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About New York

Richmond County, New York, known worldwide as Staten Island, is actually a county in the state of New York. Richmond County is one of the five boroughs or counties that make up what the world knows as New York City.

The 16th century Florentine explorer Giovanni Da Verrazano is commonly considered to be father of Staten Island (Richmond County). He sailed into New York Harbor in 1524 and landed on the island. In 1687 the Duke of York offered the island as a prize in a sailing competition, which the team from Manhattan won. Since that time, Manhattan has claimed the island as its own. Until 1713, when the first public ferry was started to Staten island, there was no way to get back and forth unless you had a boat. Finally, in 1964 the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was built by Othmar Amman. The bridge made it relatively easy to travel back and forth to this island whose land mass covers 58.5 square miles. Farms, primarily dairy and poultry farms, some of which were still in existence as recently as the early 1970’s, once dominated much of the central and southern sections of the island. Except for the areas along the harbor, however, the borough remained relatively underdeveloped until the building of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. The borough's steady rise in population since the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge has added to a sharp increase in traffic that plagues the island and is a cause of frequent road repairs and accidents.

Richmond County, NY is the fastest growing county in the state of New York but still has the nickname, "the forgotten borough," as it is much less well known than its four sisters, The Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. Even as the fastest growing county, it is still the least populated, most ethnically homogeneous, and most remote borough of New York City. Thought of as rustically suburban by other New Yorkers, the island is often referred to as "The Sticks". Banishment to Staten Island was once a common threat in the New York City uniformed services. To punish a police officer for some minor infraction he was often threatened with walking a beat on Staten Island. Many comical references to this have been made in movies and television.

For the 53 years prior to 2001, the repository of garbage from all of New York City was the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, NY, best known as being the largest single source of methane pollution in the world. Closed in early 2001, the landfill was temporarily reopened to receive the ruins and debris of the World Trade Center from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. There is an ongoing attempt to decontaminate the land and rehabilitate it for recreational uses.

2000 U.S. Census shows Richmond County, NY with a population of 443,728 and an estimated 2004 population increase of 4.4%. Median household income from Census 2000 on Staten Island was 55,039, higher than the national and state wide averages. Richmond County, New York has the largest Italian ancestry group of any U.S. county.

The business economy of Richmond County, NY has had healthy growth, right along with its population. Richmond’s active Chamber of Commerce and a myriad of powerful and responsible civic organizations like the Staten Island Economic Development Corp have worked together for a strong retail and professional representation. Services are not only provided to the residents, but to some international markets as well.

The youngest of the five NY boroughs, Richmond County, New York is growing up nicely.

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