Christmas Displays on Staten Island

Staten Islands Christmas displays are as diverse as its architecture. Some are classically beautiful and some are wild and crazy fun.

_DSC5534
A classic display in West Brighton, Staten Island.

This gorgeous white house has architectural elements of Colonial and Tudor. Its Christmas display includes Christmas trees in every window, wreaths and bows, and spotlighted reindeer on the front lawn. it is an elegant, tasteful presentation.

_DSC6210
Christmas Greetings on Jewett Avenue.

This quaint Colonial with its charming decorations greets passers-by with warm Christmas wishes.

_DSC6529
Spring Street, Staten Island.

This Christmas extravaganza on quiet Spring Street drew a great deal of attention from the media as well as Staten Islanders from other neighborhoods.

_DSC6946-2
Bechtel House, Queen Anne style, Stapleton Historic District.

Bechtel House is the premiere historic house in the district filled with historic houses known as Stapleton Historic District. Its life-sized Christmas decorations and vibrant light show are vividly colorful and striking.

St. George Theatre, Staten Island, New York

A dazzling cultural and performing arts center, the St. George Theatre in the historic St. George District is just a three-minute walk from the Staten Island Ferry.  It is a unique Staten Island treasure. It has been lavishly restored to its original 1929 gilded opulence. The interior is elaborately designed in the Spanish and Italian Baroque style, including life sized painted murals of Spanish villages and enormous stained glass chandeliers.

St_George_Theatre_SINY
The St. George Theatre, restored to its 1929 Baroque grandeur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The theatre was designed to have unobstructed views of the stage and one of the largest cantilevered balconies ever built. Some of its other attributes include gilded balconies, grand staircases, enormous domed skylight, and Wurlitzer organ.

St_George_Theatre_Staten_Island_New_York
The enormous cantilevered balconies of the St. George Theatre, in St. George, Staten Island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The St. George Theatre hosts music concerts, comedy acts, dance troupes, and Broadway touring companies. It also offers educational programs and architectural tours, and serves as a unique television and film location, notably the finale of the 2003 film “School of Rock”.

 

 

Staten Island: Pink Houses

 

I have a passion for pink houses. Whenever I see a pink house, I stop and take a photo.

Staten_Island_Sea_View_Playwright's_Theatre
Sea View Playwright’s Theatre

Located on the grounds of Sea View Community Center, the Sea View Playwright’s Theatre offers classic and contemporary plays.  Its architecture transports me to the English cottages described in the Victorian style, with just a touch of  a hobbit house too.

 

statenisland_pink_houses004
Sea View Playwright’s Theatre has the stained glass mullioned windows that add a touch of whimsy.

 

This large French villa, which sits atop Grymes Hill,  is one of the most impressive houses on Staten island. It has views of the entire New York Harbor.  You can see the Verrazano Narrows Bridge peeking through in the background.

statenisland_pink_houses001
Grimes Hill, Staten Island

 

Staten Island even has pink condos along the Great Hills waterfront.  Boat lovers have the marina too.

statenisland_pink_houses003
Great Kills waterfront and marina, Staten Island

Finally, a very charming Colonial located in Livingston, Staten Island near Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens.

statenisland_pink_houses002
Livingston, Staten Island Colonial.

As you can see, Staten Island represents a diversity of architectural styles, but what most attracts my eye, is a pink house.

Fort Wadsworth, part of Gateway National Recreation Area, Staten Island, New York.

_DSC4756
The view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from just inside Fort Tompkins.

Fort Wadsworth, a military base that was active for 200 hundred years (1783 – 1994) is now part of the National Park Service’s Gateway National Recreation Area. Its 226 acres include the old remains of the Forts themselves as well as park areas, beach, wooded areas, wildlife, and modern housing. The Verrazano Narrows Bridge, which spans the Narrows, extends over the Fort and seems almost within touching distance.

_DSC6132
The roadway outside Fort Tompkins gives the view of the bridge as well as the stone exterior of the Fort.

Fort Wadsworth was first fortified by the British in 1779 and was its first line of defense until the end of the Revolutionary war in 1783.  The U.S. military has made active use of the Fort throughout history, its primary function was  to guard The Narrows against ships slipping into New York Harbor from the Atlantic Ocean. After World War I, the Fort became an infantry post. During World War II, Coast Artillery soldiers manned seacoast defenses.  It was decommissioned in 1994, and since then the United States Coast Guard has utilized its more modern buildings on site as housing.

_DSC4993
Inside Fort Tompkins, we can see the slitted windows where soldiers on guard poked out their guns.

 

The original Fort still stands, although Battery Weed and Fort Tompkins are the only buildings where interior tours of the concrete and stone artillery batteries can be arranged.  The old slitted gunnery windows overlooking the Narrows, and the labyrinth of tunnels, artillery, and powder rooms give a bleak, somber perspective of the lives of soldiers guarding New York Harbor.

 

_DSC2658
Battery Weed, part of Gateway National Recreation Area, sits just below the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on Staten Island, New York.

 

 

I Love St. George, Staten Island.

new_york_skyline_from_st_george_staten_island
The NYC skyline from St. George, Staten Island.

I Love St. George, Staten Island!

St.George is a waterfront town steeped in Staten Island’s history.  It plays a prominent role in New York Harbor’s maritime industry and was the site of a British fort during the Revolutionary War. It is the Island’s seat of government and its architectural and cultural hub.

BoroughHall_St_George_Staten_Island
Borough Hall is Staten Islands seat of Government and is located across the street from the waterfront St. George Ferry Terminal.

Borough_Hall_Staten_Island_MuralsBorough Hall, a French Renaissance brick building directly across the street from the waterfront St. George Ferry Terminal, became the seat of Staten Island government in 1898.  Inside the marble lobby are a series of hand painted murals depicting Staten Island historical events.

supreme_court_of_richmond_county_new_york_staten_island
The New York State Supreme Courthouse is a gleaming glass and copper structure a few steps up the hill from Borough Hall, Staten Island.

Clustered in close proximity to Borough Hall is the gleaming glass and copper New York State Supreme Courthouse and the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George. 

The Ballpark at St. George is home to the Staten Island Yankees.  The sails at its entrance are inspired by the Staten Island Ferry and the St. George Ferry Terminal, less than a 5 minute walk.

Richmond_county_bank_ballpark_at_st_george
The sails at the entrance of Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George are inspired by the Staten Island Ferry.

These attractions and many more are waiting to be seen, less than a five minute walk from the Staten Island Ferry in St. George, Staten Island.

Postcards Memorial Honors 274 Staten Islanders Who Lost Their Lives on September 11th.

Postcards_Memorial_Staten_Island_Victims_9-11
The postcards memorial sits on the waterfront in St. George, Staten Island.

Postcards is a permanent memorial honoring the 274 Staten Island residents killed on September 11th 2001. It is located on the St. George Esplanade near the Staten Island Ferry and Richmond County Bank Ballpark. Designed by Masayuki Sono, its two winglike sculpture represent postcards to loved ones. It looks out onto the New York harbor and the World Trade Center. Inside are 274 plaques and profiles carved in the likenesses of each of the Staten Island victims.

Postcards_Memorial_Silhouettes_St_George_Staten_Island
The silhouettes engraved inside the Postcards Memorial at St. George Esplanade, Staten island are a somber tribute.

I always felt that the sculpture represents the wings of angels reaching out to those who lost their lives. Walk between the stone structures, and you will see the carved silhouettes of each victim in profile, chiseled into granite for eternity. It is a powerfully sobering experience to stand inside and look at each face.

Postcards_Memorial_9-11_Tribute_In_Lights
Each year on September 11, a memorial service is held honoring Staten Islanders who perished at the World Trade Center.

Thousands of people from all over the world lost their lives on that fateful day. Because so many Islanders took the Staten island Ferry each day to work at the World Trade Center, Staten Island lost a disproportionately large number of lives. It is a terrible legacy and Staten Island will Never Forget.

Spanish Revival Architecture on Grymes Hill, Staten Island

Grymes_Hill_Staten_Island_Architecture3
This charming house, on Grymes Hill, is one of many diverse architectural styles seen in Staten Island, NY.
The luxury homes on Staten Island vary quite a lot in style. Those located in the hills often have the old world grandeur. Grymes Hill has some spectacular architecture, and none more fascinating than this one. Its terracotta tiled roof, stucco walls, and wrought iron grilles suggest Spanish Revival style.
Yet those same characteristics could also describe an elegant Italian country style villa.  The vibrant landscaping, with sidewalks of sunflowers, reminds me of Tuscany. The juliet balcony seems to me…well…Shakespearean.
Grymes_Hill_Staten_Island_Architecture1
Sunflowers line the sidewalk on both sides, an uncommon sight on Staten Island.
Grymes Hill was part of a land grant in 1687 to Thomas Dongan, Governor of the Province of New York. In 1830, local developer Major George Howard purchased 42 acres, and built many of the hill’s earliest homes, and his name survives in Howard Avenue, the hill’s main street. Many of the homes overlook New York Harbor.
Across the street, another villa – of pink stucco with shuttered windows and embossed crest peeks out from behind its own small forest. Down the windy road, a yellow stucco house looks out to the NY Harbor.
Grymes_Hill_Staten_Island_Architecture
Secluded pink stucco villa in Grymes Hill, Staten Island.
 

I could spend hours showing you more of the hills of Staten Island. Stay tuned!

Staten Island: Lemon Creek Park Photography

Staten_Island_Lemon_Creek_Park_Photography
Bridge to Crab Island at Lemon Creek Park, Staten Island.  Background: Church of Joachim and St. Anne, Mount Loretto Unique Area, Staten Island.

 

I go to Lemon Creek Park to lose the world on what looks like a private island passed onto by a wooden bridge. The point where the creek lets out into Prince’s Bay is known as Crab Island. This is a waterfront spot for solitude, where you can pass from trees to lakes to beach without seeing a soul.  A few people from the neighborhood come at night after work to walk through this peaceful almost-island. I find that it most beautiful at night, when the only lights are from the houses across the bay. In the background, you can see the steeple of the old Church of Joachim and St. Anne, part of the Mount Loretto Unique Area campus.  The baptism scene of The Godfather was filmed on the Church’s steps.

Staten_Island_Lemon_Creek_Park
Princess Bay Boatmen’s Association – the old boathouse at Lemon Creek Park, in Prince’s Bay Staten Island.

 

Lemon Creek includes fresh water and salt water marshland that ends at the Bay, wooded areas, and wildlife that includes rare bird species like the purple martin colony.  Its waterfront area provides a spawning ground for many species of fish and shellfish.

Lemon_Creek_Park_Staten_Island_Photography
Sunset photography at Lemon Creek Park, in Prince’s Bay, Staten Island. 

Primarily a fishing village at first, Prince’s Bay oysters were so famous in the nineteenth century that “Prince’s Bay Oysters” could often be found on menus at the finest seafood restaurants in London, Paris, and New York. Local legend has it that a British prince, the Duke of Nassau (later William III,  co-reigned as William and Mary),  anchored a vessel in the bay at the foot of today’s Seguine Avenue, because he believed that the oysters had aphrodisiacal properties.

Continue reading “Staten Island: Lemon Creek Park Photography”

Staten Island: Great Kills Park Photography

 

Staten_Island_Photography_Linda_DiCosmo_Great_Kills_Park1
Great Kills Beach at Great Kills Park, Staten Island is part of Gateway National Park Recreational Area.

 

The beach is tranquil, with shades of blue and green. I am nearly alone, as I begin to take photos. The only sounds are wind, water and the seagulls. The waterfront stretches out for 2 miles.  Later on, I walk through tree-lined paths to Crooke’s Point, which was once a private island.  Out in the distance, the Atlantic Ocean and Sandy Hook NJ.  When the sun begins to set, I turn towards the bay and the boat marina.

 

Staten_Island_Photography_Linda_DiCosmo_Great_Kills Park3
The marina at Great Kills Harbor, Staten Island is the best place to watch the sunset.

Part of the National Park System (NPS), Great Kills Park, Staten Island is 580 acres of beaches, woodlands, and salt marshes.  There are walking trails, jogging and biking paths, sports fields, playgrounds, the swimming beach, fishing, nature trails, and a public boat launch. There is a model airplane field! Birdwatchers love this place, with its diverse habitats for numerous species of birds. Fishermen cast reels at the Crooke’s Point, the southerly tip of the beach area.

Staten Island_Photography_Linda DiCosmo_Great Kills Park2
Admiring the sunset at Great Kills Harbor, Staten Island.

Great Kills Harbor, located within the 580 acre park, is a man-made harbor. The harbor is a picture-perfect spot for boating, sailing, and glorious sunsets. The marinas, with more than 250 slips, attract boat owners from all over the east coast. Photography lovers like myself are drawn to Great Kills Park. Staten Islanders often pull in after work to connect with nature and watch the wild colors of the sunset.  

 

The Grottos of Mount Carmel Shrine

_DSC3237.jpg
Magical.

On a secluded street in the old town of Rosebank, the stone grottos of Our Lady of Mount Carmel sit in the yard of the Society of Mount Carmel lodge. It was designed and built by Italian-American lodge members, who were stone masons and laborers. Built as a memorial to a deceased child, the men used the only materials they had: concrete, stones, and metal. They inlaid their creation with seashells, marbles, and bits of glass picked up from streets. Could these artisans have imagined that their stone creation would one day be landmarked?

_DSC2338

Not to be missed, the grottos are a spectacular piece of Staten Island folklorica; a peaceful space where “All Are Welcome.”