Beyond Manhattan – Queens, Staten Island, Bronx
Crossing the East River from Manhattan are cinephiles heading to Queens to catch a weekend film screening at Astoria’s excellent Museum Of The Moving Image (MOMI). New York has been challenging Hollywood ever more noticeably in recent years as America’s television and film production capital; Astoria in the borough of Queens is New York’s Movie Central, with both Silvercup Studios and Kaufman Studios (next to the MOMI) in the neighbourhood. MOMI is not strictly a film museum; moving images relate to film, television, and now video games, and all three genres have their places in the very cool exhibits. The museum also offers demonstrations of sound editing, film editing, and other aspects of what goes on behind the scenes of filmmaking. You will never hear Titanic the same way again.
Staten Island, the forgotten child of New York’s five boroughs, is closer to the state of New Jersey than to Manhattan. It certainly doesn’t feel very New York-like, but it too has attractions worth a ride on the Staten Island ferry, which is an attraction in itself and affords the best views of the Statue of Liberty. Very surprisingly found among Staten Island’s working-class neighbourhoods are some truly unexpected sights. The New York Chinese Scholars Garden, affiliated with Snug Harbor Cultural Center, was created by a team brought from China and serves as a tranquil retreat from city life; in the warmer months, people spend the entire day here. Further into the heart of the island is the small and very impressive collection of the Jacques Marchais Museum Of Tibetan Art, housed in a recreation of a Tibetan monastery on a hill just off Lighthouse Avenue.
The Bronx, named after Dutch settler Jonas Bronck when New York was still New Amsterdam, has its share of surprises, too. While The Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden are already famous for their outstanding exhibits, the appeal of such places as City Island and The Hall Of Fame of Great Americans is not as well known. City Island is an enclave reminiscent of a New England village within New York and packs in the seafood lovers along its pier, especially on weekends. Yacht clubs and university sailing teams maintain the boating tradition of the town, which is still a location for the construction of marine craft. The Hall Of Fame Of Great Americans, on the grounds of Bronx Community College, is the original hall of fame that led to all other halls of fame around the world. This simple but dignified display of 98 bronze busts placed in an open-air, white-marble colonnade overlooking the Harlem River reminds visitors that a country is only as inspiring as its leaders.