Did you know that Staten Island had tourism? It makes the attempt, anyway, via SINY, Staten Island USA, and NYC & Co. But the Staten Island Advance frankly admits that it hasn’t been working — tourists may take the ferry over, but they don’t wander too far inland.
Part of the reason is poor salesmanship: there is a promotional video in the ferry terminal, but the picture blinked off a while ago and only the sound plays, inveighing visitors who’ve come this far to make the trek to the “Smithsonian of Staten Island” and “an array of flags from six important time periods in America’s past” — attractions that are too far away and hard to get to.
Also, the area near the terminal is scary: the author recalls two would-be explorers whom a friendly cop advised that “the woman turn her ring around to keep the stone out of sight” and that both of them “get back on the ferry and return to Manhattan.”
The Advance‘s suggestion: a nice restaurant where the National Lighthouse Museum is busily not being finished. We suggest a regional ad campaign to give the place a gritty, glamorous aura — sort of like Brooklyn, only whiter. So it’s scary outside the terminal — that only shows how hard they roll on these mean boulevards. Use Staten Island’s own Randy “Macho Man” Savage as a spokesmook. Now that Brooklyn is full of strollers and even the Bronx has a neighborhood called SoBro, maybe this place where disgruntled teenagers beat their fathers with shovels, peacocks are murdered, and people still smoke might be sellable as the last ungentrified borough. Photo (cc) morrissey.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 28, 2009