Today, we’re going to shed light on the mystery of this borough and showcase what we’d consider delightful destinations in Staten Island! We all know that New York City has five boroughs, although we always think that Harlem is the last one, after Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan. News flash – it is Staten Island, the red-headed stepchild of the NYC family. Not much is known about the Jar Jar Binx of the boroughs, other than you take a ferry to reach Staten Island, and that real estate is much cheaper there than in other areas. So let’s take a look at some of our favorite places there!
First off is the Staten Island Zoo, known for its extensive reptile collection (mostly rattlesnakes), with over 800 species in a 16,000 square foot facility. There’s also a new aquarium that’s part of the Zoo, with different exhibits that you’ll love.
Our following recommendation is Snug Harbor. Snug Harbor used to be a home for retired sailors, but now hosts many botanical farms and gardens for the public to enjoy, along with arts events and other programs. There’s also a compost project for sustainability lovers that you can get in on, and the buildings in this area are considered historical landmarks. There’s always a packed events calendar that you can view on the website, and it promises to be family-friendly.
If your inclination is less outdoorsy, the next suggestion in our delightful destinations in Staten Island is the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art. There’s art, music, performances, films, and just overall beautiful cultural artifacts of the Tibetan people on display, complete with a meditation garden. The Museum also offers tai chi and meditation classes and hosts events such as lectures and art workshops – the latter is geared towards kids interested in traditional Tibetan craft making.
Staten Island also offers shopping right off the ferry, known as Empire Outlets. While the Outlets are relatively new, guests can get great deals on everything from Levi’s and Converse, all the way to Nike and Banana Republic, and grab Shake Shack and Starbucks while doing so.
Since we’re on the topic of food on SI, we might also mention that we’re saving the best for last. At Enotica Maria, an Italian restaurant in Staten Island, there’s a rotating menu under its “Nonnas of the World” program. Initially started by the owner whose mother passed and wanted to keep the homeyness of his Italian Nonna’s fare alive, he staffed the kitchen with legit Italian grandmothers, later expanding it to include Nonnas from other cultures. These guest chefs make their most beloved dishes on a rotating menu and share them with the guests at Enotica Maria.
Also, near Enotica Maria and Empire Outlets is Beso, which features Cuban, Mexican, and Spain grub, for those who love food but can’t choose. There’s also Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn, for those who love things like goulash and sausage and 200 different beers on tap – so you can try a little bit of everything.
We know that we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of what Staten Island offers, but let us know if there are others we should explore and feature! What are places do you consider delightful destinations in Staten Island?