When choosing where to live in New York City, two boroughs often emerge as top contenders – Staten Island and Brooklyn. These two iconic boroughs each have their own distinct flavor and blend of pros and cons. Staten Island vs. Brooklyn offer an interesting contrast.
With over 2.6 million residents, Brooklyn is NYC’s most populous and bustling borough. Staten Island, on the other hand, is home to just under 500,000 residents and provides a more peaceful, suburban feel. Deciding between Staten Island or Brooklyn depends on factors like commute times, housing costs, amenities, culture, and quality of life preferences.
This in-depth guide will compare and contrast various aspects of Staten Island vs. Brooklyn across categories including transportation, real estate, dining, nightlife, education, parks, and more. We’ll explore the perks and drawbacks of living in these two quintessential yet different NYC boroughs to help inform your decision.
Transportation and Commuting: Staten Island vs. Brooklyn
Commuting is a fact of life in NYC. Staten Island and Brooklyn offer distinct transit options with their own pros and cons.
- Relies heavily on the 24/7 Staten Island Ferry, which is free but slower to Lower Manhattan (25 mins).
- Also has buses and a railway but lacks extensive subway access. Most commutes require transfers.
- Ferry offers scenic views of Lady Liberty and Lower Manhattan skyline during the ride.
- Ferry can have long rush hour lines and be impacted by fog, storms.
- Average commuting times to Midtown Manhattan are 60-75 minutes each way.
- Boasts a vast subway system with direct lines to Manhattan, other boroughs run by the MTA.
- Neighborhood commute times vary, but average rides to Midtown are 30-45 mins.
- Subways run 24/7 but can get extremely crowded during rush hour.
- Bike lanes on bridges like Brooklyn and Manhattan connect cyclists.
Housing Costs: Staten Island vs. Brooklyn
When it comes to housing, Staten Island vs. Brooklyn offers a stark contrast in residential options and affordability.
- Mostly suburban single-family homes with yards. Only 22% of households are apartments.
- Housing costs about 20% less than Brooklyn on average. Median rent is $1800.
- Homeownership more accessible, with median home value around $390,000.
- Lack of new housing limits rentals. Vacancy rate is only 4%.
- Urban environment with predominantly apartments (78% of households). Few single-family homes.
- Significantly higher rents but prices reflect amenities and transit access. Median rent is $2350.
- Median home value over $900,000, more than double Staten Island prices. High competition.
- Gentrification decreased affordable housing availability as luxury buildings rose.
Dining and Nightlife: Staten Island vs. Brooklyn
When it comes to eating out and nightlife, Staten Island vs. Brooklyn offers different scenes and vibes.
- Dining scene is more neighborhood spots than destination restaurants. Food costs 10-15% less.
- Ethnically diverse cuisine reflecting Mexican, Sri Lankan, Italian immigrant communities.
- Fewer trendy bars and nightlife spots. Nightlife centers around casual pubs and live music.
- With some exceptions Flagship Brewery, lacks the buzz of Brooklyn’s culinary and mixology trends.
- Iconic foodie mecca with 91,000+ dining establishments serving global cuisines.
- Cutting-edge dining from Michelin-starred restaurants to hip farm-to-table eateries.
- Happening nightlife scene fueled by an influx of young professionals, with speakeasy cocktail bars and clubs.
- High density of breweries, distilleries, and artisanal food makers. Epicenter of NYC’s craft food and drink boom.
School quality is a high stakes issue for NYC families. Here’s how the boroughs compare.
- Public schools receive high marks, with 72% meeting state standards versus 60% citywide.
- Many successful Catholic private school options at the elementary and high school levels.
- Less school choice than Brooklyn, but more tight-knit community environment.
- Home to Wagner College, a private liberal arts school, and St. John’s University campus.
- Massive public school system with highly ranked selective schools but also struggling campuses.
- Home to top private prep schools including Poly Prep Country Day and Berkeley Carroll.
- Wide range of charter and progressive private schools catering to different educational philosophies.
- An academic hub, home to 15 colleges and universities including NYU, LIU, and Pratt Institute.
Parks and Recreation
Access to open green spaces is essential for urban living. Here’s how parkland compares across the boroughs:
- Over 35% of land area is parkland, the highest proportion in NYC.
- Features expansive natural habitats like the 8,100-acre Greenbelt nature preserve.
- Parks showcase sites like Fort Wadsworth, home of historic Battery Weed fortress.
- Offers fewer recreational amenities like sports fields and playgrounds relative to population.
- Iconic parks like Prospect Park (526 acres), Brooklyn Bridge Park (85 acres), and Fort Greene Park.
- Boasts urban gardens, promenades along the waterfront, and enormous Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
- Parks host concerts, events, farmer’s markets, and other recreational programming.
- High usage and limited acreage relative to population leads to crowded conditions.
Arts and Culture
As a final comparison point, the boroughs showcase distinct arts and cultural identities.
- Home to Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island Zoo, and Alice Austen House Museum.
- Annual events include the Richmond County Fair featuring live music and carnival rides.
- Up-and-coming art scene anchored by galleries in St. George neighborhood.
- Lacks the depth of world class institutions found in other boroughs. Museums and performance venues are smaller.
- Cultural epicenter home to over 1,000 arts organizations and iconic venues like BAM and BRIC.
- Brooklyn Museum, Botanic Garden, Prospect Park Zoo, New York Aquarium are major destinations.
- Cutting-edge galleries, studios, and street art give neighborhoods distinct artistic flair.
- Unparalleled creative energy but also higher costs and crowds around cultural hotspots.
Comparing Staten Island vs. Brooklyn shows two boroughs with very distinct flavors. Staten Island offers affordability, quiet, and residential living. Brooklyn provides amenities, transit, diversity, and an energetic urban vibe. There are compelling reasons to choose either borough depending on lifestyle needs and preferences. Hopefully this deep dive into Staten Island vs. Brooklyn provides helpful insights to prospective NYC residents as they weight these two iconic options.
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.