Sunday, October 07, 2007

Blogging NYT: Singing Staten Island's Praises

NEW YORK, Oct. 7 — The New York Times City section today has a huge piece on the hipster-ization of Staten Island's North Shore. The piece, here, by Cara Buckley, a metro reporter, paints a rather idyllic picture of an emerging arts and underground-music scene on the island.

There remains, however, the inescapable sense of being far away (how about 5.2 miles) from "the City," as most of my S.I. acquaintances (and many other outer borough friends) call Manhattan. Having spent 13 months of my (working) life on the Island of Staten, working to keep people moving between it and the City, I'm not sure what I think of this takeout from the piece, but I'm quoting it here because it's worth it, positively or negatively.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle between Staten Island and coolness is the most obvious and intractable one of all: the ferry. No other direct transit link with Manhattan exists, and the half-hour ferry ride cements the separateness.

“There is nothing worse than it being 4:29 a.m. and you’re in Manhattan and drunk and running for the ferry,” said Tim Duffy, a 25-year-old islander and lifelong ferry catcher. “Because if you miss that, you’re waiting till 5:30 a.m.”

Yet despite the ferry, or because of it, a thriving and tight-knit group of homegrown indie and hipster types has germinated on the North Shore.

Staten Island is a world apart from Manhattan, but it's worth a visit, or at least a ferry ride there and back. If you're on the boat, be sure to tell Capt. José that I said hi.

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