Travis is the name of a neighborhood at the west-central edge of Staten Island. The island, as the borough of Staten Island, is one of the five boroughs of New York City, the largest city in the United States. Some local geographers classify its location 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 USA'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.
The western terminus of Victory Boulevard, a major thoroughfare on Staten Island, is at Travis. Established in 1816 by Daniel D. Tompkins as the Richmond Turnpike, this road was "promoted as the fastest route from New York to Philadelphia." On this road, bus service along the Island's North Shore to the St. George Ferry Terminal is provided by the S62 route. A ferry across the Arthur Kill linked Travis with Carteret, New Jersey. It stopped running in 1929. However, a "people only" ferry did remain in operation until the mid 1960's.
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.
Because Travis lies directly across the Arthur Kill from New Jersey's Chemical Coast, its air quality is often very poor, and inordinately high rates of cancer and other diseases have been discovered among its long-time residents. The closing of the infamous Fresh Kills Landfill in the early 2000s, however, did improve the situation somewhat.
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 Engine 1. Oceanic was formed in 1881. This makes it one of the oldest volunteer fire houses in the country. The actual 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.
Long gone are the days of "forgotten" Travis, a town on the end of Victory Blvd.