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Tompkinsville is one of Staten Island’s more vibrant neighborhoods.Read more about Tompkinsville
It is rich with an ethnically diverse population of African-Americans, Eastern Europeans, Hispanics and Whites, it is is also home to one of the largest Sri Lankan communities outside of Sri Lanka.
Although founded in 1815 by Daniel D. Tompkins, Tompkinsville was formerly dubbed as the “watering place” in the 17th century, named for the natural spring frequented by colonial navigators. Adding to its claim to historical fame, Tompkinsville is also home to the site of the very first Staten Island public ferry, which dates back to 1708.
Modern day Tompkinsville is one of the more urban neighborhoods on the island marked by tall, brick buildings, numerous retails stores and bodegas, along with eateries covering a range of cuisines reflecting today’s cultural melting pot. Tompkinsville may not have the upscale restaurants found in its neighboring boroughs, but it does offer a rich selection of Sri Lankan, Mexican, Dominican, Honduran and Jamaican restaurants. The winding staircases curving up to hillside gardens offer the best views overlooking the Upper New York Bay, however Tompkinsville Park is the local green space most frequented by residents.
Architecturally, Tompkinsville is a feast of curiosities. Many of its single family homes dating to the turn of the 20th century, a cocktail of lavishly restored buildings, aging brick buildings and even modern condos bestowed with impressive views over the bay. The pairing of the residential and the commercial natures of Tompkinsville has allowed it to become one of Staten Island’s cultural hubs, which boasts many live music and art venues. On Bay Street, the Everything Goes Book Café is the place to mingle among a varied bohemian crowd sipping organic espresso and local cider. This bookshop café is a hive of activity, regularly hosting art exhibitions and live music.
Like many areas on Staten Island, Tompkinsville saw a decline after the construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964, after the island’s commercial activity shifted towards the interior. However, it remains a well-connected neighborhood with links to the Staten Island Railway and being only one stop from the St. George Ferry terminal. There are also a number of bus lines that pass through Tompkinsville towards Oakwood, the Bricktown Mall and Staten Island Mall.