“Back in the days when they were still figuring out borders, people had to decide who would get Staten Island, New York or New Jersey. So they had a boat race around the Island to decide who would get the island. New Jersey won.”
This is a myth that’s mostly used as a joke, though some apparently view it more like an urban legend. Perhaps predictably, the nature of the joke changes depending on where you hear it: those from Staten Island, or from parts of New York City, are more likely to tell the more straightforward version of the tale, where New York wins the race and thus Staten Island. The New Jersey variation of the legend, used by some New York City residents (like the informant), is a joke on the expense of Staten Island, as the twist ending of the joke, implies that neither state wanted Staten Island and New York got it as punishment for losing the boat race.