Explore Staten Island’s Rapidly Changing North Shore

Rendering of URL Staten Island (Photo: Concrete)

Rendering of URL Staten Island (Photo: Concrete)

Curbed.com reports on new development on Staten Island’s North Shore. 

“Staten Island has a tough time being cool,” said Kamillah Hanks, founder of the Historic Tappen Park Community Partnership, as she spoke to a tour group about the North Shore neighborhood of Stapleton. It’s true: New York’s forgotten borough, often seen as isolated due to its inaccessibility by bridge or Subway line from Manhattan, doesn’t have the same charm or youthful energy that is pervasive in Brooklyn and parts of Queens now. Recently, developers have been aiming to change this perception while also taking advantage of vacant spaces on the island’s North Shore, with notable—and projects including the New York Wheel, Empire Outlets, Lighthouse Point, and URL Staten Island. This past weekend, Curbed took a tour, hosted by Untapped Cities and Munro Johnson, vice president of Staten Island development projects for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, of some of the key sites and newest ventures to hit the island as businesses and residents alike descend on the area after being priced out of other boroughs and neighborhoods.

The tour began mere steps away from the Stapleton Staten Island Railway Station at URL Staten Island (short for “Urban Ready Life,” a rental community developed by Ironstate Development that is part of the larger community known as the New Stapleton Waterfront. Greg Russo from Ironstate explained that the 900-unit development, which is slated to open its first phase by the end of this year, is targeting apartment hunters in their 20s or 30s, as the island has experienced an exodus of young people in recent years. The project, which was implemented by the EDC’s Capital Program, will also foster community life with a public plaza, a cafe, and 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Outside of the buildings, the developer hopes to work with the borough to upgrade and create more streets connecting the shore area with the inner neighborhood, as the areas feel very distinct from one another at the moment.


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Visit Clay Pit Ponds This Summer!


Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve Provides Great Summer Programs for Everyone

Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve is a 260-acre natural area near the southwest shore of Staten Island. Once the site of clay-mining, the Preserve contains a variety of unique habitats such as wetlands, fields, sandy barrens, spring-fed streams and woodlands. As a terminal point for some northern and southern species, this area is rich with plant and animal life. Clay Pit Ponds is New York City’s first State Park Preserve. It is managed to retain the unique ecology of the area. The Preserve is an Audubon Bird Conservation Area and is home to the historic Gericke Farm.

The Interpretive Center at Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve strives to provide educational and recreational programs for people of all ages.

62384d3b-bbdb-42d6-8d22-b0f083c0da14The Interpretive Center also offers in-house and outreach programs for schools, summer camps, and other groups throughout the year. These programs are designed to fit your curriculum needs and to enhance your visit to our state parks. All programs are FREE of charge unless otherwise noted. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Check out the schedule of Summer Programs!

Enjoy hiking on our designated foot trails. Bring your own horse and ride our 5 miles of horse trails. All trails are open from dawn until dusk. Wildlife has free run of the Preserve. This is their home and you are their guests. Visitors must please follow Preserve rules.

Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve is located at 2351 Veterans Road West, Staten Island, NY 10309

The Park is open Tuesday–Saturday 8:30 am to 5 pm. Gates are locked at 5 pm

About Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve

Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve is a 265-acre nature preserve near the southwest shore of Staten Island. It contains a variety of unique habitats, such as wetlands, ponds, sand barrens, spring-fed streams and woodlands. The preserve is managed to retain its unique ecology and to provide educational and recreational opportunities for people of all ages. Evidences of the Leni Lenape Indians, European settlers and the Free Blacks of Sandy Ground provide a rich cultural history. Educational programs, such as nature walks, pond ecology, birdwatching and tree and flower identification, are offered, as are many activities geared to school children. School and group programs are also welcome by advance registration. In addition, visitors may picnic or hike on designated trails. Horseback riding is also permitted on over 5 miles of bridle paths. Please note that horses are not available to rent.

The Interpretive Center at Clay Pit Ponds is now open to the public. This fully accessible building features interpretive displays of the history of the park and of its natural elements. The park’s educational and community programs will take place in the interpretive center located at 2351 Veteran’s Road West Staten Island, NY 10309 Phone: (718) 605-3970 or visit their website.

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What Do You Wish?

A wish is a desire connected to the heart and mind, conscious and unconscious. There is great power in a wish; it begins an energy movement. Thinking, writing, revealing a wish helps one to understand one’s self more and prioritize actions. Related to hope, wishes become a constant reminder of how life can be better.



On July 16th, Culture Lounge’s new exhibit WISH, created by Day De Dada and organized by Gena Mimozo, will ask visitors to the gallery space at the St. George Terminal, “What do you wish?”   

The exhibition will feature wish themed mail art sent in from around the world, short videos and the Whispering Wishes sound installation.Culture Lounge visitors will have the opportunity to make their own wishes, write a wish on a cloth strip and tie it on the fence installation, create mail art wishes to send off to someone or make a wish on the spot with some guidance from The Wish Sisters.

The Wish Sisters – Viv de Dada, Jennifer Weigel, Mary Campbell, Barbara Lubliner, Margaret Chase, Lydia Grey, and Milenka Berengolc –  will collect wishes at various times throughout the exhibition.

Opening Reception (SI Arts members only)
Date: Thursday July 16
Time: 7pm
Become a Staten Island Arts member today and you’ll get a special invite to the Opening Reception of “WISH”, where you’ll be able to rub elbows with fellow members and meet the artists. Light refreshments will be provided. Become a member here.

Wish Sister Performance

Date: Saturday July 18
Time: 12pm – 4pm

The Wish Sisters will collect wishes from people using traditional and non-traditional methods throughout the run of the exhibition. Viv de Dada catches whispered secrets and carefully transfers them into a large bottle with a crystal stopper. Jennifer Weigel has people attach wishes to pennies that participants can take with them or leave for someone else to find, as a means of voicing desires.

Wish Sister Performance

Date: Saturday August 8
Time: 12pm – 4pm

The Wish Sisters will collect wishes from people using traditional and non-traditional methods throughout the run of the exhibition. Mary Campbell gives people the chance to test their luck with the old ritual of breaking a wishbone. Barbara Lubliner offers wishing advice and super charges wishes with the power of the elements before collecting them in a golden box.

Staten Island OutLOUD presents “Be Careful What You Wish For?”

Date: Saturday August 8
Time: 2pm

Staten Island OutLOUD presents a reading – and perhaps a warning – about the wishes we make. What do you wish for? Think carefully before you answer that question! Join the Facebook event!

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NYC Tourism Campaign Highlights Staten Island Neighborhoods


Marty Markowitz of NYC and Company sits down with NY1‘s Anthony Pascale to discuss the organization’s latest tourism initiative which highlights two Staten Island neighborhoods. View Video!

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Developer to add 3 million sf of warehouse space to Staten Island site

via Rich Bockman/The Real Deal

Development site on Staten Island’s western shore (credit: Langan)

The owner of the city’s largest privately-held industrial site, where Brooklyn Brewery will build a new headquarters on Staten Island, is planning to add 3 million square feet of warehouse space to the project on the borough’s western shore.

Staten Island Marine Development, which owns more than 670 acres bisected by the freight rail lines connecting the borough to the national rail system, plans to redevelop half of the site in two phases through 2020. The project would deliver 3.1 million square feet of warehouse space. The developer declined to comment, but Brooklyn Brewery CEO Eric Ottaway said his company will build a 440,000-square-foot brew house with room for a 300-seat indoor restaurant, a beer garden and an events space. The brewers also decided to add a retail component for visitors.

“We originally had not planned retail, but realized people would want to come see the facility so we’d better add a visitor center,” Ottaway wrote in an email.

Meanwhile, the owners of the brewery’s current home at 79 North 11th Street in Williamsburg have put the property on the market. It’s expected to sell for at least $50 million, as previously reported.

The proposal is just one project shaking things up on Staten Island. Further north, mega projects like the New York Wheel, Empire Outlets and the 900-unit rental project planned by Ironstate Development promise to transform the borough’s North Shore.


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The View from Up Here!

New York Wheel-thumb

By the time Staten Island’s giant observation wheel finally opens in 2017, it may not be the tallest in the world. But right now, its planned 625-foot height tops all other Ferris wheels, and its views, unsurprisingly, have been touted as the main attraction. (Along with the promise the project, along with its neighboring outlet mall, holds for revitalizing St. George, the area by the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and the Staten Island Yankees’ stadium.) While we await the wheel itself, enterprising Staten Island resident Scott Grella sent a drone up from the site to scope out the views during a particularly lovely sunset. First, the rest of the city, while beautiful, looks mighty tiny and far away. Second, just remember that because of FAA regulations, the drone couldn’t fly all the way up the wheel’s highest point. Third, seeing these views when the wheel is actually built will be costly as heck: $25, $35, and $45 depending on when you go, with the ticket price escalating as the day turns into night.

Check out the drone video on Curbed.com

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Run to get PEARL today!

NJ couple Guy and Dana Patton’s self-financed micro-budget action movie PEARL has been acquired by California distribution company Indican Pictures, got its international release last Tuesday. And one of it’s stars is Staten Island’s own George Morafetis!

2015-06-08_14-24-24In Pearl the lone survivor of a horrific home invasion mounts a violent campaign of vigilante justice. It’s a genre picture in the style of Death Wish, but with a female lead, Dana Patton. The award-winning movie screened at numerous film festivals before catching the eye of Cut Entertainment Group‘s Jeff Cooper, who licensed the film.

Indican Pictures, distributor of indie favorite Boondock Saints. The movie will be available on DVD and on demand through iTunes, Amazon and on XBox streaming.

View the trailer and read a review at Screennut.com. Write a review at Rotten Tomatoes

About Pearl

Jersey City couple Guy and Dana Patton have done stage productions, web and festival comedic shorts, and a few independent television pilots. Both have been on the sets of features as extras or filled in as crew for small independent productions done by friends. They had always talked about making their own feature, and they had a small germ of an idea. And so Pearl was born.

Shot locally in Jersey City and Hoboken, New Jersey, the film features locations such as Grace Church, Canco Lofts, and DCs Tavern.

Pearl debuted last year at Golden Door International Film Festival in Jersey City where it won “Best Local Feature”. The debut took place at the Landmark Lowes Jersey Theatre.

Pearl went on to screen in Manhattan at Anthology Film ArchivesThe YOFI Festival, and at several other venues.

Pearl represented Jersey City on the West Coast at the 10th Annual Action on Film Fest in Monrovia, California in August 2014

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Africa 411 – An Evening of Short Films

Africa 411AFRICA 411 – An Evening Of Short Films By African Directors

Wednesday, June 17, 2015 | 7:00 PM | FREE EVENT | CULTURE LOUNGE

Get the 411 on African cultural realities through the eyes of several emerging film directors from the continent. Staten Island Arts Folklife is proud to partner with the African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) of New York to produce this special evening in honor of the Cultural Feedback Project Community Archive.

AFF is dedicated to advancing an enhanced understanding of African culture through the moving image. It offers diverse platforms for the wide distribution of African media through its flagship annual film festival and complementary year-round programming.

The Cultural Feedback Project is thrilled to host a specially curated series that pays homage to “traditional culture and contemporary struggles” facing the African continent, as part of the exhibit’s programming. As a living and community-driven digital folklife archive, the Cultural Feedback Project seeks to tell the stories and showcase the cultural heritage of Staten Island’s three largest West African communities (Sierra Leone, Ghana and Liberia) from the inside out, in their own words and on their own terms. It also documents West African traditional arts for future generations.

The films that make up Africa 411 each address ways in which traditional knowledge found in story telling and religious practice as well as daily life can be used to better understand and combat contemporary issues such as evolving gender roles, drug addiction, mental health, and the aftermath of political violence. A short Q & A with festival directors will follow the showing.

Featured Films Include:

Ekah Christa Essam, Cameroon, 2013, 26min
Set in a small village in Cameroon, Beleh examines the relationship between Ekema and his heavily pregnant wife, Joffi. The difficulty she faces in her pregnancy is made worse by demands of her selfish husband. One day there’s a mysterious role reversal between the sexes and Ekema gains a whole new perspective on his wife’s situation.

Soko Sonko
Ekwa Msangi, Kenya/USA, 2014, 22min.
When her mom gets sick, Kibibi’s dad must take her to the market to get her hair braided before school begins. Soko Sonko is a hilarious, fish-out-of-water roller-coaster of a journey about a well-intended dad who goes where no man has gone before…

Curse of an Addict (Documentary Short)
Lovinsa Kavuma, Zanzibar / Tanzania / 2013, 25min.
Seif a young Muslim and heroin addict believes he is cursed. In a battle to be free, Seif seeks help from a Shiek-a spiritual leader who conducts an exorcism and summons the curse on stage. She, arrives in the form of a spirit to confront Seif. She says he is a free man but there are conditions he must abide to in order to maintain his freedom from life of drugs.


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Staten Island’s Fresh Food at its Finest


Farmigo? It’s no secret that SI FYI is always looking for great food, so we were delighted to discover that Farmigo has a location in the St. George section of Staten Island. Food coops aren’t new but Farmigo is fast becoming the most popular in town.

By creating farm-to-neighborhood access to fresh food, this small startup hopes to give people access to fresh food and benefit local farmers at the same time. Their goal is to bring the best fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and artisanal products from local growers and producers directly to you table.

Here’s how it works … You can join a group or start one in your neighborhood. Pick-up days depend on the location you choose to participate in.  Orders are processed online and you pick-up your food on your group’s designated day. Easy-peasy!

Catagories include Fruits & Veggies, Daily & Eggs, Meats & Seafood, Bread & Sweets, and Pantry & Snacks. The platform is easy to use on your phone, tablet, or desktop.

Farmigo is proud to be a certified B Corporation, a new kind of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.

Give it a try! Just choose create a login or use FaceBook and choose your neighborhood.

Staten Island Location

St. George Staten Island – 76 Bay St. (2nd Floor), Staten Island. Pick-up on Wednesdays from 6-8pm

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Staten Island Obscura Day

2015-05-14_13-30-03Obscura Day 2015 is almost here, with 160+ curious and awe-inspiring events taking place around the world on Saturday, May 30.

Obscura Day is the real-world manifestation of Atlas Obscura – a day of expeditions, back-room tours, unusual access and discovery in your hometown. More than just cataloging the curious, wondrous and overlooked places of the world, we’d like to encourage you to actually go out and explore them. Special events will be taking place at unusual locations across the globe as we highlight obscure collections, eclectic museums, hidden wonders and curiosities near and afar to show that the same sense of wonder invoked by exotic travels can be found close to home if you know where to look.

Check out just some of the cool sites Staten Island offers:

The New York City Farm Colony – Built in 1898 as a self-preserving housing community for the impoverished or otherwise socially outcast, its beginnings were utopic in essence; 2,000 residents would produce over 3,000 vegetables, more than enough to sustain themselves. Due to the advent of Social Security and drugs like Thorazine in the 1950s, however, the community was stripped of most of its able-bodied workers and essentially became a geriatric center. And so, like many other farm colonies, the colony could no longer sustain itself and was sealed and abandoned in 1975. But this only marked the beginning of a far more sinister period of its existence.

Fort Wadsworth – The first fortification on the site was a small Dutch fort built in 1663. The fort passed into English hands in 1776, when the British took control of New York during the Revolutionary War, then reverted to New York’s control at the war’s end. The city expanded a bit, starting work on three more forts, but none of them were finished by the beginning of the War of 1812, and the new Federal government had to step in and rush the job. Only 15 years later, the government declared the slapdash forts “unfit” and decided to start over, knocking down all four and replacing them with a pair of much larger forts — Fort Richmond, on the beach, and Fort Tompkins, on the hill just above. They completed both structures in 1861, shortly after the onset of the Civil War.

Historic Richmond Town – What do you do when you lose your county seat? Stop Time!

What to do when you lose your county seat? Stop time. At least, that’s how Historic Richmond Town dealt with the end of their hey day as Staten Island’s commercial and civic center. Originally a crossroads settlement, Richmond Town became the center for business and government on Staten Island in the 1700s, bustling with blacksmiths and shoemakers and court sessions. But by the time SI became a part of the five New York City boroughs in 1898, the once happening town found itself in a gradual decline. So they stopped moving forward!

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