For many, a visit to the 'Big Apple' is likely to involve shopping on Fifth Avenue, a stroll through Central Park and taking in a show at one of the many theatres on Broadway. Often called 'the forgotten borough', Staten Island is the most geographically detached of New York's boroughs and, while it doesn't have the allure of Manhattan or Brooklyn, there is still plenty of reason to visit, as no trip to New York would be complete without a ride on the Staten Island ferry.
The Staten Island ferry carries over 70,000 passengers a day between Whitehall Street at the southernmost tip of Manhattan and St. George Ferry Terminal on Richmond Terrace in Staten Island. Taking around twenty-five minutes per journey, the ferry ride is a favourite of tourists to New York as it provides excellent views of the Lower Manhattan skyline, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Furthermore, the ferry provides a no-hassle mode of transport and is free to ride!
However, there is more to Staten Island than the ferry if you're not the sea-faring type. The island has miles of beaches which are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, pier fishing and other recreational activities. Staten Island is also home to a variety of cultural centres and historical sites, such as Conference House which was the location of the abortive Peace Conference between British and American soldiers during the American Revolution, the Garibaldi-Meucci museum, Noble Maritime Collection and The National Lighthouse Museum.
The island is also home to the Staten Island Zoo, which recently opened a newly refurbished reptile exhibit and is widely regarded as having among the largest and most complete collection of rattlesnakes in North America. The zoo currently has over 400 animals ranging over 200 different species, while the zoo is also the home of Staten Island Chuck, a groundhog who is the official Groundhog Day forecaster for New York City.
Movie buffs will be pleased to learn that a vast number of films have been filmed partially or wholly on Staten Island, including The Godfather, Working Girl, War of The Worlds, Goodfellas, Donnie Brasco and School of Rock starring Jack Black among many others. The island was also the location for Madonna's music video for her song 'Papa Don't Preach'.
For those who want to indulge in a bit of shopping away from the hustle and bustle of Fifth Avenue or Times Square, Staten Island has a wide array of shops and malls to while away the hours. Food lovers are well catered for as well, with a wide range of restaurants and bars appealing to even the most diverse of tastes, where you can relax, unwind and refuel in order to throw yourself into the best of Staten Island nightlife.
If you're considering a trip to New York, Staten Island provides an ideal location for tourists looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. With hotels in Staten Island ranging from the luxurious to the cheap and functional, you're sure to find accommodation to suit your budget; and with the Staten Island ferry making 104 round-trips every day between Staten Island and Manhattan, you won't have far to go to indulge in shopping on Fifth Avenue, a stroll through Central Park and taking in a show at one of the many theatres on Broadway.