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Travel Logs July 2017

Compulsive Traveler

Staten Island: The Land Beyond the Ferry

By Sandra Scott

More than one-third of the island is protected parkland. Greenbelt Nature Center is three times the size of Central Park and a contiguous stretch of green land with miles of hiking trails.

When people say they are going to New York City they usually are referring just to Manhattan. New York City is divided into five boroughs: Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Think of Staten Island as the “other NYC, ” only a 25-minute free ferry ride from downtown. Hotels are reasonable. They offer free parking along with complimentary transportation to/from the ferry. It is said “If you haven’t seen Staten Island, you haven’t really seen New York."

  1. Staten Island Museum: The museum has two locations, one near the Staten Island Ferry and one in Snug Harbor. At the Snug Harbor location check out “Remember the Mastodon” and at the one near the ferry learn about Staten Island’s first settlers, the Lenape. The Lenape Collection dates back more than 10,000 years.

  2. Snug Harbor Cultural Center: Snug Harbor, a Smithsonian affiliate, started as a sanctuary for aged sailors in 1801 grew to have 50 structures and nearly a 1000 residents. It was a self-sustaining community with a dairy, chapel, hospital and music hall, and was the richest charitable institution in the United States. Today it has been transformed into a center of art, culture and nature.

  3. Historic Richmond: Step into the past at Historic Richmond Town, with over 30 original historic structures and where some of the treasures date to the mid-1600s. It is the only historic town in New York City. After watching the introductory video, take a guided tour that is available Wednesday through Sunday. Don’t miss an evening at The Tavern where the area’s top musicians regularly perform jazz, blues and sea shanties.

  4. Fort Wadsworth:  The fort is one of the oldest military sites in the United States. It guarded New York Harbor for over 200 years.  When the fort was closed in 1994 it had been the longest active military site in the United States.

  5. Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art: The museum provides a peek into the Tibetan world. Even the building, complete with a Chanting Hall filled with Tibetan statues and artifacts, was built to resemble a Tibetan mountain monastery.  Spin the Tibetan Prayer Wheel to spread spiritual blessings and well-being. Tai Chi and meditation classes are offered.

  6. Staten Island Zoo: It may be small but they like to say they have “the best little zoo in America.” Check out the llamas and the rare ibex, now nearly extinct in the wild. You have heard of Punxsutawney Phil, the famed prognosticator of the length of winter. The zoo’s Chuck the Groundhog has been better at predicting the end of winter with an 85-percent accuracy.

  7. Garibaldi-Meucci Museum: Antonio Meucci filed a patent for the telephone before Edison. When Meucci was ill, his wife sold his documents and projects to Alexander Graham Bell for $6. If the destitute Meucci had $10 to renew the patent in 1874 no patent could have been issued to Bell. Garibaldi, the “Washington of Italy,” was a friend of Meucci who took him in while he was in exile.

  8. National Lighthouse Museum: The newly created museum is dedicated to the history of lighthouses and lighthouse keepers. Check out The Wall of Lights models of a wide range of lighthouse types seen throughout the world.  From May to October the museum offers a variety of boat tours. 

  9. Greenery:  Staten Island, with over 170 parks, is called “The Greenest Borough.” More than one-third of the island is protected parkland. Greenbelt Nature Center is three times the size of Central Park and a contiguous stretch of green land with miles of hiking trails. At Snug Harbor there are nine distinctive botanical gardens including the Chinese Scholar’s Garden.

  10. And more: Not to miss is the Noble Maritime Museum to learn about the life and times of the retired sailors of Snug Harbor. Photographer buffs will want to visit the Alice Austen House.


Sandra Scott travels the globe recording the top attractions at every destination.

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