10 Things You Didn’t Know About Staten Island

Staten Island, ahhh… the forgotten borough. When people think about New York City, their minds go straight to Manhattan. When asked to name all the five boroughs of NYC… “Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and....?” STATEN ISLAND! That’s the last borough. Although I was born in Brooklyn, I was raised in Staten Island for most of my adolescent years, therefore, I understand the struggles on some native Staten Islanders who always seem to be “forgotten.” There are also many negative stereotypes about Staten Island and the people on it. Here are some things to clear up your assumptions about this forgotten borough.

1. Staten Islanders refer to their borough as “The Island.”

From experience, people who are not from Staten Island do not understand that when we speak about “The Island,” we do not mean Manhattan. There have been many instances where I have been speaking to Long Islanders or people from the other four boroughs, and I refer to Staten Island as “The Island” and they get confused. I guess we just have to watch who we’re speaking to about Staten Island.

2. We have a large community of Italians…Meaning that we have great authentic Italian cuisine!

Staten Island is pretty known for its large population of Italians. Some uninformed individuals may even ask whether or not there are mobs on the island, which may or may not be true...However, we do have many top tier Italian restaurants and pizzerias such as Goodfellas, which won its title as “Best Pizza in the World” in 2012. Other popular Italian restaurants include Nunzio’s, Nonna’s Pizzeria, Royal Crown and Nino’s.

 3. Staten Island is the “forgotten borough,” but it is the richest borough in New York City.

Hearts were broken back in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast. However, Staten Island was hit the worst out of all the boroughs, leading to people losing their possessions, homes and even their lives. Staten Islanders were left in despair as they thought they were going to be forgotten again in this horrible event. However, President Obama did make an appearance and help rebuild the community. The borough eventually overcame the obstacle and still remains to be the richest borough in New York City, with an average household income of $70,295.

4. Staten Island used to be a place people would go to on vacation. 

Like the Hamptons in Long Island, Staten Island used to be pretty similar. Before the Verrazano Bridge was built in 1964, Staten Island used to be the place for people to vacation and hang out during the summer. People would be all over the beach and in their vacation houses by the water. There would be carnivals, parks and people all over just spending time in the suburbs of New York City. However, after the Verrazano Bridge was built, people from all over New York City, especially Italians, migrated to Staten Island and began to build their lives there.

5. Yes, the toll for the Verrazano Bridge is now $16.00…

This might be one of the biggest factors as to people refuse to go to Staten Island. The toll for the Verrazano Bridge connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn is ridiculously pricy. Bridges such as the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge are free, why can’t the Verrazano Bridge be free? Yet again, isolating our island even more. Yes, we do need the money to fund for our communities, but I do agree, that the toll price is way too high. When I moved to Staten Island initially in 2003, the toll was only $7. Okay fine, but $16? More than double the price in 13 years?

6. We take the Staten Island Ferry to go home to Staten Island… not to take it back to Manhattan.

Yes, people do live on Staten Island. The island’s biggest attraction might as well be the Staten Island Ferry. The orange ferry sails back and forth between Manhattan and Staten Island. Many tourists like to take the ferry because it provides a great view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty; and because it’s free. Yes, f-r-e-e. Other than that, tourists will take the Ferry from Manhattan to Staten Island, and then take it back to Manhattan… because what else is there to explore on Staten? Well… since Staten Islanders aren’t tourists, yes, some islanders do take the ferry to go home.

7. Staten Island is the third largest borough in NYC, but the least populated...

Coming in first place, Brooklyn comes in to be the most populated borough with approximately 2,621,793 people, followed by Queens, Manhattan, The Bronx and lastly, Staten Island. However, Queens is the largest in land space, followed by Brooklyn, Staten Island, The Bronx, and Manhattan.

8. ...Because 40% of the island is occupied by trees and nature.

The reason for Staten Island to be so big but with a low population would be because most of the land on the island consists of trees and wildlife. In certain parts of the island, it is like living in a forest. There are many cases where a house is located in the middle of the woods isolated from other houses and the only way out is through the human paved driveway. However, many houses in Staten Island are very big, almost like a mini mansion.

9. A large majority of the island are Republicans… possibly even voting for Donald Trump.

I was never really interested in politics, but as I grew up and as the presidential election became more and more prominent in my high school classrooms, my teachers and fellow classmates began to influence my political views. However, I do not come from a politically active family, therefore I had no interest in the election as I only listened and observed what was going on. I am a registered voter, but I do not have a specified party. I remember my high school teachers trash talking President Obama and hoped for a Republican president. Even the teacher I looked up to the most shared his political views and now I wonder who they will be voting for? I have many friends in Staten Island who are planning to vote for Donald Trump, while I am still indifferent about the who situation.

10. WE DON’T HAVE A CHIPOTLE.

That’s right. Staten Island lacks the luxury of having a Chipotle… For the great fast food Mexican Grill tastes, students usually rely on Moe’s or if you’re fancy, you can go to Cabo Fresh or small Mexican restaurants such as Paco’s Mexican Bistro. However, announced in 2015, there will be a Chipotle opened on Hylan Boulevard (a very popular and busy street in Staten Island) in between New Dorp High School and Staten Island Tech. Soon, our island’s Chipotle lovers won’t have to go all the way to Bay Ridge or Manhattan to satisfy their burrito bowl needs.