Happy Earth Day Everyone! Are you as pumped as we are about today? We have been celebrating all week! After providing multiple tips that would help make our carbon footprint smaller in the General Real Estate Blog, Tech Corner, and Do or Don’ts, it is now time to just honor earth these 10 simple ways.
1. Hey Macklemore! Let’s go thrift shopping! Second hand shopping is beneficial for the environment because that means there is one less article of clothes being massed produced and wasted. You can also donate all your unwanted clothing to thrift stores or charity instead of throwing them out.
2. Do you want to build a birdhouse? It is a fun activity to do with the family and something that will be enjoyed everyday! You can use the end of the toilet paper roll to make a homemade bird feeder.
3. Cooking is love…specially when it’s organic! We understand that buying organic food everyday can be pricey, but just for today, eat from local produce and/or organic foods. Hey! You may just end up enjoying something new and healthy!
4. Avoid your car. It is a beautiful spring day today. If you can, try walking to stores and locations you need to go to. Not only is it beneficial to the environment, it is great for our bodies. Opting out of using your car twice a week can cut greenhouse gas emissions by 1600 pounds each year!
5. Buddy system. A bath uses at least 70 gallons of water! A 5-minute shower uses 10 to 25 gallons. Its Earth day! Shower together.
6. Plant a tree. About 3 million trees get cut down per year! With Arbor Day this Friday, planting a tree will be a great activity to do this week. Be sure to plant it somewhere were you can enjoy its growth.
7. Cannot plant a tree? Grow a garden! Having a garden, weather being indoors or outdoors, will improve the oxygen in the air. Plants can live without humans, but we cannot live without plants. *Helpful Tips for outdoor gardens: instead of throwing away your used coffee grinds use it in the garden. Worms love coffee! Also, instead of using unnatural toxins to kill weeds, put white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the weeds away! But be sure to only spray the weeds and not your actual plants.*
8. Spring Cleaning. Spend the day making your home earth friendly. Follow our General Real Estate Tips to make sure your house meets the earth’s standards.
9. Reduce, Reuse, And Recycle. Not everything can be throw away or recycled with just our garbage cans. Our trivia mentions special programs to dispose of hazardous waste such as thermometers, batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, etc.
10. Attend local events! Staten Island did not forget Earth Day! Check out where you can go and celebrate today with the community in our Upcoming Events Segment!
Check out our Pinterest Top Ten Board for more pictures and how-to links.
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Featured this week:
April 27th– Hawk Watch at Fresh Kills Park
April 29th– Money Matters- NYPL: What Every Parent Needs to Know
May 2nd– Relay for Life
May 3rd– Yankee Peddler Fair
May 3rd– Jewelry Making and Design Class
This week’s mortgage blog takes a peak at our usual numbers in addition to the New Residential Construction Report for the month of March. Overall, down is the direction in which numbers seems to be traveling lately. Economically, it appears as if we are continuing to take a hit, which in turn has made confidence drop slightly as well. On a more positive note, mortgage rates have dropped once again, hopefully hinting at a prosperous spring season to come.
Both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 have dropped this week, which could consequently be the reason confidence has fallen this week. The Dow Jones opened on April 10th at 16,437.24, declined mid-week to a low of 16,026.75 and closed out the week at 16,424.85 on the 16th. The S&P 500 opened on the 10th at 1,872.28, graduated mid-week to a low of 1,815.69 and ended at 1,862.31 on the 16th. Should stocks continue to drop, we can only anticipate a greater drop in confidence overall.
Mortgage rates dropped as well this week with the 30-year fixed rate falling to 4.26, the 15-year fixed rate dropping .01 percent to 3.30, and the 5/1-year ARM falling to 3.30.
Gallup.com released their weekly confidence report detailing a one point fall bringing the index to -16. Three points away from this year’s confidence high in early January of -13, we can only hope the fall in the stock market isn’t an indication of the shape of the economy in the future. Additionally, 39% of American’s feel as if the economy is getting better, while 55% of American’s feel as if the economy is getting worse. We need grander improvements in our economy to see bigger changes in confidence.
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, applications increased 4.3 percent from the previous week. The MCI increased 4.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and increased five percent on an unadjusted basis. The Refinance index increased seven percent, while the Purchase Index increased one percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and increased two percent on an unadjusted basis (16 percent lower than the same week last year).
The New Residential Construction report for the month of March was released this week. Said report reveals building permits for privately owned housing units authorized were at 990,000 for the month of March, 2.4 percent below February. Single family building permits for March 2014 were at 592,000 which is .5 percent above the previous month. Privately owned housing starts were at 946,000 homes for the month of March, 2.8 percent above February. Single family housing starts were six percent above February, bringing them to 635,000 homes in March.Read more
In the spirit of Earth Week, we’ve come up with a list of do’s and don’ts to help you….wait for it….SAVE THE WORLD!!! We only have one planet that we can live on-that we know of-and if we don’t start caring for it now we can potentially do unrepairable damage to it. That being said, we’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts to help you do your part. Small, changes to your daily life will help make a huge difference in the overall health of our world.
- Recycle Glass. Just by recycling your glass you can help reduce air pollution by 20 percent and related water pollution by 50 percent. If you choose not to recycle glass, it can take upwards of a million years for it to decompose.
- Hang Dry. Let your clothes air dry! Not only will they last longer, but you’ll save money too. Win, win anyone?
- Turn Off Your Computer. By turning off your computer instead of leaving it in sleep mode, you can save 40 watt-hours per day. That adds up to 4 cents a day, or $14 per year.
- Wash In Cold or Warm Water. If all the homes in the U.S. switched from hot-hot cycle to warm-cold, we could save the energy comparable to 100,000 barrels of oil a day. Additionally, only launder when you have a full load.
- Use Less Paper Napkins. During an average year, an American uses approximately 2,200 napkins—around six each day. If everyone in the U.S. used one less napkin a day, more than a billion pounds of napkins could be saved from landfills each year.
- Use Both Sides of Paper. American businesses throw away 21 million tons of paper every year, equal to 175 pounds per office worker. For a quick and easy way to halve this, set your printer’s default option to print double-sided. Don’t forget, when you’re finished with your documents, don’t forget to take them to the recycling bin.
- Recycle Newspaper. There are 63 million newspapers printed each day in the U.S. Of these, 44 million, or about 69%, of them will be thrown away. Recycling just the Sunday papers would save more than half a million trees every week. Better yet, forget the newspaper and log-on to TrendingSINY.com your favorite Staten Island news source!
- “Homemade” Bottled Water. Nearly 90% of plastic water bottles are not recycled, instead taking thousands of years to decompose. Buy a reusable container and fill it with tap water, a great choice for the environment, your wallet, and possibly your health. The EPA’s standards for tap water are more stringent than the FDA’s standards for bottled water.
- Save Water, Shower Together! Yup, you read that right. Not only will it help you save water, this selfless act benefits the environment and may even help you relationship!
- Save Ten Cents a Bag. Each year the U.S. uses 84 billion plastic bags, a significant portion of the 500 billion used worldwide. They are not biodegradable, and are making their way into our oceans, and subsequently, the food chain. Stronger, reusable bags are an inexpensive and readily available option.
- Don’t Rinse. Skip rinsing dishes before using your dishwasher and save up to 20 gallons of water each load. Plus, you’re saving time and the energy used to heat the additional water.
- Don’t Pre-heat the Oven. Unless you are making bread or pastries of some sort, don’t pre-heat the oven. Just turn it on when you put the dish in. Also, when checking on your food, look through the oven window instead of opening the door.
- Don’t Do Baths! Have a no-bath week, and take showers instead. Baths require almost twice as much water. Not only will you reduce water consumption, but the energy costs associated with heating the water.
- No Running Water! You’ve heard this one before, but maybe you still do it. You’ll conserve up to five gallons per day if you stop. Daily savings in the U.S. alone could add up to 1.5 billion gallons–more water than folks use in the Big Apple.
- Don’t Request Paper Statements! With modern technology being what it is, there is no reason to have your bills mailed to you in paper form. Have your bills emailed to you and pay for them online. Not only will you be saving trees but it’s way easier to keep yourself organized too.
- Don’t Print Your Tickets. The cost of processing a paper ticket is approximately $10, while processing an e-ticket costs only $1. In the near future, e-tickets will be the only option, saving the airline industry $3 billion a year. In addition to financial savings, the sheer amount of paper eliminated by this process is commendable.
- Don’t Use an Answering Machine! Answering machines use energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And when they break, they’re just one more thing that goes into the landfill. If all answering machines in U.S. homes were eventually replaced by voice mail services, the annual energy savings would total nearly two billion kilowatt-hours.
- Don’t Use Stirrrs! Each year, Americans throw away 138 billion straws and stirrers. But skipping the stirrer doesn’t mean drinking your coffee black. Simply put your sugar and cream in first, and then pour in the coffee, and it should be well mixed.
- Don’t Use Plastic Containers to Reheat Food. Invest in Pyrex bowls. They can go from freezer to microwave to table –and you don’t have to worry about microwaving in plastic (which can put chemicals in your food), or choosing the right kind of plastic. They last for years, so you are not creating waste.
- Don’t Forget to Share! SHARE! Take what you’ve learned, and pass the knowledge on to others. If every person you know could take one small step toward being greener, the collective effort could be phenomenal and help SAVE THE WORLD.
After writing this do’s and don’ts article, it almost seems silly not to do most of these. For the most part, they all have a direct benefit for you and your household. Whether it be saving money, or the longevity of your belongings, going green helps everyone. So be like Nike and JUST DO IT people!
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For the majority of us, the only knowledge we have of physics is from listening to Sheldon Cooper’s rants while watching The Big Bang Theory. And even then, do we really understand what he is saying? In this situation, we are left feeling like Penny when it comes to Quantum Mechanics.
Quantum Mechanics, also know as quantum physics or the quantum theory, is the known behavior of energy and matter that dominates at the atomic and subatomic scales. It helps provide a better explanation of the atom, especially in the spectra of light, and the electrons staying in its orbital.
Whoosh! Now that we got past that, lets dig a little deeper into the quantum physics. Onto to…(drum roll please)…THE QUANTUM DOT!
The quantum dot is a nanocrystal made up of semiconductor materials (the transmitter of electrons through materials such as copper or glass; used in solar cells, LEDs, and quantum dots) that are small enough to display quantum mechanical properties. In other words, scientists use the quantum dot because it is cheap material. They process them into efficient solar cells using “scalable methods” and environmentally friendly liquids.
So how is physicist going to save the world? By using luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs). Before we get ahead of ourselves, let us first talk about photon. A photon is a particle representing a quantum of light and it carries energy equivalent to the radiation frequency and has a zero rest mass. Quantum dot and photons are basically best friends.
LSC uses photon-management devices that serve as alternatives to optics-based solar concentration systems. Don’t worry; we will break it down one more time. LSCs are made up from transparent materials containing devices such as quantum dots. Their concentration is getting solar radiation to absorb from a large area into a smaller solar cell. Scientists are trying to use LSCs’ potential to develop solar panel windows. That can turn a building into a main source of energy making! But like all new discoveries, there are complications; the quantum dots can be a bit incorporative.
While the physicists and engineers are busy being earthly superheroes and working on fixing the problematic situation; the quantum dots absorbing the light they produced causing in a loss of outflow energy; we can only wait and do our part of keeping the earth healthy. Follow our General Real Estate: Earth Day Home Tips post, stay up to date with our Earth Day Trivia, and keep and eye out for the Earth Day Do Or Don’ts as well as the Top Ten List! We may not be able to invent earth saving equipment, but we can most definitely shrink our carbon footprint!
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New legislation proposed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency following Hurricane Sandy would revise flood maps, resulting in devastatingly high flood insurance premiums for home owners placed in these flood zones. Depending on the home’s elevation, rates in high-risk areas could reach as much as $30,000 per year.
The addition of the flood insurance reform bill, H.R. 3370, will change provisions of the laws set into motion that created some of the largest impacts on homeowners via the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. Pre-FIRM properties (built in New York City prior to 1983) within these three categories now qualify for reduced rates under the new law (source: http://grimm.house.gov):
1. Purchased by a new owner after July 6, 2012
2. Acquired a new flood insurance policy after July 6, 2012
3. Experienced a policy lapse which was re-instated after October 4, 2012
Homeowners who held properties under this umbrella were subject to the most immediate dramatic rate increases among those who were effected. The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act outraged the community, resulting in many protests.
Once instated, H.R. 3370 will repeal the drastic flood insurance rate increases beginning May 1st, 2014. Rep. Grimm has hailed these changes for bringing relief and welcome improvements to the community in New York City.
Negative consequences were felt in the national real estate market after the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act was passed. Real estate transactions were halted across the country once home buyers learned the true price of their new homes after the addition of sky-high flood insurance premiums.
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The Port Richmond neighborhood abounds with history, including the charming colonial home that is on the market, at 56 New Street. Located on a tree-lined street, this cozy one-family detached home was built in the 1920s and features three bedrooms and three baths.
This 1,972 square foot property is a great place to settle in with your family. The neighborhood contains numerous schools for every age group: P.S.19, P.S.20, I.S.27, Port Richmond High School, and Blessed Sacrament. The Port Richmond Public Library is within walking distance as well as Levy Playground. There are multiple means of transportation in the area. You can catch the S46, S53, S66, and X10.
Entering the house, you are greeted by the spacious living room. Note the two large windows in this room, which bring in natural sunlight, as well as the warm fireplace. This is the perfect room to read a book or watch a movie with your loved ones.
The first floor also has a formal dining room with unique brickwork. The eat-in kitchen features new cherry wood cabinets, granite counter tops, a stainless steel stove, and ceramic tile floors. With these installations, you will not hesitate in throwing the next holiday party!
Additionally, there is a full titled bathroom off the living room and an entrance onto the deck of the backyard as well as an entrance into the basement. Here, you will find the utility room, washing machine, and dryer.
The second floor has three bedrooms including the master, a bathroom, and a sitting room. All three bedrooms have their own large closet space. The beautiful master bedroom gets plenty of sunlight through the newly-installed windows. The entrance to the finished attic is also located on the second floor.
For more information on this house, or other Real Estate listings in the Port Richmond Neighborhood, you can contact Valerie Bartolone or Virginia Akramy, licensed Real Estate Salesperson with RealEstateSINY.com, at (718) 966-9669.Read more
It takes six seconds to make a positive impression of your home. The staging process can be one of the most beneficial when trying to sell your home. You’re converting a lived-in home into a show-worthy home, offering the experience of what it’s like to live in your home. Potential buyers need to be able to imagine what life will be like while living in your home. The idea is to make your home feel warm and inviting, not worn in. Here is our list of do’s and don’ts to help you get through the staging process in the most effective way.
- CLEAN LIKE CRAZY! You’d be surprised how big of a difference a deep cleaning can make on a home. Clear the clutter built up, grab a toothbrush, and get to scrubbing. If needed, rent a steamer to give your rugs a fresh, clean, look. Get in all the nooks and crannies, potential buyers would most likely envision themselves in a pristine home rather than one with dust bunnies in the corners of a room.
- STICK WITH NEUTRALS! Paint can have as much as a 150% return on investment. In other words, a paint job alone can help sell your home. Not that it’s some sort of magic tool, but allowing potential buyers to see the home as a neutral canvas is far more appealing than walking into a home that resembles a kaleidoscope as you pass through the rooms.
- UPDATE WHEN NECESSARY. Simple spot updates can transform a home built years ago and bring it right into today’s market. Take a walk around, and look for features that may date your home (eg: wood paneling, shaggy carpets, ect.) Make simple changes where necessary to alter the overall ambiance of the home. Experts in staging recommend putting the homes kitchen at the top of your list. Even switching out the hardware can have a resounding effect on the home overall.
- FOCUS ON THE FOYER! Piggybacking off of the six seconds that you have to make a positive first impression of your home, the foyer is the place this will happen. Take a little extra time to make sure this room is clutter free, clean, and in all other aspects aesthetically appealing upon entry into your home.
- CONSIDER YOUR HOMES CURB APPEAL! Get the lawn in shape. Utilize mulch and bedding to fix problem areas. Trim shrubbery and trees so they don’t cover up the home in an unflattering way. Assess the outside of your home! If there is cracked paint, hanging gutters, or years of dirt that can easily be remedied with a power washer and a fresh coat of paint.
- DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY! Yes, you’ve spent years decorating, making changes, and most importantly, making memories in this home for however many years. When emotionally attached to something such as a home, it is easy to become offended at remarks that potential buyers may make. Don’t sweat the small stuff, not everyone is going to like everything you do, and that goes for life in general too. Just let it roll off your back and wait for the next potential buyer.
- DON’T FORGET TO CONSIDER SENSES! Sight, touch, smell, and hearing are all things to think about. You want to cover all your bases when trying to sell your home. Making sure everything is clean, visually appealing, no questionable odors, and no crazy jam sessions in the basement are all things to watch for when a potential buyer is coming to your home to “try it on for size.”
- DON’T LET YOUR PETS TAKE OVER! I’m sure all who have pets, consider them to be less pets, more members of the family. That being said, it’s important for Fido and all of his belongings (bowl, bed, toys, ect.) are out of sight when a potential buyer comes to view your home. While you may love your pet, it’s no guarantee that others will.
- DON’T OVER-PERSONALIZE YOUR HOME! Yes, it’s your home, and you live there, but the more neutral the better. Again, potential home buyers need to be able to imagine themselves in your home. That might be a little difficult to do with an abundance of family photos, monogramed towels, and various personalized items that emphasize your presence.
- DON’T MISUSE SPACES! Seemingly obvious, but bedrooms should be bedrooms, ect. More likely than not, you alter the space in your home to suit you and your family’s needs. However, should you try to sell your home, the potential buyers are looking to buy something that perfectly suits their family. A little difficult to imagine when play area is in the foyer, or a bed is in the living room.
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Firefighters on Staten Island worked into the early morning hours to fight a fire that broke out Monday evening.
The brush fire, which was ignited in Bloomfield by the Western and Gulf Avenue intersection near the expressway, began at 7:30 pm and quickly engulfed the surrounding area. The cause of the blaze is still undetermined as of press time.
An estimated 140 firefighters worked together to put out the flames, which caused major traffic delays on the Staten Island expressway. Water was pumped in from the nearby Arthur Kill to speed the process. The fire was luckily doused before any businesses or homes were damaged.
After the New Jersey fire last week that took place in a state forest, perhaps the rainy weather on the following day is a welcome change. Many trees have yet to grow their green leaves again, which makes for drier conditions.
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We cannot wait until Halloween for this topic! Staten Island is full of fun history, and some of our favorite stories are the scary ones! Before the clown haunted our island, spirits that dated back as far as the 1600s have been accompanying us. Come along as we feature RealEstateSINY.com’s Top Ten Haunted Places in Staten Island!
1. Kreischer Mansion
Baltasar Kreischer, who made his fortune in brickmaking, had two mansions built for him and his sons; one burnt down, and the other one still remains today at 4500 Arthur Kill Road, Charleston. In 1895, Kreischer’s elder son Edward committed suicide, shortly after their factory burned down and the family’s fortune dwindled away. Staten Island residents have claimed to spot Edward and his wife’s ghost walking around the grounds, as well as hearing wails coming from the house. In 2005, the house’s caretaker got mixed up with the mob and was convicted of murdering a man by stabbing him, drowning him in the pool, and disposing his body parts in the basement’s furnace.
Over 200 years old, the grounds within Brielle Ave and Wallcott Ave were once an insane asylum and hospital for the poor. It has been abandoned since 1975, only accompanied by its haunting stories (and break ins from local youth). Built in 1813, the residents would have to involuntarily work on the farm grounds to pay for boarding. Today, workers at Seaview have reportedly claimed seeing deceased patients wandering the hallways and staircases. The underground tunnels lay abandoned and still contain artifacts.
3. College of Staten Island/Willowbrook State School
From 1930 to 1987, the campus was originally an asylum for mentally disabled children. Only built to hold 4000 patients, the hospital became a dumping ground for unwanted mentally diseased children. The understaffed hospital had over 6000 residents, forcing them to lock the children without care for days into rooms that were filled with grime. The hospital was exposed for its conditions and shutdown. In 1988, Andre Rand, who worked on the grounds, was charged for kidnapping and murdering Jennifer Schweiger. As he sits in prison for 50 years to life, he is still accused for other numerous missing children from the asylum. Today the grounds are known as the College of Staten Island. Some of the original buildings and smokestacks still stand within the campus. Students have reported seeing figures and shadows, hearing strange noises and calls, while accompanied by unsettling feelings. Some say they feel as if something is watching or following them as they walk the campus at night.
In Tottenville, located at the end of Hylan Blvd, the Conference House park sits the largest Lenape Indian burial ground called Burial Ridge. In 1676, English Royal Navy officer, Christopher Billop was granted the grounds and built the manor by 1680. The haunting legends of the house are: Billop murdered his maid by stabbing her at the top of the staircase and pushing her down after catching her signal Americans. Staten Islanders have claimed to still see the light of her candle in one of the windows. Another story is that Billop abandoned his fiancé and she died of a broken heart. Her calls and cries can still be heard thru the house. There have also been ghost sightings of British soldiers as well as Native Americans wandering the house and grounds at night.
5. Moravian Cemetery/Vanderbilt’s tomb
In a tomb located at the bottom of Todt Hill, lays Cornelius Vanderbilt and seven of his family members. The tomb was built in 1885 to 1886 and is a three-story replica of a Romanesque Church in Ares, France. The section of the cemetery containing the tomb is gated off and closed to the general public, but that does not stop trespassers. While many similar accidents that have happened around the gates, there has been on reported death of a woman who tried to open the gate when it fell and killed her instantly. Visitors of the sight have proclaimed seeing a light in the shape of a woman, supposedly the woman who was killed by the gate. Other visitors have claimed have been chased away by Cornelius himself. The peculiar stories are mentioned to be when a picture is taken in front of the tomb, people vanish from the photo, or random people appear into the picture.
6. Arlo Road
The legend goes that a couple went to this spot to “a little privacy”. The guy left the car to relieve himself in the woods and told his girlfriend to lock the doors until he returned. After a while and strange noises later, he did not return and it worried the girlfriend enough to go investigate. She discovered her boyfriend hanging from a tree with his throat cut. It is said that if a couple parks at the site, they will hear the sound of the boyfriend’s fingers scraping at the car.
7. Bedell Ave
Another haunted street in Staten Island is located not to far away from the Conference House. Bedell Ave’s urban myth is that if you drive down the wooded road and turn off your headlights, you will see a ghost hanging in the tree. Another myth is that you will be chased by a gun toting manic who wants to kill you. That always seems like a good time…
The inn was once a mansion owned by the Mesereau family in 1832. In 1860, Mr. Mesereau went off to fight the Civil war, leaving his wife, Martha, behind to wait for his return home. She would wait by the window for him until she got the bad news that he died in battle. Today, Martha’s room is the dinning area at the Inn and is rumored to still be haunted by her. People have said they still see Martha’s silhouette in the window and employees have heard noises, seen figures, and even witnessed locked doors opening on their own. Martha’s portrait still hangs within the Inn even after it mysteriously went on fire without any source of blame. The noises and fire happened after the renovation, leading those who believe it is Martha’s disapproval of the changes.
9. Alice Austen House
Before Alice Austen lived in her house, there was a woman who lived in the house during the revolutionary war. The woman had an admirer who was a British officer. Unfortunately, she did not have the same feelings towards him, leading him to hang himself. The house is now haunted by his spirit and broken heart. It is known that you can hear him walking the upstairs on stormy nights and during dinnertime, you hear him wandering the staircase. Even the caretaker of the house has told stories about pictures falling repeatedly through the night
10. Cunard Mansion
The mansion was built as a wedding gift for Cunard’s daughter. In the 19th Century, someone committed suicide in the house. It is described that you can see the man’s face peering out the top floor window. It is also told that if you are inside the house, you can hear a women’s voice calling your name from upstairs.
If you are too nervous to go check out these areas, stay tune for our Top Ten Haunted Places on Staten Island video! Subscribe to our YouTube Channel.
Have any interesting stories about these haunted places? We’d love to here them! Share them in the comments below or join our conversation on Facebook!
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