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Hot Town, Summer in the City: Staten Island

Posted by Brian Berg Google+

staten island, new york, marketing

Selecting a consumer mailing list for residents of New York can seem like an ample task for even seasoned direct mail marketers.  The Big Apple is a virtual melting pot of cultures, races, religions, ages and lifestyles and making sure that your marketing piece ends up in the hands of your ideal target can be a crapshoot.  Our continuing blog series takes a look at the people and neighborhoods that make up the five boroughs of New York City and gives marketers an in-depth understanding of the complex demographic scenarios that can occur when selecting a consumer mailing list of New Yorkers.  This week we visit the forgotten borough, Staten Island and its most vibrant neighborhoods.

For those New Yorkers who never step foot in Staten Island, there’s a lot more to the borough than parks and the ever popular hip-hop group, Wu Tang Clan.  St. George and Stapleton, the borough’s most ethnically diverse areas, have become go-to spots for young home buyers along with being cultural and historic hubs.  In the 2000s, the area was promoted as the borough’s downtown.  Immigrants and young home buyers relocated to these neighborhoods for affordability, space and access to Manhattan via the Staten Island Ferry.  The future of Staten Island’s arts, culture and business center is in the ongoing development of a long-ignored stretch of waterfront with stellar views of Manhattan.  Meanwhile, Staten Island’s Sri Lankan and Hispanic populations have put the neighborhoods on the map for authentic ethnic cuisines.

In praise of St. George residents invariably mention the free ferry to Manhattan.  They often cite the affordability of a place where one-bedroom apartments can cost less than half of what they go for in pricier parts of the city.  And they might even point out the wondrously out-of-place look of some blocks, with fanciful Victorians on steep hills that can feel cut-and-pasted from San Francisco.

While the harbor indisputably frames most of St. George, the western border is somewhat vague; purists draw the line at Westervelt Avenue, but in terms of its turn-of-the-last-century housing stock, the area seems to extend farther, spilling down toward Jersey Street.  Victory Boulevard forms the southern edge.  Densely settled and walkable, despite some thigh-burning hills, St. George has a remarkable grab-bag of housing types: there are co-ops and condominiums, single-family mansions and multifamily rowhouses.  There is also the Richmond Terrace Houses complex, a 1960s city housing project that is home to about 1,400 people.  The most prized properties are found in a historic district whose heart is St. Marks Place, with elegant 19th-century homes boasting stained-glass windows and mansard roofs.

Tucked behind the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the Staten Island waterfront neighborhood of South Beach offers a stunning year-round view and a quiet suburban feel.  The area, which sits on the borough’s eastern shore, is synonymous with the Arrochar neighborhood – the two are usually paired by locals and identified as one area.  South Beach's namesake is the local stretch of sand, the welcome mat of Staten Island, frequented by locals but still somewhat unknown by many New Yorkers.  Since the 19th century the nearly 2-mile beach served as a hotspot for ocean lovers who rented bungalows by the boardwalk and took advantage of the now-vanished amusement rides.

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk, once known as "The Riviera of New York City," offers breathtaking day and night views of the Verrazano and Hoffman Island.  The beach boasts a family-friendly vibe with fountains, playing fields, and summertime events like movie nights, festivals and concerts.  The streets are small; there's not a lot of speeding cars racing up and down and the housing and residents are very diverse.  The area is reminiscent of a small town as much of it has remained unchanged for decades. Bungalows, Tudors and Queen Anne-style homes abound along the small streets though in recent years, townhouses and McMansions have sprung up on some blocks, notably on Father Capodanno Boulevard and Sand Lane.  Short roads like Nugen Avenue, Andrews Street, Appleby Avenue and Railroad Avenue, where the now uprooted Staten Island Railway used to run, add to the neighborhood’s sleepy and almost forgotten feel.  Ethnic spots like the specialty market Polish Delicious and La Canasta, a Mexican bakery, both on Sand Lane, reflect the changing demographics of the neighborhood which used to be predominantly Italian, but is now mixed with Russians, Irish, Polish and Mexican residents.

Of course there are many of unique and diverse neighborhoods throughout Staten Island, but one things remains the same, the island is filled with many vibrant communities made up of many different residents.  Understanding each neighborhood and its variety of residents when choosing a consumer mailing list can be an arduous task.  With so many different demographics, who do you target?  Our BB Direct Data Team understands marketers targeting dilemmas and are experts at locating a consumer mailing list that produces results!