Can Staten Island become … Silicon Island?

Staten Island (yes, Staten Island) wants to be the next tech hub. Its secret weapon: the North Shore, home to cheap commercial space and one of the best broadband networks in the nation.

via THORNTON MCENERY/ Crain’s New York

2014-08-06_12-47-12If the de Blasio administration achieves one of its stated goals, tech workers will soon be pouring off the Silicon Ferry, cascading past ahuge Ferris wheel, piling into the hip coffee bars of newly minted NoSho, unzipping their hoodies and getting to work in New York city’s hottest tech scene: Staten Island’s North Shore.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, in his call for a “true five-borough approach” to tech, has made it clear he wants to grow the industry in even the unlikeliest of places—and that includes Staten Island.

The borough has its secret weapons. The island, especially the North Shore, has some of the least expensive commercial space left in the five boroughs and a broadband infrastructure that is among the best in the nation. Staten Island was the first borough to be fully wired with Verizon FiOS fiber. And according to server-network company Akamai Technologies, Staten Island ranked second in the U.S. in terms of average connection speed by city area. (Only Riverside, Calif., was faster.)

“This is a very exciting time for the North Shore of Staten Island,” Borough President James Oddo said, deeming it “an area that is well on its way to becoming the hippest waterfront community in the city.”

That may be typical borough-president hyperbole. Right now, there are only about 15 tech firms on the island, according to the city’s Made in NY map of tech startups. (By contrast, a single building in the Flatiron district, 902 Broadway, more than triples that count, according to the city.) But boosters say the potential is there.

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Last of Staten Island High Rises Stalled by Recession Set to Open This Fall

accolade03-ret via Nicholas Rizzi/DNAinfo ST. GEORGE — The last of a set of luxury condominium high-rises that have stood empty around St. George’s waterfront since the recession plans to open its doors in the fall and has already sold almost half of its units.

The Accolade, a former dry cocoa warehouse in Bay Street Landing that was converted into a residential building, opened its 100-unit studio to three-bedroom condos for sale in March.

Sales exceeded expectations of developers Meadow Partners and real estate agent The Marketing Directors. “We’re really moving very quickly,” said Angela Ferrara, executive vice president of sales for the Marketing Directors. “We didn’t anticipate this level of excitement.” In the five months since they opened up for sales — priced between $322,000 to more than $1 million — the agency has sold 43 apartments, a surprise for a building that has been sitting empty and unfinished since 2009.


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New York Restaurant Week Is Here!!


via TimeOut

What is it?

Every summer and winter, NYC Restaurant Week returns, with more than 300 restaurants offering three-course dining deals for lunch ($25) and dinner ($38). Each year NYC Restaurant Week adds trendy newcomers to a long list of fine-dining standbys, drawing bargain-hunting New Yorkers to try out new spots and revisit old favorites serving cheap eats.

When is it?

The summer session spans Monday, July 21, 2014 through Friday, Aug 15, 2014.

Read more HERE. Now let’s get out and Eat!


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The Accolade offers many luxurious amenities



via The Staten Island Advance

First closings in new condominium scheduled for fall.


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St. George Ferry Terminal


Since 1906, the Staten Island Ferry has been transporting commuters, sightseers, and visitors between Staten Island and Manhattan. Passing by the Statue of Liberty and Governors Island, the 25-minute FREE trip provides riders with postcard-perfect views of New York City’s greatest landmarks.

Every day, over 65,000 people ride the Staten Island Ferry, and each year more than 1.5 million tourists take the trip, making the Ferry the third most visited attraction in New York City. A fleet of eight boats makes the rounds every day, rain or shine, so there’s always a boat ready to take you across the Harbor. From the St. George Ferry Terminal, it is easy to connect to buses, trains, and taxis.

The Ferry is FREE and runs all day, seven days a week Staten Island Ferry Schedule: Full schedule for the Staten Island Ferry as well as information on connecting trains and bus lines. For more Ferry information visit click here or call 311.


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Second Saturday Staten Island

2014-07-08_14-38-31Second Saturday Staten Island is a free monthly art walk on Staten Island’s north shore. Its’ mission is to facilitate a working partnership between artists, curators, galleries, audiences and local businesses to promote a more engaged community. Events regularly include visual art, music, dance, and performance art.

Want to know what’s going on other days of the month? Check out SI Arts’ Inside Art Guide calendar.

Founded in 2010 by Brendan Coyle and Amanda Curtis, when they turned their apartment gallery space, the Assembly Room in St. George, into the Second Saturday meeting ground.

Today, the art walk is thriving, with a multitude of local businesses and pop-up galleries taking part.

Second Saturday Staten Island is run by a small team of highly dedicated volunteers.

Visit their website!

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Staten Island: NYC’s farthest-flung borough gets ready for its close-up

New York Post

via Adam Bonislawski/ New York Post

Everyone loves a water view, but, as the saying goes, God isn’t building any more beachfront property.

And so, as New York’s waterfront has emerged from its industrial past as a prime location for residential real estate, builders have steadily moved farther and farther afield in search of new spots for development.

Lately, they’ve made their way to Staten Island.

The city’s least populous borough, Staten Island has often been an afterthought in discussions of New York real estate. But with several hundred million dollars in commercial and residential development slated for the area, the island — and its Manhattan-facing north shore, in particular — is having a moment.

“It’s part of the larger story of outer borough waterfront development,” says David Barry, president of Ironstate Development, which is in the midst of converting The Homeport, a former US naval base in the north shore’s Stapleton neighborhood.

ENTER YOUR URL: Ironstate Development is transforming Stapleton’s erstwhile naval base into a mixed-use project (its courtyard above) called Urban Ready Living. Photo: Concrete

ENTER YOUR URL: Ironstate Development is transforming Stapleton’s erstwhile naval base into a mixed-use project (its courtyard above) called Urban Ready Living.
Photo: Concrete

The mixed-use development, named URL [Urban Ready Living], will feature 30,000 square feet of retail along with 900 rental apartments — studios from $1,600; one-bedrooms from $2,000; two-bedrooms from $2,700 — which will start leasing next summer. In addition, the city is investing $32 million for road improvements and a new waterfront esplanade at the site. Ironstate is also planning similar projects in Jersey City and Stamford, Conn.

“You’ve seen it in Brooklyn and Queens and Jersey City, and now Staten Island,” Barry says. “We’re in a period of time where waterfronts are turning over from industrial to residential, commercial and recreational — Staten Island is part of that progression.”

The Homeport development sits two railway stops south of the borough’s St. George neighborhood, home to the Staten Island Ferry terminal and the emerging epicenter of the island’s waterfront development.

Indeed, the waterfront district is where Triangle Equities’ plans to develop Lighthouse Point, a $200 million mixed-use project. Commencing this fall, it will include roughly 100 rental units, 85,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space and a 160-room hotel.

Also in the area is Empire Outlets, a one-million-square-foot retail development by BFC Partners which recently won city council approval. Slated for completion in 2016, the project will include up to 125 outlet retailers as well as a 200-room hotel and 40,000 square feet of restaurant space.

And St. George is soon to be the home of the New York Wheel, a 630-foot-tall Ferris wheel that will be the tallest such structure in the world when it opens in 2016.

“We’re the last waterfront in the city to be developed,” says John Pitera, managing partner at Staten Island real estate firm Casandra Properties, leasing representative for Homeport and Empire Outlets.

“Prices are very reasonable, and projects like Homeport and Empire Outlets and the New York Wheel are huge draws for investors and residents.”

Casandra also handles leasing for The View, a 40-unit rental building from Madison Realty Capital at 224 Richmond Terrace, just north of the ferry terminal. The building finished leasing around eight months ago, Pitera says, with its one- and two-bedroom units going for between $1,700 and $3,800 a month.


The 224 Richmond Terrace site was originally owned by Staten Island developer Lieb Puretz, who launched a slew of residential projects for the St. George waterfront during last decade’s real estate boom, but had to sell in the aftermath of the 2008 crash.


SEE S.I.: Meadow Partners’ new Accolade building — in the gated Bay Street Landing complex — is set to open in the fall with prices ranging from $325,000 to more than $1 million. Photo: Erik Freeland

SEE S.I.: Meadow Partners’ new Accolade building — in the gated Bay Street Landing complex — is set to open in the fall with prices ranging from $325,000 to more than $1 million.
Photo: Erik Freeland

Puretz might have been a bit too far ahead of his time, but more recent developments, like Meadow PartnersAccolade building, are going great guns. The condo building in the gated Bay Street Landing complex is due to open this fall and officially launched sales last month, by which time it had already sold roughly 30 percent of its 101 units pre-construction. Prices for studios, one-, two- and three-bedrooms range from $325,000 to over $1 million.

With features like a fitness center, pet spa, children’s playroom and golf simulator, the development offers a “lifestyle package on par with buildings in Manhattan or Brooklyn,” says Jackie Urgo, president at The Marketing Directors, which is handling sales for the building.

And then, of course, there’s the matter of money. Prices in the building average around $330 per square foot, less than a quarter of the $1,364 per square foot Manhattan apartments averaged in the first quarter of 2014, according to numbers from appraiser Miller Samuel.

The promise of a bargain lured John Tully and his wife, Laura, to Staten Island. Currently renting a one-bedroom in Greenwich Village, the couple decided to buy a two-bedroom at the Accolade after surveying prices around the rest of the city.

“We love [Greenwich Village], but real estate prices in Manhattan have gotten pretty high,” Tully says, noting that Brooklyn prices have hit similarly stratospheric levels.

“Once we visited, we were pretty impressed,” he says. “The proximity to the ferry, the unobstructed waterfront views, the amenities — and most importantly we saw it as a good investment opportunity for our first [home] purchase as a married couple.”

It didn’t hurt, Tully adds, that his wife is originally from Staten Island. “So we knew the area well and were comfortable with the surroundings.”

Tully, who works in finance, says he’s reasonably comfortable with adding a ferry ride to his daily commute to Midtown. While it certainly won’t be as convenient as his current downtown situation, he expects he’ll be able to make it from the Accolade to his office in under an hour.

And Staten Island Ferry service — the lone mass transit link between the island and the rest of the city — is expanding. Last month ferries began running every half-hour on weekends until 2 a.m. Previously it had shifted to hourly service after 7 p.m. Beginning May 1, 2015, service is scheduled to increase to at least every half-hour around the clock, seven days a week.

Also expanding are local shopping options, notes Lester Petracca, president of Triangle Equities. In addition to lining up amenities such as restaurants and dinner theater aimed at ferry-going tourists, his firm’s Lighthouse Point project is currently targeting several supermarkets and drugstores as potential retail tenants.

For his part, Tully says he’s looking forward quaffing a few beers at Flagship Brewing Company, a Staten Island tap room and brewery that opened last month at 40 Minthorne St., a short walk from his new home.

He notes, though, that for him the appeal of Staten Island’s north shore is at least as much a matter of anticipation as it is the area’s current reality.

“It’s more the outlook of what’s to come than what’s already there,” Tully says.


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St. George, S.I.: Framed by the Harbor

2014-06-25_10-37-59via C.J. Hughes at The New York Times

In praise of St. George, a historic neighborhood on Staten Island that gazes on New York Harbor, residents invariably mention the free ferry to Manhattan. They often cite the affordability of a place where one-bedroom apartments can cost less than half of what they go for in pricier parts of the city. And they might even point out the wondrously out-of-place look of some blocks, with fanciful Victorians on steep hills that can feel cut-and-pasted from San Francisco.

There are also simpler pleasures. “You can watch the full moon cross the entire sky from here,” said Christopher Napoli, a resident whose home faces the water.


What You’ll Find

While the harbor indisputably frames most of St. George, the western border is somewhat vague; purists draw the line at Westervelt Avenue, but in terms of its turn-of-the-last-century housing stock, the area seems to extend farther, spilling down toward Jersey Street. Victory Boulevard forms the southern edge.

Along the water sits the gated Bay Street Landing complex, a former shipping area that began conversion in the 1980s and continues to this day. It offers co-ops and condos, including the Accolade, a condo project in a former cocoa-bean warehouse that was brought back to life by Meadow Partners when a previous developer was unable to complete it. Thirty percent of its units have sold since February, said Andrew L. Till, a Meadow vice president, including a three-bedroom for more than $1 million. Meadow also recently sold out the Pointe nearby, with 57 one- and two-bedroom units, Mr. Till said.


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SI Arts ‘Culture Lab’ to open first weekend of June


By: Vincent Barone (SI Advance)

Staten Island Arts will open its new Culture Lab in the St. George ferry terminal on the weekend of Saturday, June 7.

The 2,500-square-foot multi-use lounge will include offices, exhibit space, performance space and a 400-square-foot retail Artist Market. It also will be the nation’s first permanent art space in commuter quarters, according to Melanie Cohn, executive director of Staten Island Arts.

“We’re excited on the national level to put art in a transit hub,” Cohn said. “We really want to be a national example for what can done.”

The space will be open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m and on weekends, from noon to 5 p.m. On Tuesdays, the lounge will be open until 10 p.m. to offer evening classes geared to local artists on topics like how to deal with law enforcement while performing in public spaces.


The Office

The new Staten Island Arts office will be open to the community to provide one-on-one assistance to artists who are looking for technical help with things like building an online portfolio or obtaining city permits. Cohn said she hopes the new space will help build a stronger rapport with the borough’s artists.

“The Culture Lounge will give us a lot more visibility than our current location, in a basement in Snug Harbor,” she said. “Right now it’s really hard to find unless you’re looking for us.”

The Artist Market

The Artist Market will be updated frequently, featuring a variety of unique, handmade goods under a New York harbor theme. Items will include everything from paintings, to scarfs and artisanal soaps crafted by local artists. Upon opening, the market will feature about 30 artists’ works. Fifty percent of the price tag will go to Staten Island Arts, the other 50 percent to the artist.

Similar to a museum gift shop, the market will showcase plenty of area-specific works as well as a revolving door of holiday-related goods.

“Tourists will be interested in a lot of the iconic imagery of the ferry and Statue of Liberty,” Cohn said. “The other thing that we’re hoping for is that it’s a really convenient place with one-of-a-kind holiday gifts for people that are rushing through terminal.”

The Exhibit Space

There will be six, mixed-media exhibits featured in the lounge this year. Each will be on display for two months. The lounge will be an interesting, if precarious balance of tourist-driven goods and a sincere look into Staten Island’s art scene.

“There’s a lot happening, but it’s happening in these smaller niche spaces,” said Cohn, who believes the art community on Staten Island closely resembles Williamsburg in 1992. In a land most often portrayed by crass reality show characters, Cohn said she hopes to give tourists and residents alike a look into more interesting Island culture.

“It’s a place where we can say, ‘Hey, this is who we really are,'” she said. “Where our local artist community shows people what Staten Island is all about.”

The Opening

Opening weekend will feature musical performances and the first exhibit by Staten Island artist Tattfoo Tan, who will be putting on an interactive show about sustainable agriculture called “Sustainable. Organic. Stewardship. (S.O.S.),” which will include a seed sharing library, mobile gardens, S.O.S. pledge, and “Black Gold” earthworm compost.

The lounge will be open to the public beginning Saturday, June 7, but there will be an early VIP opening celebration on Thursday, June 5. Tickets for the early opening will be available through a Staten Island Arts Kickstarter, which will launch Wednesday, May 14, to help raise the last bit of money for the space opening.

The Kickstarter pledges are as follows:

  • $92: VIP opening ticket, plus t-shirt (The price corresponds with the year the organization was founded — 1992)
  • $50: field notes book with Staten Island Arts logo
  • $30: Staten Island Arts sticker


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Kayak Staten Island


One of the most unique and exciting ways to see Staten Island is from inside a kayak.

Staten Island features six public launch points for kayakers:
Beginners are welcomed to try their hand at kayaking for free with Kayak Staten Island, an all-volunteer organization. Kayak Staten Island launches from South Beach at the end of the Boardwalk by parking lot #1.
Visit Kayak Staten Island for launch dates, events, and additional information.


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