Borough President Wants to Make Staten Island a Tourist Destination for New York City

Posted by on Wednesday, July 26th, 2017 at 4:52pm.

While Staten Island Borough president wants tourist to take the ferry over and visit longer, residential commuters want to limit the visitors' access on the ferry.

Our borough president, James Oddo launched a Tourism and Cultural Affairs office on Monday, July 24th, 2017. The aim is to get more tourist to explore Staten Island with high-end hotels and mega projects similar to the Empire Outlet and New York Wheel that is underway in the St. George waterfront.

The Tourism and Cultural Affairs office plans to develop a marketing plan for the borough by conducting research on tourist, organize outreach events, and more. The plan is to also get different cultural groups and developers together to promote Staten Island as a place to visit. There has been an interest in Staten Island with all the new development and they want to act upon that interest before the spark sizzles out.

According to Oddo’s head of the communication department, Sammartino says the first step is to revamp the Visit Staten Island website and increase their social media use, figuring out ways to make the borough more accessible to tourist.

The Staten Island Ferry is the second most popular tourist attraction in New York City; the goal is to get that chunk of tourist to also explore the island. Maybe if the visitors have a place to be, they will not take too long to unboard the ferry.

There have been complaints this year that tourist are taking too long to get off the ferry upon docking. The Department of Transportation closed the upper deck on some of the boats, which are normally filled with tourists who take too long to get down the stairs. The DOT began this program last month which closed three of the Hurricane Decks on the Molinari-Class boats over the weekends to see if that would reduce the delays on the ferry. The program began on June 17th and trailed until July 17th.

The Hurricane Decks are the highest level on the ferry which is mainly used by tourist. The Hurricane Deck holds about 465 passengers, which is 10 percent of the boat's capacity. While the views up there are great for visiting passengers, the tourist takes too long to climb down the stairs and leave the boat, extending the time before the staff can let on the next batch of riders trying to make the opposite trip back.

With the anticipation that this will only get worse once the Empire Outlets and New York Wheel is complete, which was predicted by next year but has been indefinitely delayed earlier this month after the developers fired their contractor. Once that project back up and running,  as well as the additional tourist attractions to open throughout the years, the idea is to close the upper decks during heavy tourist times to avoid delays that residents have been concerned about.

Now that the trail is complete, the DOT said they will analyze if the program worked and determine whether to keep it full-time.

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