Staten Island: The forgotten borough that deserves much more recognition

Robert Milman

Staten Island, the least populated borough, has been long neglected by the city government.

With each New York City mayor entering office, Staten Islanders continue to have to make a plea as to why they deserve more funding and higher recognition as a part of New York City.

While Staten Island may be known as the origin of the Wu-Tang Clan, Saturday Night Live comedians Pete Davidson and Colin Jost and singer Christina Aguilera it is known to residents as an island with unbearable road conditions.

“Only 59.6 percent of Staten Island streets were rated ‘good’ compared to 75.1 percent in Brooklyn,” reported from a study done by the New York City Department of Transportation.

Areas such as Stapleton-Rosebank had some of the worst roads in New York City, ranking 182 out of 188 city roads measured.

Along with dreadful road conditions, residents of Staten Island experience transportation difficulties that are incomparable to residents of any other borough. Aside from the numerous Metropolitan Transportation Authority buses that go from Staten Island to Manhattan, citizens of the island are left with only one railway option.

Commuters looking to get from the east to the west of Staten Island have a single option, the Staten Island Railway. This is a 24-hour train that begins at the St. George Ferry Terminal and ends at Tottenville, and vice versa.

While this is a great option for avoiding morning rush-hour traffic, that is where the benefits end. With the SIR containing no links to the rest of the boroughs, Staten Island remains the only borough that is not connected to the New York City Subway system.

Though public transportation and road conditions may not affect every citizen of Staten Island, what has been ripping apart families for decades has been the overdose epidemic.

The NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and NYC Health Department’s Bureau of Vital Statistics provided that in the year 2020, Staten Island had the second-highest rate of overdose deaths per 100,000 residents, coming in at 37.

To those that reside outside of Staten Island, it may not be a top priority as it has no direct link to them. However, to civilians on the island it is a constant fight for the mayor’s offices’ recognition.

It is commonly known throughout the city that the borough differs from all others when it comes to politics. Staten Island has its majority leaning right, with most Staten Islanders registered under the Republican party.

What New York City is yearning for is a bipartisan leader. Most importantly though, is a leader that will treat each borough equally.

While the New York City Mayor  Eric Adams may not please all Staten Islanders with his party affiliation, his efforts to assist the city and especially Staten Island has not gone unnoticed.

While harsh road conditions, lack of connecting public transportation to the rest of the city and the overdose epidemic merely scratch the surface of subjects that require immediate attention, starting with these issues would give Islandersmuch-needed hope that the city government listens and cares about Staten Island.