Thousands of tourists each year ride the free Staten Island Ferry for fantastic views of New York City and the Statue of Liberty from the water. Now, New York City’s tourism organisation is encouraging visitors to enhance their visit by exploring their final destination before heading back on a return journey to Manhattan.

NYC & Company, the official marketing, tourism and partnership organisation for New York City, is highlighting neighbourhoods along Staten Island’s North Shore in its Neighborhood x Neighborhood campaign, an initiative designed to increase visitation, support local businesses and encourage exploration in areas outside traditional tourist locations across the five boroughs. The highlighted neighbourhoods – Port Richmond, Randall Manor, St George and West Brighton – are conveniently accessible from the Ferry terminal and offer a perfect afternoon itinerary for exploring Staten Island’s North Shore.

“Staten Island is one of New York City’s best-kept secrets, with stunning green spaces, historic districts and harbour views, as well as diverse cultural offerings and delicious Italian cuisine,” said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company. “We encourage everyone to take advantage of this month’s Neighborhood x Neighborhood feature and explore the charming Port Richmond, Randall Manor, St. George and West Brighton in Staten Island’s North Shore.”

“Staten Island’s vibrant neighbourhoods are home to a wonderful array of cultural organisations,” said Cultural Affairs Deputy Commissioner Margaret Morton. “From the serene beauty of the Chinese Scholar’s Garden at Snug Harbor to the animal life on display at the Staten Island Zoo, and from family programmes at the Staten Island Children’s Museum to the magnificently restored St George Theatre, these groups and so many more provide extraordinary experiences just a ferry ride away.”

“We welcome thousands of visitors who travel on the Staten Island Ferry every day, and we’re glad for this opportunity to show them a few more family-friendly reasons to visit,” said New York City Council Member Debi Rose. “We are known for our great family-friendly neighbourhoods, cultural centres, restaurants, shopping and a professional minor league baseball team. There’s no shortage of things to do, places to stay, and places to eat for visitors coming to Staten Island. We’re not ‘the forgotten borough’ but ‘the unforgettable borough.’”

St. George:
• St. George Theatre reopened its doors in 2004, and its line-up includes national tours, musical concerts, dance performances, comedy shows and more
• For a cultural experience, Staten Island residents head to the Staten Island Museum. Exhibitions at the museum feature everything from borough history and natural science to classic Egyptian, Greek and Roman art
• Located on the North Shore Waterfront Esplanade, the Staten Island September 11 Memorial honours the Staten Island victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks
• For authentic Italian dining, Staten Island residents head to Enoteca Maria, a family-style restaurant whose head chefs are Italian nonnas, or grandmothers. The menu changes daily to reflect the head nonna of the day and diners will get a true Italian dining experience every time
• Founded by the family behind Staten Island’s favourite Joe and Pat’s Pizzeria and Restaurant, Pier 76 Italian Restaurant is a casual dining establishment steps away from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. Pier 76 not only serves traditional and specialty pizza pies made from the freshest ingredients, but the menu also features classic Italian dishes like veal marsala, chicken rollatini and eggplant parmigiana
• Located along the waterfront, Ruddy & Dean is a traditional steakhouse that has become a favourite of Staten Island residents since its opening more than 10 years ago. Keeping with family traditions, the restaurant’s steaks are seared on seasoned cast iron skillets and finished in a high-heat oven

Port Richmond:
• A household name in New York City, Denino’s Pizzeria & Tavern is loved by New Yorkers from all five boroughs for its brick-oven pies. Specialty pizzas include the garbage pie (sausage, meatballs, pepperoni, mushrooms and onions) and “M.O.R.” pie (meatball, fresh onions and ricotta)
• A trip to Staten Island is not complete without enjoying chilled delights at Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices & Ice Cream’s original outpost. The neighbourhood staple has an extensive menu with traditional water ice confections and novelty treats, including sundaes and smoothies
• Open for more than 40 years, Brownie’s Hobby Shop is a favourite of model and radio control hobbyists for its knowledgeable staff and stocked store of model cars and planes, project materials, and radio-controlled cars, helicopters, boats and planes

Randall Manor:
• The waterfront restaurant Blue serves Mediterranean-inspired dishes, including slow-roasted lamb shank with risotto, chicken tagine and whole dorada with balsamic glaze. On Sundays, the restaurant and lounge hosts a clambake, where diners can choose from five types of clam
• At the Noble Maritime Collection, located in the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, visitors step into New York City’s 19th-century maritime culture and industry. The museum highlights John A Noble’s New York Harbor paintings and collection of shop models and maritime artefacts
• The picturesque Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden is a must-see destination itself. Once a home for retired sailors, the centre has since been converted and developed into a 65-acre complex with museums, gardens, theatres and more. The centre’s Greek Revival architecture, its Music Hall and New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden are a must-see
• Located on the grounds of Snug Harbor, the Staten Island Children’s Museum’s interactive exhibits and creative workshops are enjoyed by children and families. Hands-on exhibits include strategic-thinking games, an authentic fire truck and a performance stage with fancy dress costumes
West Brighton:
• Nicknamed the “biggest little zoo,” the Staten Island Zoo has an impressive collection of small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and tropical fish that children and adults alike will enjoy. Among the grounds, visitors will find an impressive collection of snakes and reptiles as well as, foxes, otters and a red panda
• Open for more than 40 years, Mandolin Brothers is the go-to store for string instruments on Staten Island. The knowledgeable staff can help visitors repair their string instruments or find a new product from its selection of rare and vintage acoustic and eclectic guitars, banjos, mandolins and more

Visitors looking to experience more of Staten Island can extend their stay at one of the borough’s hotels. A few options include the Comfort Inn Staten Island and Holiday Inn Express Staten Island, select service hotels both offering free breakfast and free Internet access. In addition, for a more full-service experience, the Hilton Garden Inn Staten Island offers an indoor pool along with dining and nightlife options, including Above Rooftop Lounge and Lorenzo’s Restaurant, Bar and Cabaret, featuring Tony Award–winning performers on select nights. All three hotels provide complimentary shuttle service to and from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal (based on advance reservations and scheduling).

New York City is made up of five distinct boroughs: Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. The Neighborhood x Neighborhood initiative intends to spotlight the affordability and accessibility of neighbourhoods across the five boroughs with a particular emphasis on areas that have seen new hotel development in recent years. Neighbourhoods and featured highlights were chosen in collaboration with City Council officials, Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Small Business Services, business development districts, community leaders and with consideration of NYC & Company’s more than 2,000 members.

For more information about Port Richmond, Randall Manor, St. George, West Brighton, and other things to see and do in Staten Island, visit nycgo.com/neighborhoods.