The most scenic drive in America is not the Pacific Coast Highway or the Blue Ridge Parkway. And it’s not the Oversea Highway along The Keys.
The most scenic drive in America is Interstate 278 through Staten Island and Brooklyn.
That’s right. Staten Island and Brooklyn.
I had to travel out to Long Island on my last trip North and got off the New Jersey Turnpike to go over the Outerbridge Crossing Bridge – a dinky little bridge that extends from New Jersey to Staten Island. They charge an $8.00 toll. I knew I had to go over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge next, the largest bridge in the world. I wondered how much they were going to charge me to go over the Verrazano Bridge if I have to pay $8.00 to get over this thing.
What would it be worth? $120?
I was on Staten Island. Staten Island is the borough of Richmond County in New York City.
Here’s a good trivia question. Ask someone to name the five counties of New York City. Then ask them the related borough name.
Anyway, after you get onto Staten Island you go through the largest landfill in the world: Freshkills Landfill. You can even see it from space. They closed it in 2001, but reopened it to sort through the World Trade Center debris. Now they’re making it into a park. Pretty spectacular.
You drive over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the largest bridge in the world.
By the way, they only charge a toll one-way: on the way onto Staten Island. I wonder why they only charge to get onto Staten Island. You’d think they would charge people to get off. People would pay more to get off of Staten Island.
The Verrazano Narrows Bridge – the largest bridge in the world – is so high that ocean liners can go under it. It’s 228 feet high. If you are a passenger in the car the view is spectacular – you can see Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, America.
If you are the driver – don’t look. Just stare straight ahead and try not to think about it. The elevation is terrifying.
Now you are in Brooklyn. Great views. Massive cityscape, constant construction, bumper-to-bumper traffic. If you’re going sixty miles an hour, it is nerve-racking, but usually it is bumper-to-bumper, stopped traffic and you have plenty of time to look around.
After a while, the view on the left opens up and you can see the Statue of Liberty, Governor’s Island, Ellis Island, the skyline of Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge, and then the Williamsburg Bridge.
This is America: the Statue of Liberty; the Brooklyn Bridge.
When you turn off of I-278 onto the Long Island Expressway, you are on the largest parking lot in the world. All the way out to Montauk Point.
Why is this The Most Scenic Drive in America?
The largest landfill in the world, the largest bridge in the world, the largest traffic jambs in the world, the largest city in the world, the Statue of Liberty.
You have to ask?
All this for only an $8.00 toll.
Tolls, trash, traffic, the Statue of Liberty, and New York City. What could be more scenic? What could be more American?
I’ve been a little loose with the facts. The Verrazano Bridge is the longest bridge span in the Americas but not the world and the Freshkills Landfill is probably not the largest landfill (nor the largest man made structure) in the world anymore.
If you really want to know about the counties and boroughs that make up New York City, look here.
And, technically, I-278 does not go through the landfill. However the landfill is part of the drive from the Outerbridge.
And, it is The Most Scenic Drive in America.