Monday, February 27, 2012

A Rest Day Trek Across the Harbor

Because I've switched this week's training schedule around for next week's race, I had a rest day yesterday. It's very rare for me to take a rest day on the weekend so I figured I would take advantage of the extra time by heading someplace distant--STATEN ISLAND!

Yes, you read correctly. I actually chose to go to Staten Island. This is hardly the first time I've visited the forgotten borough (I had my birthday dinner at Denino's Pizzeria and Tavern, an island institution), but I haven't been in several months. Since the last several weekends I have visited all four other boroughs, I figured it was time to mix things up.

I picked my destination (more on that soon) and headed to South Ferry. Just to give you an idea of how distant Staten Island is, it takes roughly 30 minutes on the express train to get to the Whitehall Ferry Terminal from Harlem. Then you have to take a 25 minute ferry ride.

Assuming everything runs smoothly and you have no waiting time, you're looking at an hour to get to St George. Taking into account that this is the real world and things never run smoothly, you're looking at 75 to 90 minutes.

The Staten Island Ferry trip is always relatively pleasant. Because the boat passes the Statue of Liberty and offers great views of New York Harbor and the downtown skyline, it's usually pretty packed with tourists looking for free photo ops. I snapped a couple photos but mostly contented myself with the book I had brought.
If only you could run over this bridge year-round...
When I arrived in St George I had no problem finding the bus I wanted. The great thing about the DOT-MTA relationship is that they have the Staten Island buses timed to the ferry schedule so you usually wait no more than 5 minutes. Even better, this was a brand new bus, much fancier than anything I ever ride in Manhattan.

My destination was less than two miles from the ferry so in a matter of minutes I was back off the bus. Time from my door to my destination? 1 hour, 45 minutes. I can visit all four other boroughs in the same amount of time--now you see why I don't get to Staten Island all that often.

Anyway, now that you are about to pee yourself wondering about my secret destination, it's after the jump.

My destination? Snug Harbor Cultural Center. Snug Harbor served as a home for aged sailors from the early 19th Century until the 1960s. Today, the beautiful collection of Greek Revival buildings are home to a variety of cultural institutions like the Staten Island Museum, the Staten Island Children's Museum, the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, and the museum I was there to see, the Noble Maritime Collection.

Photo credit:
The Noble Maritime Collection is a museum with a particular emphasis on the work of John A. Noble, a seaman turned artist who spent the last 30 years of his life painting, drawing, and etching ships in and around New York Harbor. The museum has a great collection of his works as well as the actual houseboat that Noble used for a studio.

There are also plenty of maritime objects and several of the rooms have been restored to look like they did during Snug Harbor's heyday at the turn of the century. Before I knew it, two hours had passed.

After leaving the museum, I wandered around the grounds for a bit, struggling to believe that I was still in New York City. I didn't make it to the Staten Island Botanical Garden which is also part of the cultural center so I guess I'll have to come back for that. On the way back I also stumbled upon a TexMex bar with an awesome beer list so I guess I have two reasons for a return visit!

No comments:

Post a Comment