The Island

Staten Island has always been exotic to me.  A foreign land approached by sea, whenever I’ve gone on the Staten Island Ferry, I immediately turned back around.  Guided by a New York Times on Thompkinsville, there’s more to Staten Island than just the ferry.  The plan was lunch in the Sri Lankan area, explore, thrift.

Talked up by Robert Sietsema and Anthony Bourdain, New Asha was my destination of choice.  After taking a subway, the ferry, and a bus – almost two hours – I was starving.  In my condition, I was relieved that New Asha was a steam table buffet, immediate gratification; but to have travelled so far for the ambiance of a Chinese takeout, might have struck me otherwise.  The $10 lunch special was a heaping load of rice, chicken curry, creamed greens, coconut-y lentils, caramelized eggplant, and roti.  I can objectively say that it was delicious, it’s not just my hunger talking, or my rationale for traveling so far.  Well spiced and well priced, I would have this often if it was actually close to me.  Such is what makes the adventure special.

This area of Thompkinsville is actually walkable from the ferry, but since I didn’t know how far it was on my initial ascent, I took the bus.  Just as well, it’s hot and it’s all uphill.  Walking down Victory Boulevard revealed more Sri Lankan restaurants and groceries, Mexican tacquerias, Caribbean takeout, Polish “Place”, and Italian pizzerias.  Almost a geological layering of immigration, I would have loved to have a taste of them all, but New Asha did me in.

At the bottom of the hill, closer to the ferry, is the thrift store trifecta of Everything Goes.  Separated into three locations – furniture, books, and clothing – it’s reasonably priced and so unlike Manhattan.  Staten Island can feel a world away, but worth visiting again.

New Asha Sri Lankan Restaurant

322 Victory Boulevard

Staten Island, New York  10301



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