Staten Island Day Trip

Spend a Zen Day on Staten Island

Photo by Mic to Mic

Wow. Staten Island has a serious Asian side. Nowhere else in the five boroughs will you find a traditional Chinese Scholar's Garden or monastic Tibetan Museum. Yet here, on New York's quintessential Italian-American spit, you'll find both. The two sites are remarkably authentic, creating a tiny microcosm of Asia across the harbor from Manhattan, with no passport (or jetlag) required for admission. That said, seeing both in one outing definitely requires an afternoon's commitment, as they're located at opposite ends of the island. It's worth tacking on a different kind of Zen experience at day's end, too: The Bronx Bombers' farm team, The Staten Island Yankees, plays home games here for eight weeks each summer in a nifty waterfront stadium with awesome Manhattan views.

What to Do

Photo by SimplySchmoopie

New York Chinese Scholar's Garden

Snug Harbor, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island; (718) 448-2500; www.snug-harbor.org; $5

Lots of gardens claim to be contemplative. This one actually succeeds. And in a pretty unexpected place, too, given this, the country's first Chinese garden of its kind, is incongruously located at Snug Harbor, an imposing 19th-century preserve originally built for retired seamen (and which is, incidentally, also worth exploring while you're out here). Expect winged rooftops, dramatic architectural cut-outs, a calming koi pond, and such an expert use of space, it's hard to believe it's all packed into one single, solitary acre. It's also located out the back door of a ramshackle cottage, which makes getting here feel a lot like entering a Ming Dynasty version of Narnia.

Photo by Rich in Kensington

Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art

338 Lighthouse Avenue, Staten Island, NY; (718) 987-3500; www.tibetanmuseum.org; $5

Another random Asian attraction to find a permanent home in Staten Island, this austere stone-clad museum opened at the top of a leafy suburban enclave in 1947. Built by an American collector to house her assortment of Himalayan artifacts, it's an undeniably serene spot with colorful prayer flags rustling in the breeze and a terraced meditation courtyard presided over by a 14th-century Buddha statue. The collection is isn't exactly mindblowing (Chelsea's newer Rubin Museum of Art is much better), but the fact that this homage to a Tibetan monastery exists here at all makes it worth visiting just once, for bragging rights alone.

Photo by wallyg

Staten Island Yankees

Richmond County Bank Ballpark, 75 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY; (718) 720-9265; www.siyanks.com; Tickets from $6

Staten Island's other secret attraction, the Yankees' minor-league baseball team (aka the Baby Bombers) plays on the shores of New York Bay for several weeks from late June to Labor Day. At least half the seats at their snazzy new stadium have Manhattan skyline views and watching the sun set over the city with a beer in hand and a player at bat is a pretty great way to end a summer's day. Tickets are also substantially cheaper than major-league games at Yankee stadium.

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