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Everyday Life on Staten Island in the 1970s through Stunning Nostalgic Photos

If you close your eyes and let your mind wander back to Staten Island in the 1970s, you might just hear the hum of a vinyl record spinning classic rock or disco, and smell the unmistakable scent of macramé plant hangers mingling with homemade meals. You’d be stepping into an era of cultural shifts and evolving identities, as seen through the lens of this unique borough.

Suburbia and the American Dream

Staten Island was seen as an oasis for families striving for the American Dream, a place where you could own a home with a yard and maybe even a pool. Neighborhoods like New Dorp and Tottenville embodied this vision, with rows of houses featuring wood paneling, shag rugs, and well-maintained lawns. Children rode their bikes freely, and parents exchanged neighborly waves.

The Fresh Kills Landfill

While families were blooming in suburban enclaves, Staten Island was facing environmental challenges. The Fresh Kills Landfill, which had opened in 1947, had grown to be the world’s largest. Although a sore spot for residents, it also spurred local activism. Grassroots movements aimed at conservation and community betterment started to gain traction, making environmental awareness a key aspect of Staten Island culture.

The Wonders of Public Transportation

If you lived in Staten Island in the ’70s, chances are you spent some time on the Staten Island Railway. Offering a view of the harbor, the train was more than a mode of transport—it was a neighborhood connector. Whether commuting for work, visiting relatives, or heading to the beach, the railway was an essential part of daily life.

The Staten Island Ferry continued to be a symbol of freedom and possibility. Every trip offered sweeping views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, constant reminders of America’s promise. The ferry was the venue for first kisses, late-night heart-to-hearts, and the simple joy of feeding seagulls from the deck.

Music and Live Venues

The 1970s were a time of musical exploration, and Staten Island was no exception. Whether you were into disco, rock, or soul, local venues and bars offered a place to let loose. The Ritz Theater was a hot spot, attracting both local bands and more famous names, providing a soundtrack to those heady days and nights.

Of Cops and Firefighters

Staten Island had a significant population of police officers and firefighters, many of whom were part of the Irish and Italian communities. Their stories were the stories of Staten Island, adding a layer of both grit and community solidarity. Social clubs and bars often played host to off-duty gatherings, where anecdotes were shared over a pint.

From the homey embrace of wood-paneled living rooms to the invigorating sea breeze on the ferry deck, life in the ’70s on Staten Island was a mix of the comforting and the challenging.

#1 Cub Scouts in the Memorial Day Parade in Stapleton, 1973

#2 Colonial Service Station Advertising Gas Availability During Oil Crises, Staten Island, 1970s.

#4 Junior Class at St. Peter’s High School Prom, 1976.

#6 Clowns with giant heads march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1970.

#7 Crowd Awaits the Opening of Kmart in the Hylan Shopping Plaza, Early 1970s.

#8 Boater Passing Houses on the Lemon Creek Waterfront, 1970

#9 Young Men Searching for Chocolate Eggs during an Easter Hunt, 1979.

#10 Neighborhood Youngsters Swim at Midland Avenue and Hylan Boulevard after Flooding, 1971.

#11 New Dorp High School students dig out a car buried in the sand, 1970.

#12 S.S. White Dental Manufacturing Company was the largest employer on Staten Island, 1970s

#13 Breaking Rules During the Annual Apple Lap Bike Race across the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, 1979.

#14 High School Students Waiting for a Bus in Freezing Snow at Grasmere, 1976.

#15 Four Giant Stags Pulling Antique Sleighs, Rockefeller Center Yuletide Exhibits, 1974.

#16 Animated PS 45 greeting pupils during the golden jubilee celebration, with children Coty Metz, Elizabeth Marsch, and Troy McGhie, West Brighton, 1977.

#17 Balloons Rise into the Sky in Contest Sponsored by Blessed Sacrament School’s Mothers Guild; Winning Student Gets a Prize, 1979.

#18 Barber Vito Branca Outside His Shop in Tottenville, 1979.

#19 Ricky Seesman Looking at the Hydrant on Naughton Avenue, Staten Island, 1979.

#20 The Dairy Queen at Jacques Avenue and Hylan Boulevard, New Dorp; Closed in the 1970s, 1950s.

#21 Staten Island Equestrian Scene, Bloomfield, 1979.

#23 Police Restore Order at Moore Catholic High School During Summer Sessions Registration, 1975.

#24 Increased Beach Usage Due to Clean Water and Sunny Skies, 1975.

#25 Youth Wait for Summer Jobs at Manor Road Armory, 1977.

#27 Neighborhood Clean-Up Project at a Vacant Lot in New Brighton, 1978.

#28 Joanna Long Brings Joy of Reading to Children on Merrill Ave, 1979.

#29 PS 1 Tottenville Colonial Marching Band in the Memorial Day Parade, 1978.

#30 2561 Hylan Blvd., New Dorp, once home to Bistro, Enza’s, Hedges, and Bacci’s Charcoal Haven, now hosts the Hylan Diner, 1970s.

#31 The Godfather Premiered; Bill Gertz Created the Cake for the Wedding Scene, 1971.

#32 A wild garden at Fresh Kills landfill produced fruits and vegetables, circa 1970.

#33 On the Staten Island Ferry in New York Harbor’s Upper Bay, 1973.

#34 Hylan and Old Town Road, Car Buried in Snow Gets a Ticket During the Blizzard of ’78, 1978.

#35 School Excursion on the Staten Island Ferry, 1973.

#36 People Waiting for the Bus on Victory Blvd, Only to See it Get Stuck in the Snow, 1978.

#37 Broad Street in Stapleton Mainly a Pedestrian Thoroughfare After Blizzard, 1978.

#38 City Workers Construct an Island in Emerson Drive at Staten Island Expressway, 1971.

#39 They’re King of the Mountain at Forest Avenue Shoppers Town, 1979.

#40 Curtis High School students protest teacher layoffs, 1976.

#41 Budding artists Corey Spellman and Sheila Dougherty brush up on their strokes at Montessori School International, 1973.

#42 War Memorial Skating Rink in Clove Lakes Park, 1971.

#43 Susan McConnell and Crossing Guard Bridge Ice and Slush Outside School, 1970.

#44 Construction Workers Salute as Flag Attached to World Trade Center, 1970.

#45 George Steinbrenner congratulates Billy Martin, Yankees win AL Championship, Oct 9, 1977.

#46 Finished at Last: A Mural Painting on the Wall of a Playground behind the Stapleton Library, 1977.

#47 People Receive Flu Shots at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital, Clifton, 1976.

#48 Park Commissioner August Heckscher Chats with Children at High Rock Conservation Center, 1970.

#49 Sandy Dunkes Models in “Operation Main Street,” New Dorp High School, Staten Island, May 1970.

#50 Commuters Grab a Paper at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, April 1979.

#51 Carnival for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Staten Island Mall, July 1978.

#52 Horseback Riders Crossing Clove Road, Staten Island, October 1973.

#53 Play Streets, Young Street, Stapleton, Staten Island, July 1970.

#54 Former Department of Motor Vehicles Office, Tompkinsville, Staten Island, Summer 1976.

#55 The summer of 1977, blackout in New York City, Staten Island residents using a kerosene lamp, 1977.

#56 Joanna Long brings joy of reading to children on Merrill Avenue in Bulls Head with the New York Public Library’s Bookmobile, 1979.

#58 A Tottenville Staple: Barber Vito Branca Outside His Shop in Tottenville, 1979.

#59 Sixth-Grade Pupils at PS 30 Marching for Earth Day, Staten Island, 1970.

#60 Iconic Locations and Storefronts Along Main Street, Staten Island, 1970s.

#61 Parishioners of St. Roch Church Leaving Easter Service in Snow, Staten Island, March 29, 1970.

#62 Dorothy Day with a friend at Spanish Camp, Annadale; a Staten Island Ferry boat will be named after her, 1970s.

#63 Staten Island baseball celebrities George Bamberger and Terry Crowley, circa 1970s.

#64 Lunch at the frankfurter counter at Nathan’s in Masters shopping plaza, New Dorp, October 1971.

#65 Marilyn King’s successful running career, including participation in the Olympic Games, 1970s

#66 Fishing at the Staten Island Mall with a large tank stocked with fish, 1970s

#67 Staten Island Ferry with the World Trade Center under construction, 1970.

#68 Representative Shirley Chisholm Makes a Point During an Address in Mariners Harbor, 1979.

#69 Hank Aaron’s 715th Career Homer; Game Against Los Angeles Dodgers in Atlanta, Ga., 1974.

#70 Opening of the Staten Island Mall Celebration, 1973.

#71 Staten Island Ferry Commuter in Smoking Section, 1979.

#72 Skis as a mode of transportation on Kingsley Street in West Brighton, February 6, 1978.

#73 Montalbano’s Pool and Spa Was the Biggest Pool Store on the Island from 70s-90s; Photo of the First Pool They Sold on S.I. and New Owner Kenny Montalbano, 1970s.

#74 Pickets Block Hyatt Street in St. George Protesting Possible Transfer of Express Bus Routes, 1976.

#75 Throng of Estimated 4,500 Participants in the Third Annual Citywide March of Dimes Walkathon Heads Up Victory Boulevard, 1973.

#76 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s visit to Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Staten Island, 1977.

#77 District Attorney Thomas R. Sullivan’s victory celebration with family, November 7, 1979

#78 Antiwar Demonstrators Honor Students Killed at Kent and Jackson State, Manor Road Armory, 1972.

#79 Staten Island Ferry worker announcing new 25-cent fare, end of the 10-cent ride, circa 1975.

#80 The 1976-77 McKee varsity basketball team, the only Staten Island squad to play in the PSAL boys’ city championship game, 1976

#81 $45 Million Lottery: A worker changes the sign from 40 to 45 million this afternoon at the Honey Bee Video, 1972.

#82 Clove Lakes Park, a favorite among Staten Island parks, 1971.

#83 The pack of 400 is off in the first Steeplechase, a 10-mile trek through Stapleton streets and hills, 1978.

#84 A boa constrictor held on a rod by Gene Reynolds of Great Kills after being discovered dead on Ridgewood Road, 1970.

#86 Walt Disney Characters Participate in the 39th Annual Flag Day Parade Through Tottenville, 1978.

#87 Postmen at National Association of Letter Carriers Meeting, Colonial Inn, Staten Island, 1970.

#88 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Pilots the Ferry Pvt. Joseph Merrell, 1976.

#89 Two Fruit Stands on Richmond Road, Dongan Hills, 1973.

#90 Frisbee Contest Featuring Ronald McDonald, Staten Island, 1970.

#91 Discovery of Dead Boa Constrictor by Gene Reynolds, Great Kills, Staten Island, 1970

#92 Staten Island Celebrated Earth Day with Various Cleaning Activities, 1970

#93 Students from PS 12 Airing Their Resplendent Finery Next to the Concord School on Easter, 1976.

#94 Susan Venokur of New Springville Holding Her Three Newborn Children, Brooklyn Jewish Hospital, 1971.

#95 Staten Island Rapid Transit First Day Riders on a Business Trip, 1972.

#96 Make-believe Confederate troopers in the Battle of Richmond Saw Mill staged at Richmondtown, one of Staten Island’s biggest historical centers, 1970.

#97 Neighborhood youngsters help firemen fight a fire in Greenridge, 1977.

#98 Two alert and one defiant jaguar cubs at the Staten Island Zoo, West Brighton, 1973.

#99 John Largo Rescues Snapping Turtle Near Hylan Boulevard, Princes Bay, Circa 1978.

#100 Police Officer Uses Fishing Pole to Reel in Drifting Man, Rosebank, 1973.

#101 War Protest: “Stop the War, Stop the Bombs,” Staten Island, 1972.

#102 Roping Horses at the Manor Road Armory, West Brighton, 1970.

#103 Thanks to Victoria M. Valle for Sharing This Photo of Family Members on the Staten Island Ferry in the 1970s

#104 March of Dimes Walk Along St. Marks Place, St. George, 1974.

#105 Crowded Port Richmond High School Classroom, 1976.

#106 The Sacred Heart Fife and Drum Band at Staten Island St. Patrick’s Parade, 1976.

#107 Staten Island Pipers at the St. Pat’s Parade, 1977.

#108 Two Days Until the Staten Island St. Pat’s Parade: “The Holy Child Marching 100 Band” in the Staten Island St. Patrick’s Parade, West Brighton, 1978.

#109 When Winter Was Winter! Martlings Pond, West Brighton, Circa 1970.

#110 5 Days Until the Staten Island St. Pat’s Parade: Students from St. Vincent’s Medical Center School of Nursing March in Parade, West Brighton, 1971.

#111 7 Days Until Staten Island St. Pat’s Parade: Members of Blessed Sacrament Church March in Parade, West Brighton, 1970.

#112 Shine! Staten Island Ferry Customers Get a Professional Shoe Shine on Board, 1970.

#115 Cows Grazing in the Field at Weissglass Gold Seal Dairy Corporation Plant, Mariners Harbor, 1975.

#116 Robbery at Stapleton Off Track Betting Parlor, $5,200 Stolen, 1979.

#117 Runners Sprint Through Snow Drifts at St. Peter’s Boys High School During the Blizzard of ’78, 1978.

#118 Wildcat Service Corporation Operators Demonstrate New Computer Terminals to Mrs. Amalia V. Betanzos, 1979.

#119 School Crossing Guard Mrs. George Delpriora Guides William Corbet Safely Across the Intersection, 1972.

#120 Students and Faculty on the Steps of St. Louis Academy, an All-Girls Catholic High School, Circa 1970.

#121 “Still the lowest prices on Staten Island” posted at a Stapleton service station, 1974.

#122 Staten Island Ferry Terminal at Whitehall St., 1975.

#123 Department of Sanitation Stores Salt for Winter at the Yard in Tompkins Avenue, Circa 1970s

#124 Firefighters Battle Flames and Ice to Save P.S. 17 School Building in New Brighton, 1977.

#126 Who ate at Nathan’s in New Dorp? Look at the frankfurter counter, October 1971.

#127 Staten Island veterans groups march in the 1976 Memorial Day parade.

#128 Mrs. Flo Green and her son Andrew observe a robot display at Community National Bank in Oakwood, 1975.

#130 PS 29 Students Get Outdoor Exercise in the School’s Castleton Corners Yard, 1974.

#131 Monsignor Farrell High School students rally outside school during the parochial school teachers strike, 1975.

#132 Lieutenant Daniel Hegarty keeps an eye for traffic violators at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll plaza, 1977.

#133 Mime & Clown entertainers during a street fair on Richmond Avenue, 1979.

#134 Rush Hour at the St. George Ferry Terminal, 1974.

#135 The Staten Island Stage Band performs at the St. George ferry terminal, 1973.

#136 Blessed Sacrament Elementary School Cheerleaders, Staten Island, 1972.

#137 Thurman Munson, Beloved All-Star Yankees Catcher, Died in Plane Crash, 1979.

#138 Pedestrians in St. George During Blizzard of 1978.

#139 Temperatures Soar to 101 on Hylan Blvd., Grasmere, 1977.

#140 Jackie Onassis Visits Staten Island, Tours Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Pilots Ferryboat, 1976.

#142 Tracy Bench Enjoys a Cold Drink as Temperatures Hit 104 Degrees in New Dorp, 1977.

#143 Monsignor Farrell High School QB John Skronski during his playing days, 1978.

#144 Lucia Morgan watching her Westerleigh neighbors clear the street for her imminent departure, 1978.

#145 A motorist carries a young girl from a half-submerged van on Clove Rd., Staten Island, circa 1977.

#146 Captain Jerome X. “Jay” O’Donovan, USMC, served in Vietnam, 1972.

#147 Police Officer Jim Sackel connecting with children in Stapleton, 1977.

Written by Dennis Saul

Content creator and Professional photographer who still uses Vintage film roll cameras. Not that I loved London less But that i Love New York City More.

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