Staten Islanders often talk about the North and South Shores of their hometown borough. But there’s a section of the island that is sometimes overlooked when it comes to family fun: Mid Island! This central part of the borough is the heart of Staten Island. From playgrounds to shopping and everything in between, there are lots of things for families to enjoy in Staten Island’s Mid Island neighborhoods.
Staten Island’s Mid Island Neighborhoods
While there are many wonderful areas on both the North and South Shores of Staten Island, there’s also plenty of great places in between. The center section of Staten Island, usually referred to as Mid-Island, comprises communities like Travis, New Springville, Heartland Village, Graniteville, Bloomfield, Richmondtown, New Dorp, Oakwood, Bay Terrace, Willowbrook, Bulls Head and parts of Sunnyside and Todt Hill. Within these charming residential towns are lots of venues and activities for families to enjoy.
The centerpiece of Staten Island’s Mid Island neighborhoods is The Greenbelt, a NYC flagship park that comprises almost 3,000 acres of land. The natural elements found here are quite plentiful and include forests, wetlands, lakes, ponds and streams.
The Greenbelt is a major attraction for Staten Islanders. Not only is it a nature lover’s delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, but there are plenty of activities for families to enjoy. Destinations within The Greenbelt include High Rock Environmental Center and Greenbelt Headquarters, Greenbelt Nature Center, William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge, Willowbrook Park, La Tourette Park and Golf Course, lots of natural areas in between and so much more. Hikers, runners and cyclists enjoy utilizing the lengthy trails weaving through the rural land every day.
The Greenbelt Conservancy, located in High Rock Park at 200 Nevada Ave., supports and cares for The Greenbelt’s parks and open space through education, conservation, research and prudent recreation. Learn more at sigreenbelt.org.
The Carousel for All Children
At the center of Staten Island’s Greenbelt lies a hidden gem kids adore: The Carousel for All Children. Located in Willowbrook Park, this Victorian-style, fully accessible carousel pays homage to its hometown borough, displaying hand-painted renderings of Staten Island landmarks. It also features 51 hand-carved wooden figures of mythical creatures, endangered species and traditional carousel horses. Carousel for All Children: 2 Eton Pl., Staten Island. $2.50 for a single ride. 20-ride voucher is $45.
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There’s a place in Staten Island where you can step back in time to America’s colonial era. It’s a place where you see history come alive through architecture, period costumes, live-action trade demonstrations and so much more. This charming place is called Historic Richmond Town.
Historic Richmond Town is a living history village located in one of Staten Island’s Mid Island neighborhoods, called Richmondtown. Everyone who visits this historic village gets immersed in fascinating local history, art and culture. It’s not only an educational place to visit, but a fun one, too! There’s something for everyone to enjoy and discover at Historic Richmond Town. It provides a day-long itinerary packed with family fun and learning! Highlights of Historic Richmond Town include:
- Open Village (seasonal)
- Historical Museum
- Guided Tours
- Dining options: Main Street Coffee and Egger’s Ice Cream Parlor
Every September (usually on Labor Day), Historic Richmond Town hosts the Richmond County Fair, one of Staten Island’s biggest events. This year, the fair is Saturday, Sept. 3-Monday, Sept. 5. A mainstay on the Island for decades, the fair features games, rides, live music, food and so much more. It’s also a fundraiser that supports the village’s mission to preserve and share local history.
Historic Richmond Town: 441 Clarke Ave., Staten Island. 718-351-1611. historicrichmondtown.org.
Staten Island Mall
The Staten Island Mall is arguably the biggest shopping destination on the island. Open since 1973 and built on a former airport site, the mall has seen many expansions and makeovers over the years. Some of the newer stores and attractions include the AMC Theatre, Dave & Buster’s, Shake Shack and more.
But the mall isn’t just about shopping. It offers plenty of family friendly events and activities all year long, including the Staten Island Mall Spring Carnival, book-signing events at Barnes & Noble book store, holiday events including photos with Santa and the Bunny, arts and crafts shows and more.
Staten Island Mall. 2655 Richmond Ave., Staten Island. 718-761-6666.
Located on the former landfill site, this amazing park will be almost three times the size of Manhattan’s Central Park once it’s complete. The park is currently being built and is opening in phases through 2036. Two completed highlights of the park include:
Schmul Park: A neighborhood favorite that boasts sports courts and a fun playground that kids love!
New Springville Greenway: A bike path that winds along the eastern edge of Freshkills. You may have seen people biking on the path on your way to the mall, as it runs parallel to Richmond Avenue.
In addition to this natural outdoor recreational space, the Freshkills Park Alliance hosts a variety of events throughout the year so residents of Staten Island’s Mid Island neighbhorhoods, and everyone throughout the borough, can enjoy and get to know the park more. Learn more about events, the park’s progress and more at freshkillspark.org.
South Beach and Midland Beach
These Staten Island Mid Island neighborhoods run along the borough’s east shoreline and overlook Lower New York Bay. While some folks consider these areas part of the South Shore, we’ll discuss them here since they are part of Community Board 2, which covers Mid Island.
South Beach and Midland Beach come alive in summer! The Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk stretches through both areas. Beachgoers can lounge on the sand while enjoying a breathtaking view of the bay, jog along the boardwalk, play tennis, kayak and just enjoy the fresh air! (NOTE: During beach season, lifeguards are on duty daily, 10am-6pm. The Parks Dept. prohibits swimming when lifeguards are not on duty and in closed sections, which are marked with signs and/or red flags).
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