NEW YORK CITY, 6 September 2023 — New York City Tourism + Conventions, New York City’s official destination marketing organization and convention and visitor’s bureau for the five boroughs of New York City, invites Southeast Asia visitors alike to Staten Island Like a New Yorker as part of the organization’s Get Local NYC initiative.
Staten Island, a well-known borough among budget travelers, for a great view of the Liberty Statue by taking a free ferry from the Battery Park, Manhattan.
For experienced travelers, New York City’s southernmost borough is filled with historic attractions, beach views and global dining options—all just a ferry ride away.
History buffs will want to see the Conference House, where Ben Franklin and John Adams tried to broker peace with the British in 1776. Visitors can also see the farm where Frederick Law Olmsted experimented with landscaping before designing Central Park; and Historic Richmond Town, a village dating to the late 17th century.
Baseball fans will want to catch a game with the FerryHawks while enjoying stupendous views of the Manhattan skyline across New York Harbor. Shopaholics will love the Empire Outlets, New York City’s first and only outlet shopping mall.
Kids will love the Staten Island Zoo and Children’s Museum.
Other unique points of interest on Staten Island include the Chinese Scholar’s Garden at Snug Harbor; the National Lighthouse Museum; and the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art.
Admirers of the Catholic activist Dorothy Day, who devoted her life to serving the poor, can pay respects at her gravesite and explore the remnants of the bungalow beach community where she lived.
“Staten Island is home to an incredible variety of historical sites, attractions for families, cultural enclaves, and beautiful areas to enjoy nature, whether biking, birdwatching, or relaxing on a quiet beach,” said New York City Toursim + Conventions President and CEO Fred Dixon.
Staten Island has more than 60 neighborhoods scattered across 60 square miles. It is more suburban than most of NYC, with the fewest residents of any of the five boroughs (population 500,000). It also has the highest percentage of people who own their own homes (66%) and the fewest tall buildings (20 stories is as high as it gets on Staten Island).
Here are details on some of the Island’s attractions, restaurants and places to shop, organized by location.
Take the ferry to St. George and enjoy views of the Manhattan skyline from the North Shore Waterfront Esplanade. Look for Postcards, a stirring memorial to the 275 Staten Islanders who perished on September 11, 2001. The National Lighthouse Museum is walking distance from the ferry, as is the ballpark where the minor-league FerryHawks baseball team plays. Go for the views as much as for the game, hot dogs and beer. Or choose from more than 70 types of beer at the Flagship Brewing Co., less than a mile away.
Next to the ferry terminal is the City’s only outlet shopping mall, Empire Outlets. Stores include Nordstrom Rack, Patterns & Dots, Cotton On, Lids, Nike, Banana Republic, Gap, H&M, Old Navy, Parfum Europa, Samsonite, iOptics and Guess. The mall’s inviting outdoor spaces, fun food trucks and waterfront vistas make it a great place to spend the afternoon. Don’t miss Clinton Hall, an airy outdoor bar on an upper level with swings and games like Jenga and cornhole. On-site stores can validate parking passes for the mall’s indoor parking lot.
The nearby St. George Theatre opened in 1929 as a grand movie-and-vaudeville house. It has been used as a location for movies like The School of Rock and TV shows like Gossip Girl. The theater has hosted everyone from Al Jolson to Jerry Seinfeld. Shows scheduled for 2022 included Melissa Etheridge and Paul Anka.
Dining options in the area include Pier 76 (go for the thin-crust pizza) and Enoteca Maria, which features real grandmothers’ cooking from their native cuisine on a rotating schedule. For those into classic comic books, Hypno-Tronic Comics is a must.
WEST NEW BRIGHTON, WEST BRIGHTON AND RANDALL MANOR
The Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden is about two miles north of the ferry terminal along the island’s North Shore in the West New Brighton neighborhood (20 minutes via the S40, S44 or S46 bus lines). Snug Harbor was founded in the 19th century as a retirement home for sailors; five of its original Greek Revival buildings are city landmarks. The complex includes a concert hall, the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, the Staten Island Museum, the Noble Maritime Collection and 14 themed gardens. Among the most popular attractions are the Chinese Scholar’s Garden and the Staten Island Children’s Museum.
The Staten Island Zoo, about two miles from Snug Harbor, is home to Staten Island Chuck, a groundhog called upon every Groundhog Day to forecast whether spring will come early. The zoo’s collection also includes sheep, goats, leopards, lemurs, meerkats and sloths, but it’s best-known for its snakes, including one of the country’s most complete collections of rattlesnakes.
Also nearby are Clove Lakes Park, Silver Lake Park, the Silver Lake Golf Course and the Italian Cultural Foundation at Casa Belvedere, which hosts exhibitions, cooking classes, sunset yoga, festivals, live performances and more. Egger’s Ice Cream Parlor is a mile from the zoo on Forest Avenue, where it’s been serving up sweet treats since 1964. The legendary Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices has several locations, including the original on Port Richmond Avenue; be prepared to wait on a line stretching down the block.
Historic Richmond Town tells the story of 350 years of life on Staten Island. Richmond Town was the original county seat for Staten Island (which is also known as Richmond County). Its preserved sites include a courthouse, church, jail, tavern, cemetery and homes. Visitors can take guided tours, interact with costumed interpreters and see demonstrations of crafts and skills like blacksmithing. Programming includes concerts and festivals. Decker Farm, which dates to 1810 and is considered NYC’s oldest continuously working family farm, is a mile away.
Nearby Richmond Town are the Greenbelt Nature Center, High Rock Park and La Tourette Park. Just south of La Tourette in the Great Kills section is Atrium Stadium Cinemas, which hosted Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson for a screening of House of Gucci. North of La Tourette is the Staten Island Mall.
Tottenville is located on Staten Island’s southwestern tip, as far from the ferry as any point on the island (but reachable via the Staten Island Railway). It’s worth the trek, especially for anyone interested in American history.
The Conference House, a grand stone manor house built in 1680, is the second-oldest building in New York City. It’s named for a peace conference held there on September 11, 1776, just a few months after the start of the Revolutionary War between England and the American colonies. Founding Fathers John Adams and Ben Franklin met with King George’s representative, Lord Richard Howe, but the Americans were only authorized to negotiate terms that included independence for the colonies, and the British would not concede that point.
Also in Tottenville: Staten Island’s favorite beer hall, Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn, and the elegant Italian dining spot Angelina’s Ristorante, which has seen a surge in popularity since you-know-who stopped by—Kim Kardashian.
GETTING THERE AND GETTING AROUND
Two ferry services connect Manhattan and Staten Island. There’s a free ferry from the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Lower Manhattan (take the R train to Whitehall, the 4 or 5 to Bowling Green, or the 1 to South Ferry), or take a NYC Ferry ($2.75) from either of two Manhattan departure points: Midtown West/Pier 79 (near West 39th Street) and Battery Park City (follow Vesey Street west to the river in Lower Manhattan). Both ferries dock at the St. George terminal on the Staten Island side. From there, it’s a short walk to the Empire Outlets mall, the St. George Theatre and the FerryHawks baseball stadium.
From the ferry terminal, visitors can catch buses to any number of attractions, pick up taxis or rideshares, or even hop on the Staten Island Railway, an aboveground train that runs from St. George on the island’s North Shore all the way to Tottenville on the South Shore. The same MetroCard used on subways and buses in NYC’s other boroughs works for buses and the railway on Staten Island. Contactless credit/debit cards and digital payments (like Apple Pay) are also accepted.
By car, visitors can reach Staten Island via one of four bridges: the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connecting the island to Brooklyn, or the Bayonne Bridge, Goethals Bridge or Outerbridge Crossing, which links the island to New Jersey.
Express buses run to Staten Island from Manhattan and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
For further information on exploring Staten Island, New York City Tourism + Conventions, New York City’s official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau for the five boroughs of New York City, invites locals and visitors alike to Staten Island Like a New Yorker as part of the organization’s Get Local NYC initiative.
For further information on exploring Staten Island, visit here.