It is the most unloved of the New York boroughs and its own mayor calls it a ‘dump’.
But now Staten Island is set to get the largest Ferris Wheel in the world in the hopes of luring in tourists and changing its image.
The $230 million attraction will be 625ft tall, making it bigger than the Singapore Flyer, the world’s largest observation wheel, and the London Eye.
Staten Island’s version will offer stunning views of Manhattan, the Hudson River and the rest of New York – but it is the borough’s reputation that is raising eyebrows.
Some have wondered if it is wise to send visitors to an area stereotyped as New York’s Jersey Shore; brash, under educated and more conservative than the rest of the city.
The borough is home to Fresh Kills, the largest landfill site in the world which caused TV’s Will & Grace to gasp at the ‘stench of garbage and mediocrity’ there.
Talk show host Jay Leno ridiculed its basic road system whilst the women in the TV series ‘Mob Wives’ live there.
In a recent letter to local paper the Staten Island Advance, resident Joseph Lupo painted what he called ‘a sad picture of neglect’ which is the image many still have.
He wrote: ‘Behaviour is embarrassing. Dining out is a front seat at a prison riot – loud, obnoxious and foul language everywhere.
‘A cattle auction is more dignified. Indolent, selfish drivers yak on cell phones and double – or triple-park at schools daily.
‘Islanders have no shame in appearing in public donned in pajamas, outdated track suits, dirty sneakers, tight tops on obese torsos, moth-eaten jeans and exposed underwear.
‘Tattoos cover limbs, resembling gangrene and are corny and hideous.’
There will be a 120,000 square foot hotel too meaning that the more adventurous can stay overnight on the island.
New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the proposal was ‘a once-in-a-generation opportunity for economic development.’
He said it would be ‘an attraction unlike any other in New York City – even unlike any other on the planet.’
Staten Island’s reputation is not all bad and famous residents include Paul Newman and 19th century shipping and railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt.