The Metropolis: Must-sees in Staten Island

Like most of New York City, the land now known as Staten Island was originally occupied by Native Americans. The Hackensack and Raritan tribes of the Lenape lived in the region since the year 1,000 (by most accounts).

Although the Italian Giovanni da Verrazano—and later the English Henry Hudson—passed through the Narrows (the tidal strait that separates Staten Island from Brooklyn), it was the Dutch that named the area “Staaten Eyelandt”, eventually establishing a fur trading post there.

Following bloody conflicts between the Dutch and Native Americans—and English occupation—Staten Island become a New York City borough in 1898.

Today, Staten Island is home to only 500,000 residents—making it the least populated borough in New York. Its 12,300 acres of protected land have earned it the nickname “the greenest borough.”

Staten Island Ferry

Start your Staten Island adventure with an unforgettable boat ride. From Manhattan, take the Staten Island Ferry from Whitehall Ferry Terminal in lower Manhattan to St. Georges Terminal in Staten Island. Along the 25-minute ride, you’ll see some of the most gorgeous views of New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, downtown Manhattan, Governor’s Island, Ellis Island, Brooklyn Heights, and the Brooklyn Bridge (in the distance).

This historic ferry service originally began in the 1800s, and is the only non-vehicular way to travel between the boroughs of Staten Island and Manhattan. Only foot traffic and bicycles are allowed on the ferry. It runs 24 hours a day, every day, and—being absolutely free—gets extremely crowded during rush hour. Off-peak times and evenings are perfect for a relaxing, scenic excursion.

Grab a snack, beverage—even a beer—on board, or wait to get to the newly renovated St. Georges Ferry Terminal—featuring several eateries, food specialty shops, and a spacious outdoor pavilion.

When you are ready, head out to explore the rest of Staten Island.

Esplanade & Postcards September 11th Memorial

From the Staten Island ferry, take a short stroll along the Esplanade to the first memorial in New York City to be erected after 9/11.

Postcards September 11th Memorial is a serene and awe-inspiring monument which memorializes the 275 Staten Island residents who perished in the 9/11 attacks.

Two enormous “postcards” have been erected which contain the names and work locations of each fallen Staten Islander that perished on that fateful day. Looking out from the site over to Manhattan, your view is purposefully focused where the twin towers originally stood.

National Lighthouse Museum

American lighthouse heritage and history is alive and well at the National Lighthouse Museum. On the former site of the United States Lighthouse Service’s (USLHS) General Depot, the circa 1912 foundry building serves as home to the museum.

In 1799, prior to the construction of Ellis Island, the site was the location of “The Quarantine,” a.k.a. New York Marine Hospital. This is where sickly immigrants suspected of carrying smallpox, cholera, typhus or yellow fever were temporarily segregated to help stop the spread of these infectious diseases to the general public.

Today, the museum chronicles the evolution, purpose, and historical significance of lighthouses throughout American history—featuring exhibits, historical artifacts, presentations and various collections.

Other highlights include a glimpse at the lonely life of lighthouse keepers, seasonal Lighthouse Boat Tours, festivals, lectures, and more.

Alice Austen House

Alice Austen spent a lifetime photographing images that inspired and moved her. Being a professional female photographer in the 1800s was an accomplishment in and of itself. However, it was her images of New York’s street life, immigrants, nature, and spiritualism that made her famous—and have stood the test of time.

Located in the Rosebank section of Staten Island, Alice Austen House serves as a museum of this remarkable woman’s work along with some contemporary photography, and is also a summer photography camp for children.

Also known as Clear Comfort, Austen’s seaside home has a storied past. It was built in the 1690s, had several noteworthy residents prior to Austen, and now is on the National Register of Historic Places. Legends of midnight hauntings add to the allure of this stately home and beautifully-manicured grounds which imitate some of Austen’s photographs.

St. George Theatre

Located in the historic St. George neighborhood of Staten Island, the St. George Theatre is a magnificent example of a gilded movie palace and vaudevillian theatre from a bygone era.

Opened in 1929, the 1900-seat St. George Theatre features a lavish Spanish and Italian Baroque-style interior with breathtaking stained-glass chandeliers, a grand winding staircase, gorgeous oversized paintings and murals, a Wurlitzer organ, and one of the largest cantilevered, ornate balconies ever constructed.

The theatre offers a wide variety of entertainment, including some of the biggest names in music and comedy today, live theatrical productions, movies, events, community outreach programs, and its widely popular St. George Theatre Christmas Show.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden

Snug Harbor is an 83-acre pastoral setting originally established in the 19th century as a restful haven for aging sailors. It grew to be a self-sustaining community of 900 residents from around the globe—featuring farms, gardens, dormitories, entertainment halls, a dairy, a bakery, a hospital and more.

The architecture of the structures at Snug Harbor are varied: from Greek Revival and Renaissance Revival, to Beaux Arts, Italianate, High Victorian and Second Empire.

Today, these buildings and Snug Harbor itself has been transformed into a vibrant open space offering many attractions and resources for the public.

From wetlands, an urban farm, public parklands and a regional arts center, to beautiful botanical gardens, art galleries, museums, and educational centers, Snug Harbor is a Staten Island treasure.

Across the Pond

A return (and still free) ferry ride from Staten Island will have you back in Manhattan, and just a short way from The Marmara Park Avenue.

We hope you’ll let us spoil you with our unique brand of style and luxury. From our lavish accommodations, to our chic design elements, to our world-class wellness center, you will experience the best that New York has to offer.

Read why The Marmara Park Avenue is a place you can call your own in NYC.

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