Valentine’s Drawing with Inna at Alor Cafe Pasta

We are super excited to host this social drawing, First-Time-Ever, event called “Valentine’s Drawing with Inna at Alor Cafe Pasta” on Staten Island and be able to bring this to our wonderful community. This event will be instructed by an incredible and very talented artist, Inna Ivd of Drawing With Inna and taking place at, where else? The delicious – Alor Cafe Pasta! Presented by Staten Island Lifestyle.

Only 4 days left to an amazing Love Day! Hopefully all of us get to celebrate every day and appreciate wonderful and beautiful things that we have in our daily lives. Valentine’s Day is the day on which we show our Love to the very special people in our lives and with whom we get to share those daily wonders.
Are you ready to show your Love?

On February 11 @7:30pm at Alor Pasta cafe, you’ll have an unforgettable experience creating your very own, beautiful and unique piece of art painted on a canvas to give to a very special person in your life. Even if that person is YOU!

Set your love birds free to explore the beautiful world of creativity.
The tickets are $65 (Cash Only) and include the following:

3 Glasses of Wine (White or Red)
A choice of 2 delicious and freshly baked flatbreads
( Flatbreads:
1. Mushroom roast, chorizo, chili flakes, parmesan
2. Mozzarella, ricotta, onion jam, prosciutto
3. Goat cheese, spinach, red onion, bacon, charred tomato
4. Fresh mozzarella, tomato, red onion, rosemary, pesto)
Coffee or Tea


2 Hours Of Fantastic and Professional guided artistic instructions and all the necessary paint materials.

We hope you can join us for a night full of fun and inspirational experiences. At the end of the night you’ll walk away with your very own masterpiece, lots of fun memories and maybe, even a few new friends! Get ready for a fun night of “painting and tasting”. No previous art experience necessary.

Update:    Feb, 15, 2014.


Wanted to thank everyone that came out and shared this amazing experience with us. It turned out even better than we expected. It was an absolute pleasure meeting everyone and having the best time. Hope to see you all again at our next event. Here’s a video capturing our incredible night!

Happy Holidays Staten Island!

Happy Holidays from all of us here on Staten Island! Wishing you and your families the most amazing and happy New Year. Wishing you to be thankful for what you have, yet to never stop reaching for the stars. Always challenge yourself and never give up on your dreams. May the New Year bring you positive emotions, love, magical moments and the most wonderful memories. Take care of yourself and each other. Wishing everyone peace, happiness and health!

Happy New Year to Each and Every One of You!

Superstorm Sandy Forum: A serious conversation about the Future of Staten Island

On March 8th, 2013, hundreds of people attended the Superstorm Sandy Forum that was held at the College of Staten Island. The reason for this forum was to educate the public on the following topics: the nature of hurricanes, protection from hurricanes, risks associated with flooding, zoning and land use issues, social science,  financial impact, recovery, protection of natural resources and building codes. The forum lasted over 6 hours and included representatives from the federal, state, city, and local entities, as well as leading scientists, business people, and educators from around the world.

The informative day-long program discussed coastal flooding risks, storm surge impacts, effects of the tide, local geographic, safety precautions and strategies for rebuilding Staten Island. “Global climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing coastal decision makers today. The science community no longer debates whether climate change is happening; they debate the rate at which the change is occurring. Increased storm frequency and intensity, coastal inundation, species range extensions and shoreline erosion are issues all communities are facing” said one of the panelists at the forum.

Arjun Braamskamp, Economic Officer, Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York gave a presentation called Adapting to Sea Level Rise: the Dutch Example in which he stated “There’s a lot of information available to us due to science. We can see direction of the water using modern technology on the next storm so we can predict which areas are vulnerable, increasing security level of the areas we are trying to protect. We know a lot, so let’s use that information so we can come up with the best plan of action for the future using the natural forces that we can make work for us.” He proposed numerous solutions of how to protect ourselves from future floods through building with nature. “Building with nature works and you can also reduce the environmental impact. In the end we have to come together as a community to decide what the solution is and share our vision  to produce the future we would like for our borough. Design and engineering exists to solve these problems, the question is what is our shared vision to produce the future that we’d like.”

Superstorm Sandy Forum:  A Serious Conversation about the Future of Staten Island
Superstorm Sandy Forum:
A Serious Conversation about the Future of Staten Island

As a result of the last few storms many now realize that New York City is in the hurricane belt and believe that we will be hit again in the future. Since it’s very difficult to predict the next natural disaster we should be focusing on how to build up and significantly improve the ability of our city to weather any type of storm. During the Superstorm Sandy forum landscape architects urged us to protect our existing wetlands, consider rezoning high-risk areas for day use and recreational purposes and rebuild by elevating homes to prevent damage from future floods on Staten Island. There were many proposed sketches for raising the houses in the low lying areas as seen below.

The last panel Role of Government and Finance in Sandy Recovery on Staten Island consisted of the following local officials: Nicole Malliotakis – Assembly-member, James Oddo – Councilmember, Seth Pinsky – President, Mayor’s City’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency. This panel continued the discussion addressing rebuilding and elevation, insurance, strengthening the infrastructure, support for local businesses, the issue of mold, and the financial help from the government for recovery.

William J. Fritz, host of the Superstorm Sandy Forum, Interim President and Professor of Geology at The City University of New York’s College of Staten Island, concluded the forum by presenting his five point plan to protect the borough from future storms and act as a guide going forward.   He went on to add “The reason that I am speaking out is to urge New Yorkers to engage in a Serious Conversation about how we should plan for the future well being of our City. This conversation must include: scientists, geologists, engineers, social scientists, counselors, political scientists, politicians, economists, community members, city planners, emergency responders  government agencies. And the business community should be at the forefront of this conversation because issues such as community welfare, rebuilding, financial impact of various solutions, political influence, and funding fall in the business sector. Without your leadership, attempts to address the future will fall short of maximum success. Private/public partnerships with universities and other agencies will be key to our recovery.”

Helpful links below:

Information for Disaster Survivors and Recovering Communities

For more information on this forum and topics that were covered please visit Sandy Forum Resource Kit.

Disaster assistance handouts that were given out at the Superstorm Sandy Forum.

Oscar Nominated Real Estate on Staten Island

In honor of the Academy Awards, I decided to take a look at some of the luxurious and opulent homes on Staten Island, worthy of an Oscar nomination and a celebrity homeowner. Let’s look at the lineup together by checking out the photos of the high end properties that grace the list, where the houses are just as fascinating as the movie starts. Any one of these homes deserve a spotlight and a chance to show off their best assets. Grab a front row seat and join me as I feature some of my favorite homes that have captured my heart.

111 Benedict Rd Staten Island NY - luxury real estate

One of the break out stars is this beautiful and posh Todt Hill home, perfectly set on 13,150 sq ft manicured property. The 6 bedroom, 7 bath custom built home was completed in 2001, using superior quality construction materials and luxury finishes to create meticulously crafted amenities. The interior features radiant heat floors, roof top deck to take advantage of the gorgeous ocean views, outside kitchen and an inground pool for hosting the best summer parties in town, master bedroom suite with a fireplace, timeless gourmet kitchen, a pond in the front yard, security and intercom systems and much more. Check out the rest of this beauty’s decor here, Staten Island luxury homes.

79 Flagg Ct Staten Island NY - luxury real estate

If you’ve ever dreamed of living in a fairytale, then you will surely feel like royalty inside this castle. This home’s design is a reflection of its old world architecture and modern amenities. Immaculately kept circa 1890 Landmarked Stone Colonial Estate sits majestically in a quiet Hamlet in Todt Hill offering exceptional entertainment qualities. The breathtaking grand entry hall dressed with a glamorous chandelier and complete with a catwalk, makes a bold statement as you walk in and is perfect for hosting a Hollywood after-party where guests can dance the night away. A one time visit and you’ll never forget this magical place.

Staten Island Todt Hill Luxury Homes

Another one making a name for itself is this magnificent Todt Hill mansion. The 11,000 square foot stunning homes is superbly built featuring five true bedroom suites and 8 baths all exquisitely designed. Grand circular foyer opens to each individual room creating a perfect flow for the grandest of entertainment. The lowest level boasts an indoor basketball court, a theater room as well as a billiard room. Easy elevator access to each additional floor, up to and including the finished attic. The custom kitchen with center island is fit for a gourmet chef.  This exquisite private estate offers a perfect setting for a star studded affair.

35 Peter Ct Staten Island NY - luxury real estate

Which one is the ‘It’ house of the moment? This regal mansion definitely possesses all the star qualities of the ‘It’ home, a true A-lister. This spectacular one of a kind custom home boasts luxury living at its highest level. The residence has been built to call attention to the most lavish details that elevate the atmosphere and experience of living here. Glamorous and impressive, this one steals the show. Tour the rest of this luxury Staten Island home.

Which one, in your opinion, will take the highest honors?

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.