Sheri Ledoux

Written by Sheri Ledoux

Published: 09 Jun 2024


Staten Island, often dubbed the "forgotten borough," holds a treasure trove of intriguing facts waiting to be uncovered. Did you know Staten Island is home to the largest landfill-to-park transformation in the world? Freshkills Park, once a massive landfill, is now a sprawling green space. Staten Island also boasts the oldest continually operating ferry service in the United States. The Staten Island Ferry has been shuttling passengers since 1817. Additionally, Staten Island is rich in history, with landmarks like the Conference House, where a peace conference was held during the American Revolution. Curious about more? Dive into these 23 great facts about Staten Island!

Table of Contents

Staten Island: A Hidden Gem

Often overshadowed by its bustling neighbors, Staten Island has a rich history, unique attractions, and fascinating facts that make it a hidden gem in New York City. Let's dive into some intriguing tidbits about this borough.

Historical Significance

Staten Island has played a crucial role in American history. Here are some historical facts that highlight its importance.

  1. Staten Island was originally inhabited by the Lenape Native Americans. They called the island "Aquehonga Manacknong," which means "the place of bad woods."

  2. In 1609, Henry Hudson was the first European to document Staten Island. He claimed it for the Dutch, naming it "Staaten Eylandt" after the Dutch parliament.

  3. During the American Revolution, Staten Island was a strategic location. British forces used it as a staging ground for their attack on Manhattan.

  4. The Conference House on Staten Island hosted a peace conference in 1776. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Edward Rutledge met with British representatives in a failed attempt to end the Revolutionary War.

Natural Wonders

Staten Island boasts an array of natural attractions that offer a peaceful escape from city life.

  1. The Greenbelt is one of the largest parks in New York City. It spans over 2,800 acres and includes forests, wetlands, and hiking trails.

  2. Staten Island is home to the Staten Island Greenbelt Conservancy. This organization works to preserve the island's natural beauty and promote environmental education.

  3. The Staten Island Bluebelt is an innovative stormwater management system. It uses natural drainage corridors to manage stormwater and reduce flooding.

  4. Freshkills Park is being developed on the site of a former landfill. Once completed, it will be nearly three times the size of Central Park.

Cultural Highlights

Staten Island has a vibrant cultural scene with unique attractions and events.

  1. The Staten Island Ferry offers stunning views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline. It's also free, making it a popular attraction for both locals and tourists.

  2. The Staten Island Museum is the oldest cultural institution on the island. It features exhibits on natural science, art, and local history.

  3. Historic Richmond Town is a living history village. Visitors can explore restored buildings and learn about life in the 17th and 18th centuries.

  4. The Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden is a must-visit. It includes museums, gardens, and performing arts spaces.

Unique Attractions

From quirky landmarks to hidden gems, Staten Island has plenty of unique attractions to explore.

  1. The Staten Island Boat Graveyard is a fascinating sight. It's home to dozens of abandoned ships, creating an eerie yet captivating scene.

  2. The Alice Austen House honors one of America's earliest female photographers. The museum showcases her work and offers beautiful views of New York Harbor.

  3. The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum celebrates Italian-American heritage. It honors the lives of inventor Antonio Meucci and revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi.

  4. The Staten Island Zoo is known for its extensive collection of reptiles. It also features a variety of other animals and educational programs.

Fun Facts

Staten Island has some quirky and fun facts that add to its charm.

  1. Staten Island is the least populated of New York City's five boroughs. This gives it a more suburban feel compared to its bustling counterparts.

  2. The island has its own minor league baseball team, the Staten Island Yankees. They play at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark, which offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline.

  3. Staten Island is home to the world's largest landfill-to-park project. Freshkills Park, once a landfill, is being transformed into a massive public park.

  4. The island has a rich maritime history. The National Lighthouse Museum celebrates this heritage with exhibits and educational programs.

  5. Staten Island has its own flag and seal. The flag features a blue background with a white seagull and the words "Borough of Staten Island."

  6. The island is known for its diverse culinary scene. From Italian to Sri Lankan cuisine, there's something for every palate.

  7. Staten Island has been the setting for several movies and TV shows. Notable examples include "The Godfather," "Goodfellas," and "The King of Staten Island."

Staten Island's Unique Charm

Staten Island's got a lot more than meets the eye. From its rich history to its natural beauty, this borough offers a unique blend of urban and suburban vibes. The Staten Island Ferry gives you stunning views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline, all for free. Historic Richmond Town takes you back in time, while the Greenbelt offers miles of hiking trails. Don't forget the Snug Harbor Cultural Center with its botanical gardens and museums. Whether you're a history buff, nature lover, or just looking for a new adventure, Staten Island's got something for everyone. So next time you're in New York City, hop on the ferry and explore this underrated gem. You'll be glad you did.

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