NY Bits » Staten Island
Staten Island is interesting as an anomaly in New York. Nicknamed the "forgotten borough", it exhibits all traits of a remote suburb. First of all, the subway doesn't extend there. Most residents who work in the (real) city commute to Manhattan by means of the ferry (arrives in the Financial District in Lower Manhattan). Second of all, the island (14 by 8 miles) has more green space than any other area of the city. Staten Island even boasts several beaches - South Beach being perhaps the best-known.
That said, Staten Island is currently the fastest-growing borough in terms of population - it added almost 44,000 residents between 2000 and 2008 (9.8%), which translates into an annual growth rate of 1.23%.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND SUB-DIVISIONS
The NYC government splits Staten Island in 3 "community zones" (North Island, Mid-Island, South Island), but of course there are more fine divisions between the neighborhoods. As a very rough socio-ethnic guide, the North Island part is more African-American & Latino, while the Mid- and especially South Island are more Italian-American.
St. George (located in the northern part), has become home to a fair number Manhattan exiles, thanks partly to its convenient location not far from the ferry terminal. For the most part, however, Staten Island maintains its suburban (even rural) identity very distinct from the other four boroughs of New York City.