About Staten Island, a Quick History About The Settlement and Geology!

Posted by on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017 at 11:24am.

When telling people you live in Staten Island, responses are usually unsure about what that means. The author of the Game of Thrones novels, George R.R. Martin, grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey, pondering that same question. He later imagines that Staten Island is to be what we know today as the fictional land Westeros. While Staten Island is lacking dragons, magic, and battles to the iron throne, there are things about this fifth borough that does make it unique.

The island was first inhabited by the Lenape Indians in the 16th Century. The Indians referred to the island as "Aquehonga" and "Monaco", which both translate as 'Enchanted Woods".  This name stands true as today, Staten Island is the greenest borough in New York City. There are more than 170 parks, three public golf courses, and miles of hiking trails with picturesque surroundings for residents to indulge in.

In 1609, an English explorer named Henry Hudson arrived and named this island "Staaten Eylandt", which means "island of the States" in Dutch. It was named after the Staten-General from the Dutch Parliament who financed Hudson’s voyage to the New World. That name stuck, later being changed to Staten Island.

While named in Dutch, the Dutch did not make progress in settling Staten Island after successfully settling Manhattan. Instead, the British later established it. In 1683, King Charles of England renamed the island "Richmond County" after King James II of England, who was also the Duke of Richmond.

In 1898, when Staten Island became part of the Greater New York City, it became the "Borough of Richmond". In 1975, the city changed this to "Borough of Staten Island", making “Staten Island” its official name. In addition to the main island, the Borough of Staten Island/Richmond County also includes several small uninhabited islands, made up of Prall's Island (in the Arthur Kill), Island of Meadows (in Fresh Kills), Swinburne Island (in the lower New York Bay), Hoffman Island (also in the lower New York Bay), and part of Shooter's Island (in Newark Bay; the other part belongs to New Jersey). Ward Island was once also a part of Richmond County, but it is now a part of Manhattan.

Staten Island lies upon the New York Bay, separating it from the rest of New York City. On the West Side, it is separated from New Jersey by the Arthur Kill and the Kill Van Kull. Staten Island is made up of four shores: North Shore, South Shore, East Shore, and West Shore. They are named after the points of the compass.

The North Shore, including neighborhoods of St. George, Tompkinsville, Clifton, and Stapleton, is the urbanest part of the island, nearest to Brooklyn and Manhattan. It contains the St. George Historic District, as well as the St. Paul's Avenue-Stapleton Heights Historic District. Those areas feature large Victorian houses. The East Shore has a 2.5-mile long boardwalk known as the F.D.R Boardwalk. It is the fourth longest boardwalk in the world.

On the opposite side of the island, closer to the New Jersey area is the South Shore. Once the site of the 17th Century Dutch and French Huguenot settlement, the area's rapid development began in the 1960s and 1970s. Its characteristics are now mostly suburban. Adjacent is the West Shore, which is the least populated section, but most industrial part of the island.

According to the 2016 Census, Staten Island's estimated population is 476,015, making it the least populated borough. However, it is the third largest in the Greater New York City area, with 58 square miles.

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