Can New York's Most Suburban Borough Develop a Real Downtown?

Laura Kusisto looks at plans set to be unveiled this week for revitalizing Staten Island's north shore neighborhoods - one of the Bloomberg administration's top priorities in its waning days.
June 25, 2013, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Staten Island sits just a half-hour ferry ride from the crowded shores of Lower Manhattan, but the area where passengers disembark presents a challenge for city officials and residents who hope to create an urban center in the city's most suburban borough," writes Kusisto. "In its last six months, the Bloomberg administration has made a primary focus its efforts to revitalize the area around the ferry terminal and nurture a long-imagined downtown. Officials are set Monday to unveil an incubator to foster businesses for small artists and craftsmen and a program that will pay select retailers to open shops and restaurants."

"The north shore, which encompasses parts of the neighborhoods of St. George, Stapleton, Tompkinsville and Clifton, has the quaint charm that modern developers work hard to manufacture, with brick houses, Colonial-style government buildings and white wooden porches," she explains. "But the area has declined in recent decades. Suburban-style neighborhoods have sprawled around the island, and the Staten Island Mall has become a major draw for shoppers."

"'Downtown Staten Island is something that I cringe at. Just call the different areas what they are. It works,' said Geoff Celis, 32, a filmmaker who grew up on the island and lives in the Concord neighborhood. 'This is the area that real-estate agents have been hoping becomes the next Williamsburg or next Hoboken. It's never happened yet.'"

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Published on Sunday, June 23, 2013 in The Wall Street Journal
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