Butterflies are Free

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Swallowtail butterflies were among the 24 species observed around Staten Island during the annual butterfly count.

This year’s annual butterfly count was held on Sunday, July 17. Teams of naturalists — organized by Cliff Hagen, president of the Protectors of Pine Oak Woods — spread out across Staten Island to assess the status of the borough’s butterfly population.

According to Hagen, “It is important to continue to monitor the health and wellness of these gentle winged creatures because they are a simple indication as to the health and wellness of our communities. As we move from Snug Harbor, to Northern Seaview, Great Kills Park, Blue Heron Park, Mount Loretto, Conference House Park and lastly Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve, we traveled through nearly every neighborhood on the Island. We were able to see the impact of economic growth and development.”

A tally of the day’s observations revealed that a total of 598 individual butterflies belonging to two dozen species had been seen. This was a bit lower than years past. Part of the reason for the low count may be that this year’s event was postponed from an earlier date due to inclement weather.

“Butterflies are so weather-dependent. Too cool, too wet, too windy and the count is spoiled. These past two years we have had to reschedule the count due to unseasonably cool, wet weather,” Hagen said. “And because the flight stage of their short life-cycle is so brief, a week can make a substantial difference in species diversity and census data of our local butterflies.”

FULL STORY on SILIVE.COM

Threading My Prayer Rug- A Book Signing with Author Sabeeha Rehman

2016-08-11_11-29-35FREE with Museum admission A richly textured reflection on what it is to be a Muslim in America today. It is also the luminous story of many journeys: from Pakistan to the United States in an arranged marriage that becomes a love match lasting forty years.

2:00 PM on Sunday, August 14th at the Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor, Building A

This enthralling story of the making of an American is also a timely meditation on being Muslim in America today.

Threading My Prayer Rug is a richly textured reflection on what it is to be a Muslim in America today. It is also the luminous story of many journeys: from Pakistan to the United States in an arranged marriage that becomes a love match lasting forty years; from secular Muslim in an Islamic society to devout Muslim in a society ignorant of Islam, and from liberal to conservative to American Muslim; from master’s candidate to bride and mother; and from an immigrant intending to stay two years to an American citizen, business executive, grandmother, and tireless advocate for interfaith understanding.

Beginning with a sweetly funny, moving account of her arranged marriage, the author undercuts stereotypes and offers the refreshing view of an American life through Muslim eyes. In chapters leavened with humor, hope, and insight, she recounts an immigrant’s daily struggles balancing assimilation with preserving heritage, overcoming religious barriers from within and distortions of Islam from without, and confronting issues of raising her children as Muslims—while they lobby for a Christmas tree! Sabeeha Rehman was doing interfaith work for Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the driving force behind the Muslim community center near Ground Zero, when the backlash began. She discusses what that experience revealed about American society.

Let the Feasting Begin

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The 6th Annual Feast of St. Clare will take place on Saturday, August 13th.

Outdoor events, including BBQ food and other snacks offered in the Kindergarten play yard behind the Presentation Center and Fun Park rides, games, dunk tank, Bouncy Houses, sand art, face painting and more in the playground behind the school.

Bring your family and friends to this event which will include: A procession with our patron Saint, arts & craft events for the children, games with prizes, cotton candy, popcorn, BBQ food stands, vendors selling their goods, raffle baskets, bouncy house, rock climbing wall and much more for the entire family.

Bracelets will be available at the Feast for $25 each. Free admission for Adults. Buffet Style Dinner held in the Cardinal Cooke Center. More information about this special dinner will be announced soon. You are welcome to come to the dinner even if you are not available to attend the daily activities.

Us v. Them: Hotel Edition

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RENDERING OF EMPIRE OUTLETS, INCLUDING THE HOTEL AT THE TOP.

via The Commercial Observer – When you think of Staten Island, you may not think of packed hotels with tourists banging down the doors to get into them. But the borough’s hotels are faring well compared with their counterparts in other boroughs.

The hotel occupancy rate in Staten Island was 67.9 percent for the first half of this year, up 18 percent from the same period last year, according to data provided to Commercial Observer by STR, a hotel data and analytics company. In Richmond County, the average daily room rate, or ADR, reached $127.23, a 6.2 percent increase from a year ago. The revenue per available room, or RevPar, surged 25.3 percent to $86.37. Demand rose 11.7 percent to 95.59 percent and overall revenue increased 18.6 percent to $12.2 million.

In Manhattan, meanwhile, occupancy only ticked up 0.2 percent to 83.9 percent while the ADR dropped 3.9 percent to $254.72 and RevPar went down 3.7 percent to $213.60. In Queens, the occupancy rate crept up 1.1 percent to 81.1 percent, and RevPar rose 2.4 percent to $140.62. In Brooklyn, the occupancy rate dropped 5.3 percent to 73.1 percent, ADR rose up 1.8 percent to $163.75 and RevPar dropped 3.5 percent to $119.75. (“In order to protect the confidentiality of individual property data, we require a certain number of hotels reporting performance data in order to run a report. We have that in S.I., not the Bronx,” a STR spokesman said.)

James Prendamano, a managing director for Staten Island brokerage Casandra Properties, said the positive statistics were not surprising.

“The fluctuation in the dollar over the past year has sapped tourists buying power,” Prendamano said.“As the tourists seek better value across the board you will find them electing to stay in locations that offer a reduced price point. Staten Island and Queens offer this option while remaining directly connected to Manhattan. Staten Island has seen the most growth… as they offer the most attractive ADR. … It’s simply a direct result of tourists seeking more of a bang for their buck.”

He continued: “The second factor that I think cannot be overlooked is [New York City Economic Development Corporation]’s efforts over the past several years raising awareness in the outer boroughs under their new New York platform. The mayor and his respective agencies are seeing results as they travel the world educating would-be tourists on the wonderful cultural, hospitality, shopping and entertainment options that had previously been overlooked by future travelers.”

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New Ferry Route?

12Nell Casey at Gothamist reports:  The Staten Island Ferry’s great for lots of things: cheap beer, romantic dates and free trips past the Statue of Liberty for tourists. What it’s not so great for: transporting people beyond St. George on Staten Island and South Ferry in Manhattan. But a new idea could see the big orange boat treading new waters further north, with a proposal to extend ferry service to Midtown.

Back in April, Staten Island Borough President James Oddo sent a letter to the Department of Transportation asking them to consider expanding ferry service to include stops at East 34th Street and Pier 11. Following some testy Tweets, the DOT responded this week, saying they’d look into the beep’s proposal.

 

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Urban Farm Encourages @UrbyLife Residents in Staten Island to #LiveLivelier

Apparently, the grass is greener on the Staten Island side.

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Ironstate’s latest 900-unit rental, named URBY, boasts a community centric residence with a blossoming concept — a commercial urban farm, the first of its kind in New York City, with 50 different vegetables, fruits and herbs.

So, how does a rooftop farm grow in Stapleton, S.I.?

Read on and get the full story from ABC7NY

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Rezoning the North Shore

staten-island-ferryNorth Shore car repair shops could give way to 16-story buildings, 6,000-plus residents

via Crain’s New York

The de Blasio administration’s plan to rezone 45 acres of Staten Island’s North Shore aims to encourage new housing, including affordable housing, but it has some residents concerned that an influx of newcomers will strain an area of vacant storefronts.

The rezoning proposal centers on 14 blocks along Bay Street, from Victory Boulevard to Sands Street and from Van Duzer Street to the Staten Island Railway tracks. It includes five nearby city-owned lots and a two-block area around Canal Street to the southwest.

It calls for as many as 2,569 apartments (1,039 of them affordable) and 595,454 square feet of commercial space. Buildings could rise as high as 165 feet, or 16 stories.

That stretch of the Bay Street corridor is currently zoned for manufacturing and primarily comprises auto repair shops, gas stations and warehouses. More than one-fifth of its storefronts are vacant, according to media reports. This is where Eric Garner died from a police choke hold in July 2014.

Residents agree rezoning could improve the area, just south of the Staten Island Ferry terminal, but some fear the affordable housing won’t be affordable enough and warn that more residents will overburden sewers and roads.

The housing would push the residential population in the rezoned area to 6,911 from 32, and the number of people who work there could rise to 2,673 from 1,434, according to city studies.

“Has anyone researched the ancient sewer system?” asked Nicholas Scilari, chairman of the local community board. “How much flow can it handle?”

Scilari said the city has yet to adequately address this and other potential challenges. “Maybe they’re working on it, but we would just like to know about that beforehand.”

Should the rezoning move forward, it would dramatically alter the character and desirability of an area unused to property trades—and unable, in the case of 365 Bay St., to draw tenants to new development.

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