There’s a town in the southernmost region of New York State that is home to a Main Street lined with mom-and-pop shops, marshlands with native birds, open skies, bridle paths and very little traffic congestion. It might shock you to know this quaint town is part of bustling New York City. The town is called Tottenville in Staten Island.
There is a lot to see and do in Tottenville, as well as its surrounding neighborhoods of Richmond Valley and Charleston. The area is a wonderful destination for a day trip, whether you already live in Staten Island or are coming from out of town. The highlight of Tottenville is that its small-town feel will make you forget that you’re still, in fact, in New York City.
Tottenville has a traditional suburban charm that isn’t found in too many other parts of the city. Houses have sprawling yards, and many are big enough to outfit an in-ground pool. The local library and police station—the 123 NYPD Police Precinct—are housed in historic buildings, with other beautiful landmark buildings nearby. Many people who live here are native Staten Islanders. But others who live in Tottenville and nearby moved here because…they love it!
Here’s something for foodies: In addition to lots of natural land, parks and space, Tottenville and its nearby communities form a mecca that has arguably some of the best Italian restaurants in the city. There’s Angelina’s Ristorante, which is popular with the locals and offers amazing water-side views. DeLuca’s is another favorite, known for its beautiful ambiance and an extensive menu of culinary delights like penne vodka, gnocchi sorrentino and more. Of course, the neighborhood is packed with many other restaurants, pizza parlors and delis for appetites of all preferences to enjoy.
Tottenville is easy to spot on a Staten Island map since it’s located way down at the southern tip. The town is bounded on three sides by water, including the Arthur Kill and the New York Bight. Getting here might seem like a world away if you live in Staten Island’s North Shore or the rest of the city, but here’s some good news: It’s actually pretty accessible!
If you’re coming from Manhattan, just hop on the Staten Island Ferry, which docks in St. George, Staten Island, and make a direct connection to the Staten Island Railway. The entire train ride is about 14 miles. It seems long, but the train is completely outdoors, giving passengers great views of Staten Island towns along the way. Staten Island residents can also hop on the train (most stops are free!) or drive to Tottenville. A bonus about driving to Tottenville or anywhere on the island’s South Shore is that parking is—usually— pretty good.
Plan a Day Trip to Tottenville in Staten Island
As quiet and relaxed as the Tottenville, Richmond Valley and Charleston neighborhoods are, there is still plenty to see and do here. Families can visit an array of restaurants (like the ones mentioned earlier), museums and nature centers, do some shopping and more. Let’s take a deeper look at some neighborhood highlights!
Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve is nestled in Charleston. It’s a beautiful natural land, but even more than that, it can provide a soothing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Visiting this natural area will immerse you in tranquility. It’s a great place to unplug, leave your phone at home and explore 270 acres of forest land and five miles of hiking trails. And if you ride horses, there are also five miles of equestrian trails to enjoy. (NOTE: Horses are not available to rent.) The park is a wildlife lover’s delight, too. Along your adventure at Clay Pit, you might encounter friends such as white-tailed deer, groundhogs, squirrels, skunks and a variety of birds such as scarlet tanagers and other gorgeous species. 2351 Veterans Rd. W. Hours: year-round; daily, sunrise to sunset. The Interpretive Center, which has exhibits, classroom space, games and access to preserve trails, is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9am-4:30pm.
Here is a beautiful water-side museum that families and kids of all ages will enjoy. The Conference House was named for the unsuccessful Revolutionary War peace conference that was held here on September 11, 1776, between the Americans and the English. Today, the museum is a National Historic Landmark and New York City Landmark.
Families can visit the Conference House and Conference House Park to learn about this time in American history. In addition, the park is set on 265 acres and offers scenic views of Raritan Bay. The park’s sprawling lawns make it a lovely spot for a spring or summer picnic. Other highlights include a playground, hiking trails and bike trails for families to enjoy. 7455 Hylan Blvd. See the website for hours of operation and admission rates.
This is Staten Island’s newest library. It opened in March 2022. After exploring Tottenville, stop by the library to sit down and enjoy a good book. Voracious readers will love the library’s extensive book collection, which features approximately 20,000 covers. There’s even more to check out here than just great reads. The 10,000-square-foot library has computers, a children’s room, a teen room with lounge space, on-site programs and more for the community to enjoy. 225 Bricktown Way. Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10am-7pm; Friday-Saturday, 10am-5pm.
You can also visit the Tottenville Library, which has public computers and children’s, young adult and adult collections. 7430 Amboy Rd. Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11am-6pm; Friday and Saturday, 10am-5pm.
Located in nearby Rossville, the Sandy Ground Historical Museum is dedicated to the oldest continuously inhabited free Black settlement in the United States. The museum interprets the history of Sandy Ground using traditional exhibits and guided tours of the museum, music, arts and crafts, film, ethnic foods and lectures to the community, and civic and cultural groups. Visit the website for information about tours.
If you’re looking to get some quick shopping done without dealing with mall crowds, the Charleston Shopping Center is a great choice/ Popular retailers here include Target, Ulta Beauty, Christmas Tree Shops, Petco, Michael’s and more. You can also take in a movie at the Regal Bricktown Charleston, located in the shopping center.
For more information about Tottenville and other South Shore towns on Staten Island, visit the Staten Island Community Board 3 website at https://www1.nyc.gov/site/statenislandcb3/index.page. You can also follow the community board on Facebook.
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