So here goes the story of Staten Island...
When we first arrived we had no clue where we were headed. We wandered up the first street that we thought looked cute, and happened upon a small museum where a sweet woman directed us towards Snug Harbor- we were feeling loved already, and therefor we were loving Staten Island instantly! The walk from the St. George Terminal to Snug Harbor was a vast one, and thankfully the sun was resting behind pillow-y clouds for us that day. We walked along a busy and windy street and on the way found some beautiful old houses. The best part of the day(in my opinion) was when we stopped at what seemed to be an abandoned old home that had a plaque next to it's boarded up front door. While the other girls ran up the steps of the old house, i lingered behind to snap photos, and while the girls were reading the plaque aloud they heard foot-steps above them- suddenly they all went silent looking up at the ceiling of the porch- which prompted me to look northward, finding a completely nude and balding old man peeking over the railing of the upstairs balcony!! It was hysterical. When our eyes met- he bolted for the door and I was left speechless. I then squeaked out, "I think we should go!", I couldn't decide if I should laugh or die in the moment. The best part is that I was the only one to see him. The other girls didn't even believe me at first. I was in stitches, it felt like a scene straight from a Now & Then-esque movie. When we finally reached Snug Harbor we were so excited, it felt very dreamy, there wasn't another sole around, or so it seemed, and no directions or instruction on where to go. We just started to wander around aimlessly, though our empty stomachs were hoping we would find food first. Alas we happened upon a beautiful greenhouse and toured through its magical mugginess. Then at the exit we found signs of food- hooray- that is, until we approached the little food vendor who was just a tad less than friendly. The four of us, who approached the window of the "Garden Cafe" in rather high spirits and willing to eat earthworm sandwiches if that was all they had to offer, left running away with the cook screaming after us, calling us snobs- for no reason at all. We were more than baffled and mortified and still very hungry, so we headed for the info desk, where a sweet young girl directed us out of the park and down the road to a waterside grill, which we were very happy about. We enjoyed a relaxing and peaceful lunch on Staten Island (we discovered at the info desk that the man at the cafe had just learned of his son's arrest on drug charges from the night before- perhaps this was the root of his temperament!??). So, after lunch we headed back to the gardens of Snug Harbor and explored until our toes were sore, only on our way out we wanted to stop in and check out the seemingly awesome children's museum, where we greeted the woman at the front desk with no reciprocation. She also, was slightly less than friendly- snapping at us as we reached into the ice cream freezer for an afternoon treat- she was perfectly nice when we paid up though. We were yet again, confused by the hospitality here on Staten Island. When we finally left Snug Harbor, we thought perhaps we had left the bad tempers, only to meet the huffiest bus driver of all time on our way back to the terminal. When my sister didn't put her metro card into the slot properly he grumbled and rolled his eyes, and I just couldn't hold back any longer- I let out a good laugh and said something along the lines of, "well the rest of Staten Island hates us today, so you might as well too!", I said it with a smile and meant it to humor him and my sister, though I doubt he even cared. So, for every nice person we met on the island there was an unfriendly experience to match it, yet I can honestly say, the generosities of the woman at the museum early in our day, the girl at the information booth, and the young man who served us at lunch certainly stood out from the rest of them. Together those kind Staten Islanders, the beautiful grounds of Snug Harbor and the fantastic free ferry to get us there and back- have us loving Staten Island forever, no matter how welcomed those other islanders make us feel! Oh yeah, and I can't forget the nudist elderly fella. He made my day, a day I can never forget with three great friends.
(UPDATE: CHECK OUT THE COMMENTS HERE FOR MORE INFO ON THE MYSTERIOUS NUDIST ON ST. ISLAND!!)