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

What’s happening on Staten Island this weekend?

Lots of exciting things are happening on Staten Island this weekend. Which event will you attend?

1. New York City Chili Cookoff 2012

Come visit New York City’s authentic living history village for the only Chili Cookoff within the five boroughs that has been sanctioned by the International Chili Society! A family-oriented event that includes chili sampling, judging, cash prizes, amusements, and live entertainment.

When: April 21st, Sat. 12pm – 4pm

Location: Historic Richmond Town, 441 Clarke Ave Staten Island NY 10306

Tickets: $10 for adults / $5 for children 12 and under. Rides and games additional. All visitors will receive a Chili tasting kit with paid admission to the site.

2. New York City BBQ Cookoff 2012

It’s the first Big Apple contest sanctioned by America’s largest barbecue and grilling organization, the Kansas City Barbecue Society.  Twenty teams are competing for the $2,500 grand prize and a spot at two of the country’s biggest grilling contests: the American Royal Invitational in Kansas City, Mo., and the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue in Lynchburg, Tenn.

To win, teams must compete in four categories: chicken, pork ribs, pork butt and brisket. Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/eats/barbecue-expert-clint-cantwell-competes-york-city-barbecue-cookoff-staten-island-article-1.1060720#ixzz1scGcrlXy

When: April 22nd, Sun. 2PM – 6PM

Location: Historic Richmond Town, 441 Clarke Ave Staten Island NY 10306

Tickets: $10 for adults / $5 for children 12 and under. Rides and games additional. All visitors will receive a BBQ tasting kit with paid admission to the site.

3. St. George Day Parade 

Arts and Earth Day Festival Celebrating Community, Problem Solving and Dragons
A celebrate Staten’s Island’s North Shore neighborhood’s artistic talents and natural resources. Promoting the themes of community, problem solving, resource sharing and the environment, the festival is a day of
* live music and dance performances
* giant puppet show in which St George and the Dragon resolve their conflict peacefully
* dragon parade
* book faire with all day readings, binding demos and book swap
* earth day exhibits, promotions, activities
* kids crafts, games and activities
* a stop and swap
* craft vendors and workshops
* doggie dragon contest
* and MORE

When: April 21st, Sat. 12PM – 8PM, the Parade starts at 2PM

Location: Tompkinsville Park at the Corner of Bay St and Victory Blvd, 10301

Tickets: Free to attend

4. Staten Island fundraising walk for Children with Apraxia of Speech

CASANA is the source of inspiration and instrumental in helping so many families and professionals gain the knowledge in apraxia needed to move children with CAS to develop meaningful speech. Proceeds from the walk will benefit CASANA’s apraxia programs and research. Join in to help this worthy cause and prove that Staten Islanders are tops in generosity and caring.

When: April 22nd, Sun.

Onsite check-in and registration at 8:00 AM

The Walk starts promptly at 9:15 AM

Location: Clove Lakes Park  1150 Clove Road Staten Island, NY 10314

Tickets: Adult walker (18 and older) $20 / Child walker (18 and younger) $10

5.  “One Man’s Trash…”

In conjunction with Earth Day, Larry DiSalvo,the Staten Island artist, will also present “One Man’s Trash….” Geared toward children of all ages, he will show the audience boxes of commonly discarded items and ask what they might make from them. He will then reveal the phantasmagorical treasures he was inspired to create from someone else’s garbage. An exhibition of DiSalvo’s recycled-material sculptures is called “Il Circo.”

When: April 22nd, Sun. at 1PM.

Location: Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, 420 Tompkins Avenue Staten Island, NY 10305

Tickets: General $10, members $5, and will include a light reception.

6. Noshwalk 2012

If you are a foodie and you have a passion for exploring New York City’s neighborhoods, this is for you! This tour will include Sri Lankan, Albanian, Mexican, Jamaican, Trinidadian, Polish and Nigerian eateries and markets. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a tote bag to ferry food home!

When: April 21st, Sat. at 11:15AM sharp

Location: Meet at the Staten Island Ferry terminal for the 11:30 ferry by the newspaper stand in the waiting area. The ferry is free, but have a Metrocard ready for the one or two bus rides we’ll be taking.

Tickets: Adult $49 (purchase through the website)

7.   Pinhole Camera Workshop

Make your own camera at the workshop and Come back to celebrate Worldwide Pinhole Day on April 29th.
Alice Austen House Museum will provide the materials for the camera and the darkrooms will be available on April 29th.
When: April 22nd, Sun. at 1PM and 2PM
Location: Alice Austen House Museum, 2 Hylan Boulevard  Staten Island, NY 10305
Tickets: $5 per person, reservations are required. Call 718-816-4506 Ext. 10
Take a FREE guided tour of the Conference House and learn the history.
When: April 21st and 22nd, Sat. and Sun. from 1PM – 4PM
Location: 7455 Hylan Blvd. and Satterlee St. Staten Island NY 10307
Tickets: Free
Atlantic Avenue Tour –  Stroll around this beautiful Victorian section of the cemetery and visit the resting places of famed photographer Alice Austen, George Wm. Curtis (Curtis High School), Judge Erastus Brooks (the first person to make use of the telegraph for newspaper reports), Historian/ Philanthropist/Author Dorothy Valentine Smith, Elmer Dundy (owner of Coney Island’s Luna Park), cigar manufacturer Alvaro Garcia (Garcia & Vega), pencil manufacturer Eberhard Faber, Dr. Nathaniel Lord Britton (Founder-New York Botanical Gardens),and Historian/Author Charles W. Leng. Also visit a mausoleum designed by the prominent architectural firm of Carrere & Hastings, and a memorial to Civil War Hero Col. Robert Gould Shaw (1989 movie -Glory).
When: April 22nd, Sun. at 2PM
Location: 2205 Richmond Road Staten Island NY 10306 
Tickets: $10 per person
Have a Great Weekend Everyone!

The Annual Fence Show

When it comes to art, many travel to New York City’s trendiest neighborhoods, such as The Meatpacking District, SoHo, Tribeca, Chelsea and Williamsburg, to see what’s new in the world of art. However, very few people know about the growing art community, right here,  in Staten Island. The Annual Fence Show is a big part of this hip movement. Although the show is known to be the city’s longest-running outdoor art show, (it began in 1951 and continues to this day) it expands and thrives with new talent every year. The show features local artists, sculptors, painters, craftsmen and photographers that display their art on the long iron fence at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden every year.

If you didn’t make it, next year, definitely give it a try. A visit to this richly diverse exhibition is sure to please. Best of all, the event is free to the public and the one-of-a-kind art works are for sale.

Below are some images I was able to take before my battery died, all the more reason for you to go next year to see the show.

Super Fun Things To Do This Weekend

Staten Island is going to be buzzing with festivities. Here is a sampling of what’s going on around town this weekend…

D.B. Lampman’s “I Am Within”

 The public is invited to view a sculpture installation and performance by Staten Island multimedia artist DB Lampman at the Freshkills Park site.

When: Saturday, September 17, from 10am-12noon

Location: Freshkills Park

Tickets: Free

For more info: http://www.nycgovparks.org/events/2011/09/17/db-lampmans-i-am-within-at-freshkills-park


Greek Festival

Experience a little bit of Greece in Staten Island. The event is hosted by Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. Sink your teeth into a variety of Greek specialties and wash it down with a glass of wine while enjoying live entertainment. You can read about my experience at the festival here http://statenislandlifestyle.com/?p=497

When: Friday 16 – Sunday 18

Location: 1641 Richmond Ave

Tickets: Adults $1 (yes only $1!) Children under 5 are Free

For more info: Call the church office at 718-494-0658

Mexican Independence Day

Celebrate Mexican Independence Day through dance, food and music.

When: Sunday, September 18th, from 2-5pm

Location: Faber Park

Tickets: Free to the public!

For more info: http://www.statenislandarts.org/folkblog/

Autumn Moon Festival at Snug Harbor

Be entertained by the traditional Chinese dance performances, Martial Arts demonstration and calligraphy. Try authentic Chinese treats such as moon cakes, dumplings and bubble tea. This event takes place at the beautiful Chinese Scholar’s Garden, which will be decorated with lanterns for this special celebration.

When: Saturday, Sep.17, from 4-8pm

Location: Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

Tickets: Adults $8, Student/Seniors $6 and Free for children under 5

For more info: http://www.snug-harbor.org/


61st Annual Fence Show

Browse one-of-a-kind art pieces by the local artists at this family event. The annual Fence Show is the longest-running outdoor art show in New York City history. And if you get hungry during the event, you’ll be able to enjoy excellent selection of Food Vendor Trucks (14 to be exact) on site.

When: Saturday, Sept 17, from 11am-5pm

Location: Front lawn of Snug Harbor Cultural Center

Tickets: Free Admission!

For more info: http://www.snug-harbor.org/


Now which one will you be going to?

My Big Fat Greek Festival

My visit to the annual Greek Food Festival, held in the parking lot of Holy Trinity – St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, was all about trying authentic foods, drinking good wine and experiencing the rich culture. The atmosphere was most festive with high energy, children laughing and music playing in the background. The parishioners, that prepare the tasty dishes, were very sweet and added to the overall experience. And you don’t have to be Greek to go!

I’ll be honest, when it came to Greek food, my experience was limited to a Greek salad with olives, which I prefer on many occasions for lunch. However, last weekend, I was pleasantly surprised by the flavorful variety of Greek cuisine. It came in many shapes and forms, from smoky shish-kebab to delicious pastries.

Wandering around the festival, one could witness the traditional cooking methods of grilling meat that enhances its flavor. Want to know the secrets? Try chatting up the cook over a glass of wine, you may take away some tips. Take the time to explore what’s on the menu and then start trying. All the food is wonderfully enjoyable.

It’s amazing to see how towards the end of the night the place gets packed with people. At every table friends are having conversations and sharing stories, all the while enjoying a good meal. Take your little ones along, there are lots of fun things for them to do. Complete with rides, musical entertainment and games, the Greek Festival is sure to be a fun affair for the whole family.


The fair runs for two weekends in September, 9-11th and 16-18th at 1641 Richmond Ave.


The images I took were enhanced for fun, to make them look as if they’ve been processed using old-fashioned darkroom technique. Enjoy!