A (free!) 25-minute ride on the Staten Island Ferry
—featuring stunning views of the Manhattan skyline as well as Ellis Island
and the Statue of Liberty
—is all that separates a visitor to New York from this most suburban of the five boroughs. The North Shore (including the St. George, Tompkinsville and Stapleton neighborhoods), located near where the ferry docks, is by far the most urban section of Staten Island, and has increasingly become home to a diverse collection of residents lured by the under-discovered charms of the "forgotten borough."
Steps from the ferry dock is the Richmond County Bank Ballpark
, home to the Staten Island Yankees, a minor league affiliate of the New York Yankees
. Games offer most of the attractions of the big leagues, with a more relaxed feel and spectacular skyline views. Venture to Staten Island's South Shore to explore South Beach, with its FDR Boardwalk, one of the longest in the world at 2 ½ miles. Some of the other attractions Staten Island offers include the Staten Island Children's Museum
, the Staten Island Botanical Garden, the Staten Island Zoo
and Historic Richmond Town
, a village-museum complex exploring Staten Island's past from the colonial period to the present.
As for dining, Staten Island has long been famous for its array of Italian-American restaurants and pizza joints, but it has more recently developed an interesting ethnic food scene featuring such cuisines as Mexican and Sri Lankan (the island is home to more than a third of New York's Sri Lankan population), at spots like Sunshine