Thursday, March 31, 2005

TTS - It's All About the St. Benjamins, We are the X-commuters

Today's Top Stories

It's All About the St. Benjamins
It's not only "greedy" builders who are contributing to the over-building of Staten Island - someone has to sell the developers the land to develop. It's a tough call but in the end I suppose most sellers simply want, expect and perhaps deserve, to get every penny they can for their property. I can't really blame them any more than I can blame contracters for wanting to do their job and build.

The latest high profile land sale involves a 15 acre plot owner by the Presentation Sisters - an order of nuns. The numbers being thrown around in the Advance are $20M for the land and 80 houses, and a new convent, being put up by the new owners.
More on this story at SILive

We are the X-commuters
In news that will come as no surprise to Islanders the Advance reports on US Census figures that place us at the forefront of the Extreme Commuting craze. Yay! We Win!

It seems nearly 12% of Island commuters need more than an houre and a half to trvel to work. No wonder we're such a cranky bunch.
More on this story at SILive

A sense of disclosure...
Frequent visitors will notice that most of the news stories posted here end up being linked back to an article on, the online home of the Staten Island Advance. The reason is simply that very few Island stories get any meaningful coverage anywhere else. Those that are covered by the other NYC papers are still usually better served by the Advance's local reporters.

I have no connection to the Advance, other than being a lifelong subscriber.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

TTS - Quaker Gift Shop up for bids on eBay

The venerable Quaker Gift Shop, a Staten Island institution for nearly 90 years, is up for sale and anyone (well, anyone with deep pockets) can snap it up with a winning bid on eBay. Click here to bid, or maybe just window shop since the opening bid is 1.1 million!

More on this story at SILive

News updates - Dragon 1 - St. George 0, graffiti builder pleads poverty, Jody's final 140

Just a quick update on some stories we've been following here at StatNYland...

The Tottenville builder who defaced his own property to protest attempts to give it landmark status - and thus thwart his plans of razing it to put up multiple townhouses - now claims he'll go broke if the landmark activists get their way. More on this story...

The St. George Theater lost it's bid to become exempt to a number of fire and building code violations. More on this story...

The NCAA tourney pool at Jody's Tavern has come down to only 140 potential winners out of the initial pool of 120,000. More on this story...

Monday, March 28, 2005

TTS - Les Amants du Bayonne Bridge

Today's Top Story

Bridges can be romantic - no question about it - Venice is full of the things, my sister in-law's brother proposed to his beloved on the Brooklyn Bridge and that seemed fairly cool- but when I think of the Glory of Love the words "Bayonne" and "Bridge" don't instantly spring to mind. But that just me...

SILive: Betrothed on the Bayonne: An interstate engagement

"With a little help from Borough President James Molinaro, Bayonne Bridge Security and Port Authority officers, Laline, the son of Advance Editor Brian Laline, sought to arrange his Easter Sunday surprise.

He had hoped to stop traffic for 15 minutes in one Island-bound lane so he could pop the question in front of the sign marking the NY/NJ divide.

But such schemes never go exactly as planned."

I feel for the guy - what says "I Love You Baby" more than mobilizing multiple city services, calling in a bunch of favors and inconveniencing your fellow Staten Islanders for a quarter of an hour or so. But bureaucracies have no heart...

"Minutes before he was to pick up Ms. Nowicki in Bayonne and drive back to Staten Island for Easter Sunday dinner with his family, Laline was told that safety precautions only allowed him to use the bridge's walkway, which cannot be accessed from the center of the bridge, and spans about a half-mile walk...

... Soon the day was saved by quick-thinking police, who pulled over Laline's black Chevy Tahoe near the center of the Bayonne Bridge.

An awaiting inspector hoisted Ms. Nowicki safely over the railing, where she was seated as planned in a silver chair bedecked in shimmering balloons and two dozen roses."

Not only did our soon to be groom have to settle for the bridge's walkway instead of stopping traffic for his true love but the Advance (which his dad is editor of!) couldn't even take a decent picture of the event for it's prime spot on A3.

Friday, March 25, 2005

New York's Staten Island Stripers

Say what you will about Staten Island but our striper fishing can't be beat - at least in the spring - I assume that's a good thing....

Some of the best spring striper fishing in the Northeast takes place off New York's Staten Island. Local striper experts explain how you can get in on this unsung May fishery."

Thursday, March 24, 2005

TTS - The St. George and the Dragon

Today's Top Story:

In the "no good deed goes unpunished" department we have the continuing saga of the newly renovated St. George Theater and it's fight to stay open despite various building and fire code violations - the most serious of which they beleive they are exempt from. I won't recap the months long struggle - you can get the whole story at SILive - I'll only say that it's a shame that when someone finally brings a first class familily entertainment venue to the Island that it faces nothing but obstacles as it tries to get up to speed.

Fault for the problems can be laid on both sides - why the owners can't get the place up to code I don't know - perhaps they tried to run before they could walk - on the other hand it appears that the main issue - involving the placement of re-movable chairs and tables - has not been an issue in the past, the previous owner claims to have been granted a permanentexemption .

Hopefully both sides can work this thing out so we can permanently add the St. George to the fairly short list of first rate Island venues.

SI Advance Story at

St George Theater Website

Cinema Treasures, a site dedicated to preserving great old movie houses, has a page on the St. George. Scroll down to the comments for an informal history of the building's last couple of years (though the current kefuffle is not covered)

YTS: Franco cuts loose with a high hard one...

Yesterday's Top Story

Former Met, and current Astro, John Franco has put his Todt Hill home up for sale and is asking for some Carols Beltran sized cash to take it off his hands. 8.3M gets you his tarted up hilltop mansion complete with Ice Cream Parlour and Indoor Basketball Court.

Franco, one of baseballs greatest firemen - though the last few years it's been more in a "Fahrenheit 451" sense - has lived on "the Hill" for years and become fairly active in the community. The 8.3M price tag makes stately Franco manor the most expensive house on the Island's market. So I expect some builder will snatch it up to build a few dozen shoddily constructed luxery townhouses or McMansions .

Prospectivie buyers can get all the info at SILive

SILive also has an update on the builder who defaced his own house....

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

TTS Criteria

In case anyone's wondering why today's TTS was Frank Morano's record breaking marathon talk show broadcast (see previous entry) and not the rather more newsworthy stories occuring on the Island - The massive Paper Mill fire, the tragic death of a young boy killed when a TV set toppled on him, yet another senseless teen suicide, or any of the political stories gaining local ink (Nascar and the rest) - I've decided TTS (Today's Top Story) posts will focus on slightly more eccentric news items - hopefully events that are in some way uniquely Staten Island.

Larger and less amusing stories may well appear on occasion but I'll be making an effort to avoid most "hard" news.

TTS : Record Breaking CTV Yakfest

Community TV talk show host Frank Marano, a 20 year old Island resident, has joined that elite group of obsessed attention seekers who are officially recognized as Guinness World Record holders. Marano made his Guinness bones by broadcasting his local chat show for a record, and attention span, busting 33 hours and 5 minutes.

SILive has all the facinating details...

Sunday, March 20, 2005

News Update - Tottenville House of Horrors

Well everyone can relax and breathe again - the story of the graffiti defaced Victorian house has had a happy ending - for the moment at least. The owner, a real estate mogul looking to knock the old house down to make way for yet more freekin' townhouses, has reconsidered and repainted the house he himself defaced in protest over comminity activist plans to have the abode declared a landmark. He's made his point, and an ass out of himself in the bargain, though I'm sure the house's future is still fairly grim.


Staten Island Yankees tix now on sale

Individual tickets for "our" Yankees went on sale this weekend - head over to the official team site to get yours...ducats for games against the arch rival Brooklyn Cyclones are always in high demand so don't wait to long to get yours.

The recent appearence of one of the teams execs on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was fun - if only to listen to the 'fab five" tear apart the mark's snarky internet girlfriend.

Anyway - Go Yanks!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

TTS - Joy for Commuters and Bettors

Today's Top Stories

The Advance leads with a pair of stories that will appeal to the heart of any real Staten Islander:

Subway-ferry link opens - chronicles the newly opened indoor portal linking the Whitehall Ferry Terminal with the heavily transited subway station beneath it. As a former ferry commuter I can attest to the joy of not having to venture outdoors an any/all weather just to catch a train uptown.

Everybody into the Pool - continues the heartwarming tale of the massive NCAA tourney pool hosted by Jody's - a local tavern. For nearly three decades this Forest Ave grog palace has been THE place to enter your picks for the annual college championships. Upwards of 90, 000 entries are expected. 90,000. Unreal.

Friday, March 18, 2005

TTS - Tottenville Builder throws a paint tantrum

Today's Top Story

Another colorful episode in the long waged war between developers trying to do their best to increase the Island's already swelled population, and archetecturally literate and history aware neighbohood activists trying desparatly to save their communities soul. Gee, I wonder who will win in the end... - Staten Island Advance - Builder throws a paint tantrum:

Builder throws a paint tantrum
Stymied by Landmarks process, he defaces his Tottenville Victorian house with graffiti

Frustrated by an attempt to landmark his property, builder John Grossi yesterday spray-painted the 19th-century house he recently purchased in Tottenville with bursts of neon orange, green and pink polka dots, graffiti scrawl and some not-so-nice messages.

Vandalizing his own Amboy Road house was a bold move that highlighted the growing tension these days between builders who argue their property rights are being trampled and foes who say they have a right to preserve the communities and towns they live in from rampant demolition.

Most people who passed by the formerly cream-colored clapboard house just shook their heads in disbelief and stopped to ask the builder, "Who did that?"

"I did," replied Grossi. "That's how I like it. That's my idea of a Victorian-style house. It's my right."

The SILive Tottenville Forum is having a lively discussion on this pathetic circus act...