Emerson Hill, nestled in the northeastern part of Staten Island, spans three lush acres between the Staten Island Expressway to the north and Todt Hill to the south. Named after 19th-century lawyer and judge William Emerson, who was captivated by the landscape, this area was affectionately dubbed “The Snuggery” by William’s brother, the renowned poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson.
In the 1920s-30s, developer Cornelius G. Kolff coined the name Emerson Hill for the neighborhood surrounding the Emerson family estate. Today, Emerson Hill maintains its secluded charm, surrounded by towering oak and maple trees, some reaching 60 feet in height. The housing options present a mix of stately century-old styles like English Tudors and American Federals, alongside more contemporary Colonial-style homes. Charming, exclusive residences line the hilly, tree-lined streets.
While preserving a piece of Old Staten Island, Emerson Hill is divided between historic homes in the southern section and newer constructions on the north side. Winding roads gracefully traverse the landscape, physically separating each district. Despite the division, all Emerson Hill properties share a coveted tranquility and offer captivating views overlooking Upper New York Harbor and the distant Highlands of New Jersey.
Character and Appeal of Emerson Hill
Seclusion and Natural Beauty
Emerson Hill is treasured for its peaceful, private setting tucked away from the hurry of urban Staten Island. Mature oak, maple, and other leafy trees eclipse the sky, ensconcing homes on all sides with verdant canopies of green. Houses are veiled from each other and the street by the dense foliage. The aesthetic transports residents to a remote hideaway right in New York City’s own backyard.
Curving roads and hillside geography temper access into and around Emerson Hill. Motorists cannot directly drive straight through from one district to the neighboring section. The limited connectivity funnels traffic along the periphery rather than cutting through the heart of the community. This further cultivates the enveloping sense of escape.
Scenic Vantage Points
Homes perched on higher elevations are rewarded with some of Staten Island’s most stunning panoramas. To the east, Emerson Hill gazes out across the sparkling Upper New York Bay Harbor toward the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and Brooklyn. Looking westward, vistas take in the tree line of northwest Staten Island and coastal New Jersey towns across the distant Raritan Bay. Sunrises and sunsets over the water are exceptionally breathtaking.
Transportation and Accessibility
Emerson Hill enjoys convenient transit connectivity to the rest of Staten Island and Manhattan via several local and express buses. Major highways linking the neighborhood to Brooklyn and New Jersey are also easily accessed.
Local Bus Service
A few STA buses cut through or pass by Emerson Hill, providing service to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, St. George, and other borough destinations:
- S53 to Port Richmond and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn along Broadway
- S66 to St. George Ferry and Port Richmond via Victory Blvd
- S74 to Bricktown Mall and St. George Ferry along Richmond Rd
- S76 from Oakwood to St. George Ferry via Richmond Rd
For commuters traveling to Manhattan, key express buses pick up passengers in Emerson Hill, using the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge:
- X10 to Midtown along Gannon Ave
- X14 to West Midtown via Clove Rd
- X15 to Lower Manhattan on Richmond Rd
The Staten Island Expressway borders Emerson Hill to the north, providing direct access to the Verrazano Bridge into Brooklyn. Further west, the West Shore Expressway connects to the Outerbridge Crossing bridge toward New Jersey.
Schools and Education
Emerson Hill families are served by several nearby public and private school options offering quality education from elementary through high school.
Public schools in the area that local children may attend include:
- P.S. 35 at 60 Foote Ave
- Staten Island Community Charter School at 309 St. Paul’s Ave
- I.S. 49 at 101 Warren St
- Petrides Educational Campus at 715 Ocean Terrace
- Concord High School at 109 Rhine Ave
For faith-based schooling or independent college-prep academics, Emerson Hill has a few reputable private schools within proximity:
- Academy of St. Dorothy Catholic school at 1305 Hylan Blvd
- St. Sylvester Catholic school at 884 Targee St
- Notre Dame Academy all-girls Catholic high school at 134 Howard Ave
- St. Joseph Hill Academy all-girls Catholic high school at 850 Hylan Blvd
- Trinity Lutheran School at 309 St. Paul’s Ave
- Staten Island Academy independent school at 715 Todt Hill Rd
With both public and private options nearby, Emerson Hill families can choose the best school to match their children’s needs.
Real Estate and Housing Market
Emerson Hill is one of Staten Island’s most exclusive communities, with luxury homes selling at a premium. For buyers seeking peaceful exclusivity just minutes from Manhattan, it offers a rare opportunity in New York City.
Listing prices currently range from around $900k on the lower end for smaller homes up to $4-5 million for larger luxury properties with additional land. Homes typically have 4-6 bedrooms across 3,000-5,000 square feet or more. Most are single family but some attached townhouses exist. Popular architectural styles include Colonial, Tudor, Craftsman, and Mediterranean. Listings tout privacy, views, proximity to parks, and top school districts.
Over the past 5 years, average sold prices in Emerson Hill have increased around 10-15%, while inventory remains low. Days on market average 30-60 days for well-priced listings in good condition. Buyer demand continues rising while mortgage rates climb, creating urgency. Luxury market sales slowed this year but the area still sees consistent activity.
Home Buying Considerations
For buyers eyeing Emerson Hill, key factors to weigh include budget, timing, property condition, commute needs, schools, and planned extent of renovation (if any). The luxury market requires extra diligence validating fair value. Preapprovals are essential before submitting offers likely to face bidding wars. Overall, the neighborhood presents a peaceful opportunity to secure a private family refuge.
Parks and Outdoor Spaces
Emerson Hill offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors right in the neighborhood, with several parks, trails, and recreational facilities.
A few green spaces allow residents to immerse themselves in nature:
- Silver Lake Park – Featuring a jogging loop, tennis courts, baseball fields, playground, and namesake lake
- Willowbrook Park – Landscaped ramble trails, sports fields, Dog run
For longer walks and hikes, the Staten Island Greenbelt snakes through the area with marked paths. The trail network interconnects through forests and along the shoreline cliffs.
Sports and Activities
Residents will also find courts, fields, and spaces to stay active:
- Basketball courts
- Baseball, football, soccer fields
- Playground structures for kids
- Dog run areas
With plentiful parks and trails throughout, Emerson Hill makes enjoying the great outdoors easily accessible year-round. Families will appreciate having recreational sites interspersed throughout the neighborhood.
Neighborhood Amenities and Things to Do
While largely residential, Emerson Hill still offers a few retail and dining establishments within the neighborhood. Several community events and nearby attractions also provide entertainment options a short drive away.
A handful of shops and eateries pepper the streets:
- Fast casual restaurants and sandwich shops
- Small grocers and specialty food stores
- Yoga studios and salons
- Gas stations
- Post office
These serve most daily needs of residents without having to travel far.
Events and Attractions
Some nearby destinations and happenings worth exploring include:
- Snug Harbor Cultural Center – Arts, gardens, performances
- Jacques Marchais Tibetan Museum – Meditative grounds and galleries
- Monthly craft fairs/farmers markets
- Summer concert series at local parks
- Holiday light displays along neighborhood streets
The community convenes to enjoy several annual events. And with Manhattan under 30 minutes away, supplemental urban amenities are conveniently accessible too.
Frequently Asked Questions
For homebuyers exploring Emerson Hill, some common questions arise on topics like education, getting around, affordability, and safety.
Schools and Students
What school district serves the neighborhood?
Emerson Hill falls within the New York City public school District 31, serving Staten Island students. Nearby zoned elementary schools are P.S. 35 and Staten Island Community Charter School. I.S. 49 and Petrides School are the zoned middle and high schools respectively.
Are there alternative private school options too?
Yes, Emerson Hill offers a few reputable private schools close by for alternatives, including religious academies like St. Dorothy, St. Sylvester, Notre Dame Academy, and St. Joseph Hill Academy. Staten Island Academy is also located here.
Transportation and Commuting
Is public transportation readily available in the area?
Emerson Hill is served by several local buses for getting around Staten Island, plus express buses into Manhattan over the Verrazano Bridge. Key routes include the S53, S66, S74, S76 local buses and X10, X14, X15 express buses.
How long is the commute to Midtown Manhattan offices?
Expect a roughly 30-45 minute commute into Midtown by express bus depending on exact destination. Some routes serve Lower Manhattan in under 30 minutes outside peak rush hour.
Cost of Living Considerations
How expensive is housing in Emerson Hill?
As one of Staten Island’s most prestigious communities, Emerson Hill sits at the higher end for real estate. Typical homes currently list from $900k up to several million. Values have appreciated moderately in recent years.
Are property taxes and carrying costs comparatively high here?
Yes, owning a luxury home here involves budgeting for elevated property taxes and insurance. Mortgage payments are also substantial for most buyers. However costs are on par with similar privileged NYC neighborhoods.
Safety and Crime
How safe is the Emerson Hill neighborhood?
Emerson Hill is regarded as a very secure neighborhood with exceptionally low crime rates, especially for New York City. The seclusion, private security presence, active community watch group, and wealthy invested residents all contribute to deterring illegal activity.
With its winding wooded roads and sprawling luxury homes blanketed in lush greenery, Emerson Hill offers a private residential refuge just minutes from the urban pace of New York City. Once a literal hilltop inhabited by the 19th century Emerson family, today the neighborhood retains its peaceful allure from centuries past.
Modern amenities seamlessly blend with natural vistas overlooking the harbors and horizon, creating an environment that feels suspended in time. The community strikes an impossible balance – isolated sanctity and proximity, bustling energy and tranquil calm, historic charm and contemporary comfort.
For homebuyers seeking acreage, architectural pedigree, and panoramic views, Emerson Hill presents the pinnacle of privileged Staten Island living. Schools, transit, parks, trails and more world-class conveniences lie just around the bend too. This makes the neighborhood a turnkey spot for raising a family while retaining adult amenities.
In a city where few true suburbs exist, Emerson Hill stands apart as a little utopia with outsized offerings. Yet its rooted neighborhood camaraderie remains intact thanks to long-established families and traditions. For an exclusive escape from urban chaos, without fully fleeing the city, come unlock the treasures tucked amid the hillside retreat of Emerson Hill.
Greetings! I'm Dr. Andrew Stepanov, a passionate explorer of Staten Island's vibrant neighborhoods. Rooted in the heart of the borough as a devoted resident, I've dedicated myself to unveiling the unique history and experiences that define Staten Island. Through my blog, Staten Island Explorer, I aim to share insights into the rich diversity shaping our community. Come join me on a journey to uncover hidden gems, embrace diverse cultures, and revel in the beauty that makes Staten Island a place I am truly honored to call home.