Staten Island, NY


Staten Island Ghetto Story

Most of the real community of the Staten Island ghetto, in New York City’s Richmond County, is north of Interstate 278, with exception to a few areas.

Made famous through the legendary Hip-Hop group the Wu-Tang Clan, Staten Island has a very small community outside of the white population in the borough.

staten island ghetto

The New Brighton of Staten Island. Courtesy Tommy Miles/

The history of Staten Island is based around the fact that the island was once known as a summer vacation resort, home to fishing companies, shipbuilding, and anything that has to do with the waterfront.


The borough of Staten Island began to grow between the 1940s and 1960s, with the building of expressways and bridges, as well as housing projects, even though many have been in Staten Island since the early 1900s.

For African-Americans, their population has been around for the longest in Staten Island. One of the country’s oldest communities, that was founded by freed slaves, is Sandy Ground.

Located in the southwest part of Staten Island, this area has been around since the early 1800s, with a couple hundred of people living in the area by the early 1900s. Most people left the area by the 1920s, moving to other parts of Staten Island.

staten island ghetto

The Park Hill housing projects. Courtesy RainRannu/

The 1970s is when African-Americans from other boroughs of New York City began to come and live in the Staten Island communities, with many replacing the old Jewish neighborhoods, like Port Richmond or New Brighton.

The Staten Island ghetto and streets, as stated above, is mostly north of the expressway, with exception to apartment complexes like the Barry Houses of Richmond Road.

Most of the people live in communities like Mariners Harbor and the Arlington apartments, Stapleton, Park Hill, Port Richmond, West Brighton and the Slaughter Houses projects, and the Jersey Street area in New Brighton and St. George with the Richmond Terrace and Cassidy-Lafayette projects.


Check out more of Staten Island and other communities of New York.

*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research.  Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.

Staten Island History Source: Lee, Donna . “On Visionary Soil, the Dream Turns Real”. New York Times. 7 November 2008
Staten Island History Source: Sachs, Charles. “Staten Island”. The Encyclopedia of New York City. Yale University Press. 2010. pg 1231 – 1237.