We Staten Islanders have gotten a bad rap; and being lambasted on “Saturday Night Live” as a bridge-and-tunnel gum-cracking, hairspray-wearing lot certainly hasn't helped our image much.
Add insult to injury, our lovely little Island's culture has been linked to the salacious Snooki and her juice-head sidekicks and the bizarre antics of Sammy the Bull Gravano's offspring on VH-1's reality series “Mob Wives.”
Having lived on Staten Island for the past 10 years, I emphatically can state: these reality TV “stars” with their spray tans, fake boobs and complete detachment from the law and reality don't run in any of the circles of Staten Islanders I am privileged to know.
Rather my Staten Island, the one I am proud to call home, is full of opportunities to explore the best parts of our cultures with institutions like the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, the Jewish Community Center and Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art.
We are also conservationists who care about the environment, as evidence by the blossoming Greenbelt, and we honor our connection to our roots with venues like Historic Richmond Town and Fort Wadsworth.
So this year, be proud of your Staten Island connection and help your kids celebrate our Island's 350th year anniversary. And Check out my Staten Island Advance Kids in the City column for great ways to take part in a year-long celebration with activities that honor where we come from and where we are headed as a community.