Staten Island
  • $850   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $1173   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $2037   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  northeast US)

99% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands can be accomplished on foot. 5
getting lost in the urban wilderness, no longer trendy, falling off the Staten Island Ferry
commutable to more expensive city 6

SO, roomiematch.com's Staten Island roommate rundown:

So many New Yorkers agree Staten Island is the least happening, least trendy and definitely least trend-setting borough!

And yet.

Staten Island also hosts a lot of artists and musicians who really needed proximity to Manhattan and Brooklyn . . . but also really needed larger and more affordable residential and working spaces? Some non-independently-wealthy artists need the kind of larger more affordable spaces that make it easier to live and work while concentrating on your art.

And the North Shore has been especially popular with filmmakers, in part because it's closest to the rest of the city. Many are enthusiastically supported by Staten Island Arts, a grassroots arts collective encouraging local artists to proliferate and prosper here via local recognition and direct funding.

Staten Island has also been known internationally for hip hop culture ever since Wu-Tang Clan formed here in 1992.

SO: How many times could YOU happily ride the Staten Island Ferry over the course of a week? It is a subjective and personal question. Staten Island roommates are in the process of exploring their personal answers right now.

But many say if you had to ride every single day . . . meh. But once or twice a week wouldn't be bad at all, especially if you could work at home or elsewhere on Staten Island the rest of the time!

Because for real, you would want to ride that ferry more often than not when leaving Staten Island.

While the Staten Island Ferry is a popular tourist attraction in and of itself, as the route passes through great views of Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and the Manhattan skyline, it's also the cheapest option. Free since 1997.

And it runs 24 hours a day! Back and forth from Battery Park in Manhattan to St. George Terminal in Staten Island; at least once every half hour. The ride itself is about 25 minutes, which is often faster than driving due to traffic congestion. They'll allow your bike on the lower decks too.

And it is very helpful that this ferry is free and always available, because Staten Island is the only one of the five boroughs not connected to the New York City subway system. Free ferry is pretty much the consolation prize for that otherwise egregious situation.

But if you can love the ferry, the ferry could work for you! Especially if you live closer to the terminal.

You can also reach the rest of NYC by car over multiple bridges, or by local bus, or express bus, or rail. The local buses are usually reliable on weekdays, less on the weekends. On weekends you'll need to track your bus route online to make sure it still exists . . . then understand you'll probably need to make alternate travel arrangements anyway. (After it never shows up.)

(That Staten Island Ferry is sounding better and better, right?)

If you do want to take the ferry, also have a car, and don't want to live on the North Shore . . . you'll probably be driving a ways north at least partially through parkland. Staten Island has a huge number of parks.

Over 12,000 acres of protected parkland! That's hundreds of acres of completely wooded area with decidedly less NYC-urban-typical, more bucolic landscaping. (That mostly means no landscaping.)

All that parkland hosts a diverse collection of wildlife.

And most parks are considered open from dawn to dusk. To humans. The white-tailed deer, turkey, pheasants, and box turtles don't observe curfew.

You might run into a fox or two too.

The rest of the Staten Island roommate lowdown:

  • Staten Island is the least densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City, with only about 500,000. But that's still considered a respectably large population for most metro areas on their own.
  • high temperatures in summer with frequent freezes in winter
  • Used to claim the largest landfill in the world, but it's now being made into a public park which is planned to be three times the size of Manhattan's Central Park.
  • in New York Harbor, with New Jersey across New York Bay: also connected to New Jersey via three bridges and one railroad
  • North Shore is the most densely populated area, with some high rises. The South Shore is mostly suburban, while the West Shore is more industrial.
  • The Staten Island Railway is officially a part of NYC Transit. But it doesn't connect to the subways.
  • Staten Island hosts over a dozen branches of the New York Public Library.
  • home to The College of Staten Island, Wagner College, and St. John's University
  • Staten Island's residents are at least twice as likely to own a car as the rest of NYC.
  • Staten Islanders usually find it cheaper and faster to fly out of Newark than either of Manhattan's airports.
  • Many excellent Italian restaurants. Probably because Staten Island has the highest proportion of Italian Americans anywhere in the entire country? Mangia!
  • There are also large Russian, Polish, Sri Lankan, and Liberian communities, in addition to African American and Hispanic.
  • Staten Island does not have a numbered street grid, and the streets are notoriously confusing. They're seemingly laid out at random, with the most important arteries in the shape of a triangle. You should study a map, possibly even before moving here, but definitely after. Even if you navigate using an app on your phone most of the time, you'll feel perpetually confused regarding exactly where you're headed unless you orient yourself first.

After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Staten Island's:

  • Maker Park Radio: Non-Profit Community Streaming Radio Station: Provides space and DJ/radio training to showcase local artists. 100% volunteer run. You and your roommates could start your own show, they might even help you.
  • New York City Marathon: Starts each year on Staten Island, then heads to the other four boroughs.
  • Snug Harbor Cultural Center: Collection of architecturally important 19-century buildings, including Beaux Arts, Greek Revival, Italianate, and Victorian styles. Originally opening in 1833 as a retirement home for sailors, now remodeled and extensively landscaped into a cultural center, including: Staten Island Botanical Garden, Staten Island Museum, Staten Island Children's Museum, Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, Noble Maritime Collection, Art Lab, Music Hall, and Veteran's Memorial Hall.

Here's the Staten Island Resources page, listing from community associations to maps to parks to transportation, you and your roommates may want to reference.


1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.

2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.

3.   From zumper.com.

4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.

5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.

6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.