Largely a bedroom community for other parts of the city, Staten Island boasts about 470,000 residents and a minor league ballpark, cultural sites and quirky attractions, from locations in the video for Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach” to the Staten Island Zoo, home to New York’s answer to Pennsylvania’s prognosticating groundhog. The Staten Island rodent bears the dubious distinction of having once bitten Bloomberg.
But Staten Island, the only one of the city’s five boroughs not accessible by subway, tends to get overshadowed by its bigger neighbors, so much so that some have at times suggested it secede from the city.
And residents often bristle at an image shaped by such television shows as “Mob Wives” and “Big Ang” _ and by a former New Jersey beach town mayor who portrayed Staten Islanders in a blog post as heavy on hairspray and light on class. (The ex-mayor, Ken Pringle of Belmar, visited Staten Island in 2008 to make amends.)
Resident Miatta Bryant thinks the wheel might bring the borough more respect.
“People always say Staten Island is so boring,” the 26-year-old certified nursing assistant said.
The Ferris wheel, state Assemblyman Matthew Titone hopes, will show the world a different Staten Island than the one they see on TV.
“They will see our cultural institutions and will see that we are not idiots,” he said. “Shirtless, musclebound idiots.”
Associated Press writer Verena Dobnik and researcher Jennifer Farrar contributed to this report.
Follow Jennifer Peltz at http://twitter.com/jennpeltz
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