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“A Walk Around Staten Island”

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Last night Channel 13 premiered its latest entry in its walking tours series: A Walk Around Staten Island. Hosted by David Hartman and Barry Lewis, they made their way around Staten Island, and I thought overall it was an accurate and certainly pleasant look at my hometown. There were a few spots that they visited that I am embarassed to say that I have never been to (Alice Austen house, Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art), although I certainly know where they are. I enjoyed most the inside shots of the St. George Theater (I went there as a boy and also since it has been restored–it is a great place!) and the visits to Denino’s Pizza and Ralph’s Ices, two Staten Island eating landmarks! Also liked the section on how the former garbage dump is being turned into parkland, a process that is happening right now. It will add 2000 acres to the current 5000 acres of the Greenbelt, parkland in the middle of Staten Island. The former dump, after a lot of remediation,  is scheduled to open as parkland in 20 years or so. Hope I am still around to see it!

They visited the Conference House and Main Street, both in Tottenville. Didn’t show any shots of library branches, however.

There was no mention of problems, which I guess is in the nature of these programs. However, ask any native Staten Island (such as me) what they think of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, about which Barry Lewis waxed poetic, and no matter what an engineering marvel it is you’re not going to hear native Staten Islanders say too much positive about it. I guess building it was inevitable, but it definitely changed Staten Island permanently, and not all for the better.  I’m old enough to remember a lot of open land, including a number of big vegetable farms on the Island, and when going for a Sunday afternoon car ride with parents and family to the south shore was a real treat and an adventure. Those things are gone forever.

But life goes on, and I think the show accurately reflected the current positive side of Staten Island. Catch it on the rerun–if you’re interested in NYC then I think you will love it. I know I enjoyed the ones about the other boroughs!

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