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Staten Island: Tales of the Forgotten Borough
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I began producing the material in this newsletter in the spring of 1997. Two coincidental factors inspired it. First came my awareness of a long-standing irritation at the dismissal of everyone who lived in "the boroughs" -- that is, anywhere in New York City except Manhattan -- by the downy-cheeked parvenus on the editorial staff at the New York Observer (for whom I then freelanced as a photography critic) and elsewhere. These snobbish sprats tend to treat anyone who lives elsewhere in the city -- by choice or by necessity -- as outcasts and dolts, worthy only of contempt, with Staten Island attracting special scorn.

The second stimulus came in the form of an open invitation from the publisher and editor of the Star Reporter Publishing Co., to contribute to the papers in their group on a regular basis. This outfit -- headquartered in my local copy/print shop -- produces a chain of giveaway monthly advertising papers distributed to neighborhoods across Staten Island, which they founded in 1965. The one for my area is called the North Shore Star Reporter. Other editions: the Staten Island Star Reporter, the New Dorp Star Reporter, the South Shore Star Reporter, the Eltingville-Annadale Star Reporter, and the Great Kills Star Reporter. They're heavy with ads and service announcements, of course, but they've run some spunky editorials and even a bit of serious reportage over the years, and circulate about 60,000 copies per issue -- not an insignificant number on an island whose population still hovers under the half-million mark.

For some time I'd wanted to contribute something directly to my immediate community, but hadn't figured out what might prove useful. The thought of applying my writing skills -- and three decades' worth of experience living here -- to regular commentary on the Island's cultural and political scene had much appeal. So I jumped on the invitation, initiating a column titled "Island Living." The first of these appeared in the June 1997 editions of all the papers in the chain, and has appeared there ever since; for several years, it's also been a regular feature here at The Nearby Café.

Once it became clear that this column would function as an ongoing forum for local readers, the thought of putting it into cyberspace here at The Nearby Café occurred to me almost inevitably. In this form, its reach will extend considerably, and perhaps offer to people who live elsewhere a somewhat different image of life on these shores than what's promulgated in the mainstream media, mostly by people who've never even spent a full day here.

My thanks to John Larsen, President and Publisher of the original Star Reporter group; to Roy Lindberg, Executive Editor thereof; and to Roberto Batara, its Manager, for sparking this effort and midwifing this project in its print incarnation. More recently, this chain of papers has become part of Courier-Life, Inc., a Brooklyn-based publisher of assorted newspapers, which has increased its editorial content considerably and doubled its frequency of publication by putting it on a biweekly schedule. Thanks too, then, to Courier-Life publisher Clifford Luster and Editor-in-Chief Kenneth Brown for continuing this column under their administration. (Contact information below.)

As for you, dear cyber-readers: compliments and support are always appreciated, of course, but feedback and argument are the life's blood of a column such as this, so feel free to send your comments in. As soon as enough arrive, I'll post them on a "From Our Mailbox" page.

A. D. Coleman signature

/s/ A. D. Coleman 

Star Reporter Newspapers
Courier-Life Inc.
1733 Sheepshead Bay Road, Brooklyn, NY 11235
T. 718-769-4400/F. 718-769-5048

Distribution: Free on Staten Island.

Unless otherwise credited, all text and images in this newsletter
are © copyright 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
by A. D. Coleman. All rights reserved.

By permission of the author and
Image/World Syndication Services,
P.O.B. 040078,
Staten Island, New York 10304-0002 USA.
T/F (718) 447-3091