Staten Island is one of New York’s five boroughs, but it seems like another world. Nobody goes there except for tourists who want to ride the free ferry and residents commuting home. The cool kids across the river have long laughed at the perennially unhip borough, treating it—if they ever think about it at all—like some loud, embarrassing cousin who you pray doesn’t show up at your birthday party and hit on your Warby Parker-wearing friends. The stereotypes can be ruthless: Mob Wives, tanning, SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS!, hair gel. Three members of the Jersey Shore cast were actually Staten Islanders. But here’s the thing: how many smug New Yorkers who mock that land on the other side of the ferry have actually spent any time there? What if Staten Island secretly has the potential to be…kind of cool?
[Photos by Caitlin Moscatello for Fast Company]