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A Borough Away

Verrazzano Bridge via Elite Photography

Staten Island, while many may refer to it as the forgotten borough, has so much more to offer than just a barely monumental reputation. Though some may view Staten Island as being the runt of the pile, or the butt of every borough’s jokes, as residents of this historic city- we know there are hidden gems among our little home. But honestly, growing up, I was itching to get out. To be fair, while I had a handful of incredible friends, I never quite felt like I fit in on Staten Island. I maybe had a bit of an elitist view on how things would work out, but I always knew that once I graduated high school- I would sooner move to Manhattan because that’s where I thought my heart always was.

When the time came, I did just that. I moved to Manhattan for college and I stayed beyond graduation- just as I intended. I made new friends, got a few jobs throughout the years, got an education, and really built a life for myself outside the borough I grew up in. Whenever I told someone I was from Staten Island, it was always the same moan and groan about how Staten Island shouldn’t even be considered New York. People always made jokes and poked fun. I never took it personally because it’s not like I choose to grow up there, but the people who were pointing fingers had never even stepped foot onto the island I called home for years. The people who laugh and feel as though they have the right to make comments have never had one of our bacon egg and cheeses, nor have they been to Mike’s Diner at 2 am. They don’t know the island’s intricacies, its little secrets.

The truth is, I couldn’t imagine growing up anywhere else. Maybe there’s too much traffic and maybe the toll is more expensive than it should be, but no matter what my address is-this will always be my home, and I’ve got the accent to prove it. Staten Island is the perfect mix of city and suburb, a mix of heart and soul. Options sometimes seem limited on things to do, but there is so much to see and do where you’d least expect it. The city is at the palm of our hands, and it’s up to us to take advantage of it.

While my life and my career lie in Manhattan at the moment, I know in my heart that I always have a place to come back to that helps me breathe and take in each moment. I always look forward to the next time I’ll get to be in the passenger’s seat of a car, driving down Richmond Avenue, watching the trees pass by.

Manhattan view from Staten Island via Elite Photography

Rikki Ziegelman