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Culture & Art: Off the Beaten Path

Visit the up-and-coming neighborhood of Stapleton, its artisans and all it has to offer. 

 

Attractions:

Staten Island MakerPark, 450 Front St, Staten Island, NY 10304, (dawn to dusk) 7 days a week

Sri Lankan Art & Cultural Museum NY, 61 Canal St, Staten Island, NY 10304, (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.) Open Friday – Sunday

ArtSpace @ Staten Island Arts, 7 Navy Pier Ct, Staten Island, NY 10304, (2 p.m. – 7 p.m.) Open Thursday – Friday, (12 p.m. – 5 p.m.) Open Saturday

 

Half Day Option

(includes a visit to all three cultural attractions and a lunch break)

 

Get on the 10 or 10:30 a.m. boat at the Whitehall Ferry Terminal noting views of the Statue of Liberty and the Lower East Side. Arrive at the St. George Ferry Terminal and take the S78 Bus at Ramp C to get to The Conference House – the southern-most point of New York City. (Purchasing or bringing snacks and water is recommended before getting on the bus). Get off the bus at the Hylan Boulevard/Craig Avenue stop and the Visitor’s Center will be on the left. Go into the center and read about a brief history of The Conference House and park. Free rotating exhibits are featured there in the Lenape Gallery & Franklin Cove. After a brief stop in the Visitor’s Center (restrooms are also located there) walk the pathway to the historic Conference House- built in the late 1600s. Tours are available between 1-4p.m from Friday – Sunday. The house is kept in its colonial charm and has two gardens maintained by the house’s caretaker. After your tour, walk the pathway in front of the house to your right and you will passing the the Rutan-Becket House(not open for visitors) and venture to the Biddle House which also holds rotating exhibits. If you have time, stop in this other historic house. Follow the driveway and make a right on Satterlee Street. Continue until you reach Amboy Road and make a right. At the intersection of Main Street and Amboy Road stop for a bite to eat at Don Cesar Restaurant & Bar or Villaggio Pizzeria Restaurante – delicious Italian food of course! After dinner, at Amboy Road and Main Street, get on the S78 Bus to the St. George Ferry Terminal.

For the night owls, before going back to Manhattan, stop at the Bay Street/Slosson Terrace stop and have a drink at 120 Bay Café or Pier 76 – close walking distance to each other. From those two locations, it is a short walk to the St. George Ferry Terminal. If you’re an art lover and looking for something to do on the weekends, a Staten Island art excursion is the trip for you. Take the 10 a.m. Staten Island Ferry from Manhattan, arriving at St. George Ferry Terminal around 10:30, and take the Tottenville local SIR train soon after you get off the boat. Take the train to the Stapleton station, two stops from St. George Terminal, and exit the station. Take a two minute walk to Staten Island MakerPark. Staten Island recently became the home of a sculpture park – one of the first to come to our borough, making it more unique than we already know. An extension of Staten Island MakerSpace, this park features work by local artists who want to design and build outside of a conventional gallery space. This attraction is open to the public and is best to visit when the weather is warm. To get here from the station, head south toward Water St., turn left onto Water St. and then, turn right onto Front St. for the entrance of the sculpture garden and gallery. 

After you visit MakerPark, your next destination will be the Sri Lankan Art & Cultural Museum. One of the biggest Sri Lankan communities outside of Sri Lanka, Staten Island is now home to the Srilankan Art & Cultural Museum -The First Sri Lankan Museum Abroad from Sri Lanka in New York. This museum is dedicated to preserving and promoting the culture of Sri Lanka through artifacts, art, dress, literature and more. To get here from Staten Island MakerPark, head north on Front St., then turn left onto Canal St. and you will reach this destination in two minutes.

After visiting this museum, you can continue immersing yourself in rich Sri Lankan culture by grabbing lunch at Lakruwana just down the street from the Museum, a block away down Bay St. However other lunch options include Jerry’s 637, an old-fashioned American diner, just up a block also on Bay St. If you’re not hungry yet, you can grab a bite to eat after a visit to your next destination. 

From the Sri Lankan Museum or either restaurant, head north on Bay St. until Prospect St. and then turn right. When you reach Front St., turn left and walk onto Navy Pier Ct. until you reach the entrance to ArtSpace @ Staten Island Arts. ArtSpace exhibits both international and local artists, including visual artists, poets, musicians, writers, and performers. They focus on artistic projects that examine local communities, helping  people consider their environs in new ways, exploring how neighborhoods might be more livable and sustainable, and/or creating ways visitors can become more socially engaged. If you’re still craving some Staten Island lunch, nearby in the Urby complex grab a bite at either Gringo’s Tacos or Surf that have Mexican and American options.

After feeling satisfied with a lunch and seeing some of the best art and culture Staten Island has to offer, walk back to the corner of Prospect St. and Bay St. From there, you can catch either the S51 or S76 back to the St. George Ferry Terminal and take the next boat back home.