Staten Island received some long overdue respect as Curbed dedicated a whole week of coverage to the borough during our first ever Staten Island Week. We took a deep dive, exploring everything from real estate, architecture, history, new developments, and so much more. It was a lot to debunk and proved to be a learning experience but what’s best of all is that many people realized the outlying borough isn’t half bad.
In case you’ve missed out, here is what was covered:
In the coming years, the borough’s North Shore will undergo a massive transformation, with the arrival of one of the world’s tallest observation wheels; the city’s first outlet mall, Empire Outlets; and hundreds of new apartments.
But the North Shore isn’t the only part of the borough undergoing major changes: In the center of the island, what was once the world’s largest landfill is slowly becoming the 2,200-acre Freshkills Park. The largely neglected New York City Farm Colony and Sea View Hospital campuses are being turned into new developments targeted towards seniors. And a massive planned rezoning effort could bring 2,500 new apartments to the borough in the next decade or more.
See all the new developments mapped here.
Staten Island isn’t likely to follow the same patterns of change as New York’s other outer boroughs. Unlike Brooklyn or Queens—or even a place like Jersey City, where an influx of new developments has elevated prices by 14 percent in the past year—the borough has long operated independently from the Manhattan market. Some would argue it’s been outright ignored by the New York real estate market.
But the borough has a dearth of larger multi-unit residential buildings, especially condos. For those looking to buy an apartment, things get trickier—and very competitive. “It’s not so much that people can’t afford apartments; it’s that we don’t have enough of them,” Prendamano says.
Though you tend to hear about it less often than the other boroughs, Staten Island has a colorful history all its own—including the fact that it once overwhelmingly voted to secede from the city, among other momentous occasions. (That vote proved unsuccessful, of course.)
To get a better understanding of where things are at on the island now, it helps to know its past—thus, this brief history of Staten Island, from the first Dutch settlers (who arrived in the 17th century) to a new breed of 21st-century residents, drawn to recent developments like Urby. While it’s impossible to include every big moment, these are some of the ones that have shaped the borough as it is today.
Legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright was not exactly shy with his opinions, and when it came to the subject of New York City, he could be especially salty.
It’s hardly surprising, then, that Wright designed only a few New York City commissions throughout his career—and of those, just two survive. One is, of course, the famed Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue...
Wright’s other New York City commission also came late in his career, and can still be seen in its original location—though to do so, you’d have to travel to Lighthouse Hill in Staten Island. And alas, the building isn’t open to the public; the Crimson Beech, as it’s known, has been a neighborhood fixture since 1959, but it’s currently in use as a private residence.
For better or worse, many New Yorkers don't generally think of Staten Island as an architectural destination. But the borough is actually home to a rich variety of fascinating buildings, from stately Greek Revival edifices to a haunted Victorian mansion to a Frank Lloyd Wright original. Here, we’ve collected some of the island’s architectural gems.
When you think of New York City’s most expensive homes, Staten Island doesn’t immediately come to mind—and indeed, Manhattan and Brooklyn surpass the borough by a large margin. Where Staten Island does have a leg up, however, is space—and its priciest homes reflect this, with huge lots and copious amenities.
Many of the properties on this list come with swimming pools or private beaches, and one, in fact, comes with its own private lake—and all of that, in most cases, can be purchased for under $4 million. (Can you say the same for Manhattan?)
Out on the North Shore of Staten Island, an abandoned train line is slowly rotting away. Its coastal tracks have collapsed into the water, its elevated stations are covered in vines and rust, and homeless camps have taken over its flooded cuts. Unused for over 25 years, much of its route has slowly become a verdant forest, laced with narrow footpaths, hidden vistas, and thickets of poison ivy.
However, a recent design competition has brought new attention to the old railway, where a local group hopes to create a High Line-style park along an elevated section of the tracks.
As the borough’s population has grown over the past few decades, demographics have quietly shifted. Now, Staten Island is home to thriving immigrant communities with residents from Liberia, Mexico, and Sri Lanka. Many of these new residents have settled in neighborhoods along the borough’s North Shore, building bustling enclaves with restaurants, shops, cultural centers, and other businesses.
Below, meet some of these residents and find out how they’re putting their own stamp on Staten Island.
Freshkills Park, once the world’s largest landfill, is now being transformed into a massive public park that will be almost three times bigger than Central Park when it is complete sometime in the late 2030s. Since 2006, when a master plan for the onetime dump on Staten Island was approved, the city’s Park Departments has been gradually shepherding the conversion.
By 2020, a small stretch of Staten Island’s North Shore will vie to attract day-trippers and city tourists. The goal is to lure Staten Islanders and other New Yorkers alike to its new rental and condo properties in a way that may seem implausible, given the borough’s reputation as a separate entity within the city.
But the North Shore of the so-called forgotten borough is already well on its way: Nearly $2 billion of public and private real estate funding is being funneled into a roughly one and a half mile stretch surrounding the Staten Island Ferry terminal, where new hotels, rentals, restaurants, shops, and, no less important, the world’s tallest Ferris Wheel are being constructed at this moment.
[W]e asked real estate research firm NeighborhoodX to train its focus on Staten Island to see how various neighborhoods on the island stack up—and the numbers show that when it comes to real estate prices, Staten Island is hardly one-size-fits-all.
For more Staten Island Week coverage, click here.