NFT New York Staten Island

Staten Island

Staten Island, of thee we sing! Don't let the sight of jabronis with fake tans and gelled hair hold you back from exploring, lest you miss out on heaps of excellent pizza, the wild flower meadows at Mount Loretto, the windows on the past at Historic Richmond Town, the small-town charm of minor league baseball at St. George, and the striking design of the Chinese Scholars' Garden at Snug Harbor. It's high time you pulled your head out of your borough and hitched a ride on the ferry, if only to eat at one of SI's "holy trinity" of pizzerias.

Culture
1 Snug Harbor Cultural Center, 1000 Richmond Ter, 718-448-2500. A former sailors' home transformed to a waterfront arts complex, Snug Harbor's 83 acres include classrooms, studio spaces, performance venues, galleries, three museums, and a truly noteworthy botanical garden. Call to learn about cultural events and exhibits on site.

2 Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, 338 Lighthouse Ave, 718-987-3500. A world-class collection of Tibetan art, courtesy of former New York art collector Edna Coblentz, who had the surprising French pseudonym Jacques Marchais.See more.

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3 Historic Richmond Town, 441 Clarke Ave, 718-351-1611. Get back to old-timey times visiting restored homes from the 17th to the 19th centuries, most populated by costumed guides. Great for kids and adults who want to learn how to churn butter/forge metal.

4 Wagner College, 1 Campus Rd, 718-390-3100. Wagner's tranquil hilltop location rewards visitors with beautiful views of the serene surroundings, but its best feature is the planetarium.

5 Staten Island Village Hall, 111 Canal St. Last remaining village hall building in Staten Island, a reminder of the borough's rural past.

6 Alice Austen House, 2 Hylan Blvd, 718-816-4506. Alice Austen was an early twentieth-century amateur photographer, and now she's got a museum and a ferry boat named after her. Go figure. Some of her 8,000 images are on view at her house, which has a great view of lower New York Harbor.

Nature
7 Staten Island Greenbelt, 200 Nevada Ave, 718-667-2165. This 2,800-acre swath of land (comprising several different parks) in the center of the island contains a golf course, a hospital, a scout camp, several graveyards, and plenty of wooded areas that remain relatively undeveloped and can be accessed only by walking trails. A good starting point is High Rock Park. Panoramic views abound.

8 Blue Heron Park, 222 Poillon Ave, 718-967-3542. This quiet, 236-acre park has a fantastic Nature Center and plenty of ponds, wetlands, and streams to explore. Noted for bird-watching, hence the name.

9 Great Kills Park, 718-987-6790. Part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, Great Kills boasts clean beaches, a marina, and a nature preserve.

10 Mount Loretto Unique Area, 6450 Hylan Blvd, 718-482-7287. Flourishing wetlands, grasslands, and beaches all rolled into one serenely beautiful waterfront park. Mysterious sculptures dot the beach.

11 Conference House Park, 7455 Hylan Blvd, 718-984-6046.The historic house is worth a look, but watching the sunset from the restored waterfront pavilion is a must. You'll also find NYC's very own "South Pole" on the beach here.

12 Clove Lakes Park, Clove Rd and Victory Blvd, 311. Who needs Central Park? Check out these romantic rowboats on the lake in season.

13 Freshkills Park, off Route 440. Former landfill, now a park. Sorta. They're working on it over the next 30 years. Free tours by appointment.

Other
14 110/120 Longfellow Road. Celebrate one of the greatest American films without having to schlep to Sicily. This address is where the Corleone family held court in The Godfather.

15 Ship Graveyard, at Arthur Kill Rd and Rossville Ave. These ships of the damned make a perfect backdrop for Goth photo shoots.

16 Staten Island Zoo, 614 Broadway, 718-442-3100. Kids will go wild here, near the stunning Clove Lakes Park. Be sure to bring them to the vampire bat feedings.

Food
Tompkinsville:
New Asha, 322 Victory Blvd, 718-420-0649. Great Sri Lankan food on the cheap. Spicy!
Port Richmond:
Denino's, 524 Port Richmond Ave, 718-442-9401. Some of the best pizza in town.
Dongan Hills:
Lee's Tavern, 60 Hancock St, 718-667-9749. Great bar with great pizza--get the fresh mozzarella.
Grant City:
Nunzio's, 2155 Hylan Blvd, 718-667-9647. More great pizza. Notice a theme here?
Tottenville:
Egger's Ice Cream Parlor, 7437 Amboy Rd, 718-605-9335. Old time ice cream and sweets. Kids love it.
Killmeyer's Old Bavaria Inn, 4254 Arthur Kill Rd, 718-984-1202. Historic German beer garden and eats. Jå!
Castleton Corners
Joe & Pat's, 1758 Victory Blvd, 718-981-0887. Completing SI's "Holy Trinity" of pizza.
West Brighton:
Nurnberger Bierhaus, 817 Castleton Ave, 718-816-7461. German beer and food.
St. George:
Pier 76 Italian Restaurant, 76 Bay Street, 718-447-7437, What Joe & Pat begat; walking distance to ferry.

Driving In / Through Staten Island
To visit Staten Island, one must either drive/take a bus/take a cab over the Verrazano Bridge (and its ruinously expensive toll) from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, or catch the ferry from Lower Manhattan. If you elect to do the latter, you'll find myriad buses departing from the St. George side of the ferry as well as the terminal of the Staten Island Railway, ready to whisk you all the way down to Tottenville and back with one swipe of the Metrocard. To reach New Jersey via Staten Island, take the Verrazano to the Staten Island Expressway (Route 278) to Route 440 to the Outerbridge Crossing, and you're almost halfway to Princeton or the Jersey shore. However...the Staten Island Expressway often gets jammed. Two scenic, though not really quicker, alternatives: one, take Hylan Boulevard all the way south to almost the southwest tip of Staten Island, and then cut up to the Outerbridge Crossing; two, take Richmond Terrace around the north shore and cross to New Jersey at the Goethals Bridge. Remember, neither is really faster, but at least you'll be moving




         


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Five Beers in Five Boroughs + One Mugging

By Craig Nelson
Come on an epic journey across the five boroughs with NFT Managing Editor Craig Nelson and his drinking buddy Gabriel. From pure beer garden bliss to a late-night visit to the Bellevue ER, they experience the best and worst of New York City in a few short hours. The following is a true story...

Read More...

On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Jennifer Keeney Sendrow
Photo:  Courtesy Roomorama

Night Gallery
Staten Island has a lot of unremarkable neighborhood bars. Why remark on this one? The Saturday night bartender is a sweet local lady who serves up ten drinks in rapid succession without dropping a swizzle stick. They have two things I can't get enough of: a jukebox with hits of ‘80s and ‘90s AND a Photo Hunt machine (check out the top scores—"Dorp or Die" forever!). Plus, they decorate the joint for the holidays, they have a Superbowl pool, and they have trips to Atlantic City—all signs of geniune community that are becoming rare among today's boozehounds. If that's not something special, I didn’t know what special means anymore.



Posted By:  Jennifer Keeney Sendrow
Photo:  Courtesy Roomorama

Many residents of Staten Island seem to have small children. Enter Safari Amusement Park. The thing is, on a sunny, warm Saturday afternoon, there are no small children to be seen. The kiddie rides like the Himalaya and the bumper cars sit silent. The go-carts are going nowhere. The battered, safari-themed mini-golf course is empty, with a zebra toppled over near a giant skull. Only the batting cages were active, with pairs of burly men in their 20’s showing off for one another, whacking the softballs thrown the “fast” machine. Go figure.



Posted By:  Jennifer Keeney Sendrow
Photo:  Courtesy Roomorama

Fresh Kills
What do you do with an infamous 2,200-acre landfill when you’re all done dumping trash there? New York City plans to make it a vast public park with athletic and recreational facilities, paved bike paths, an event venue, and a waterway that will link up with the Arthur Kill. Although the Fresh Kills Park Project is scheduled to take 30 years to complete, things are already looking green. The Parks Department’s Urban Park Rangers lead minibus tours to view the five landscapes now underway and explain the restoration process. You will see the Manhattan skyline quite nicely from atop “The Mound,” a pile of trash that has poetically become the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard.



Posted By:  Jennifer Keeney Sendrow
Photo:  Courtesy Roomorama

St George Theatre
Just two blocks from the Staten Island Ferry, behind a resolutely blank façade, the St. George Theatre awaits your attention. It opened in the 1920s as a 3,000-seat vaudeville playhouse replete with gaudy trimmings like watercolor murals and faux-Spanish architectural details. Live performances soon gave way to motion pictures, and the theater eventually lost out to multiplex competitors, surviving in incarnations as an antiques market, a night club, and even a roller skating rink. The St. George turned off the house lights in the 1970s; but thanks to the efforts of current owner Rosemary Cappozalo, that wasn’t the last act. Over the past few years, she and her family gave the St. George a substantial renovation and restoration. Officially a cultural center and events space, it’s now open for visits from curious wanderers seven days a week. Take in a preview by renting School of Rock—the battle scene was filmed in the theater.



Posted By:  Jennifer Keeney Sendrow
Photo:  Courtesy Roomorama

Ralph's
When on Staten Island, do as the natives do. No, don’t do that. I only meant to suggest that you waddle as fast you can to Ralph’s (preferably after chowing down on a large pie from Denino’s across the street). The Silvestro family has been slinging slush since 1928, way back when grandpa Ralph arrived from Italy with only recipes and a dream. Now they’ve got franchises in four states selling all things cold and sweet—ices, ice cream, sundaes, milkshakes—in dozens of flavors. Do yourself a favor and order a cream ice: all the light refreshment of a classic ice with the richness of ice cream. A small cup with two different flavors will only set you back a buck and a quarter. As if you needed an excuse to buy an extra one “for your friend who’s waiting in the car.”




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Restaurants (13)
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