Its origins trace back to the early 1800s, when much of the land that is now Clifton was owned by the Vanderbilt family. Several successive prominent families, from the Vanderbilts to the Townsends, helped evolve Clifton to become a thriving neighborhood by 1900, when the Fox Hills Golf Club course was a prominent fixture and encompassed much of the neighborhood.
By the 1950s, Clifton was one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the city. An eclectic mixture of occupations and cultures lived alongside each other, a precursor to the cultural explosion of the 1990s, when Liberian and West African communities become prominent around Targee Street. Clifton currently houses the largest Liberian population of any community outside Africa. The dubbing "Little Liberia" is frequently applied to the Park Hill/Clifton area. This rich cultural expansion has resulted in the upstart of numerous neighborhood political organizations throughout the years in Clifton, prompting the formation of community groups like SILCA, the Staten Island Liberian Community Association.Find Clifton apartments
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Helped by diverse demographics, Clifton boasts an up-and-coming arts and cultural scene. It is the neighborhood, after all, that artists ranging from Henry David Thoreau to members of Wu Tang Clan called home at one point. It’s an indication that the neighborhood has hosted a multiplicity of demographics and skill sets throughout its existence. The majority of residences of Clifton echo this diversity, offering one-family houses, attached homes, apartments, and duplexes, with many of the older buildings having rich architectural historical value. There are also an above-average number of job opportunities in the social assistance and health care fields in Clifton.
Similar to surrounding neighborhoods, Clifton offers several bus lines, such as the S51/81 buses along Bay Street, the S74/84 buses along Targee Street, and the S76/86 buses along Vanderbilt Avenue. It formerly hosted an express bus before it was eliminated in 2010. Clifton residents are also within a mile or two of the Staten Island Railway MTA. These options are used heavily by Clifton’s growing community, which houses some of the greatest diversity – culturally and architecturally – in the entire city.