Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Italy? Spain? Mexico? Nope, it's Staten Island!

This weekend, while driving around in our new convertible, we finally ventured to Fort Wadsworth. If you have ever taken the Verrazano Narrows bridge to Staten Island you may have glimpsed a castle-like fort underneath it. This stunning fort is run by The National Park Service and is open to the public. When we walked up to the edge of the cliff I looked over and said "Holy Shit!" You don't expect vistas like that in New York City. It is breathtaking. For more information click on the title. To see an enlarged picture click on the image.

We also visited the Arthur von Briesen Park which is next door. This park has trees from The World Trade Center planted in a grove near the water. They were uprooted and damaged during the disaster so they were planted here. They appear to be thriving. This park was a gathering place during the disaster as it has incredible views of Manhattan. The trees in this park are magical. We didn't have our camera at this point but you can see some great pictures HERE. We also discovered a secluded beach a little bit further down the coast.

New York Magazine Promotes the Prodigal Borough Site & Staten Island

CLICK on the title above to view the whole New York magazine article.
"Staten Island: Look to the Harbor for Value and Space
An honest-to-goodness Colonial with clapboard siding isn't something you see every day in Manhattan or Brooklyn. But Staten Island isn't like the other boroughs. Perhaps by virtue of its isolation, it has managed to retain a decidedly suburban vibe. Working Girl notwithstanding, Hollywood production companies eager to replicate a small-town feel without having to invade one have been known to shoot there instead. (See Richard Dreyfus's The Education of Max Bickford) Critics belittle Staten Island for being so different — too different? — from the city, but fans of the hushed streets and verdant corners say that's precisely why they love it. Prodigal-borough status aside (the name of a local blog of course), Staten Island has much to offer buyers. First, many of the spaces are huge, as in four to six bedrooms. Plus, they're shockingly affordable; with one exception, all the properties listed below are priced at under a million. The open houses listed after the jump are in the northwest neighborhood of Mariners Harbor or the North Shore itself, which means you won't be too far deep in the heart of the island. Not that there's anything wrong with that. —S. Jhoanna Robledo"

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

We'll Miss Her

I have been watching them raze this old house on Richmond Terrace with great disappointment. The house was not especially grand but it was pretty and its location on the water made it so wonderful and rare. It appears that a few more of these waterfront houses are going to have the same fate. See the blurb below. For the full article click on the headline above. Happily, if you want to own a house like this that IS landmarked scroll down to my last Prodigal House For Sale Pick.

From the Staten Island Advance:

"The developer who bought a 138-year-old house on Richmond Terrace in St. George and tore it down plans to build in its place a six-story, 12-unit condominium that will take advantage of the spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline. The president of the Preservation League of Staten Island, a former owner of the house who lovingly restored it in the late 1990s, called it a window onto Staten Island's past that deserved to be saved through landmarking, despite an emerging development boom in the area. On a day when scores of preservationists gathered on the steps of City Hall to call for more funding for the city Landmarks Preservation Commission to save historic homes from the wrecking ball, James Ferreri, who supports such efforts, said he didn't know if more money and more Landmarks staff would have saved 208 Richmond Terr.
He was sure of one thing, though. 'St. George is the worse for the loss of this building,' Ferreri said of the demolition of his former home. 'It's pathetic.' Over the years, the Landmarks Commission has refused to grant protective historic status to the house, either through individual landmarking or by adding it and others on the same block to an existing landmark district in St. George. Resistance to incorporating the buildings in the St. George Historic District first came more than a dozen years ago from owners on the block who recognized the development potential of their waterfront properties.

Today, some of that potential is finally being realized. An eight-story, 40-unit condominium dubbed "The View" is planned for the corner, next door to the recently obliterated 208 Richmond Terr. Bill Tuli, who with a partner purchased the house for $1 million in 2005, said he hopes to start construction on his 12-unit condominium by the end of June. 'It's a beautiful area and that's why we want to make a beautiful building,' said Tuli. Ms. Levin said the same broker who handled the sale of 208 Richmond Terr. offered $1 million for her home, another Second Empire-style building. She declined the offer because she believes her unobstructed view of Manhattan makes her property more valuable, especially as a much anticipated burst of development in the area begins. Ms. Levin said she hopes to sell to a developer in the future -- for the right price. "It would not be possible if it were landmarked," she added."

CVB says: Argh!
Click the headline for the full artcile.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Children's Clay Workshop & Book Reading at The Staten Island Museum

On May 19, 2007 at 2PM Cynthia von Buhler will be reading her book, The Cat Who Wouldn't Come Inside and giving children a cat sculpture clay lesson at The Staten Island Museum. Each child will make their own clay cat like the one in the book to take home. For more information please visit The Staten Island Museum website. Copies of the children's book will be available in the museum gift shop. The clay workshop is $2 per child which includes admission and all supplies. Sculpture characters and press proofs from The Cat Who Wouldn't Come Inside will be on display as well as von Buhler's 3-d paintings. 75 Stuyvesant Place, Staten Island, New York 10301, 718.727.1135, Hours: Tuesdays - Fridays from 9AM to 5PM, Saturday 10AM - 5PM, Sunday 12PM- 5PM. The museum is one block from the Staten Island ferry terminal. THIS EXHIBIT HAS BEEN EXTENDED THROUGH TO SEPT 23rd! For more information please scroll down to the "Cynthia von Buhler: Show & Tell Solo Exhibit Opens at the Staten Island Museum" post. To find out more about the children's book click on the headline above the picture of the bookcover.

Sammy Owns Us

He drives everyone on Fort Hill home from the ferry after a long day in Manhattan. Sure, we could walk but when it is cold or dark I'd rather get a ride up with Sameer. It was one of the perks we discovered after moving to Staten Island. I was a bit worried about the short but very, very steep trek up Fort Hill in the snow, rain or late at night. I had thought that I'd look on the bright side because we would be in terrific shape from walking up that hill. We have been lazy. Sameer spoils us. So, if you take the ferry over and need a ride up the hill look for Sammy. Even if his car is full he'll put you safely into a car with one of his buddies.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

How Do You Make Cardboard Furniture?

It seems as if an armchair made out of cardboard would not be sturdy and would look unattractive, however, the furniture pictured here looks fairly substantial and quite elegant. Eric Guiomar, a cardboard furniture maker, discovered his vocation by accident. In 1993, while working as a photographer in Paris, he needed an armchair for a photo shoot, but could not afford to buy one. So he made one instead, out of cardboard boxes he found on the street. Soon after, he quit his job as a photographer. Mr. Guiomar, 41, who calls himself a cartonniste, now sells custom designs and gives classes at his Paris-based studio, Bleuzen. Find out how cardboard furniture is made on May 18, 2007 at the Staten Island Museum where the Staten Island Film Production company Vine Street Works will present Cardboard Furniture, a film from their series How Things Are Made. Producer Elizabeth Way, Director Gregor Scheer and three featured Cartonnist Artisans from France will be on hand for a Q&A. There will also be live jazz with Bob Kaiser and Friends (who created the film score). Admission to view the film is free with the regular museum admission price. (Adults: $2; Children, Students, Seniors: $1; Children under 12: free). For the complete program, trailers and more information please click on the headline above.

The Staten Island Museum
75 Stuyvesant Place, Staten Island, New York 10301, 718-727-1135
7:30pm - 10:00pm

The film will also be screened at the Everything Goes Book Café on Saturday May 19th at 9pm. Eric Guiomar and two of his students, Valerie Pagesi and Isabelle Boissar, will be present for a Q&A.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Urban Renewal: Time Out New York Hyping Staten Island...again

From Time Out New York last week:

"You’re ready to buy, done with roomies or having a kid: You’re at the tipping point and need help making the move. Here’s where to look.

Stepping over passed-out drunks to get to your front door has lost its charm. You want something safe, quiet and affordable, but still interesting. Consider St. George—Staten Island’s most proximate neighborhood to the ferry landing. Rents are cheap ($1,500 can get you three bedrooms plus a yard), and if you squint it looks a hell of a lot like a tony San Francisco nabe—hills, clean streets, rustic Italian bistros like Enoteca Maria (27 Hyatt St at Central Ave, 718-447-2777) and a ballpark on the water. What you won’t find are high-rises popping up anytime soon. 'There is certainly an anti-Manhattan sentiment with some of the longtime residents, and the local political machine takes care of unwanted growth,' says Graham Smith, a 28-year-old advertising engineer who moved from Long Island City to a quiet block on Daniel Low Terrace. 'And when the gentrification wars do occur, they will be bloody.'

What we found:

2BR, St. George, Staten Island, $1,575/mo, Seaview Estates (718-815-3334)
Two-family home, St. George, Staten Island, $649,000"

Note: Click on the headline for the full article.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Prodigal House For Sale Pick - $749,000 (St. George) A House With A Million Dollar VIew

This beautiful house is such a find I hesitate to promote it up on this site because I want it for myself. Since I already have a house that I love here on Staten Island I will reluctantly share this with you. It is a landmarked 1840 Greek Revival, 3803 square foot, 3 floors with a finished basement, house. It is currently a single family home but it is approved to be a 2 family. It has views of Manhattan to die for from every room at the front of the house including the first floor huge windows and the lovely porch. These views should never be blocked because it is directly across from a city owned waterfront park. Unlike most Richmond Terrace houses this one is set back from the street so you have a front yard and a back yard. The 7,600 lot goes all the way back to Carroll Street behind it. The house has an adorable carriage house where you can park your car (or horse). The basement has a darkroom built into it. The house appears to be in great shape and has an incredible feeling of openness and light. There is a blooming magnolia tree out front and the back garden is prettily landscaped. This is only 2 blocks from the ferry and you can walk along a beautiful waterfront park on way. Snatch this one up. You will not regret it. And remember to thank Prodigal Borough when this house doubles in value. Contact: Norma Sue Wolfe, Gateway Arms, 718-273-3800 X16, or by cell 718-816-9472 (6AM - 9PM calls only)