Beatles Blast at St. George Ballpark

On Friday, August 2, at 7 p.m., a free concert will take place at the St. George Ballpark, home of the Staten Island Yankees, featuring an array of Beatles cover bands. A fun thing to do on a midsummer Friday evening at a beautiful venue. If you can’t make it, there is also a summer festival is planned for the esplanade closer to the water on the next day, Saturday, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

BeatlesBlast2013_Flyer_071713

Lap swimming at Lyons Pool

This photo is from Steve of the lap swimmers group at Lyons Pool. The lengthwise laps have been reinstated after a year of widthwise lanes. If you are in the St. George or Tompkinsville area and are not familiar with this beautiful little known and underutilized resource, do yourself a favor and check out this pool, next to the Tompkinsville train station. There is still a full month of operation so get moving! lyonspool

For more information click here for the Parks Dept. page.

Staten Island OutLOUD presents Moby Dick at Fort Wadsworth

English: Illustration from an early edition of...

English: Illustration from an early edition of Moby-Dick (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomorrow, Saturday, that elusive whale makes an appearance at Fort Wadsworth, courtesy of Staten Island OutLoud, an organizer of unique literary events. So if you are unfamiliar with the beautiful fort, or with the wonderful novel by Herman Melville, come out on this midsummer weekend. A message form Beth Gorrie. She is the animator of OutLOUD and is a Staten Island local treasure.

Staten Island OutLOUD invites you to our annual Moby Dick celebration this Sat July 27, 6:30pm at Fort Wadsworth.  Free. Music by SI Philharmonic.
BRING A LAWNCHAIR!
Plenty of free parking in the Visitors Center lot, then walk about 50 ft to the spectacular Harbor Overlook.  Bring friends, bring family.  Bring the kids!  Good for all ages.
DON’T FORGET TO BRING A LAWNCHAIR!
Thanks,
Beth Gorrie

Here is a link to the OutLOUD website.

Fort Wadsworth

Fort Wadsworth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Telephone Poles: the monster that devoured Staten Island

What is one urban renewal initiative that could have an enormous impact on the aesthetic appearance of the North Shore? Bury those unsightly telephone and utility poles. I mean UNSIGHTLY in all caps.. unsightly beyond any reasonable expectation. Unsightly and UNSEEN, like the movie The Monster That Devoured Cleveland, which was eternally playing in the town that Dobie Gillis lived in but was never seen. What I mean is, humans have the ability to ignore the things that they don’t want to see, and it is amazing to hear the responses I get when I mention telephone poles to people around here. “What telephone poles?” is the usual response. WHAT TELEPHONE POLES???????!!!!! Are you kidding me??? Here is the charming funky block of Wall Street between St. Marks Place and Stuyvesant Place, first with its telephone poles in all their chaotic glory.

wallstbigpolesOh, those telephone poles. 

Now, how Wall Street looks with all those mad poles photoshopped away. Umm, maybe you can see a difference.

wallstnopoles

The burial of the telephone lines have their advantages and disadvantages in terms of maintenance and cost. Can’t we begin to have a serious discussion about getting rid of these hideous blights on our streetscapes?

Staten Island Ad Absurdum: South Avenue

tugtiresThere are places along the Kills separating Staten Island from New Jersey where industrial sites come right up to the water. They are certainly not pretty places, but they do  keep up the traditional economic activity that animates this area. Then there are other places where the lush green vegetation of these low flung marshlands have reclaimed land, or have remained fairly natural through all these years of development, at Fresh Kills and in green patches elsewhere. These areas show the great potential for a rebirth of this natural estuary as parkland and they remind us how Staten Island’s geographical isolation in New York (as opposed to the centrality of the New Jersey areas on the opposite shore) has spared us from a more extremely industrial fate. And then there are the maritime dumps – places where old boats, industrial equipment, machinery and plain old trash have accumulated washed up, driven over and trucked in, to tugportraitcreate an insult to the concept of shoreline. Here at the far end of South Avenue is just such a spot, a boat graveyard and trash heap that despoils the waters of the Arthur Kill just across from the southern tip of the mysterious green wilderness of Pralls Island. This is a fragile ecosystem that needs far more care, exemplified by the bird sanctuary on Pralls Island, a place where egrets and herons thrive. It was seriously harmed by an oil spill in 1990 when 700 birds died. Hopefully the opening of the Fresh Kills shoreline as parkland during the next few years will spur interest in this shore and will lead to a clean up of these sites.

tugwaters

Today’s Geography Lesson: Where is Bayonne?

Two Hudson-Bergen Light Rail trains passing ea...

Hudson-Bergen Light Rail trains near Exchange Place, Jersey City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Uh, it’s on the other side of the Bayonne Bridge. Simple, but sometimes New Yorkers can be so myopic about that vast mass of industrialization on the western edges of the harbor. Ask a typical New Yorker what is the name of this or that town visible along that shoreline, and they will usually shrug and say ‘It’s New Jersey.” Even the skyscrapers of Jersey City, the state’s second largest city, will leave many New Yorkers perplexed.  The fact is that there are a dozen different townships, counties and other municipal entities over there, all trying to deal with the same environmental, economic and social problems that we deal with here, especially on Staten Island just across the Kills. It would make a lot of sense to work with them on some of these problems. Yes, that’s Bayonne over there, but do you also know that the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail has its terminus just a mile or so away from this Bridge? And has anyone calculated the economic benefits that could be gotten if they were to extend that light rail system to Staten Island? I know the Port Authority of NY and NJ has not…. I asked them that question at the public meeting about the Bayonne Bridge roadway project and they deftly avoided answering. “We looked at some studies that were made a few years ago for a different project,” was the non-answer. So shouldn’t they be working on this? “We are waiting for Staten Island to get back to us on their intentions, what they are willing to invest in terms of infrastructure.” I’m paraphrasing, but I doubt that anyone will be able to pin them down anymore than that.

Boardwalk Empire at Port Richmond: the difference a film crew can make

Welcome To Port Richmond

Welcome To Port Richmond (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Residents of places like Brooklyn Heights and the West Village know film crews as that plague of self important invaders who swoop down on a neighborhood and disrupt parking  and access for days or weeks without benefiting the community much at all. But for a fringe community on the tattered fringe of the city, the arrival of these exotic outsiders can be a pleasant change. Beryl Thurman of the North Shore Waterfront Conservancy shared this letter she sent thanking Boardwalk Empire for their use of Port Richmond locations.

Dear All,
Something unusual has been happening in Port Richmond down by the waterfront. The place that time forgot so to speak with its Victorian homes and old store fronts. This section near the waterfront was discovered by the cast and crew of Boardwalk Empire an HBO T.V. series.
It was movie magic that brought the area back to life not just with the activity of seeing the actors walking around in period custom. It was also seeing the many different kinds of jobs that the movie industry creates in filming a production. Having the crew here allowed many of the residents to not only see what happens behind the scenes in making a film. It allowed the young people to ask questions about what the crew was doing? And a introduction to asking how would a person get a job like that?

People were walking and driving by all day and night taking pictures of the Ford Model T cars that lined the streets and wondering how something that was made back in 1924 is still working in 2013 when nothing made today is actually made to last beyond 3 years.

Boardwalk Empire did something for the people of Port Richmond that will leave an indelible memory that may even lead to them recognizing, that there is a whole world out there just waiting to be explored, as well as career opportunities that were never imagined. NSWC has often told Staten Island politicians and economic development corporations that Staten Island must diversify in the kinds of businesses and industries that we have here on the island. There are many kinds of careers that can be tapped into if we have the imagination to do it.
Boardwalk Empire’s presence here was a impromptu career day and for the residents a positive learning experience that was very meaningful on many different levels.
Pass It On…
Beryl A. Thurman, Executive Director/President
NSWC
Creating Livable Communities