Staten Island is like Cousin Bill, your second cousin on your father's side, the one you only ever see at weddings and funerals. It's always a little awkward with Bill, because you don't have very much in common: You see each other so infrequently, and the conversation is a little stilted because you're always worried he's going to say something racist. Then you have a few drinks and it's all fine. But imagine if, one day, Cousin Bill decided he wanted to secede from the family, and you in particular. "Screw those people," he'd say, tossing down an invitation to yet another one of your kids' bar mitzvahs. "They're snobs and I'm not writing any more checks for them and their dang kids." He'd call you, he'd RSVP "no," and it would be weird, right? You'd be disappointed. Because despite your differences, you're still family. Not that you don't understand why Bill is having this little fit of pique. You have eight million kids, and he only has like, four. But you know what? When his cat died of cancer, you were totally there for him. And on the inside, he knows it. That's why, eventually, he'll come to his senses and show up to your kid's crummy bar mitzvah, and you'll have a few drinks and chat awkwardly like you always do. Because that's what family does.
A New Call for Staten Island to Secede [City Room/NYT]