Staten Island is arguably the most misunderstood district of New York. It is a small island full of curiosities, good food, natural beauty and cultural attractions. The easiest way to land there is either by the famous Verrazano Narrows Bridge by car or take a free trip from Manhattan on the most famous ferry in the city.
Culture and history are interwoven in this borough, with its multitude of museums, historical landmarks and parks, as well as the largest forest reserve in the city. You can immerse yourself in colonial times by visiting Historic Richmond Town, a striking 17th-century rural town that has been restored to its former glory or by visiting the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, whose exhibits honor the town’s maritime heritage.
Staten Island has approximately 170 parks and green spaces, which happens to be a third of the entire island, and that is why it is not uncommon for it to be known as “The Greenest Borough”. Staten Island offers you an irresistible variety of outdoor activities that you can do in all these beautiful places. For example, you can go ice skating, hiking, cycling, golfing or swimming, enjoying an incredible experience with your friends or family.
The crime rate on Staten Island is well below average compared to other New York boroughs and even other cities in the United States. This, thanks to the excellent work of the local police forces, makes Staten Island end up being one of the safest districts in all of New York, since it has the highest police-to-person ratio. Nevertheless, personal injuries come at a higher ratio than the rest of the country due to it’s highly concentrated population.
Staten Island is one of the most affordable cost-of-living districts in New York. Much of the workforce is blue-collar, which means that many can take advantage of the New York Workers’ Compensation laws if they are ever injured. Similarly, another hallmark that make this district very attractive are its inhabitants. A multitude of cultures mix in the town, which makes it an extremely interesting and culturally colorful place.
The beaches are vital to have a good time on sunny days and it is one of the favorite activities for residents and visitors alike. Being an island, Staten Island has more than one beach that you can enjoy. And not only during the day, because young people like to light bonfires at night and have small parties. However, entertainment is somewhat limited, which is why people prefer to take the ferry and travel to Manhattan for a little more fun. Most of the venues on Staten Island tend to close early as well.
Staten Island offers you a wealth of cuisines from different parts of the world. You can find German restaurants with live music and terraces, family businesses serving Italian food, places with traditional food, as well as Spanish, Mexican and even Cajun food.
The biggest downside to Staten Island is probably the traffic. The borough seems to have no rush hour, and if it does, then it lives from dawn to dusk. The situation usually improves during the summer, but it is advisable not to plan trips without saving extra time. On the other hand, Staten Islanders tend to be very aggressive behind the wheel. They will start yelling and honking if you are too close to their car or if you are not moving fast.
Another problem of Staten Island is the intolerance of its foreign inhabitants and the racial division that has been seen in recent years. Racism has led to verbal attacks and abuse of mostly Latin Americans in the area. This racial hatred is said to be influenced by the belief that immigrants come to steal their jobs. Preventive measures have been taken to avoid abuse, but it seems that they have not eliminated the problem.