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!

New York Wheel and Harbor Commons proposed for Staten Island

Local officials in New York City have recently announced the plans for a new tourist attraction that would boost economic development in the Staten Island waterfront area: the world’s tallest Ferris wheel. The structure will be developed by a joint venture between the New York Wheel LLC and local development company BFC Partners and is predicted to become one of the city’s landmark attractions.

 Renderings of the New York Wheel courtesy of NYC Mayor’s Office

“The New York Wheel promises to become one of the City’s–and the world’s–great landmark attractions, alongside the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. Located on the northeastern side of Staten Island (St. George), the 630-foot, or roughly 60-story, attraction will be the tallest observation wheel in the world and the only one in New York City. The Wheel will accommodate up to 1,440 people per ride, welcoming as many as 30,000 visitors per day and an anticipated 4.5 million visitors per year. Ticket prices are estimated to be in the range of $20-$30 for approximately 38-minute ride.

The Wheel will create approximately 150 construction and 300 permanent jobs in ticket sales, maintenance and other positions to run the attraction on a daily basis. An effort will be made to use local Staten Island labor and business services where possible.”

Renderings of the New York Wheel courtesy of NYC Mayor’s Office

“Our Administration has made major investments all along the North Shore of Staten Island, because we know this area is full of potential for economic growth,” Bloomberg said. “But this newest plan is the most exciting of all. The New York Wheel will be an attraction unlike any other in New York City – even unlike any other on the planet. It will offer unparalleled and breathtaking views, and is sure to become one of the premier attractions in New York City and the latest exciting addition to our newly revitalized waterfront.”

The New York Wheel is expected to open on New Years Eve, December 31st, 2015.

Simultaneously, another development group, BFC Partners, will be building Harbor Commons, a $230 million, 350,000-sq.-ft. outlet center on the opposite side of the St. George terminal. The project will include approximately 100 designer stores, a 120,000-sq.-ft., 200 room hotel and a parking garage.

“Harbor Commons will be the first outlet center in New York City that offers the retail sector a singular and unique opportunity to expand their brand presence in the most vibrant retail market in the country,” said Donald Capoccia, managing principal and founder of BFC Partners, in a statement.

Construction on Harbor Commons will start in the winter of 2014, with completion scheduled for 2016.

3rd Annual NYC Chili CookOff

It was one of those pretty Spring days, as we made our way to the Historic Richmond Town, anticipating an exciting day ahead. The idea of tasting mouthwatering stew, prepared by the chili experts, was too tempting not to attend this event. The 3rd Annual NYC Chili CookOff engaged local as well as national chefs, all of whom came to prove that their chili is the best! And on that day we couldn’t wait to judge for ourselves.

3rd Annual NYC Chili CookOff

The authentic historical village served as a perfect backdrop for the only chili cookoff within the five boroughs that has been sanctioned by the International Chili Society. The cooks were competing in four categories – Traditional chili (red chili), Chili Verde (green chili), Salsa (must be homemade) and People’s Choice Chili. Armed with the best ingredients, family recipes and a passion for cooking, the contestants were on a mission, making every effort, to impress the visitors and judges alike.

3rd Annual NYC Chili CookOff

And they didn’t let us down – the event was full! Chili lovers, from all five boroughs, came to taste some delicious chili. There was red chili, spicy chili, chocolate chili, smoky chili, meaty chili, vegetarian chili, chili burgers, and even some barbecued ribs and pulled pork sandwiches! A nice variety of flavors provided for maximum sampling opportunities. Needless to say, we tried them all and then washed it down with a few beers. The juicy chili samples, seasoned with a whole bunch of good stuff, delivered the satisfaction we craved.

3rd Annual NYC Chili CookOff

In addition to the chili tasting, the event featured live entertainment by Wahoo Skiffle Crazies (local jug band), a chicken wing contest, kiddie rides, games and craft booths and much more. While at the Historic Richmond town, one could also explore the beautiful grounds and experience history through carefully preserved buildings and landscapes. The former County Clerk’s Office building, now a museum, has books and archives used to document local history. Town’s other historic buildings have been restored and are open to the public where demonstrations of historic trades performed by costumed museum volunteers can be enjoyed during the special events. All the activities offer a much-needed break between sampling.

If you haven’t heard about the Annual Chili CookOff before now, it’s time to take notice. Looks like this event is quickly becoming a Staten Island tradition. Don’t miss it next year, we promise…you’ll enjoy!

All photos by Dmitriy Mirochnik

Staten Island “Castle”

Staten Island Castle by Eugene Sabo

As we bring this story to our readers I cant’ help but  feel a little bittersweet. Recently, my photographer friends embarked on an adventure to the abandoned Staten Island Castle and were really excited to capture a part of the history. Now that the building is demolished, this group was, possibly, the last to enter The “Castle” and capture the atmosphere that cannot be replicated. Step back in time as my friends take you on a journey:

“Architecture aims at Eternity” – a famous quote by Christopher Wren, one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history. Unfortunately eternity is not something that was in the future for a Staten Island specimen that until recently has been standing tall for over 120 years. Known as the Staten Island Castle, the S.R. Smith Infirmary has played a big role in the rich history of our town. The design of the building provided corner-less rooms which, at the time of construction, was thought to be the best way to reduce the spread of disease and dust. The Infirmary remained operational until 1979. In 1965 it was decided that a move to a new location would be more beneficial than a much needed extension of the current location. That new location is now known as the Staten Island Hospital on Seaview Avenue.

Sometime in 2011 I heard that the Castle was under a real threat to be taken down. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion about this situation, but being a photographer, my opinion is at its best, when it is expressed visually. On one cold winter morning along with a few of my friends I ventured out on a mission to preserve history. A red wall could be seen as we made our way through the brush. Once we made it to the foot of the structure it was easy to appreciate the eerie grandeur of the walls and towers that stood in front of us. We did not expect a lot, but once inside, a world of visual history opened up to us. Through the punctured walls and all of the debris on the floor it was hard to imagine what this place once was. Once on the second floor, we were happy to discover what later became our favorite subject – a grand, textured iron staircase with marble step coverings stood out in front of us as a forgotten rusty giant. We tried to capture it from every angle, and to show the details of its two tall pillars. The sun was beginning to make its way towards a higher angle and began pouring through the boarded up windows in the oval rooms. Streaks of light lit up the crumbling space. We caught ourselves whispering most the time as our subconscious mind realized that something was at peace here.

HDR (high dynamic range) photography is something that is trending right now. Abandoned subjects like our Castle really benefited from this type of visual art, because it makes the most of the light and color that is available in the frame. Our eyes see a lot of the dynamic range, but the HDR technique opens up a whole new perspective. Each one of us saw the Castle in his/her own unique way. The Castle is now gone, demolished. I am hoping that the structure that will be built in its place, will be able to persuade the Staten Island residents that the Castle was not destroyed in vain.  I also hope that our images of this historic landmark will become a part of our community and serve as a reminder of something that aimed for eternity, but could not withstand time.

guest Contributing Author,

Dmitriy Mirochnik

Galleries below represent a selection of images from each of the photographers.

Dmitriy M

Eugene Sabo

Evelina Kremsdorf

Yelena Rozov