Learn the Art of Archery at Victory Archers

Photo Credits Dmitriy Mirochnik

Shooting with a bow and arrow is very exciting indeed, but when was the last time you’ve done that? Can’t remember? Not to worry, introducing Victory Archers – the only indoor archery club in Staten Island.

Its story takes us back to 1973 when a group of several people with one common love for hunting created a members-only club in one of Staten Island’s local bars. At that particular point in time, according to the laws of New York State, if you wanted to carry a pistol you had to belong to a club. And so, the club was born. Its members passionately discussed tips and tricks and practiced technique on regular basis. However, as the New York laws with regards to the purchase, possession and carrying of handguns were changing and becoming stricter, the club slowly evolved into a hunting archery club.

Today, the club’s main focus is on the art of archery, consisting of both, members that hunt and others that teach. Walking into the space one can easily be tricked into thinking that this sport is easy, seeing how effortlessly the archers showcase their skills. Don’t be fooled, it takes years of practice before you are skilled enough to hit a target perfectly. “It’s all about hand-eye coordination, steadiness and practice. It’s more of a mental game. You have to release the arrow automatically. Once you start questioning and second guessing yourself, that’s when you mess up” explains Joe Strcich, the treasurer of the Victory Archers.

Interesting fact – archery sport is considered to be an extremely safe sport, it is almost unheard of for a person to injure themselves or others around them. Unless, of course the person is the target or you are someone like Dick Cheney.

The members of the Victory Archers are dedicated to promoting and growing awareness of the sport in our community. Part of the club’s charter calls for community involvement. The members actively expose people to archery through complimentary classes and local competitions. With the club’s help, twice a year, the Parks Department at the Willowbrooks park hold Archers Basics event, where  park rangers and Victory Archers’ instructors teach children and adults the proper way to draw a bow and shoot an arrow. Victory Archers’ members schedule regular social events and travel to many local as well as professional competitions, such as NFAA Mid-Atlantic Indoor Championships, throughout the year.

The recent mass phenomenon, “Hunger Games”, consumed the nation and helped spark the enthusiasm for archery once again. Every teenage girl is fascinated with the leading character, Katniss Everdeen, and her exceptional archery skills. The movie has boosted the sports popularity, and we think it’s definitely a good thing. More girls than ever are taking archery lessons and building up their self-esteem. Getting involved in sports is important for any one looking to improve their health, lifestyle and fitness.

“We love and enjoy what we do” says Joe, so don’t be surprised to see the instructors go overtime with you even when your lesson is over. Archery is truly captivating in every sense.

If you’d like to learn more about the membership or archery classes at Victory Archers Club please visit their site.

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

5th Annual Staten Island Comedy Festival

5th Annual Staten Island Comedy Festival

When was the last time you laughed? The 5th Annual Staten Island Comedy Festival promises to be Bigger and Better than in all the previous years, mixing comedy and charity. 7 nights at 7 venues for 7 charities! In these tough economic times there’s nothing like the power of laughter to bring your spirits up. The exciting week of comedy will feature the best local talent as well as national headlining comedians such as Colin JostSherrod Small and Vic Dibitetto. The stand-up comedy festival has been slowly evolving and growing, since its first debut in August 2008, now offering 7 straight nights of hilarity and celebration. The action-packed comedy show, benefiting 7 different charities, will surely have you entertained.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Joel Richardson aka Soul Joel of Soul Joel Productions, the festival’s co-founder, about the Staten Island Comedy Festival and it’s history.

Q: How did the idea for Staten Island Comedy Festival originate?

Soul Joel: The idea came to us 5 years ago. A lot of times, Staten Island’s portrayal in the media is negative and full of stereotypes. We wanted to do something positive for Staten Islanders. At the time there weren’t any comedy clubs on Staten Island and we wanted to put together a festival that would benefit the community and bring people together. The goal is to attract people from different boroughs to come to Staten Island, have a great time and get as many people involved as possible. We have performances at a different venue each night, we tried to space it out to get different parts of Staten Island involved and make it more convenient for people to attend the shows.

Q: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

Soul Joe: I’m a producer and a radio personally. I have my own radio show on Tuesday nights (5 to 8pm EST on 1460 AM in Philadelphia and South Jersey) called The Comedy Point. And during the day I teach mentally disabled about the radio and how to produce their own show at Lifestyles for the Disabled. This organization also happens to be one of the charities that the festival benefits on Sunday, April 15th. In fact, all the proceeds from the 7 shows will be donated to 7 different charities.

Q: Who are the stand up comedians that will be performing in the festival?

Soul Joe: 4 comedians that are performing are from Staten Island and they earned their entry through the auditions we held last year. The other stand-up acts are all national headliners from New York area. It’s a good mix of local and national talent. There’s a different line-up every night, the comedians bring their A game every time they hit the stage. There’s also going to be a kid friendly show to kick off the festival on Sunday, April 15th at 2pm.

Q: Where do you see the festival going?

A: The goal is basically just to keep growing. We would love to be like the Montreal Comedy Festival which is one of the biggest comedy festivals in the world. And I want to keep making it to where Staten Island becomes an attraction, where people can come from different parts of the country and enjoy the festivities.

Q: Any last words before we go?

Soul Joe: Just come out with your friends and family and enjoy the shows!

For more information about the Staten Island Comedy Festival and to purchase tickets please go to www.statenislandcomedyfestival.com

Come cheer on your hometown humorists for a unique chance to see the future stars of comedy right in your neighborhood!

Staten Island Comedy Festival Flier

Holiday Light Displays in Staten Island

Holiday Light Displays in Staten Island

Nothing says “Holiday season” like dazzling light displays on the most decorated houses in town. There are people that go above and beyond to bring the holiday spirit to their neighborhood. Every year crowds gather to look at the twinkling lights, tree ornaments, decorative wreaths, nativity scenes, and countless figurines. It’s always fun to tour the neighborhoods and enjoy these festive decorations. The homes definitely make it worth the trip.

Below is a list of home locations in Staten Island to visit:

Sharrotts Rd and Bloomingdale Rd

Collyer Ave and Bland Pl

Kingdom Ave and Algonkin St

Todt Hill Road and 4 Corners Rd


If you know of any more, leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list. Happy Holidays!




Discover the Charm of La “Tea” Da

After this weekend’s visit to La “Tea” Da, I am convinced La “Tea” Da is one of the most unique and lovely places in all of Staten Island. Once an antique shop, this country cottage has been converted into a charming tea room by its owner, Toyka Lewis. She affectionately calls it her “labor of love”. Looking around, I was admiring all the pretty details designed specifically for this space in Victorian style. The lovely table linens, the crochet napkin holders, the pink crystal chandelier adorned with tea cups, all very sweet and all hand made by Toyka and her mother.

Once inside, you can’t help but feel a bit like Alice entering a fantasy world, about to host her very own tea party. “I wanted to create a whimsical place where people can wind down, relax and drink tea with family and friends, enjoying quality time together” said Toyka. The result is a dream like atmosphere infused with special details that charm their way into your heart and keep you coming back for more. The tea cottage often hosts birthday parties, bridal teas, baby showers, etiquette classes, anniversary parties, family gatherings and seasonal events.  A beautiful yard in the back, shaded by 100-year old tree,  completed with a hanging chandelier and a custom crafted one-of-a-kind doll house creates another perfect setting for a garden party.

La “Tea” Da is where the refreshing hospitality of the owner meets the gorgeous vintage cottage leaving you with unforgettable moments and memories.

Photo Credit Dmitriy M