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A wide bay may separate Staten Island from the rest of the city. But in terms of real estate, differences between the borough and other enclaves seem to be lifting like a morning fog.
New rentals and condominiums, some with perks like a pet spa or rooftop beehives, are rewriting the island’s skyline. Big-city cool is popping up in a place not always noted for it: Small-batch espresso will soon flow at a coffee shop; a jug band played kazoos at a recently opened brewery; and stores selling brand-name skinny-leg pants are on their way. And a fresh crop of renters and buyers, unable to afford pricier precincts and unfazed by stereotypes about how the place can seem insular, bland or run-down, are setting sail for the island.
“I like the small-town vibe,” said Joseph Bird, 27, who moved to the Stapleton neighborhood from Brooklyn in December. “And I don’t mind that there’s a little bit of grit.”
Not all of Staten Island, a 58-square-mile borough shaped like a slice of pizza with 470,000 people, is getting equal attention. Developers are mostly targeting a bite-size portion in the northeastern corner, encompassing the waterfront neighborhoods of Stapleton, St. George, Tompkinsville and Clifton, all part of what is often called the North Shore. […]