It’s a digital offer they couldn’t refuse.
A trio of fintech brothers aim to take their beloved but often-mocked borough out of the landfill and into the future of cryptocurrencies and NFTs by creating the Staten Island metaverse, a virtual environment where they hope to gain money, respect and power.
The metaverse is shaping up to be a bare-bones recreation of the island with some notable landmarks including the Staten Island Ferry and the Snug Harbor Chinese Garden, but the most anticipated property is the home of a fictional Mafia don.
“People are already verbally bidding more than $1,000 on the Corleone house,” Todd Tabacco said of the famed Emerson Hill home featured in “The Godfather.” It even comes with two thugs stationed out front for protection.
“I absolutely plan on winning it,” said Mario Romano, 56, who’s ready to fork over $2,000 for the pretend property. “I’m buying it for my sister. She’s a real Godfather buff.”
He’s going to have to compete with WABC radio host Frank Morano, who told The Post he’ll put up $3,500 on Pacino’s pad.
“I think this is a great way to own a unique piece of Staten Island real estate … even if it is just virtually,” Morano said.
Its real-life counterpart — 110 Longfellow Avenue — most recently sold for $2.4 million in 2016.
Todd and his brothers – John, host of Newsmax’s “Wise Guys,” and Derek, a one-time guest on “Millionaire Matchmaker” and “Mob Wives” – plan to launch their first version of the metaverse by late summer and eventually create a whole NYC virtual reality.
The majority of the properties in the metaverse are currently featureless gray blocks based on outlines in the city’s tax maps and will normally run between $10 and $100. Renovations and decorating is up to the buyers.
Todd and John said some folks are already interested in buying their childhood homes on the island.
But why spend real money on houses made of ones and zeros?
Because it’s fun and people have big egos, John said.
“Snoop Dogg started the Snoopverse, and someone paid $450,000 for the virtual property next to his house,” he said. “There’s a FOMO factor. You’ll start seeing people go, ‘someone just bought their house. What if they buy mine?’ In Staten Island we’ve got these Hatfield and McCoy wars over parking spots.”
Often called “the forgotten borough,” Staten Island tends to be the butt of many jokes. Former Saturday Night Live cast member and hometown favorite Pete Davidson once cracked, “I know Staten Island isn’t all heroin and racist cops. It also has meth and racist firefighters.”
The metaverse’s graphics straight out of 1982’s “Tron” won’t make Staten Island the next Silicon Valley, but the Tabaccos hope to change the narrative around their home and put it on the map as a center of tech innovation.
“Eric Adams is taking his pay in cryptocurrency, he’s talking at blockchain conferences and just approved a couple million dollar grants for CUNY to help kids develop video games,” said John, who once held a counterprotest in response to the Occupy Wall Street movement despite being barred from the securities industry. “There’s a lot of talk coming out of City Hall about New York City being a global leader in technology, and I think it’s pretty cool that Staten Island is doing it first.”