There's no place like spring in Staten Island. With some of the city's largest parks, Staten Island is the place in New York where you can actually see the seasons change. The borough also boasts a diverse population, budding artists, and so much more. From a Sri Lankan celebration to biking on the Boardwalk, here are some of the best things to do this spring.
Clove Lake Park
Take a walk in Clove Lake Park, a protected Forever Wild site. The park has several baseball diamonds, a soccer field, lakes and ponds, but the real jewel is the 300-year-old tulip tree. Take a deep breath and smell spring. (Credit: Flickr / Chris Kreussling)
Bike the Boardwalk
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk shut down for repairs in the months following Hurricane Sandy, officially re-opening in August 2013. While it's still pretty cold for the beach, spring is the perfect time to bike the boardwalk. Bicycles are allowed on the boardwalk from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., after that, cyclists can ride on the winding path next to the boardwalk. (Credit: Flickr / allietm )
On the second Saturday of each month, art galleries along Staten Island's North Shore open up their doors for free programming as part of Second Saturday. There's live art and music, along with workshops and activities for artists. Stops along the way range from the Staten Island Museum to artist Andrea Phillips' house, where she serves soup and apple cider. Go to SecondSaturdayStatenIsland.org for more information. (Credit: Flickr / Second Saturday )
Drawing with Inna
Staten Island Lifestyle will host the second "Drawing with Inna" event at Alor Pasta Cafe in Oakwood on April 1, 2014. The event is instructed by Inna, an award-winning artist, and it's for adults to paint, eat, and socialize. The first event, held on February 11, 2014, ended being a "very fun, entertaining time," Inna said. Inna described the night as "art therapy," and said many of the participants who didn't know each other beforehand ended up as friends. For the second night, Inna says there is a "surprise" planned, but she wouldn't go into any details. There's food also: Alor Pasta Cafe has chef Aleksandr Orman, who makes hand-crafted pasta. For more information on the event, go to Drawing with Inna on Facebook. (Credit: Facebook )
If you want to see some robots, you don't have to go far. Chris Spollen, a Dongan Hills resident, has turned his home into an art gallery for his steampunk robots. His house has turned into a factory, where he says he "literally has almost creatures" roaming around. The house, located at 362 Cromwell Ave., will open officially for visitors on Thursday, April 24, 2014, so get ready to see some more robots. Go to drawger.com/spollen for more information. (Credit: Courtesy of Chris Spollen )
Killmeyers, located at 4254 Arthur Kill Road, is a traditional Bavarian beer house--but in the spring and summer, there's a genuine beer garden in the back. The beer garden opens up around Memorial Day, with the exact date depending on the weather. "The beer garden is lovely, it's large and it has a whole separate beer house with 12 individual type of beer," said Killmeyers Ken Tirado. Grab a beer and soak up some sunshine. (Credit: Courtesy of Killmeyers )
Sri Lankan New Year
Tompkinsville is known as Little Sri Lanka for its large population of immigrants from the island nation. For the last two years, the Sri Lanka Association of New York has been holding festivities to celebrate the Sinhala & Tamil New Year Day at Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds. This year, they will be celebrating on May 4 (the holiday falls on April 14) with traditional food and festivities. "It's to experience what is happening in Sri Lanka--to pass on our traditional values to our children," said Sri Lanka Association of New York president Vidura Jayasooriya. For more information, go to slanyusa.com.
There's no longer a public path to the water, but you can still gaze at swampy maritime history through a telescope. Officially the Witte Marine scrap yard and owned by the Donjon Recycling and C & M Metals Recycling, the boat graveyard is the only place in the city where ships can go to die. Located 13 miles from the St. George Ferry Terminal in Rossville, some suggest bringing kayaks along to get a better view of the ships. (Credit: Flickr / Mambo'Dan)
Sailors Snug Harbor, a home for retired sailors, moved to the North Shore in 1831, and the first of the buildings at the cultural center opened in 1833. The Botanical Gardens was founded in the modern-day Snug Harbor Cultural Center in 1977. There are nine gardens in total, which are free except for the New York Chinese Scholar's Garden ($5 for adults, $4 for students and seniors, free for children under 12). Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., the Botanical Gardens are the perfect spot to take a romantic walk in the spring. (Credit: Flickr / Wally Gobetz)
Last but never least, the Staten Island Greenbelt, one of the borough's jewels. Covering 2,800 acres, the Greenbelt has wetlands in High Rock Park and hiking in Willowbrook Park, as well as baseball fields, a carousel, and even a recreational center. The Fresh Kills Park, a former landfill, is not open yet, although there are birding tours. This is the place to actually see spring happening. (Credit: Flickr / Chris Kruessling )