My favorite part of Staten Island is where the silence reaches the chaos, where the dusk meets the dawn, and where Richmond Avenue connects Richmond Hill Road. Where most see a Wendy’s and a barren parking lot as they drive down their route, I see my own personal utopia.
When I started driving, I developed a sense of independence I had not been granted before. The ability to quite literally do anything I wanted, as long as my gas tank allowed. The problem was, there wasn’t much to do. How many times can I go to the mall without breaking the bank? Why are there no good movies playing? I had all of this freedom and nowhere to be free. Until one bad night, when the world felt heavier than ever, and I found myself pulling into this random parking lot just to find a place to breathe. And breathe I did- the weight of the world was completely lifted off of my shoulders as I just let the universe do its thing. For a moment, as I watched the cars zoom by on Richmond Avenue, it felt as though my world stopped but the rest of the world kept going. And I found solace in the silent minutes I had to myself, desperate to stay in this moment forever.
Since then, I have made this my go-to spot. I have had some of the best moments of my life there. Some fights, some make ups, some break ups, and everything in-between. I’m always sure to bring friends from out of town to the spot that makes me feel alive. I love inviting people to my little paradise. The laughs are always justified, the and silence is always comfortable. For a moment, you forget that you’re quite literally in a parking lot that belongs to a chain fast food restaurant- and you remember the things that really matter.
I’m aware that this may not be the case for everyone, and this just might be a personal opinion, and that’s okay. However, next time you’re the car zooming down Richmond Avenue trying to get home and get to bed as quickly as possible before a new day begins, take a look around you. Breathe in your surroundings. It is so easy to find comfort and home in the simplest things. It is the elements of Staten Island that make this place our home, not the address on our houses.