Great Kills Staten Island

Great Kills, Staten Island: A Neighborhood Guide


Great Kills is a neighborhood in Staten Island, New York City, situated on the island’s South Shore. It is often considered the northernmost community on the South Shore. The neighborhood shares borders with Richmond Town to the north, Bay Terrace to the east, Eltingville to the west, and Great Kills Harbor to the south. Great Kills offers convenient transit access to Manhattan and other boroughs. The neighborhood is part of Staten Island Community District 3, and its ZIP Codes are 10308 and a small part of 10306.

Map of Great Kills

The Fascinating History of Great Kills

Great Kills boasts a history influenced by various cultures. It was originally inhabited by Lenape Native Americans, with Dutch and English settlers arriving later. The informal use of the term “Great Kills” can be dated back to at least 1664 during the Dutch colonial period. French settler Jacques Guyon referred to the area as “La Grand Kills,” shedding light on its early designation. In the early 1600s, many Dutch immigrants began settling in Great Kills.

The shoreline was known as Clarendon, while the inland area was referred to as Newtown. These two areas merged and were later named Gifford’s, after the local commissioner and surveyor, Daniel Gifford. The name “Great Kills” itself was derived from the Dutch term “Groote Kell,” meaning “many creeks.”

In the 19th century, Great Kills became a popular spot for oyster harvesting. It’s fascinating to think that these waters were once teeming with oyster boats, isn’t it? The neighborhood grew rapidly during the 20th century, with the population swelling as the Staten Island Railway extended its reach. Today, Great Kills is home to more than 40,000 residents and provides a range of recreational amenities.

Unique Architecture in Great Kills

Walking through Great Kills feels like taking a step back in time, thanks to its diverse architecture. You’ll discover a mix of old-world homes from the early 20th century and more modern designs reflecting the neighborhood’s growth. It’s a place where different architectural styles peacefully coexist, creating a varied and appealing streetscape.

staten island great kills

The Great Kills Veterans Memorial

The memorial consists of five slabs, each 8 feet high and weighing 2 tons, representing the branches of the United States armed forces. It is a black marble memorial with five sculpted faces and an adjoining flagpole. 

the great kills veterans memorial

The Great Kills Park: A Local Gem

When it comes to natural beauty, Great Kills Park is the crown jewel of the neighborhood. This 523-acre park, situated on Staten Island’s southern shore, was established by Robert Moses and has been under the stewardship of the National Park Service since 1972. The Great Kills Park has a beach center, a life-guarded beach, a versatile multi-use path, hiking and biking trails, fishing spots, a marina, and a boat launch.


Great Kills Park in Staten Island

Great Kills Park in Staten Island, NY

The park boasts a marina, a beach, and numerous trails, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Fancy a leisurely stroll or a brisk jog? The trails are perfect. Prefer to feel the sand between your toes? The beach is waiting. And for those who love to sail, the marina is a sight for sore eyes.

Great Kills wouldn’t be the same without this park. It’s the neighborhood’s green heart, pumping life and vitality into the community.

Education in Great Kills, Staten Island

Myra S. Barnes Intermediate School 24

IS 24 Myra S Barnes

Education forms the bedrock of any society, and Great Kills stands as a shining example. This neighborhood boasts a number of top-rated schools, ensuring its younger residents receive a top-notch education.

From the early years in elementary school to the pivotal high school period, the educational establishments in Great Kills are dedicated to cultivating the minds of the upcoming generation. These institutions serve as the molding grounds where young intellects are honed and destinies are shaped.

In Great Kills, Staten Island, education transcends beyond the confines of textbooks and classrooms. It’s about laying a robust foundation for children, arming them with the necessary knowledge and abilities they require to excel in life.

Churches in Great Kills

Great Kills is home to several significant churches, including the historic Great Kills Moravian Church and Christ Lutheran Church. The Great Kills Moravian Church, founded in 1886, is a cherished piece of local history and a place of worship that’s deeply ingrained in the community. Christ Lutheran Church, built in 1953, continues to play a vital role in the spiritual lives of its members, offering a welcoming environment for worship and fellowship. These two churches, along with others in the area, contribute to the diverse religious landscape of Great Kills.

The Great Kills Moravian Church

Great Kills Moravian Church

Christ Lutheran Church

Christ Lutheran Church

Local Businesses and Economy

Great Kills is not merely a residential area. It’s a bustling economic center where local businesses significantly contribute to the community’s vitality. From charming small-scale boutiques to inviting cafes, these enterprises inject life into the neighborhood.

These local businesses serve as the community’s heartbeat, offering indispensable services and bolstering the local economy. They’re the go-to places for residents to shop, eat, and relax.

Great Kills Businesses

In Great Kills patronizing local businesses is a lifestyle. It’s about nurturing community spirit and guaranteeing the neighborhood’s ongoing prosperity.

Community Events and Festivals

What sets Great Kills apart is its robust community spirit. It’s a neighborhood where neighbors are familiar faces, friendships are nurtured, and community events and festivals are integral to the local culture.

From the yearly Christmas Tree Lighting to the Summer Concert Series, these gatherings unite the community, fostering a sense of togetherness and solidarity. These are the moments when the neighborhood truly sparkles, brimming with enthusiasm and expectation.

Great Kills has a history of decorating homes for Halloween. Every year, residents go all out to create spooky and creative displays.

Architecture in Great Kills, Staten Island

Great Kills is more than a mere assembly of houses and structures. It’s a community, knitted together by shared experiences and collective celebrations.

Outdoor Activities and Recreation

If you’re someone who thrives in the outdoors, Great Kills will feel like a sanctuary. The neighborhood is brimming with a variety of outdoor activities and recreational options, making it a haven for those who enjoy an active lifestyle.

Jack’s Pond

The pond likely got its name due to its historical role as an ice harvesting site. In 1878, Jack’s Icehouse was founded near this pond, serving as an essential business in an era predating the invention of refrigeration.

Wood Duck Pond Great Kills

Jack's Pond in Great Kills

Whether it’s sailing and fishing in the marina or hiking and birdwatching in the park, there’s always an adventure waiting around the corner. And we can’t forget the beach – it’s the ideal place for soaking up some sun or enjoying a leisurely swim.

Crooke’s Point

Deep within Great Kills Park in Staten Island, you’ll discover a special place called Crooke’s Point. It’s a hotspot for nature lovers, including birdwatchers and those who enjoy fishing. They use different roads to get there, one for birdwatching fans and another for those who like to fish. If you plan to drive, you will need a parking permit which can be obtained from the ranger station.

However, if you are just visiting once, you can walk or bike there without any cost. The walk from the swimming beach at Parking Lot G in Great Kills Park to Crooke’s Point is quite short, only about 15 minutes. But be aware that the paths are covered in gravel, which might make it tricky for road bikes with narrow tires. Crooke’s Point is a unique place in New York City with a fascinating history and lots of natural beauty to explore.

In Great Kills the wonders of nature are within arm’s reach. It’s a unique locale where the tranquility of nature and the vibrancy of city life blend together, offering the best of both worlds.

Public Transportation and Accessibility


Public transportation in the neighborhood is robust, courtesy of the Staten Island Railway’s Great Kills station. This station provides seamless access to the Staten Island Ferry and various other destinations. In addition, multiple bus lines crisscross the area, ensuring convenient links to other parts of Staten Island.

With this efficient public transportation network, commuting becomes a hassle-free experience. Whether you’re heading to work, school, or planning a day in the city, getting to your destination is a breeze. Great Kills stands out as a well-connected and easily accessible neighborhood, where moving from point A to point B is as straightforward as hopping on a train or bus.

Real Estate and Housing

Regarding housing, Great Kills offers a range of options, including single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or looking to make an upgrade, you will discover suitable choices in Great Kills. The real estate scene here is as diverse as its architectural styles, encompassing historic residences and modern apartments, ensuring there’s a home to match every preference.

The neighborhood provides a variety of housing options to cater to different budgets and lifestyles. Whether you are entering the housing market for the first time or seeking an improvement, you are likely to find a place that meets your needs.

In Great Kills, the search for a home is an exciting journey. It’s a place where each street, each structure, and each residence possess its unique charm.

Cuisine and Dining

Great Kills also offers a diverse array of dining and shopping experiences. From charming cafes and upscale restaurants to unique boutiques and expansive retail centers, you will find options to accommodate every palate and budget. Let’s delve into the culinary scene of Great Kills. This neighborhood serves as a haven for food enthusiasts, featuring a wide range of restaurants, cafes, and dining establishments.

Whether you crave Italian or Asian cuisine, seafood or sizzling steaks, the culinary diversity in Great Kills is both mouthwatering and varied. It’s a place where you can satisfy your culinary cravings, no matter what they may be. Great Kills is a neighborhood that indulges the senses, especially when it comes to the sense of taste. Here, dining is more than just a meal; it’s a gastronomic journey.

Misconceptions About Great Kills, Staten Island

1: Great Kills is Just a Residential Area

A prevalent misunderstanding about Great Kills is that it’s solely a residential area. While it’s accurate that Great Kills houses a dynamic community of inhabitants, it offers much more. This neighborhood is a bustling center of activity, featuring a wide variety of restaurants, parks, and local enterprises. It’s a locale where life flourishes, and there’s always an adventure waiting around the corner.

2: There’s No Nightlife in Great Kills

Another misconception is that Great Kills lacks a nightlife. Contrary to this belief, Great Kills has a lively night scene with cozy pubs, lively bars, and community events that keep the neighborhood buzzing after the sun goes down. It’s a place where the fun doesn’t stop when the day ends.

3: Great Kills is Isolated

Some might believe that Great Kills is isolated from the rest of Staten Island and New York City. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Thanks to its excellent public transportation system, residents and visitors have easy access to other parts of Staten Island and New York City. Great Kills is well-connected, making it a convenient place to live and visit.

4: There’s No Variety in Housing in Great Kills

There’s a widespread belief that Great Kills offers limited housing options. However, the truth is quite the contrary. The neighborhood presents a diverse range of living spaces, from captivating historical residences to contemporary apartments. Whether you’re stepping into the housing market for the first time or seeking an upgrade, you’re bound to find a place that aligns with your preferences in Great Kills, Staten Island.

5: The Food Scene in Great Kills is Limited

There may be a perception that the culinary landscape in Great Kills is somewhat restricted. However, the reality is quite the opposite. This neighborhood is a gastronomic delight. From Italian to Asian, from seafood to juicy steaks, the food variety in Great Kills is as eclectic as it is tasty. Here, dining transcends beyond the act of eating – it’s a culinary journey.

Resources for Exploring Great Kills

  • Great Kills Park, a part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, is a 523-acre oasis offering a variety of recreational activities on Staten Island’s south shore.
  • Staten Island cuisine is a diverse culinary landscape, offering everything from traditional Italian fare to innovative fusion dishes, reflecting the borough’s rich cultural heritage.
  • Staten Island schools, part of the New York City Department of Education, offer a range of educational opportunities with several highly-rated public and private institutions serving the community.

FAQs

1) What are the demographics of Great Kills?

Great Kills is home to a population of 30,353 residents, and the median age stands at 42.8. The demographic breakdown includes 47.7% males and 52.3% females. Among the residents, 79.63% are U.S.-born citizens, 15.86% are non-U.S.-born citizens, and there is a 4.5% representation of non-citizens in the population.

2) Why is it called Great Kills Staten Island?

The name “Great Kills” originates from the Dutch word “kille,” meaning riverbed or water channel. It was named by the early Dutch settlers due to the area’s geography, which includes a large harbor with several small streams and creeks.

3) Is Great Kills a good neighborhood?

Great Kills is generally considered a desirable neighborhood in Staten Island, known for its suburban atmosphere, waterfront views, and recreational facilities. The area is characterized by well-maintained homes, parks, and a sense of community. Great Kills Park and the marina are popular attractions, offering residents and visitors outdoor spaces for recreation. As with any neighborhood, individual preferences may vary, but Great Kills is often praised for its family-friendly environment and amenities.

4) Is Great Kills Staten Island safe?

Great Kills in Staten Island is generally considered a safe neighborhood. Like any community, it’s essential to remain vigilant and take standard safety precautions. The area is residential and has a suburban feel, with well-maintained homes and parks, contributing to a sense of security.

5) How long is Great Kills Park?

Great Kills Park in Staten Island, part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, is approximately 4.4 miles long. This sprawling park offers a mix of landscapes, including beaches, marshes, and woodlands, providing a diverse range of recreational opportunities for visitors.

6) What types of homes are common in Great Kills, Staten Island?

Great Kills is known for its variety of home styles, including single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments. Many homes in the area have yards and are located close to parks and other green spaces.

7) How can I get to Great Kills, Staten Island from Manhattan?

Great Kills is accessible via the Staten Island Ferry and the Staten Island Railway. The ferry runs from Manhattan to the St. George Terminal on Staten Island, and from there you can take the railway to the Great Kills station.

8) What is the crime rate in Great Kills, Staten Island?

Great Kills is generally considered a safe neighborhood with a lower crime rate compared to other parts of New York City. However, like any urban area, crime rates can vary.

9) Are there any notable people from Great Kills, Staten Island?

Yes, several notable individuals have hailed from Great Kills, including musicians, actors, and professional athletes.

10) What is the school system like in Great Kills, Staten Island?

Great Kills is served by the New York City Department of Education and has several highly rated public and private schools. The area also has access to various higher education institutions on Staten Island.

Conclusion

As a resident of Great Kills, Staten Island, I personally consider it to be one of the best neighborhoods on the island. Exploring its diverse history, the beauty of its natural surroundings, and the vibrant local community has been truly rewarding. From the peaceful parks to the bustling businesses, Great Kills has something to offer to everyone. Whether you are interested in history, nature, or a friendly community, Great Kills is a destination to consider. As we wrap up this journey, remember that the genuine essence of any place is best encountered in person. Why not plan a visit to Great Kills? You might discover it’s the hidden gem you’ve been looking for.

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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.

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