Katie Ponder, a visitor from Arkansas, was thrilled when Big Apple Greeter paired her with Staten Island Councilwoman Debi Rose, as her Greeter for a Day.
Taking the iconic Staten Island Ferry, Katie was about to meet another New York City icon: the Councilwoman herself.
Ms. Rose radiated warmth as she welcomed Katie and her Greeters, Cindy and Ray, to her beautiful St. George office. The Councilwoman doesn’t just light up a room; she lights up the entire island.
She told us Staten Island was the third largest borough in area – bigger than Manhattan and the Bronx put together. There are 473,000 residents and 70,000 people who take the ferry every day.
Born and bred on the island, the Councilwoman grew up with both sets of loving grandparents right across the street! Her “native daughter” status became apparent when everyone she met outside wanted a hug or a kiss. (She was more than happy to oblige.)
Ms. Rose is on a mission: to attract more tourists and to let the world know how unique her island is. As an example of this uniqueness, she took us to a sculpture museum, “Lenny’s Creations”. The sculptor, Lenny Prince, is an auto mechanic by day, an artist all other times. He makes huge sculptures from scraps of car metal. From Batman to Transformers, helicopters to grasshoppers, Barack Obama to Michael Jackson, Lenny’s work is breathtaking, sophisticated and fun. (Private and group tours are available by calling 718-759-7344.)
To entice more visitors and boost the island’s economy, Ms. Rose spoke excitedly about two upcoming projects: the world’s tallest Ferris wheel with spectacular views of Manhattan and the New York Harbor, and a nearby upscale shopping mall. Backers say they will generate $64 million in revenue and create more than 900 jobs.
After spending two hours with us, the Councilwoman had some wonderful words for Katie: “If you need anything while you’re here, just pick up the phone and call me!”