Throw in Staten Island’s relatively small population, it is the least populated of the five boroughs, and you have an area that combines big-city living with a wonderful suburban feel. The borough has its own rail system, and the Staten Island Ferry provides both free and easy transportation to Lower Manhattan.
Attractions offer something for everyone. The Staten Island Mall, with 200 stores; historic Richmond Town, a village showcasing Colonial-era life, from quilting to blacksmithing; the Staten Island Yankees minor-league baseball team, and the Greenbelt, a system of nature trails and wetlands that encompasses the entire island. The Staten Island Zoo in West Brighton charms kids with a massive collection of rattlesnakes, and pizza lovers can spend days arguing the merits of Denino’s versus Joe and Pat’s. In a class by itself is Snug Harbor, an old sailors’ home that now houses a music hall, a children’s museum, and several gardens including a 9/11 memorial and the only existing classical Chinese garden in the U.S. If you’re looking for a neighborhood with a more urban feel, consider living in St. George on Staten Island’s North Shore, which has some apartment rentals with wonderful views of Manhattan along with easy access to the ferry. The South Shore of Staten Island, meanwhile, has both houses and condos, some in waterfront areas still served by mom-and-pop shops. Popular in the summer but not too crowded is Staten Island’s recently restored boardwalk, which runs around sunny South Beach.