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Great Kills, Staten Island facts for kids

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Great Kills
Neighborhood of Staten Island
"Welcome to Great Kills" sign on Amboy Road
"Welcome to Great Kills" sign on Amboy Road
Country  United States
State  New York
City Flag of New York City.svg New York City
Borough Flag of Richmond County, New York.gif Staten Island
Community District Staten Island 3
 • Total 3.25 sq mi (8.4 km2)
 • Total 40,720
 • Density 12,500/sq mi (4,800/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
ZIP Codes
10308, 10306
Area code 718, 347, 929, and 917

Great Kills is a neighborhood within the borough of Staten Island in New York City. It is located on the island's South Shore, and according to many local geographers, it is the South Shore's northernmost community. It is bordered by Richmondtown to the north, Bay Terrace to the east, Eltingville to the west, and Great Kills Harbor to the south.

Kill is an archaic Dutch word with various popular translations, including "creek" and "channel". Indeed, many small streams dot the neighborhood, and the name can be interpreted as meaning that a great number of such streams can be found there.

As of 2021, the neighborhood is represented in the New York State Senate by Great Kills resident Andrew Lanza, in the New York State Assembly by Michael Reilly and Michael Tannousis, and in the New York City Council by Joseph Borelli. All four are members of the Republican Party.

Great Kills is part of Staten Island Community District 3, and its ZIP Codes are 10308 and a small part of 10306. The neighborhood is patrolled by the 122nd Precinct of the New York City Police Department.


The eastern half of what has been known since 1865 as Great Kills was originally named Cairedon, and the western half was named Newtown. Both later came to be known as Giffords, after Daniel Gifford, a local commissioner and surveyor. The name survives in Giffords Lane, which is located at the Staten Island Railway station, which was also formerly named Giffords and in Giffords Glen, which also near the train station. Another name associated with the neighborhood is Honeywood, which survived as the name of the telephone exchange for many South Shore communities through the late 1950s.

The Poillon-Seguine-Britton House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.


This neighborhood is home to Great Kills Little League, one of the 8 little leagues on Staten Island. Actor Rick Schroder lived in the community as a child, as did actress Alyssa Milano, comedian Bob Levy and new ESPN anchor Joe Engle.

At the southeastern corner of the neighborhood is Great Kills Park, a national park site that is part of Gateway National Recreation Area. The park includes a beach, marina, trails, fishing and bird-watching areas and sports fields.


FDNY Engine Company 162/Ladder Company 82 and Battalion 23, serve Great Kills from quarters on Nelson Ave and Myra S. Barnes I.S.24 one of Staten Island's middle schools. Firefighter Scott Davidson, lost in the 9-11 attacks, attended I.S. 24.

Myra S. Barnes I.S. 24 was named after an educator and civic activist, also known as "The Fighting Lady of New Dorp." Ms. Barnes was well known for her contributions to the New York City Council.

Great Kills NYPL jeh
Public Library

New York Public Library operates the Great Kills Branch at 56 Giffords Lane at Margaret Street.


Great Kills is served by the Staten Island Railway and numerous local and express buses. The railway serves the neighborhood via the Great Kills station, located at Giffords Lane near Amboy Road. Express train service between Great Kills and the St. George Ferry Terminal is maintained during the morning and evening weekday rush hours, while local trains serve the station 24/7. Local buses are the S54, S74, S78, S79, S84, and Manhattan express buses are the SIM1, SIM5, SIM6, SIM7, SIM9, SIM10. Parallel to Amboy Road, the neighborhood's other major commercial streets are Arthur Kill Road and Hylan Boulevard.


Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Great Kills was 40,720, a change of -960 (-2.4%) from the 41,680 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 2,076.96 acres (3.25 sq mi; 840.52 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 19.6 inhabitants per acre (12,500/sq mi; 4,800/km2). The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 87.5% (35,649) White, 0.4% (169) African American, 0.1% (26) Native American, 3.0% (1,233) Asian, 0.0% (8) Pacific Islander, 0.1% (56) from other races, and 0.8% (331) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.0% (3,248) of the population.

The entirety of Community District 3, which comprises Great Kills and other South Shore neighborhoods, had 159,132 inhabitants as of NYC Health's 2018 Community Health Profile, with an average life expectancy of 81.3 years at birth. This is about the same as the life expectancy of 81.2 for all New York City neighborhoods. Most inhabitants are youth and middle-aged adults: 21% are between the ages of 0 and 17, 26% between 25 and 44, and 29% between 45 and 64. The ratio of college-aged and elderly residents was lower, at 8% and 16% respectively.

As of 2017, the median household income in Community District 3 was $96,796. In 2018, an estimated 11% of South Shore residents lived in poverty, compared to 17% in all of Staten Island and 20% in all of New York City. On average during 2012–2016, one in sixteen South Shore residents (6%) were unemployed, compared to 6% in Staten Island and 9% in New York City. Rent burden, or the percentage of renters who paid more than 30% of their income for housing, was 42% for the South Shore, compared to the boroughwide and citywide rates of 49% and 51%, respectively. As of 2018, Great Kills and the South Shore were considered middle- to high-income relative to the rest of the city, and not gentrifying.


New York Public Library, Great Kills branch
New York Public Library, Great Kills branch

Great Kills and the South Shore generally have a similar rate of college-educated residents to the rest of the city. While 41% of South Shore residents of age 25+ had a college education or higher in 2012–2016, 8% had less than a high school education and 51% were high school graduates or had some college education. Citywide, 43% of adults had a college education or higher. The percentage of South Shore students achieving at grade level in math rose from 48% in 2000 to 65% in 2011, though reading achievement declined from 55% to 52% during the same time period.

For the South Shore, 12% of elementary school students were absent for 19 or more days of the 2016–2017 school year, less than the citywide average of 20%. Additionally, 89% of high school students from the South Shore graduated on time, more than the citywide average of 75%.


Barnes I.S. 24 in Great Kills is one of Staten Island's public intermediate schools (grades 6–8), named for the local educator and civic activist Myra S. Barnes (1880–1962). Dubbed the "Fighting Lady", she was well known for highlighting Staten Island issues to the New York City government. Firefighter Scott Davidson, lost in the September 11 attacks of 2001, attended I.S. 24, and is one of 29 local victims memorialized by an eternal flame at St. Clare's, the neighborhood's prominent Catholic church and parochial school.

In 2009, The New York Times reported: "The three public schools in Great Kills, two of them elementary schools [P.S. 8 and P.S. 32], are among the best in the city." In 2008, Today's Catholic Teacher magazine selected St. Clare's School as one of twelve nationwide to receive the "Catholic Schools for Tomorrow Award".


The New York Public Library (NYPL) operates two locations nearby. The Great Kills branch is located at 56 Giffords Lane. The branch was opened in 1927 as a one-story building and was replaced by the current three-story building in 1954. Fully renovated in 2005, it currently has a lower level for community events, a first floor for adults, and a second floor for children's collections.

The Richmondtown branch is located at 200 Clarke Avenue, just outside Great Kills. It opened in 1996 and contains two floors: a first floor for adults and a second floor for children.

Notable people

Rick Schroder
Ricky Schroder in 2008

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Great Kills include:

  • Alfred C. Cerullo III (born 1961), politician and actor
  • Roy Clark (1933–2018), country musician, co-host of Hee Haw
  • Romi Cohn (1929–2020), rabbi, mohel and real estate developer
  • Pete Davidson (born 1993), comedian for Saturday Night Live
  • Edmund J. Dobbin (1935–2015), priest, president of Villanova University
  • Joey Faye (born Joseph Antony Palladino, c.1910–1997), comedian
  • Vincent Fanelli (1883–1966), professional harpist
  • Vito Fossella (born 1965), politician
  • Zack Granite (born 1992), baseball outfielder
  • James Guyon Jr. (1778–1846), politician
  • Daniel Paul Higgins (1886–1953), architect
  • Andrew Lanza (born 1964), politician
  • Nicholas LaPorte (1926–1990), politician
  • Nicole Malliotakis (born 1980), politician
  • Thomas John McDonnell (1894–1961), priest, bishop
  • Alyssa Milano (born 1972), actress
  • Ralph Munroe (1851–1933), yacht designer and pioneering settler of Miami
  • Kevin O'Connor (born c.1947), basketball executive
  • Garry Pastore (born 1961), actor, brother of Eric Blackwood (musician)
  • Angelina Pivarnick (born 1986), Jersey Shore cast member
  • Louis N. Scarcella (born c.1951), homicide detective involved in 15 overturned convictions
  • Francesco Scavullo (1921–2004), celebrity photographer
  • Ricky Schroder (born 1970), actor
  • Robert A. Straniere (born 1941), politician

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