Don't get straight back on the ferry–Staten Island's parks, cultural centers, festivals and thrift shops have a lot to offer.
Tue Jun 14 2011
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Freshkills Park Tour
Freshkills Park Tour
If you know just one thing about Staten Island, it's probably that the most scenic way to get there is via the Staten Island Ferry (siferry.com), which departs from Manhattan's Whitehall Ferry Terminal on a reliable 24/7 schedule. To envision the S.I. of the future, take a two-hour bus tour of the in-progress Freshkills Park, which, once completed, will be almost three times the size of Central Park. The world's largest landfill-turned-park will look nothing like the visible-from-space dump it used to be, and instead will be tricked out with fishing piers, sports fields, wetlands and more. Tours depart from Eltingville Transit Center, 90-98 Wainwright Ave at Richmond Ave (nycgovparks.org/parks/freshkillspark). Schedule varies; free.
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Clove Lakes Park
You'll find everything from a basketball court and baseball diamonds to bridle paths and serpentine rock formations at the nearly 200-acre Clove Lakes Park. The spread boasts the borough's oldest resident, a 300-year-old tulip tree (in the northwest section). The park is also home to many ongoing events, like the Metropolitan Opera's free Summer Recital Series (summerstage.org), featuring soprano Layla Claire on July 21 at 7pm. 1150 Clove Rd at Fairway Ln (nycgovparks.org/parks/clovelakespark)
In its continuing quest to offer a greater cultural contribution than its three Jersey Shore cast members, Staten Island hosts the second annual LUMEN fest on June 25. Located right on the waterfront, the event features video art, light projections and performance art by 100 emerging and veteran creatives. June 25 6pm--midnight; free. Visit lumenfest.org for more information.
On July 9, the Municipal Art Society will attempt to answer the question "Is St. George the new Bushwick?" with a tour (mas.org; $15; reservations required) of the up-and-coming cultural district, which is home to the St. George Theatre (35 Hyatt St between Central Ave and St. Marks Pl; 718-442-2900, stgeorgetheatre.com). Before or after, find some time to explore Every Thing Goes Thrift and Vintage (various locations, etgstores.com), a trio of shops hawking clothing, books and furniture. Before heading home, catch a glimpse of NYC's first minor-league baseball team at the waterfront park of the Staten Island Yankees (Richmond County Bank Ballpark, 75 Richmond Terr at Hamilton Ave; 718-720-9260, siyanks.com).
Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden
This 19th-century seamen's retirement home has a second life at the center of Staten Island's cultural scene, set amid 83 parklike acres of waterfront space, Greek revival architecture and internationally themed gardens, including the Chinese Scholar's and Tuscan landscapes. During summer, the center hosts both the Staten Island Film Festival (June 8--12; free; sifilmfestival.org) and the Movies Under the Stars series (Fri 8:30pm; free), screening family-friendly films of the classic (Singin' in the Rain) and cult (Mars Attacks!) varieties. 1000 Richmond Terr between Snug Harbor Rd and Tysen St (718-448-2500, snug-harbor.org)
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