Early-retirement walk

Being young and hip is so old. Play retiree for a day to see what you have to look forward to.

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  • View from Staten Island Ferry

  • Staten Island Ferry

  • Clove Lakes Park

  • Clove Lakes Park

  • Lake Club

  • Lake Club

  • State Island Zoo

  • St. Peter's Cemetery

  • The Indian Clove

View from Staten Island Ferry

Photos: Virginia Rollison

Start: Clove Rd at Victory Blvd, Staten Island
End: Silver Lake Park at Eddy St and Victory Blvd, Staten Island
Time: 2 hours
Distance: 3.2 miles

1 Laid off? Fired? We call it early retirement. The hipster aesthetic has long included granny glasses and grandpa sweaters; go whole hog by playing the part of a nature-loving, midday-rambling retiree. Travel senior-citizen-style by cruise ship and motor coach (i.e., the Staten Island Ferry and the S61 or S62 bus) to Clove Road and Victory Boulevard, just past the Silver Lake Golf Course. No napping on the bus, centenarian—it’s a ten-minute ride.

2 Enter Clove Lakes Park through the perennial garden. Make your way to the other side of the lawn, and avoid the bulbous white tent to your left, housing a seasonally closed skating rink. If you’re feeling peckish, head to the tiny island housing the Lake Club (1150 Clove Rd at Cheshire Pl; 718-442-3600, lake-club.com), a WPA-era building that has the ambience of a borscht belt lodge in its prime. “It’s not your typical Staten Island restaurant,” says co-owner Gene Lucarini, pointing to the upscale clientele and occasional performances by stage psychics. Keep it simple with a prix-fixe (French for “easy to split the check”) $17 lunch or $25 early-bird dinner.

3 Work off that veal Napoleon in a $10-per-hour paddleboat from the Lake Club. Remember nature? Yeah, it’s here. “You have all sorts of critters,” says park regular Ed Donnelly. “Egrets, herons, muskrats.” Wait, rats?!? “No, they’re like beavers, in the water.” Still, don’t feed ’em.

4 Back on dry land, stroll like you have all the time in the world on the network of trails crisscrossing the dammed creek throughout the park. “It flooded once,” says Jim Burns, who grew up nearby and walks here almost every day. “Washed a woman right off her porch in about 1920.” Yet with all this water, you can still spot a fire hydrant incongruously situated next to the river. If you feel old, commune with the 300-year-old tulip tree in the park’s northwest corner, the biggest thing to come out of Staten Island besides the Wu-Tang Clan.

5 Pop into Relax on Cloud 9 day spa (694 Clove Rd at Martling Ave; 718-448-3412, relaxoncloud9.com), where hour-long massages to ease your lazy old bones cost just $80. “The area’s peaceful, I think, because it’s not a strip mall,” says spa owner Doreen Zayer. One thing’s for sure: It’ll be more soothing than whatever ruckus is going down at the nearby Staten Island Zoo (614 Broadway at Colonial Ct; 718-442-3100, statenislandzoo.org). It’s a whopping $5 per rug rat to take the grandkids inside (and $6 for actual seniors; otherwise, it’s $8 per adult)—count your blessings that you don’t have any yet.

6 Ignore the thou shalt not park here sign and rest your aged pedestrian self at nearby St. Peter’s Cemetery (52 Tyler Ave between Bement Ave and Clove Rd, 718-442-2363). Reclaim peace by taking a moment for the dearly departed and appreciating the smell of freshly cut grass.

7 Still have energy, you indefatigable retiree? Grab a portable lunch at Clove Road Bagels (1300 Clove Rd between Dudley Ave and Niagara St, 718-727-6000), where the wares are kettle-cooked and appropriately chewy, or hit the $9 weekday buffet at The Indian Clove (1180 Victory Blvd at Clove Rd; 718-442-5100, indianclove.com). Carry the food a mile up the road to Silver Lake Park (915 Victory Blvd at Silver Lake Park Rd, 718-447-5686), where the expansive vista of Bayonne reminds you that you may not be employed, but at least you’re not in New Jersey.


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