When people think New York City, their minds often don’t wander past the island of Manhattan. The problem is, NYC consists of five boroughs and Manhattan is just one of them. Sure, Manhattan is the one with the famous skyline, the buildings with names you recognize, and the sights you recall from movies, but the other boroughs have quite a bit to offer on their own.
Located in the southwest most part of the city, Staten Island is the least populated borough of them all yet the one that would surprise you most. Full of history, culture, great food and community, Staten Island has many stories to tell under its green facade. Let’s drop the stereotypes, hop in a car (yes, Staten Island is probably the borough most dependent on cars), head across the Verrazano Bridge and take a look at what this Island has to offer.
5 Fast Facts:
- The East Shore is home to the F.D.R. Boardwalk which is the fourth longest in the world
- Staten Island is the only borough not connected to the subway system but there is a ferry, train and buses
- Staten Island is 34.7% Italians, which will benefit us in the food section of this article
- There is over 26,000 acres of parks on Staten Island
- Staten Island was originally named by Henry Hudson who called it “Statten Eylandt”
Staten Island makes a great day trip if you are staying in the city. Just hop on the Staten Island Ferry down on Whitehall Street and in 25 minutes you’ll find yourself a world away from the hustle of the city but when you turn around you’ll have the best views of the Statue of Liberty and the NYC skyline. Right off the ferry you can find Staten Island Yankee Stadium which makes for a perfect summer night. Make your way a few blocks away from the Stadium and you’ll find the historic St. George Theatre which offers everything from concerts, Broadway-like shows and comedians.
If you get a little adventurous and want to explore the Island a bit, here are some of the highlights:
– Old Richmond Town – Some of the earliest settlers made their way to Staten Island and we are lucky enough to have it preserved. Visitors can walk through this town which also has a staff dressed to the time period showing what their way of life would have been back then.
– Staten Island Zoo – Not only does this Zoo have New York City’s official Groundhog but they have tons of free family events once inside the zoo and not to forget a pretty cool petting zoo.
– Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden – Located not far from the Ferry, this little piece of paradise is one of the most beautiful pieces of property in all of New York City. From beautiful architecture to unmatched greenery, this is the “crown jewel’” of Staten Island.
Remember earlier when I told you more than one-third of Staten Island were Italian? Well here is the part where that becomes extremely useful. Food: the one thing Staten Islanders never mess with, no matter what their culture is. The Island has some of the most underrated restaurants in New York City that not only have amazing dishes but every restaurant will make you feel like your home. One night, step away from the city and make your way to some of the tastiest dining experiences you will ever have. Top restaurants include Marina Café, Angelina’s, Nove Italian Bistro and Crown Palace.
Here is something fun – think you’ve never seen Staten Island? Well think again, some of your favorite shows and movies have used Staten Island as their backdrop. Most recently Lorne Michaels started filming a comedy called “Staten Island Summer” due out this year. And hometown celebrity heroes, there are a few of those too! Here are a few highlights:
– “The Godfather” – The eight bedroom home belonging to the Carleone clan rest in Todt Hill
– “War of the Worlds” – This Spielberg and Tom Cruise movie filmed a crash action scene on one of the small highways on Staten Island.
– “School of Rock” – One of the concert scenes were filmed in the St. George Theatre
That’s just to name a few, almost on a daily basis you can find Law & Order, Person of Interest, Blue Bloods or Elementary. Maybe you’ll just run into your favorite show when visiting Staten Island!