But Staten Island and its people also get dumped on verbally -- mostly by those in the other four boroughs. The insult heap includes everything from mockery of its crass accents (Ay, Cahmine, take out da fuckin’ gahbage, eh?) to its insular close-mindedness (it’s the only borough that runs the risk of swinging red during presidential elections). And while there is truth to some of its caricature -- chances are pretty good that if you live on Staten Island, you know someone who owns a pizzeria, is a wedding DJ, or, in some cases, both -- transplants to New York have no right to join in on the ridicule. To speak in my native dialect: these mooks should watch their fuckin’ mouths, capisce?
The Island’s punching bag nature is why I eventually left for Brooklyn, a decidedly “cooler” neighboring borough that my parents both grew up in, and subsequently worked very hard to get the hell away from. They thought my move was insane.
Like most newly christened adults with a crippling fear of dying in their hometowns, I wanted out. I was fed up with the limitations of small town suburbia -- having jack shit to do on Saturday nights and winding up skateboarding in the Starbucks parking lot or stealing Minor Threat T-shirts from the Hot Topic in the Staten Island Mall. (Side note: many thanks to my mall-employee friends who kindly looked the other way and kept me clothed throughout high school.)
I packed up and set out for Brooklyn because I wanted new places, new people, new culture. I wanted the proximity to the venues, the restaurants, and the parties, the secret ones in discarded shipping containers by the docks that your sketchy dealer told you about on the down-low. And sure, Brooklyn and Manhattan are packed with that kind of stuff, so much so that there are websites just like this one dedicated to making sure not a single minute of your weekend goes by without -- god forbid -- having an endless stream of options for the hottest, hyperlocal-est, most Instagrammable spots in your neighborhood.
But what they don’t tell you on EdgyBrooklynBullshit dot com is that this lifestyle grows old fast. Living in cramped, overpriced apartments just to be near cramped, overpriced bars is a depressing tradeoff. You very quickly start to question whether living in an apartment whose shower doubles as a storage space for your extra mouse traps is really worth it. It’s why the city ebbs and flows with Midwesterners who move here after college, only to find a baby-making partner, and eventually move right back home to nest. (Side note: buh-bye!)
Staten Island, on the other hand, has no such pretensions about it.