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.

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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.

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Christmas Greetings on Jewett Avenue.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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Grimes Hill, Staten Island

 

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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

 

 

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

Staten Island: Lemon Creek Park Photography

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.