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, but our favorites are the haunting stories. Before the clown haunted our island, spirits that dated back as far as the 1600s have been accompanying us. Come along as we mention 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 son; one burnt down, and the other one still remains today at 4500 Arthur Kill Road, Charleston. In 1894/1895, Kreischer’s 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 (mod-related), 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 is now abandoned, since 1975, only accompanied by its haunting stories. Built in 1813, the residents would have to involuntary work on the farm grounds as their payment in living there. 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 to capacity and filthy. 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 form 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 solders 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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April 20th– Salamander Exploration
April 21st– Magnificent Monday: Earth Day Under the Spotlight
April 22nd– Earth Day at local libraries
April 26th– High Rock Park Challenge
April 26th– Walk MS
April 26th– NYC Regional Chili Cook-off
April 26th– Annual St. George Day Festival
How many times do you open your refrigerator, pull out something to eat, only to realize it’s gone bad, smells funky, or is contaminated in some sort of way? There is a method to the madness of storing your food. Well, believe it or not, but RealEstateSINY.com has compiled a list of do’s and don’ts to help solve your refrigerator woes.
Line your shelves with rubber gripping foam! It’s inexpensive, easy and helps keep you shelves neat and clean.
Organize and separate your food on appropriate shelves.
- Top shelf: cartons, pitchers, and beverages
- Middle Shelf (most visible): leftovers and food that needs to be consumed or cooked soon
- Bottom: cheese, dairy, and meats
- Drawers: lettuce and vegetables
Keep plastic and glass food containers organized! Keep a dry erase marker handy, making food easy to label, date and wipe off once the container is emptied.
Know when to throw food away!
Buy unnecessary amounts of food. Not only is it a waste of money but it clutters your refrigerator making it more likely for you to end up throwing out more food than you eat!
Put food in your refrigerator that isn’t properly sealed or wrapped. There’s nothing like being excited about leftovers, only to discover they’ve gone bad because the lid wasn’t on it properly.
Put milk, yogurt, sour cream, and meat on the top shelf. Not only does that run you the risk of things dripping, but such things should be stored on the bottom in the back where it’s the coldest.
Forget your baking soda! You want to avoid odors at all costs!
This week’s mortgage and economic report is seemingly more positive…or is it? In reviewing various reports from Gallup.com, the Mortgage Bankers Association, Bankrate.com, and multiple other sources, the current economic condition in the United States is seemingly improving. However, despite positive assumptions, when we further investigate the numbers, the situation may not be exactly what is seems.
Mortgage rates have dropped this week with the exception of the 5/1 year ARM. The 30-year fixed rate decreased to 4.44% and the 15-year fixed rate decreased to 3.31%. Conversely, the 5/1 year ARM increased to 3.55%.
The stock market has been shy of good news for a few weeks now, with the Dow Jones opening on April 3rd at 16,256.37 and closed on the 9th at 16,437.18. Moreover, the S&P 500 opened on April 3rd at 1,891.43 and closed on the 9th, 1,872.18 a decrease of over twenty percent.
The Mortgage Bankers Association released their weekly mortgage banker’s association survey for this past week. Said report reveals the Market Composite Index decreased 1.6% on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 5% from last week, bringing it to its lowest level since 2013. The Purchase Index increased 3% on a seasonally adjusted basis and is 14% lower than this same week last year. Lastly, the Refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 51% of total applications, its lowest level since July of 2009.
Gallup.com details an increase in confidence this week averaging -15 for the week ending April 6th. A high since the -20 in early March (the lowest point in 2014). Views of the current economic situation were stagnant at the end of March, however, optimism has picked up with the perception of an improving job market. April’s numbers are already looking better with 40% of American’s seeing the economy as getting better and 55% see it as getting worse.
While unemployment rates are going down, they are still almost triple what they were in the 40’s and double what they were in the 90’s, posing the question, are unemployment rates improving? Or are they simply going down from an already astounding high? You decide.Read more
The New York State Buyout Program has been expanded again, and this time homeowners in Graham Beach are eligible for a reprieve.
The Mid-Island neighborhood joins Ocean Breeze and Oakwood Beach in the state-sanctioned home buyout program, it was announced this past weekend. Hurricane Sandy damaged communities must lie in a flood zone that FEMA determines to be high-risk in order to qualify.
This is a relief for more Staten Island residents who have not been able to return home. Much of the island is still visibly suffering from hurricane damage. While coastal buffers are created to shield the island from future damage, homeowners who surrender their land to the state receive what the state determines to be the value of their homes before the storm occurred. Additionally, they are offered a ten percent incentive.
Graham Beach will be the last community in Staten Island to be approved for the Enhanced Buyout Program. Neighborhoods under this sect of the program cannot be built on again once the property is purchased by the state. The land is reserved for open space.
This does not mean, however, that neighborhoods cannot continue to apply for buyouts. Moving forward, communities in flood zones within Staten Island can apply for the Acquisition for Re-Development Program. If approved, homeowners can still receive the pre-storm value for their homes, but the land will instead be put on the market to developers.
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Properly placed lighting in a home can make all the difference in the overall feel of the room. Often overlooked, lighting can effect one’s emotions and set the tone for a room without. At first glance, lighting a room seems simple, but it always ends up being more complicated than expected. Selecting lighting fixtures that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional, utilize their light to set the mood, and deciding where and how to install fixtures are all common challenges. Below is a list of do’s and don’ts to help you combat your lighting challenges and with that, hopefully brighten your mood!
Do Layer Lighting. Provide a mix of light sources at different heights to create a pleasing aesthetic and functional space. A combination of ambient, accent, and task lighting are a must in every room.
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Natural Light. When it comes to design, natural light is always best. Not only can it light a room in a more appealing way, but natural light is said to be healthier mentally, boosting morale and combating depression.
Do control your lights separately. Having multiple light sources in a room is beneficial in creating a certain mood, or help light a work space, but you don’t want to walk into a room, flip a switch, and it suddenly is high noon. Be sure to allow multiple switches to avoid a surge of light when you flip the switch.
Don’t Install Recessed Lighting Everywhere. It’s often assumed that with enough can lights you’ll get light everywhere – not true. Unless they are adjustable or wall wash fixtures, can lights typically don’t shine sufficient light on vertical surfaces, which is where the eye perceives light. Too many can lights results in wasted energy and a space that still feels dark.
Do Flatter Your Face. The effects of overhead lighting can be very unflattering (think of a flashlight under the chin). In bathrooms, pair your overhead general illumination, with a set of sconces flanking the mirror to minimize shadows and provide more even lighting throughout the space.
Don’t Hang Lights Too Low. Kitchen pendants and dining room chandeliers should clear the head of the tallest family member and not obstruct views. In general you’ll be safe hanging the fixture 36-48 inches from the top of the counter or table surface. In dining rooms, the lower the light the more intimate the space will feel.
Do Consider the Room. Specifically, you need to take special care when planning bathroom lighting. There are rules that apply to bathroom lighting that don’t apply everywhere else.
Don’t Select Fixtures Based on Aesthetic Only. Aesthetic is important, however, you still need to consider a fixture’s light output and performance. Consider how much wattage you need and the type of bulbs you prefer in addition to finding a look you love.
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Public schools in Thompkinsville are far too close to one another, according to the PTA at P.S. 16.
Last week, members of the PTA along with students and other scholastic leadership orchestrated a rally outside of P.S. 16 to protest the co-location of two schools within their building. City officials are planning on co-locating a new school, P.S. 10, into this building. They claim the school’s programs have already suffered as a result of co-location.
Currently, the nearby P.S. 74 shares facilities such as the gymnasium and library with P.S. 16. Since the merging of the two schools, the latter has lost its art program and science lab, and the dual-language program has been cut in half.
The dual-language program was a mark of pride for the school, which is located in a culturally diverse area. Over 50% of children attending P.S. 16 are Spanish and dual language learners. Prospective students must now sign up on a wait list to be enrolled.
PTA members are unhappy with this change. According to PTA president Tina Colucci, every parent on the PTA has agreed that the dual language program, where students receive bilingual instruction, is beneficial for students. She says students in this program succeed at higher rates than students in traditional classes.
“We want Chancellor Farina to hear us and stop this senseless co-location proposal of P.S. 10,” says Tina Colucci, PTA president of P.S. 16. “Give back to the community the dual language classes that they took from our school the first time they co-located us.”
The case of Avante Oquendo still resounds strongly within the minds of parents in New York City. On October 4th of last year, a security camera captured footage of the autistic teen as he bolted through the doors from his school in Long Island City, in close proximity of a distracted security officer. A new video was released yesterday, which captured the boy on the day before he disappeared. The video shows Oquendo trying to escape through open doors into the outdoor area around the school.
Despite this occurrence, security was not tightened on the 14-year old with special needs who “liked to run” and needed extra attention, according to his mother. Oquendo escaped the grounds the following day. His remains were found months later on the shore of the College Point neighborhood in Queens.
Avante’s school happened to be tri-located, meaning that three schools shared the same facilities. If the proposed plans for P.S. 10 go through, the building that houses P.S. 16 will also be tri-located. Parents are concerned that with so many students in one building, children will not receive the supervision they need and another similar circumstance could occur.
Many members of the PTA at P.S. 16 would far rather extend the school’s instruction to older students. It has been suggested to add grade levels 6, 7, and 8 to the school, allowing students to continue their education into junior high school where they have already put down roots. The school previously offered schooling for these grades and therefore has space for extra classrooms, says Colucci. This additional space can also be used to restore the bilingual studies program, instead of creating two additional Kindergarten classes.
The merging seems likely to occur unless major shifts take place. To watch the issue unfold via social media, visit P.S. 16′s Facebook Page.
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New York is the location for some of our favorite shows. It is exciting to see that the writers did their research and occasionally mention Staten Island in the mix of the show’s dialogue. Here are the #Top10SINY favorite television shows based in New York, that mention Staten Island.
1. Friends - In season 5, Ross has to explain to Joey that Staten Island and Long Island are both Islands.
2. How I Met Your Mother - Staten Island is mentioned quite a few times in this show. It was discovered through the series that the character Barney Stinson was actually from Port Richmond.
3. Law and Order - Another show that has been around for many years and has even filmed on Staten Island. If you are a fan of Criminal Intent, SVU, or just Law and Order itself, you will agree that there were some very interesting characters that lived on Staten Island.
4. Gossip Girl – Sometimes those Upper East side kids made their way to Staten Island. Does anyone remember when the Gossip Girl cast used the St. George Theatre as a set? Nate Archibald was also spotted on Staten Island once. That gossip girls has eyes everywhere! (xoxo)
5. Will & Grace - It is always pleasant to hear Karen talk about Staten Island on the show, even if she is usually making fun of it and the landfill. Maybe we should thank the show for bringing attention to the smell.
“ Honey, when I agreed to drive you to the set, you didn’t say it was on Staten Island. How the hell am I ever gonna get the stench of landfill and working class families out of tropical lightweight wool?” -Karen
6. I Love Lucy - Right before setting off to Europe, Lucy and Fred ride the Staten Island Ferry to help Fred with his seas-sickness. Of course, the situation is never that simple when you have Lucy tag along.
7. Sex and the City - Thanks to Staten Island, and apparently our ice teas, Charlotte had a drunken understanding of her future.
8. Grounded For Life - The Finnerty family was native Staten Islanders. The show did not use too much of our landmarks, but we can probably reckon where certain locations are.
9. Mad Men - Let’s go back in time for this one. In the 1960’s Staten Island was known as the largest area of parkland in New York City. Most of the construction had just begun, such as the South Shore. That is why on the season 5 premiere, when Peter Campbell sends Roger Sterling to Staten Island on a “wild goose chase” at 6 am, it is understandable why Roger is frustrated.
10. Impractical Jokers - Who says people from Staten Island just have to be featured in drama filled reality shows. These boys prove that otherwise. The truTV’s Impractical Joker boys are actually from Staten Island, Farrell class of ’94 and will be making their return on the island on June 27th at the St. George Theatre.
What is your favorite New York based show that has mentioned Staten Island? Share them in the comments below or join our conversation on Facebook!
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