SI Info

Bullets about Staten Island History

Our population has grown steadily since 1964 when the Verrazano Narrows Bridge was built. I plan to find a census prior to 1964 to show some comparisons.

Our landfill – Fresh Kills was open for fifty three years, and closed in 2001. The intention now is to make that park area. Islanders know that is now sacred ground since September 11, but that fact was not readily available on the web.

Like most places in New York, our name has a history attributed to our first settlers. We were originally called Staaten Eylandt. It is Dutch. It was named after Staten-Generaal, the Dutch Parliament by Henry Hudson. Every time the Dutch tried to come over from Manhattan to the Island, the local tribes sent them back. In 1661, the first permanent settlement was set up. We lost our Dutch spelling in 1667 when England made us part of the colony of New York.

In 1683, New York was divided up into counties and the Island became Richmond County. That name is said to come from the illegitimate son of King Charles II.

The English divided the Island into divisions based on natural features. These were the West, North and Shore divisions, plus a central section where the governor lived. These later became Northfield, Southfield, Westfield and Castleton. In the years following more separates were made dividing the land into farms and estates. We became Richmond Town in 1729.

The American Revolution had significant events take place on Staten Island. It is believed the British Government were first notified of the Declaration of Independence on Staten Island. The Island was being used as a strategic location for staging an attack on New York City.

The British wanted the Americans to withdraw the Declaration of Independence during the war. On September 11, 1776, they met at the Conference House in Tottenville, with a delegation of Americans including Ben Franklin and John Adams. The Americans refused the withdrawal.

The end of slavery was celebrated on Staten Island at the Swan Hotel in West Brighton. The celebration lasted two days.

At one point, New Brighton was the summer home of President Lincoln.

In 1898, Richmond became one of the five boroughs of the City of Greater New York.

Development of the Borough began to take off in 1964 when the Verrazano Narrows was build. The traffic into Staten Island and through the Island changed relationships in New Jersey, New York City and Long Island.

In the 1980’s there were thoughts of secession from New York City.

Down in the Stapleton area, there was a base for the Navy in the 80’s. This same section was slated to become a movie studio in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Now the same waterfront property is slated to become a new neighborhood at some point.

In September 2001, Staten Island lost 267 members of the community in the attacks on the World Trade Center. A significant number of those people were civil servants who there trying to rescue people evacuating the buildings.

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.

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.

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.

Staten Island differs from the other four boroughs in our political views. It tends to be the Republican borough. Our registered voters seem to be in the Democratic Party more so than the Republican, but the vote usually goes to the Republican candidates.

The North Shore is home to a more liberal group of voters whereas the South Shore holds more conservative voters.

35% of the households have children under 18 with 55% of them being married couples.

It is widely thought that Italian Americans make up most of the population. According to the 2000 Census, they make up roughly 45%. For those of you following the math here, that is less than half. Granted, they are the largest single group, with Irish trailing a distant second at just over 14%. Also, that is the largest grouping of Italians in any United States Neighborhood in general. That does say a lot, but it still doesn’t make the Island mostly Italian. It is less than half.

Now think about this, how many people do you know on this Island who are half Italian and half Irish? I want to know which they were counted as and how off the above numbers are.

Whites make up almost 78%, whereas in the entire New York City area, whites are only 45%. Our black population was at 10%, Hispanic at 12%, Asian at 6%, and Native American at less than .25%, and Others at over 14%.

We had 443,728 people in 2000. There were over 8 million in New York City. We are about 5-6% of the city.

Since 2000, the populations of certain nationalities, is on the rise. Russians communities are growing in the South Shore. We have Polish and Mexican growing on the North. I am sure Mid Island is up to something too, but I could not find information on that yet.

Wikipedia took the time to mention only two religions; Catholic and Judaism. This Island is Catholic for the most part. The Jewish community is smaller than the other boroughs, but large compared to neighborhoods outside of New York City.

The 2010 census should be interesting.