Staten Island is the third largest borough in area but the least populous and least densely populated. It is the borough farthest removed from Manhattan, separated at its closest point by a five-mile stretch of water. The world-famous Staten Island Ferry covers the distance in 25 minutes.
Visitors who venture beyond the ferry terminal will be pleasantly surprised to find Staten Island is home to dozens of spectacular beaches (Gateway National Recreation Area); an authentic Colonial village (Historic Richmond Town) with buildings dating from the 17th century; Tibetan art treasures in a replica of a Buddhist mountain temple (Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art); America’s first classical Chinese Scholar’s Garden (Snug Harbor Cultural Center); plus breathtaking panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, and the New York harbor from the oldest, continually staffed, military site in the United States (Fort Wadsworth). Plan to spend a day in the New York City Borough even most New Yorkers don’t really know! You won’t be disappointed.
Staten Island Places of Interest:
Alice Austen House
2 Hylan Boulevard at Edgewater Street 1-718-816-4506
18th Century cottage with panoramic view of New York Harbor: once the home of pioneer documentary photographer Alice Austen (1866-1952). Now a museum displaying her works and period furnishings. The house is open all year (except January, February and major holidays). Thursday through Sunday 12:00pm – 5:00pm. The grounds are open every day until dusk. A suggested donation of $2.00 per person helps support the museum.
Bus: S51 to Hylan Boulevard (15 minute ride). Walk one block east to water and house.
7455 Hylan Boulevard 1-718-984-6046
This National Historic Landmark was built in 1680. Also known as the Billop House, the home features furnishings from the Colonial era in a setting of great natural beauty. The Conference House was the site of a revolutionary war era peace conference on September 11, 1776. The meeting between Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Edward Rutledge and Lord Howe proved unsuccessful. The New York City Parks Department manages the grounds and is currently building a new waterfront pavilion and developing a master plan for the entire site.
Bus: S59, S78
Chinese Scholar’s Garden
1000 Richmond Terrace 1-718-273-8200
This first classical Chinese garden in America was completed in 1999. Every plant was grown and imported from China. Every stone and all the building materials were imported from China. A team of Chinese builders and landscapers carefully assembled the garden at Snug Harbor Cultural Center. You enter the garden through the gift shop (the last Victorian Cottage on Cottage Row). Open Tues – Sun 10am – 4pm. Closed Monday.
Bay Street 1(718) 354-4500
Located at end of Bay Street, adjacent to the Verrazano Bridge. Now a National Park, part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. Fort Wadsworth is one of the oldest military installations in the United States. The new visitor center provides background information about the site’s history and strategic location in New York Harbor. Self-guided and ranger-led tours of the historic fortifications are available.
420 Tompkins Avenue 1(718) 442-1608
A museum that was once the home of Antonio Meucci, who helped develop the telephone, and Giusseppe Garibaldi, a great Italian revolutionary. Features period rooms, historic telephone models and documents.
Bus: S52. S78
Gateway National Recreation Area
A 26,000 acre recreation area located in the heart of the New York metropolitan area. The park extends through three New York City boroughs (Queens, Brooklyn & Staten Island) and into northern New Jersey. Park sites offer a variety of recreation opportunities, along with a chance to explore many significant cultural and natural resources.
Bus: S4, S5, S6, S7, S8, S51, S52, S76, S81
Historic Richmond Town
441 Clarke Avenue 1(718) 351-1611
New York City’s living history village and museum complex is comprised of more than 25 homes and public buildings, including the Voorlezer’s House, a National Landmark building dated to the 1690s, The Third County Courthouse from 1837, and PS 28, built in 1907, together recreating the history of over 300 years of continuous residence on Staten Island. Special programs feature participatory activities of interest to visitors of all ages.
Bus: S74. Or take SI Railway to Great Kills, then S54.
Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
338 Lighthouse Ave 1(718)987-3500
The only one of its kind in the United States, featuring exhibits, sculptures, paintings, ritual objects, and musical instruments from Tibet and other Asian countries. The hilltop museum is designed to resemble a Himalayan Temple with an authentic alter that the Dalai Lama prayed at during his first visit here in 1991.
Bus: S74. Or take SI Railway to Great Kills, then S54.
Take a self-guided walking tour of St. George the moment you step off the ferry. See Borough Hall’s restored interior and WPA-era murals. Stroll along the beautifully landscaped Ballpark Esplanade or on the graceful Richmond Terrace Esplanade for the spectacular views of New York Harbor.
Snug Harbor Cultural Center
1000 Richmond Terrace 1-718-448-2500
1(718) 815-SNUG (7684) – tickets
One of New York City’s most unexpected and extraordinary destinations is located on the north shore of Staten Island, just minutes from the Staten Island Ferry. Snug Harbor is a cultural center set within an 83-acre National Historic Landmark district containing the finest collection of Greek Revival buildings in the United States, plus Beaux Arts, Italianate and Victorian style architecture. Each building has individual merit, but the harmonious effect of twenty-six historic buildings set in acres of parkland is wholly remarkable. Snug Harbor exists today because of the tireless efforts of citizens to save it from destruction a generation ago, and then to transform the deteriorated buildings of a seamen’s retirement home into a center for the arts.
Father Capadanno Blvd. & Sand Lane 1(718)816-6804
Sunbathers flock to this huge beach. During the summer the Borough President’s Office sponsors free concerts & fireworks displays. A beautiful view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and lower New York Bay can be seen from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk. The boardwalk is 7,500 feet long – the fourth largest in the world. The new Dolphin Fountain is located at the Sand Lane entrance. A playground, bocce courts, roller hockey rink, shuffleboard, ballfields, and picnic areas are located here.
Staten Island Botanical Garden
1000 Richmond Terrace 1(718) 273-8200
Located at Snug Harbor Cultural Center. The garden is 83 acres of natural woodlands and wetlands with a wide variety of formal gardens with water features, statuary and a new conservatory. Highlights include the newly opened Connie Gretz Secret Garden, modeled after the children’s classic, and The New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden – the only authentic garden of its kind in the country.
Staten Island Zoo
614 Broadway 1(718) 442-3101
The Zoo contains one of the Nation’s most celebrated collections of reptiles, as well as an aquarium, a tropical forest, an African Savannah and popular children’s farmyard.
Bus: S48, S53
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