New York. Composed of two sections, a home port in Stapleton, and a larger section around Ft. Wadsworth, where the Verrazano Narrows Bridge enters the island. A few frigates, destroyers, and at least one cruiser were based there. It was closed in 1994 through the BRAC process. The small size of the base and the expense of basing personnel there led to closure. The base was to be used as a movie studio headed by actor and New York Native Danny Aiello, but money problems ended that plan. It was recently announced that the property will be converted into a mixed use waterfront neighborhood with an announced completion date of 2009.

For the last half of the 20th Century, Staten Island was arguably best known as the site of the Fresh Kills Landfill, the primary destination for garbage from the five boroughs of New York City and the largest single source of methane pollution in the world. The landfill was closed in early 2001 but was temporarily reopened later that year to receive the ruins of the World Trade Center after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Staten Island bore much of the loss of life in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, nearly 300 residents, with a large number of firefighters and World Trade Center workers living on Staten Island. The Fresh Kills Landfill was chosen to hold the debris from the towers and served as a crime lab for police investigators searching for human remains.

See also: Transportation in New York City

[edit] Geography

Image:Wpdms nygis staten island small.jpg
Staten Island, shown in an enhanced satellite image.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough / county has a total area of 265.5 km² (102.5 mi²). 151.5 km² (58.5 mi²) of it is land and 114.0 km² (44.0 mi²) of it (42.95%) is water.

Staten Island is separated from Long Island by the Narrows and from mainland New Jersey by the Arthur Kill and the Kill Van Kull. It is connected to New Jersey via the Bayonne Bridge, the Outerbridge Crossing, the Goethals Bridge, and to Brooklyn by the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. The Staten Island Ferry connects the island to lower Manhattan. The Staten Island Railway traverses the island from its northeastern tip to its southwestern tip.

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 Mount Desert Island.

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.

[edit] Adjacent Counties

See also: List of Staten Island neighborhoods

[edit] Government

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. 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.<ref>Cornell Law School Supreme Court Collection: Board of Estimate of City of New York v. Morris, accessed June 12, 2006</ref>

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 re-elected in 2005, with the endorsement of the Republican Party. Molinaro is the only Republican-supported borough president in New York City.

A mainly white, Catholic borough that is suburban in character, Staten Island's politics differ considerably from 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.

In national elections Staten Island is not the Republican stronghold it is in local elections; neither is it a Democratic stronghold, however, like the rest of New York City. 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. 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.

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 57% of the vote in Staten Island and Democrat John Kerry received 42%. By contrast, Kerry outpolled Bush in New York City's other four boroughs by a cumulative margin of 77% to 22%.

See also: Government of New York City

[edit] Demographics

Staten Island Compared
2000 CensusStaten IslandNY CityNY State
Total population443,7288,008,27818,976,457
Population density7,587.9/mi²26,403/mi²402/mi²
Median household income (1999)$55,039$38,293$43,393
Per capita income$23,905$22,402$23,389
Bachelor's degree or higher27%27%24%
Foreign born21%36%20%
White78%45%62%
Black10%27%16%
Hispanic (any race)12%27%14%
Asian6%10%6%

As of the 2000 census, there were 443,728 people, 156,341 households, and 114,128 families residing in the borough/county. The population density was 2,929.6/km² (7,587.9/mi²). There were 163,993 housing units at an average density of 1,082.7/km² (2,804.3/mi²). The racial makeup is 77.60% White, 9.67% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 5.65% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 4.14% from other races, and 2.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.07% of the population. 71.3% of the population were Whites not of Hispanic origins.

Some main European ancestries of Staten Island, 2000:

Since the 2000 census, a rather large Russian community has been growing on Staten Island, particularily in the South Beach and Great Kills area.

The vast majority of the island'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, and the Catholic Church exerts strong influence on many aspects of the island's social and cultural life. The Jewish community is large enough that it would be significant in most other parts of the country, but it is relatively small compared to other parts of the New York Metropolitan Area.

Staten Island population
By town, by census
CensusCastletonMiddletownNorthfieldSouthfieldWestfieldTotal
1790 805 N/A 1,021 855 1,154 3,835
1800 1,056 N/A 1,377 932 1,198 4,563
1810 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1820 1,527 N/A 1,980 1,012 1,616 6,135
1830 2,204 N/A 2,171 975 1,734 7,084
1840 4,275 N/A 2,745 1,619 2,326 10,965
1850 5,389 N/A 4,020 2,709 2,943 26,026
1860 6,778 6,243 4,841 3,645 3,985 25,492
1870 9,504 7,589 5,949 5,082 4,905 31,029
188012,679 9,029 7,014 4,980 5,289 38,991
189016,42310,577 9,811 6,644 8,258 51,713
1900 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 67,021
1910 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 85,969
1920 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A116,531
1930 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A158,346
1940 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A174,441
1950 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A191,555
1960 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A221,991
1970 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A295,443
1980 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A352,029
1990 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A378,977
2000 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A443,728
2005 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A464,573 (est.)
  • N/A = not available
  • 1810 Census was not broken out by towns.
  • Source: 1790–1890 — The Encyclopedia of New York City.
  • Source: 1900–2005

There were 156,341 households out of which 35.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.0% are married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.0% were non-families. 23.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.31.

The population is spread out with 25.5% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.

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.

[edit] Culture

Movies filmed partially or wholly on Staten Island include The Godfather; Working Girl; War of the Worlds; Sorry, Wrong Number; Sisters; Splendor in the Grass; GoodFellas; Donnie Brasco; Shamus; School of Rock; Two Family House; He Knows You're Alone; Analyze This; Big Daddy; The Astronaut's Wife; Scent of a Woman; Toxic Avenger; and Easy Money. Also independent films The Atomic Space Bug (1999), Stairwell: Trapped In The World Trade Center (2002) and A Conversation With Norman (2005) were filmed on Staten Island and directed by Jonathan M. Parisen as well as Combat Shock (1986) and No Way Home (1996) by Staten Island director Buddy Giovinazzo.

The movie School of Rock starring Jack Black was filmed all over Staten Island, including Wagner College, St. George Theater, Cargo Cafe, etc.

In the movie, How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days, the character Ben takes Kate Hudson's character to visit his family on Staten Island.

The music video for the song "Papa Don't Preach" by Madonna was shot at various Staten Island locations, including Stapleton and a house on Ward Hill. Also, the "You Get What You Give" video by the New Radicals was partially filmed at the Staten Island Mall.

Television series shot partially or wholly on Staten Island include The Education of Max Bickford and The Book of Daniel.

Fox and WB sitcom Grounded for Life is about a family living in Staten Island.

Banishment to Staten Island was once a common threat in the New York City uniformed services, and is reflected in both film and television. In Arsenic and Old Lace an officer is threatened with walking a beat on Staten Island. On Law & Order, Detective Mike Logan (played by Chris Noth) is sent to Staten Island for punching a councilman. The title character in Barney Miller dreaded the thought of being transferred to Staten Island. On The Honeymooners Ralph resists being reassigned to a Staten Island bus route. And Denis Leary's character, Tommy Gavin, on Rescue Me also does time working in a firehouse on Staten Island. This theme was also used on other TV shows such as The Odd Couple, Car 54 Where Are You?, Welcome Back Kotter, Sex in the City, Seinfeld, All in the Family and even the Andy Griffith Show.

Staten Island is home to a surprising variety of museums: the Alice Austen House Museum, the Conference House, the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, Historic Richmond Town, Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, the John Noble Collection, Sandy Ground Historical Museum, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the Staten Island Children's Museum, and the Staten Island Museum. It has also been selected to become the future site of the National Lighthouse Museum.

[edit] Sports

[edit] Notable residents

[edit] Education

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.

The College of Staten Island is one of four "hybrid colleges" of the City University of New York (CUNY). The college offers both associate's and bachelor's degrees, hence it is a "hybrid" of a traditional four-year college and a two-year community college. The College of Staten Island is one of two such CUNY colleges which also offers graduate-level study.

Wagner College is a coeducational private liberal arts college with an enrollment of 1,900 undergraduates and 400 graduate students. The college is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Known for the Wagner Plan for the Practical Liberal Arts, which emphasizes academic course work coupled with real world experience, the college was awarded the TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award in 2005 for its first year program. Wagner was recently declared by the Princeton Review as having the best college theater in the nation. Many successful performers are alumni of Wagner's department of Theatre and Dance including Randy Graff and Kathy Brier.

St. John's University has a campus on Staten Island. It is a private, coeducational Roman Catholic university.

Twelve branches of the New York Public Library serve the borough. The Library offers free computer instruction and English classes for speakers of other languages.

See also: Education in New York City

[edit] Sources

[edit] References

<references />

[edit] External links

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Neighborhoods in the New York City Borough of Staten Island
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