Here we go again

Borough Hall is still trying to ramp-up efforts to get tourists to debark the ferry on the Staten Island side and explore. One year later, they’re still trying to do this, and now have unleashed a website to entice the tourists to the “Big Apple pleasures, small town treasures” that can be discovered on the island that geographically belongs to New Jersey.

Obviously the video kiosk they set up in the Whitehall terminal last year hasn’t been enticing the tourists enough, and a full-blown marketing campaign has kicked into gear. The Borough President says he wants a take from the $26 billion from tourism that pours into NYC’s economy each year, so he would like the 2 million tourists who ride the ferry each year to spend time and money in the forgotten borough.

I’d like to know what these Big Apple pleasures are—I lived on the island for twenty years and never encountered a Big Apple pleasure. To acquire Big Apple pleasures, I rode the ferry across the harbor to the Big Apple. The locations pumped-up-about on the new website aren’t Big Apple pleasures in my world. (I’d still like to see the tiny zoo demolished and get those animals into a better environment—anywhere is better than that small prison.) Small town aspects are in abundance on the island, but they are stereotypical small townish—a conservative, Republican, non-progressive-thinking society. Small town treasures? No.

They continue to omit the housing projects and crack-addled neighborhood that I grew up in, and the Mafia stronghold on the island, and how all residents are essentially controlled by crime families. These things I write from experience—our house was hit with drug-dealer bullets, and my classmates’ fathers were Mafia dons.

There are three reasons for tourists to ride the ferry: (1) it provides a decent view of the Statue of Liberty as the ferry passes Liberty Island (depending on the current—sometimes the ferry rides closer to the Brooklyn shore, making Lady Liberty a distant figure); (2) it provides a good view from the back of the boat looking toward the NYC skyline (although an empty skyline since 9/11); (3) it’s free (thanks to Mayor Dinkins).

I still don’t understand why they think (or hope) that tourists, who travel to NYC to explore Manhattan and the Big Apple pleasures that one can’t adequately cover in a lifetime, would spend one of their precious vacation days in Staten Island.

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More Oslo family photos

Lars Olaf sent along these photos of their summer holidays.

Lars Olaf and Tor Olaf at Nordmarka lake in Oslo

Lars Olaf and Tor Olaf at a Nordmarka lake in Oslo

Lars Olaf and Tor Olaf

Lars Olaf and Tor Olaf

Lars Olaf and Tor Olaf

Lars Olaf and Tor Olaf

Lars Kristian at the French Riviera

Lars Kristian at the French Riviera

Beate, Tor Olaf, Marita, Lars Kristian, and Ole Petter (behind umbrella) at the French Riviera

Beate, Tor Olaf, Marita, Lars Kristian, and Ole Petter (behind umbrella) at the French Riviera


Beate and Tor Olaf at the French Riviera

Beate and Tor Olaf at the French Riviera

Craic agus ceol

Craic agus ceol

On Friday, July 3, Maria and I made yet another trip to the north country to visit with Maryann at her pub in Bristol, NH, and to hang out with her and Chris for the evening. Maryann was a busy hostess on a packed night, but Chris and his bodhrán sat in with the seisún, while Maria performed a few tunes a cappella. Background chatter noise was too loud for my camera in the crowded early-evening, so I’ve included song lyrics in the “more info” link in each clip.

Incidentally, it wasn’t until I was posting these new clips, and dealing with YouTube’s new and wretched re-design issues, that I looked back on previous postings to see that my slideshow for my grandparents has 7,000+ views. It’s astonishing that a slideshow I posted simply to share with my family has taken on a life of its own on the internet.

New clips:

Chris, Greg, and Dave

Chris, Greg, Dave, and Bettina

Maria sings Gone the Rainbow (with Bettina)
(incomplete due to memory card issues)

Maria sings The Crocodile Song
(incomplete due to memory card issues)

Maria sings Mary’s Eyes

Maria sings The Forger’s Farewell

Maria sings Darlin’ Andy