Photo via Wally G.

Forget about living there for a second, right now Mayor Bloomberg just wants you to think of Staten Island as a nice place to visit (baby steps). With all the sudden hype around the borough (a music festival, anti-gentrification graffiti), could 2008 be the year it sheds the bad stigma (and stench) it's known for? The NY Sun reports on the Mayor's initiative to encourage New Yorkers to take a staycation on the Island, making it not only the new Williamsburg, but the new Hamptons?

Not quite. But starting on July 14th the Gray Line bus will begin their "Staten Island Discovery Tour" hop-on, hop-off service there. For 15 bucks the bus will take you to the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, the Staten Island Zoo, the Forest Avenue business district, Fort Wadsworth and the Alice Austen House. On top of that, the city has already started seeking out tenants for the ferry terminal's 21,000-square-foot retail space, to open in spring 2009.

The Staten Island Advance notes that the Island is ready for its close-up, and is already basking in the limelight. The cherry on top of the Landfill sundae? Time Warner trucks have been serving up $1 ice cream over there! As part of the bigger picture, the five-borough-wide "Go Local" tourism campaign "will include more than 200 summer discounts at restaurants, at shops, and on tours throughout the five boroughs."