New York City is an economic engine. The New York metropolitan region generates 10% of America’s GDP. Metro New York is a wealth generator for the U.S. to the tune of $1.33 trillion which is created here every year. However, money isn’t everything. There is the need to balance things out with culture. Again New York is richly blessed in that department as well. So much so, that it even exists in abundance in places in our town where you would least expect to find it at all.
Case in point is today’s day trip recommendation, Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden. Located within walking distance of the St. George ferry terminal on Staten Island, Snug Harbor is one of New York City’s hidden cultural gems. The 83-acre grounds are a sprawling public park. What’s unique about Snug Harbor are the 26 architecturally relevant structures which stand within its confines.
Those 19th-century buildings, of varying styles, are remnants of the parks previous purpose as a home for aged sailors. Back in 1833, Snug Harbor was opened to care for old sailors in their retirement. It was the wealthiest charity in New York City at that time. Little more than one hundred years later Snug Harbor Sailor’s Home became obsolete soon after President Roosevelt created the Social Security Administration.
Today the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden is a multi-purpose recreational facility for the promotion of art, culture, and the appreciation of nature. There are several arts organizations which call the campus home. Throughout the year, Snug Harbor is the stage for concerts, art exhibits, art classes, ballets, dance lessons, and multiple galas. The park is also home to the Staten Island Children’s Museum, as well as numerous well-maintained gardens.
New York City owns and cares for the entire park. The cultural center and botanical garden is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute, and its legacy buildings are designated landmarks of the City of New York. Also, Snug Harbor is a national historic landmark district.
The jewel of Staten Island is Snug Harbor. All 480,000 residents of the borough have bragging rights to this proud part of New York City’s strong maritime history. Although New York is a coastal city, the sea no longer sustains us as it once did. At Snug Harbor evidence of our connection to the mighty Atlantic Ocean is preserved in many of the buildings, and features on the grounds, such as the fountain of Neptune.
I have heard of folks riding the Ferry to Staten Island merely to enjoy the free 5.3-mile cruise across New York Harbor. I say make the trip complete by going the extra mile to the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden. It is an excellent day trip, and it’s free. I hope to see you there.
For further details click on the links in the text above.
For directions to Snug Harbor via public transit click on this moovit link.
Although the Staten Island Ferry is a short walk from Snug Harbor, the S40 bus will take you directly from the St. George ferry terminal to the gate.
The Harbor Eats concession stand is available throughout the day to provide refreshment.