While Staten Island is known for its beautiful parks and natural areas, there’s a neighborhood on the borough’s North Shore that’s thriving with entertainment, shopping, historic architecture and so much more for NYC and Staten Island families to enjoy: St. George.
St. George is considered part of Staten Island’s downtown district. Borough Hall is based here, along with lots of other government buildings. Overlooking New York Harbor, St. George serves as a portal to the rest of Staten Island. It continues to go through a revitalization effort by local government and community stakeholders in an effort to boost its local economy while adding many more fun activities for residents to enjoy. Recent improvements to the area include the construction of the Empire Outlets and the new baseball park—but more on these attractions in just a bit!
St. George, Staten Island: A Brief History
Like much of Staten Island, St. George was inhabited by the Lenape Native Americans before it was colonized by the Dutch and British. Residential development began in the 1800s and there was even a summer resort here at one time! Many houses in the district were built in the late 1800s, reflecting this time period that gives the neighborhood a charming architectural appeal. Eventually, after ferry service to Manhattan began in 1905, the neighborhood really started to take shape with the construction of Borough Hall, the Richmond County Courthouse and other government buildings.
St. George saw a revival in the 1990s and well into the start of the 21st century. More families started moving in, as it was cheaper to live here than in other parts of the city. Through recent years, prominent structures we know today were created, including the Postcards 9/11 Memorial, and later on the National Lighthouse Museum, Empire Outlets and more.
While St. George has seen some ups and downs, the ongoing revival continues to benefit the area, according to residents, including Mary Sobiechowski, a local advocate of the neighborhood.
“The revitalization has been working,” Sobiechowski said. “Community groups are working together and have really helped. There are so many new restaurants, you can hear music and people laughing, you see children playing.”
What to See and Do in St. George, Staten Island
These days, there’s plenty to see and do in St. George on Staten Island. Families can easily spend a whole day in this historic neighborhood and not have a moment of boredom.
CHECK OUT | St. George Day Celebration
“People can spend a whole day in St. George,” Sobiechowski said. Kids will remember it, and that’s what you want. You want memorable days. And that’s what families can get here in St. George.”
So now let’s take a deeper look at some of the area’s top attractions–most of them walking distance to each other!
The first thing that comes to mind for most locals when discussing St. George is the famous Staten Island Ferry—the centerpiece of the neighborhood. It’s pretty much the birthright of every Staten Island and NYC kid to take a ride on this famous boat. The five-mile, 25-minute trip to Manhattan offers breathtaking views of New York Harbor. Have your camera ready, because throughout the ride, passengers get great views of NYC landmarks and areas of interest, including Governors Island, Ellis Island, and perhaps the most amazing view of all, the Statue of Liberty. As an added perk, there’s no charge for the ferry, so families get to see all this and more for free.
As interesting as St. George’s past is, the ferry has its own unique history. While official NYC ferry service from St. George to South Ferry, Manhattan, began in 1905, there have been boats ferrying people across that waterway for 100 years prior. Staten Island historian, Pat Salmon, shared some insight.
“1817 was the year that steam ferries began operating between Tompkinsville and Manhattan,” Salmon explained. “The St. George to South Ferry run was established by Erastus Wiman and the B&O Railroad in 1886.”
Every good waterfront destination needs a lighthouse museum—and St. George has one! After you hop off the ferry, a three-minute walk to the museum boasts scenic views of New York Harbor, after which you can explore Staten Island’s hidden lighthouse history and see some wonderful exhibits. 200 The Promenade at Lighthouse Point. Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-4pm. Admission: $7; $5 seniors; free for children 12 and younger.
This beautiful memorial honors the 263 Staten Island residents who tragically lost their lives in the 2001 and 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center. Nearby is another memorial to the Staten Island first responders who have died from exposure to toxic substances at the site of attacks in the aftermath of 9/11. Designed by architect Masayuki Sono, the memorial is a place of solemnity to honor and remember the victims of the attacks. The Postcards Memorial is located on Bank Street.
This is a must-see attraction for both kids and adults. First, it’s conveniently attached to the entrance of the ferry terminal, so it’s right there when you get off or on the boat! (BONUS: There’s also on-site parking for $5). This waterfront shopping district is the first outlet destination in New York City. Browse stores such as Natural Bath & Body, which has a DIY skin bar where you can make your own body sprays, scrubs and washes, and Vanity House Designs, where you find a unique gift to always remember your trip to St. George.
By the way—don’t think for a second kids won’t like it here because it’s too much shopping. There are big open spaces where kids play, lots of photo opportunities at the big EO (Empire Outlets) sign, and tons of kid-friendly events on a regular basis.
“The ferry being at Empire Outlets—the kids love it,” Sobiechowski said. “It’s a fun place.”
Of course, no shopping outlet is complete without some big-name retailers on site. At Empire Outlets, these include Nordstrom Rack, Old Navy, Banana Republic Factory and many more. There’s also Clinton Hall, an onsite beer garden and restaurant. 55 Richmond Terr. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10am-8pm; Sunday, 11am-8pm. Prices vary per story. Parking located underneath the outlets: $5.
Stop by St. George on a Saturday morning or early afternoon, and you’ll get to browse this lush market. Shop a variety of items, including fresh seasonal fruit, cheese, meat and baked goods. There’s also an array of plants to choose from, as well as juice pressed from an upstate New York fruit orchard! St. Mark’s Place and Hyatt Street. Hours: Saturdays year-round. May-December: 8am-2pm; January-April: 8am-1pm.
Located on Bay Street, this charming book store sells new and used books, organic coffees, chocolate and lots of baked goods. Sobriechowski, who is also the admin for the Facebook group, St. George Neighborhood by the Ferry, frequents the store with her grandchildren.
“They have a really big children’s area,” Sobiechowski said. “I love it for getting children’s books. They have a little cafe outside that my grandchildren love. It’s like sitting out in the backyard.”
The store also holds live events for the public to enjoy. 208 Bay St. Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 12-6pm.
This iconic, 2,800-seat venue first opened its doors in 1928. Today, it hosts shows of all kinds for visitors of all ages, including many big-name acts and popular local favorites like Eric D’Alessandro, Pete Davidson, Candice Guardino and Vic Dibitetto. It also holds fun shows for kids from time to time, including classic movie screenings. 35 Hyatt St. Ticket prices vary per show.
Although the library is closed for renovations, it’s scheduled to open in June—right around the corner!
Kids love to browse this neighborhood store’s selection of comics, books and toys for children. Owner Joy Ghigliotti opened the store in 2013 with Ed Varuolo, who died in 2018. Varuolo was the co-creator of Staten Island community television’s cult series, Industrial Television. The store is dedicated to his memory.
“He loved what we did and was so proud of making a cool place to visit and shop,” Ghigliotti said. “The best part of being in St. George is that we meet people from all around the world. Because the store is unique, as it is not corporate, people are surprised at some of the items we carry that you would not see in other stores.” 156 Stuyvesant Pl. Hours: Monday-Friday, 11am-7pm; Saturday, 12-8pm.
After a day in St. George, Ruddy and Dean is a great place nearby to get lunch or dinner. Enjoy steaks, salads, appetizers, and–for the kids–lots of different kinds of mac’ and cheese dishes! 44 Richmond Terr.
Formerly the Richmond County Bank Ballpark, the Staten Island Ballpark recently reopened after undergoing various upgrades to debut its new Atlantic League baseball team, the Staten Island FerryHawks. The 7,000-seat ballpark boasts many new features, including concession upgrades and activity areas for kids. The FerryHawk name was selected from over 2,000 names submitted by fans as part of a contest launched by the team owners who say a FerryHawk “is a fun-loving, baseball-playing superhero that combines the power, toughness and persistence of the Staten Island Ferry and the red-tailed and cooper’s hawks that are seen around Staten Island.”
For more information about St. George, visit the Facebook group, St. George Neighborhood by the Ferry. It’s packed with information about local events, shops and neighborhood updates.
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