Last Monday I played the role of tourist with a trip to Staten Island. The original goal of my trip was to have a taste of Sri Lankan food. (Who knew that the largest community of Sri Lankans in the US reside just across the water in the St. George area of Staten Island?) But I also wanted to see what had happened to the borough in the time since I left.
When I first came to NYC, I stayed at a bed and breakfast in Staten Island. The rotting, Victorian mansion was an absolute zoo with various wild characters coming and going all through my stay. (At one point we had a Russian circus taking up one floor of the place.) The house was owned by an English woman whose ultimate goal was to become the girlfriend of one of the local Italian mobsters. Her counterpoint at the inn was an ornery Arab guy who sought to bring some semblance of management to the place. If only I had been a photographer then.
The state of Staten Island seems to have gone downhill, but perhaps it was always that way and I just remember it more fondly. I ate at San Rasa, and had the entire restaurant to myself. Sri Lankan food, which is akin to Indian food but perhaps a bit spicier, was an interesting palate adjustment. After lunch I bought some roasted curry powder and spicy coffee at Lanka, the local Sri Lankan grocery store. The day ended with a drink at Jade Palace, Staten Island’s finest tiki bar. Though a tad expensive (more than double what you would pay for a mai tai at King Yum in Queens), the decor makes the bar worth the trip. Enjoy the photos.
If you would like to see more Staten Island photos, please visit my website.