Monday, January 25, 2010
There are a number of reasons why it has been nearly 4 years and I have not featured anything from the borough of Staten Island. It is far, inconvenient, and perhaps I was a little lazy. The photo explains another one reason. The current fare going to Staten Island across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge is $11 one way (it is free on the return trip). That two-digit fare is just frightening. The bridge can be spectacular, however. See my posting on it here and an additional photo gallery here.
Staten Island can be reached a number of ways. By auto, there are 4 bridges: three from New Jersey and the Verrazano from Brooklyn. There are buses via Brooklyn (and from Manhattan). Access from Manhattan can be had via the Staten Island Ferry (the fare is now free). I have taken the ferry many times, most often just for the vistas, which I highly recommend.
Staten Island is decidedly suburban in feel compared to the other boroughs, and it is the only borough without a subway system connected to the other boroughs - it is serviced by a fairly extensive bus system. But for real exploration of the hinterlands, it is best to have your own wheels.
Staten Island has had an interest in secession from the city for some time and in 1993, Staten Islanders actually voted to secede from New York City. Implementation was blocked in the New York State Assembly. In 2009, a new bill was introduced by state senator Andrew J. Lanza from Staten Island.
New York City itself has dabbled with the idea of seceding from New York State. The issue of inequitable distribution of revenues back from the State is one of the primary motivations for these secession efforts. For Staten Island, the drama could well be called "If at first you don't secede."
For the time being, Staten Island is still part of New York City, and there are a number of very worthwhile things to see in this borough, as well as a few big surprises. You will see that here this week :)
Toll Note: Those using the E-Z Pass system get a discounted rate of $9.14, and Staten Island residents pay $5.48. There was some outrage in 2009 when the toll was raised, of course, but as we all know, you can't fight City Hall or secede :)