Fall Foliage on Staten Island

There’s nothing quite like fall foliage on Staten Island. Take some time and explore the local Staten Island parks and Staten Island Greenbelt – a network of lush parks, wetlands, open meadows and hiking trails to catch a glimpse of nature’s splendor.

The following locations are known for an extraordinary display of fall colors, incredibly diverse wildlife and for being the most visited in the five boroughs.

Don’t let the season pass you by: Here are the fall places to check out before winter sets in.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden

Enjoy moments of peace along the manicured gardens of Snug Harbor. This season features the most beautiful autumn colors in the Tuscan Gardens, New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden and the Front Meadow. Striking setting and an ideal location for lazy strolls on one of those beautiful autumnal Staten Island days.

Fall Foliage on Staten Island - New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden
Fall Foliage on Staten Island – New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden
Fall Foliage on Staten Island - New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden
Fall Foliage on Staten Island – New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden
Fall Foliage on Staten Island - Tuscan Garden
Fall Foliage on Staten Island – Tuscan Garden
Fall Foliage on Staten Island - Tuscan Garden
Fall Foliage on Staten Island – Tuscan Garden

The Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art

Located on a hillside, far off the beaten path, with mesmerizing views and serene grounds is the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tobetan Art. Once you visit, helpful staff and an interesting story await you at this hidden gem of Staten Island. Discover this amazing place on a quiet afternoon with an away-from-it-all feel and grounds suitable for rest or meditation. Unique museum that evokes the Himalayas with its location at the top of Lighthouse Hill.

 

 

 

Fall Foliage on Staten Island - Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
Fall Foliage on Staten Island – Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
Fall Foliage on Staten Island - Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
Fall Foliage on Staten Island – Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art

Greenbelt Conservancy

This Staten Island oasis has 2,800 acres of natural areas and offers 35 miles of trails through parks and woodland. Four scenic trails in a rural setting take visitors on a tour of red maples with blazing colors and Highbush blueberries, along with hawks, deer, owls and dozens of migrating birds. Visitors can talk to naturalists, ride the carousel, lounge along the picnic areas and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding treetops. The overall effect is very calming and serene…

Fall Foliage on Staten Island - Greenbelt
Fall Foliage on Staten Island – Greenbelt

Bloomingdale Park

Located on the South Shore of Staten Island, this 139-acre park underwent a substantial renovation in 2004. It now features fields for softball, baseball, and soccer; a new playground with a spray shower and swings; two basketball courts; a bocce ball court; and a comfort station. Bloomingdale Park is also a great place to visit to get in tune with nature: It features lush woodlands filled with hiking and running trails.

Fall Foliage on Staten Island - Bloomingdale Park
Fall Foliage on Staten Island – Bloomingdale Park

Willowbrook Park 

Willowbrook park offers a wonderful chance to escape into a more peaceful setting. It is worth the trip to see vibrant leaves of the season and enjoy vivd colors of the scenic fall foliage.While you’re there, take a moment to glance away from the leaves and give your attention to the five-acre lake. Amusements for people include tennis courts, playgrounds, ballfields, hiking, and an archery range (every month they host s free class where the park rangers teach you how to shoot an arrow with a bow, register online at nycparks.gov in advance). One of its most unique draws is the Carousel for All Children with 51 hand-carved wooden animals circle panels depicting Staten Island scenes. Willowbrook park serves as a constant reminder of the beauty that lies within the changing seasons. 

Fall Foliage - Willowbrook Park
Fall Foliage – Willowbrook Park
Fall Foliage - Willowbrook Park
Fall Foliage – Willowbrook Park
Fall Foliage - Willowbrook Park
Fall Foliage – Willowbrook Park

All photos by Dmitriy Mirochnik Photography, for more visit Shutterwhisper.com

 

Most Beautiful Holiday Light displays on Staten Island

Staten Island homeowners take holiday home decorations to new heights this holiday season. So we’re picking our favorite properties and neighborhoods to cruise this Christmas. Nothing says holidays like a family home covered in decorations and lit up at night. Celebrate the magic of the season with these most decked out homes on Staten Island!

Staten Island most decorated homes for the holidays
Staten Island’s most decorated homes for the holidays. Spring St and Ridge Ave.
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Sprig St and Ridge Ave
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Sprig St and Ridge Ave
Most Decorated homes for the holidays on Staten Island
Most Decorated homes for the holidays on Staten Island. Spring St and Ridge Ave

Staten Islanders are adding some warm and festive touches to create holiday winter wonderlands, ice castles from the movie “Frozen” and magical North Pole scenes. One can only wonder how many hours elves spent working tirelessly decorating these homes to accomplish such beautiful and creative design.

Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Amboy Rd and Bland Pl
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Amboy Rd and Bland Pl
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Amboy Rd and Bland Pl
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Amboy Rd and Bland Pl
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Amboy Rd and Bland Pl

Most homeowners invite visitors to walk around and within the beautiful displays they’ve created to enjoy the magical selection of holiday homes and fabulous facades. These amazing homes are worth the trip. One glance at these treasures and I guarantee you that you’ll be in the holiday spirit.

Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island.  107 Sharrotts Rd.
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. 107 Sharrotts Rd.
Holiday Light Displays in Staten Island
Best holiday decorated homes on Staten Island. 107 Sharrotts Rd
Holiday Light Displays in Staten Island
Best holiday decorated homes on Staten Island. 107 Sharrotts Rd

Elaborate light displays make the spirits brighter and our hearts warmer. It’s that time of the year to celebrate the season and generate your own brilliance.

Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. 580 Woolley Ave
Most Decorated homes for the holidays on Staten Island
Most Decorated homes for the holidays on Staten Island. 580 Woolley Ave

Delightful decorations are putting smiles on everyone’s faces as the families tour the houses and children’s faces light up with excitement. And the frosty weather outside is no longer frightful.

Holiday Light Displays in Staten Island
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Kingdon Ave and Algonkin St
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Kingdon Ave and Algonkin St
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Kingdon Ave and Algonkin St

Join the holiday cheer and make beautiful memories with your loved ones. Hope today you are spending the time in the comfort and warmth of your family and friends. May this holiday season sparkle and shine. May all your wishes and dreams come true and may all of you feel this happiness all year round. Merry Christmas my friends!

Bagel Mercato on Bay St.

Bagel Mercato

I’m not good at keeping secrets when it comes to good food places on Staten Island. Maybe, because there are so few and far in between. So I’m telling you, you have to visit the Bagel Mercato. This is the kind of sleek, trendy cafe you expect to find in West Village or Soho. The owners have decided to fix our community’s problem by serving delicious breakfast and lunch items Staten Island has been missing, on the North Shore, at 70 Bay St, and we sure are glad they did. It’s about time!

Bagel Mercato

Bagel Mercato has an excellent menu of bagels, sandwiches and salads, and they’re all very reasonably priced. The salads are fresh with crispy vegetables and delicious sauces. Large selection of freshly baked, hand rolled bagels and a great variety of flavored cream cheeses make for a complete and satisfying breakfast and lunch menu.

Bagel Mercato

The best part is, this place has that laid-back, community-friendly vibe. The people are nice and the place is always full of regulars. Sometimes the line can get backed up, but you’ll never wait more than a few minutes, plus that’s how you know the place is legit and it will be well worth the wait. The guys behind the counter, along with the owners who are there to greet you as you walk in, are professional and courteous. After listening to your order carefully and making their own suggestions of the menu-must-haves (go for it, you’ll be glad you did), the workers make their way back to start the process of creating something special. While you wait for your food to be meticulously prepared, take delight in a homey atmosphere and feast your eyes on a fun decor offering a bit of glitz with two large chandeliers. Even though the kitchen in this establishment may be smaller than in a fancy restaurant it doesn’t make the dishes any less filled with love. Here you can have a quick bite and enjoy a high quality meal at the same time.

IMG_5082

The space is on the smaller side, but nevertheless, quiet impressive. Design architect Nina Ferrer, whose career includes design of luxury homes for celebrities and high-end retail spaces, a run as a TV Host and Designer on Clean House NY, and participation on HGTV’s highly popular Design Star (Season 5), designed this relaxed and casual yet absolutely classy space. The room is decorated with subway tiles, handcrafted countertops, chandeliers, multiple serving stations and a seating area for those who wish to dine inside. For more on Nina’s concept of the store and design style visit The Bagel Caffe I designed “Bagel Mercato“.

During my visit, I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Nina, who was perfectly happy and excited to tell me a little bit about this place. She also happens to be the wife of Stefano, one of the owners, lucky guy!

Bagel Mercato

How did you come up with the concept for this space?

Nina: “When I met my husband Stefano, he was looking to create a bagel shop with a more attractive presence and it just so happens that this is what I do, so I sketched this cafe on a napkin on our first date. And anytime we would go out to eat, we would talk about the cafe, and do research on the floors, tiles, chairs and all the other elements of the design. I finished the design, filed it with an architect and oversaw the management. The two counters was Stefano’s idea and the concept was to serve both, business professionals on a morning commute and those who stop by to amuse their leisure, Manhattan urban situation. We also love giving back to the community and that’s where the idea of displaying local artists’ work on rotation came into play. Over time we have developed a relationship with many local artists (St. George is known in the community as an art center of Staten Island), they often come in for a bite and become a part of the regular crowd. There’s a sense of a neighborhood destination in this cafe.”

Bagel Mercato

What do you think the future of the neighborhood holds with the new projects like The New York Wheel, Harbor Commons, Lighthouse Point and Navy Pier moving into the area?

Nina: “There’s a lot of development in the area and we are noticing positive changes in the neighborhood. Much more young professionals are moving into the area and it is a lot nicer to walk around. More restaurants and art galleries are opening up in the neighborhood and we are hopeful that more Staten Islanders will come here as a destination. The waterfront has a lot of potential – it’s happening in Red Hook, it’s happening in Williamsburg, it’s happening in Greenpoint, in Jersey City, in Hoboken….it’s going to happen here! ”

Creative young minds are flooding the area and I completely agree with this vision. New York City is making large investments and planning many new projects in our area. The future developments are about to change the waterfront as we know it.

One thing’s for sure, I’ll be coming back to this lovely spot for excellent breakfast selection and lunch time winners. If you come here once, I guarantee you’ll permanently plant this spot in your weekly routine. At the very least you can always enjoy the fact that someone took the time and put a lot of effort into making your meal here simply awesome!”

Bagel Mercato

“Black and White” Art Exhibition

I hope you support my excitement about all the art events popping up all over town. One area that is receiving a lot of hype in the media lately is the naturally occurring cultural district in the town of St. George, Staten Island. There’s a lot of activity and talk about the revitalization of the neighborhood surrounding the ferry and the waterfront to benefit the local development. Some of the plans include the building of the world’s tallest Ferris wheel “The New York Wheel”, development of the Harbor Commons, a 350,000-sq.-ft. outlet center and the transformation and the proposed branding of the St. George cultural district as the “Art Hill.”

In the addition to all of the above plans, the Staten Island Arts Building Corp (SIABC), a three-story former warehouse was converted into an artists’ work space complex and recently opened it’s doors in Stapleton.  The Staten Island Artist Building claims to be the first professional rental studios for Artists in Staten Island NY. “A place to build, perform and receive recognition.” Moreover, one of the art exhibitions that is going to take place in this new and exciting place on March 8th through April 11th is  The “Black and White” event. The upcoming show is being curated by Raul Barquet.

“Black & White” is a group exhibition exploring the versatility of the black and white

image. From medieval woodblock prints to modern black and white photography, a lack

of color has been used by artists as a strength instead of a weakness in their work. Over a

dozen artists will showcase their black and white pieces together on Staten Island.

Raul Barquet, curator of Port Exhibitions said “I am very excited about how this show is

shaping up, there will be a great group of very talented artists represented.” The

majority of the artists involved in this exhibition are based out of the five boroughs of

New York City, however there are artists from Pennsylvania and California showing

their work as well. Just a few of the types of artwork featured are photography,

painting, and etching.

Port Exhibitions strives to develop a safe harbor for creative exchange. By exposing

emerging and mid-career artists to new markets we hope to further appreciation for the

works they create.

An opening reception will be held from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM on Saturday March 8th at

the Staten Island Artist Building located at 73 Wave Street, Staten Island, NY 10304.

This exhibition is free and open to the public. Viewing hours are Saturday & Sunday

12:00 PM to 6:00 PM. And during the week by appointment. For more information or to

book an appointment to see the show during the week please direct emails to

portexhibitions@gmail.com.

Inside Zio Toto Ristorante

Let’s kick it up a notch with an exquisite Italian cuisine called Zio Toto Ristorante on Staten Island. This is a second location for the restaurateur and owner, Filippo Giuffre, with whom we had the pleasure of speaking about his new eatery. The first Zio Toto is a well established restaurant located in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and has been family-operated for the last 5 years. The name Zio Toto, which in English means Uncle Sal, has a heartfelt connection to the family and is in honor of Filippo’s late father Salvatore, who passed away at the time the family was just getting the restaurant started. Everyone in the neighborhood used to lovingly refer to Salvatore as Zio Toto: Toto is a nickname/term of endearment for Salvatore and Zio means uncle.

Zio Toto Ristorante on Staten Island

A few minutes into our conversation it became evident that Filippo is a perfectionist when it comes to quality food and customer service. As a result the restaurant staff is warm and dedicated to providing guests with excellent service, creating a pleasant atmosphere inside the restaurant.

It was months of hard work and careful planning before the doors of Zio Toto Ristorante on Staten Island finally opened for business. Though it was challenging at times, (the coffered ceiling was changed 15 times before it was finally perfect, just look up!) the result was most rewarding at the end. One does not come without the other, it seems. This restaurant, unlike its sister restaurant in Brooklyn, was designed to accommodate large formal parties for special events, which it has successfully been able to do in its grand ball room. The space exudes intimacy and is the kind of place you want to go to on a romantic date with your loved one.

Zio Toto Ristorante on Staten Island

As you open the door you’ll be greeted with a warm and elegant foyer and an attentive host. Walk inside and you will notice great attention to detail in decor and style that is carried throughout the restaurant and that underlines the formality of the space. The interior consists of two spaces; a lofty lounge bar area with an expansive bar for eating and drinking, and a well-appointed formal dining room with a brick pizza oven.

Zio Toto Ristorante on Staten Island

Driven by memories of his mother’s recipes and other favorite Sicilian dishes, Filippo along with his brothers, created the menu. Each plate that comes out of the kitchen is beautifully presented. Try any dish and you will have a sense of how much attention is paid to the quality of the ingredients. The Filleto alla Griglia, Pasta con le Sarde, Portobello dello Chef and Pizza Margherita are all outstanding and flavorful. Filippo goes on to stay “I’m blessed with an excellent chef and I made it a point to use the best ingredients money can possibly buy, because I believe in quality. What I bring into my kitchen is always the best quality product. I am my biggest critic and I constantly strive for perfection.”

Zio Toto Ristorante on Staten Island

Of course there’s a variety of fun specialty cocktails (try any) and an extensive wine list (they have a wine cellar too).  And you should definitely save room for dessert, their Nutella-stuffed pizza which comes fresh from the pizza oven topped with strawberries and ice cream is out of this world and a perfect excuse to cheat on your diet.

Zio Toto Ristorante on Staten Island

It’s the kind of place where celebration is all around and indulging in finer things in life is a typical day at Zio Toto Ristorante.

Although I’ve only just visited this elegant restaurant recently, glancing back at these images makes me want to go back there asap!

All images by Dmitriy Mirochnik, follow him at ShutterWhisper.