It is significantly simpler to drive to Staten Island from northern New Jersey than it is to go to New York City. But, yeah, you can get there, and I do drive that massive bridge on occasion. It's called the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and it connects Brooklyn to Staten Island.
The journey takes about three hours if you don't stop for any reason. There are lots of opportunities to pull over and see something beautiful or take a break from driving for a while, but you can't stay too long on one side or the other because you'll run out of road.
Staten Island is much more suburban than most people think. There are a few neighborhoods with old houses, but mostly it's modern developments with shopping centers and fast food places. If you're used to the city then this might be boring for you, but there's plenty to do here if you look around. You could visit the Staten Island Zoo or check out the sites on Fort Wadsworth. Or just walk around and enjoy the views - you're in New York after all!
If you want to see some real architecture then come to Staten Island.
Take the Staten Island Ferry to lower Manhattan, then walk, bike (your own or CitiBike), or take the MTA to explore the city. Parking at the boat is significantly less expensive than parking downtown Manhattan. This is your cheapest and maybe best choice if you're traveling from the west or south. There are no tolls on bridges or tunnels.
The Lincoln Tunnel and Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel connect Brooklyn with Lower Manhattan; the George Washington Bridge and Verrazano-Narrows Bridge connect Brooklyn and New Jersey, respectively, with Upper Manhattan. The Holland Tunnel connects London with Jersey City, New Jersey.
Trains are affordable and convenient ways to travel within New York State and between it and other states. There are also bus services available in New York City that will take you places that cars cannot go, such as through many of the city's neighborhoods. Buses are also an affordable way to travel around the state when you need to save money.
New York City has a vast network of buses that cover almost every part of the city. There are also several subway lines operating under Broadway shows and other events throughout the year. However, buses are more cost effective and easier to use than trains when going across large distances.
Taxis are also an affordable option for travelers who need to get around larger cities like New York. However, they can be difficult to find during off-hours unless you know where to look.
You won't be able to avoid traveling through Long Island City because it is a part of New York City. If you mean you want to avoid Manhattan, that's conceivable, but it's more complicated than it's worth, in my opinion. You'd have to travel over Staten Island and then up the always-congested Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to do so. That said, there are lots of alternatives if you don't want to go through Queens.
If you're looking for a place to park without paying, try the parking lot at Brookfield Place (formerly known as World Trade Center). It's located underneath the main building on Broadway between Vesey and Church Streets in Lower Manhattan.
Also, there is free parking behind the Empire State Building on 33rd Street between Vanderbilt and Madison Avenues. Just make sure you return your car by 10:30 p.m., or else you'll have to pay.
If you head north on the Cross Island Parkway from JFK Airport, you will pass through Long Island City. The road name changes to 31st Street after leaving the city limits.
Finally, there is a ferry service between Whitehall Street in Downtown Brooklyn and Wall Street in Lower Manhattan. This is the only way to reach Brooklyn from Manhattan via bus or subway.
The ride is about 20 minutes each way. There are several routes available, but they all follow the same route.
The quickest method to go from Manhattan to Staten Island is via cab, which costs between $130 and $160 and takes 37 minutes. The drive is mostly flat with some hills in South Brooklyn.
By subway, it takes 1 hour 10 minutes to go from Manhattan to Staten Island. The cost by subway is $2.50 for the first zone $4 for all other zones. You will need to change trains twice on the New York City Subway system to get to Staten Island.
The best way to get around Staten Island is with its own dedicated bus service. There are nine routes running across the island and tickets can be bought online or at the driver's discretion. Fares range from $1 to $5 depending on how far you travel.
Staten Island has a number of attractions including Fort Wadsworth, where you can see an exhibit about the Great Escape and World War II; Travis Park, where you can go bowling, rollerblading, or just hang out in the sun; and St. George Terminal Museum, which explores the history of rail transport through New York City and Staten Island.
The travel from the Bronx to Staten Island takes around 45 minutes. Travel time is about 15 minutes longer in the evening compared to the morning and during weekends. The route follows the Major Deegan Expressway (I-87/I-95) east across the Bronx, where it becomes Arthur Kill Road. After that, it continues along Richmond Parkway and Cross Bay Boulevard before reaching South Avenue in Staten Island.
The drive from Staten Island to the Bronx takes about 35 minutes. This route goes through Arthur Kill Park and Van Cortlandt Park before arriving at Yankee Stadium on Bronx River Drive. Then, the driver needs to follow East Tremont Avenue, West Tremont Avenue, and North Fordham Street until they reach University Avenue, which takes them back to I-95 in New York City.
Drivers can expect to pay $100 for a taxi ride from Staten Island to the Bronx. The cost of a cab ride ranges between $10 and $120 with an average price of $20. There are taxicabs waiting for passengers at both ends of the trip. A metered fare should be enough to cover the distance between the two neighborhoods.