Travis is a neighborhood at the west-central shore of Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City. Some local geographers classify Travis as being on the island’s West Shore, while others reckon it as a Mid-Island neighborhood.
Located north of the Fresh Kills along the shoreline of the Arthur Kill, Travis is one of the most isolated and sparsely populated locales on Staten Island, known at times as Long Neck and New Blazing Star Ferry, it became the site of the United States’s first linoleum factory in the 1860s, leading to its being named Linoleumville; however, in 1930, residents overwhelmingly chose to rename the community after Colonel Jacob Travis, whose family had resided there before the linoleum plant opened.
Travis is noted throughout Staten Island for the colorful Independence Day parade held there annually.Many members of the community’s founding families are buried in Sylvan Grove Cemetery, a small, triangle-shaped burial ground near the junction of Victory Boulevard and the West Shore Expressway, which has fallen into severe disarray, mostly due to vandalism. An island-wide charitable organization, the Friends of Abandoned Cemeteries of Staten Island, was founded in 1982 in an effort to restore this and other assorted small cemeteries on the island that have been unused for decades, and in some cases, even centuries. Construction is scheduled for the area next to the cemetery to be turned into “Independence Park”. The park is set to be completed in June 2010 in time for the parade’s 100th anniversary. Work began in November.
Travis is home to the Mid Island Little League, who won the 1964 Little League World Series. Mid Island Little League is located at the intersection of Travis Avenue and Victory Boulevard.
The 1980s saw an expansion of commercial development along the West Shore Expressway, including a giant UA Movie and Bowling Complex; that complex no longer houses a movie theater. The West Shore Plaza was also built into this area with the island’s only Burlington Coat Factory (before this, it was a flea market,Bradlee’s Store and Caldor before that) as the anchor store. Also part of this expansion was a large industrial park called the Teleport located at the eastern edge of Travis. It houses mostly companies engaged in the Internet and telecommunications industries. The service roads of the West Shore Expressway are also the site of many retail and other businesses.
Travis is home to FDNY Engine company 154, which also houses a spare fire engine and Brush fire unit 4. Also protecting Travis is one of the last volunteer fire houses in the city, and second on Staten Island, Oceanic H&L Company No. 1. Oceanic was formed in 1881. This makes it one of the oldest volunteer fire houses in the country. The fire house itself was located on the other side of town and moved down Victory Blvd. by horse to where it resides today.
The building of the UA movie theater complex has changed Travis dramatically over the last decade. Traffic patterns have changed along with new development of homes. Many of the older homes that sat on large plots of land are being torn down and replaced with new row homes. Even with this building boom, Travis has retained many of its characteristics that made it the last frontier on Staten Island. Still standing is the old Tennyson’s confectionery . It now is a balloon and party store, but this once held a penny candy store that was operational for almost one hundred years. This is located across from the Oceanic Hook and Ladder firehouse and was a popular hang out for the town locals, and firemen. Owned by “Snappy” Ed Tennyson, called that because he moved so slow, was handed down to his son in law, Robert Minto Jr. who ran the store just about up to his death in 1986.
As of the 2010 census, the demographics of Travis were roughly as follows: 71.% White, 3% Black, 16.9% Hispanic, 6% Asian, 2.2% Other. This is defining Travis as everything within the boundaries of Census Tract 291.02 (Although it covers Bloomfield & Chelsea, pretty much all of the residents live in Travis)