Rosebank, Staten Island: A Little Italy, Trying Not to Shrink


Mr. DeCataldo inherited his rowhouse-style home from his father, who was also raised there, by Mr. DeCataldo’s grandfather, an Italian immigrant.

And while the two-family property may have basically been free, it could probably fetch as much as $500,000, according to Mr. DeCataldo, who lives in the downstairs unit with his wife, Ellen DeCataldo, while their grandson, Vinnie DiSimone, 21, lives upstairs.

If a developer came knocking, the temptation to sell could be great. But knowing that it might be bulldozed, “I could never sell,” Mr. DeCataldo said.

Other changes seem inevitable. Since 2010, Rosebank’s two Roman Catholic schools have closed, and in 2015, so did St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, a red-brick structure on a high-profile hill that developers may target next, according to residents.

And major projects are planned, including a three-tower complex with up to 400 apartments on a waterfront site along industrial Edgewater Street.

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312 HYLAN BOULEVARD A semidetached house with three bedrooms and two and a half baths, listed at $628,000. 718-207-5644

Credit
Jonah Markowitz for The New York Times

Staten Island’s Community Board 1, which approved the plan this past winter, nevertheless demanded that its towers be shorter than the 12 or 13 stories originally proposed, officials say. V Capital Management, the developer, did not return calls requesting comment on the project, which still requires zoning approval.

Similarly, a dense 72-unit complex from Frank McErlean, a developer, is proposed for a grassy lot at the end of Scarboro Avenue. He also did not return calls for comment.

“We’re on an uptick because of the wheel,” said John Guzzo, 58, a longtime resident and a community board official, referring to the supersized Ferris wheel and shopping district rising in nearby St. George.

But new housing needs new sewers, streetlights and phone lines, which have so far been slow to materialize, said Mr. Guzzo. He is moving out of his current house, which is too large for his needs, but going just around the corner. “It is only over when you give up,” he said, “and we still have hope.”

What You’ll Find

Three of Rosebank’s borders are not really in dispute: Interstate 278, the Staten Island Railway tracks and New York Bay. But while some residents say Rosebank, in northeastern Staten Island, should encompass parts of Shore Acres, a more affluent area to the south, the Staten Island Board of Realtors puts the cutoff at St. Johns Avenue.

Most houses are three stories or shorter, and stand close to their neighbors even if they are detached. The houses, often in a flat-roofed Italianate style, also hug their sidewalks, which may explain why Rosebank feels so close-knit.

In a place where extended families sometimes live under the same roof, including some in growing Asian and Hispanic populations, inventory is limited. Brokers say another factor is that builders snap up older properties the second they hit the market, to tear down and replace with townhouses.

Scattered throughout are brick 1960s-era ranches and, of course, those townhouses, in stucco and beige-brick finishes. Condos are also rare, though 31 Hylan Boulevard, a high-rise from the 1980s with a heated outdoor pool, offers 14 floors of units.

What You’ll Pay

Values have mostly been improving. In the first quarter of 2015, 13 properties sold, mostly single-family houses, at an average price of $335,000, according to the Board of Realtors, while in the first quarter of 2016, 23 sold at an average of $358,000.

But in the first quarter of 2017, the board said, just nine residences sold, and at an average of $305,000.

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40 WHITE PLAINS AVENUE A detached one-family house with four bedrooms and two baths, listed at $594,999. 718-689-3850

Credit
Jonah Markowitz for The New York Times

One-bedroom rentals were available in late April for about $1,100 a month, according to HotPads, a listing service, while two-bedrooms were about $1,500.

The Vibe

The annual party at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Grotto, which has taken place almost every year since 1903, kicks off its eight-day run on Amity Street on July 13. Musical entertainment at the grotto, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, will include an Elvis impersonator.

An infusion of eclectic restaurants has brightened the somewhat ragged Bay Street corridor in recent years. They include Korzo Klub, with an Eastern European focus; the Phunky Elephant, a gastro pub; and Bin 5, considered one of Staten Island’s top places to eat.

The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, a gabled house where an Italian war hero, Giuseppe Garibaldi, lived in the 1850s, offers a 12-week Italian-language course. Nonmembers pay $175.

Another glimpse of the distant past can be had at the gingerbread-trimmed house of the photographer Alice Austen, where Hylan Boulevard meets the sea. Today, it’s a city park ringed with a picket fence. Through fog on a recent morning, the only bit of Manhattan that was visible was 1 World Trade Center’s upper floors.

The Schools

Public School 13, at Hylan Boulevard and Vermont Avenue, offers prekindergarten to fifth-grade instruction to about 850 students. On state exams for the 2015-16 school year, 37 percent of students met state standards in English, compared with 39 percent citywide, while 43 percent met standards in math, versus 40 percent citywide.

Intermediate School 49, also known as the Berta A. Dreyfus School, enrolls about 775 students in sixth through eighth grades. On the 2015-16 state exams, 20 percent of students met state standards in English, versus 37 percent citywide, and 10 percent met standards in math, compared with 32 percent citywide.

Many students head to New Dorp High School, where in 2016, the average SAT scores were 448 in reading, 455 in math and 442 in writing, compared with 446, 466 and 440 citywide.

The Commute

Though the Staten Island Railway does not stop in Rosebank, the bus lines S51, S81 and S52 run to the ferry terminal in St. George, where boats leave for Lower Manhattan every 15 minutes during rush hour. Bus fares are a MetroCard swipe; ferries are free. Total travel time is about an hour.

And many in Rosebank drive to other boroughs via the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which is close.

The History

During World War II, an area on the edge of Rosebank was a prisoner-of-war camp for Italian soldiers, according to “Discovering Staten Island: A 350th Anniversary Commemorative History” (History Press, 2011). Today, the site, which was also a filming location for the 1915 silent movie The Birth of a Nation,” according to the book, is home to the 17-acre Eibs Pond Park, a wetland preserve.

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