Below is Part 2 of the Q&A with Larry Ambrosino, who not only runs the Staten Island Pizza Tour, but is executive director of SINY. I was very lucky to chat with him, enjoy and educate yourselves…
First read Part 1 of the Interview with Larry Ambrosino
JO: I found pizza to be the perfect tour food. One slice is not enough to fill you up but is still substantial. And you can burn it off in the interim. Do you do any other tours and have you thought about other food tours?
Larry Ambrosino: Right now we don’t do any other food tours. Haven’t really thought about it because that is really not our mission.
JO: The big Greek festival just passed. Are there any other annual SI events that are awesome?
LA: There are quite a few “festivals” and bazaars held by different church groups around the island at various times.
JO: What do you have to leave the island to get?
LA: I don’t know what you mean by what do I have to leave the island to get…we pretty much have everything you could want or need right here.
JO: Did the Wu Tang kids ever get into trouble as students? Did they know your office?
LA: Corey Woods (Raquan) was a good kid. The clan used to put on a big festival in the summers in Park Hill. They also donated $25,000 to PS 57 in 1998 to build a computer lab. They are good community minded guys.
JO: Where do you see Staten Island headed in the next 5 years? 25 years?
LA: I look for continued growth in the next 5-25 years. We are one of the fastest growing populations in the state. We have great parks and are getting some more (currenty we have the most park land in the city). When the landfill is totally recaptured, we will have more parkland than any county in the country. The neighborhoods have become blended. In the old days, many of the neighborhoods had distinctive ethnic flavors. That is still true, but not to the extent that it used to be.
JO: What in Staten Island needs to be discovered? What deserves extreme attention but gets little only by the locals?
LA: We have a great Tibetan museum with valuable art work not to be found anywhere else. We have a one of a kind Chinese Scholar’s Garden at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and the St. George Theatre. You can check out visitstatenisland.com to get plenty of information.
Thanks, Larry, for shedding a bright light on Staten Island.
There are many more events going on in Staten Island and with Larry’s organization. You can take a look at their projects page to see events like the SINY Cultural Fair, SINY Film Festival, and even the motion to get bicycle rentals at the St. George Ferry Terminal – which I believe would instrumental to opening up the island to explorers.
Staten Island. I’m in.