When I was a teenager working part-time after school at the New York Public Library as a PAGE, I would sometimes get lost in the volumes of books I returned to the shelves.  I was an avid reader as a kid and not a big history buff, but I would just eat up anything about the history of Staten Island and New York City. The books had wonderful pictures of Staten Island as a wilderness.  My Dad would walk us to Sailor’s Snug Harbor in our neighborhood--a home for retired merchant seamen.  There were cows, horses and other livestock grazing on the property along Henderson Ave. and great “old” buildings (which still exist) where the snugs lived.  We would listen to the sailors relate stories of their lives and travels and how they came to retire on Staten Island forever overlooking the Kill Van Kull.  I didn’t feel sorry for them.  I envied them that they could live together with other seamen exchanging tales.  How many people get to do that?  My two grandfathers worked at the Gypsum Company at Richmond Terrace and my relatives would keep us mesmerized with stories of life on Staten Island and New York in the 1920’s and beyond.  How rich is the history of Staten Island!  When I tell people I live on the North Shore, some cast disparaging looks saying the South Shore (or East or West) is the place to be.  I live in an 1800’s house in a neighborhood where many of the houses are from the 1800’s and share extraordinary history.  Visit the New York Public Library if you want to find out the history of our Island or maybe where you live (on the South, East or West Shores).  The Library has so much to offer.  Check it out on-line at http://www.nypl.org/events/calendar

All are welcome to attend the Parish Retreat "The Gift of Mercy" with Padre Pio Mandato, F.M.H.J. and Sisters Veronica and Theresa, Capuchin Sisters of Nazareth at St. Patrick’s Worship Center, 3560 Richmond Rd. today, Wednesday, 3/2 at 7:30.  For more information, visit www.stpatricksssi.org

The Tavern Concerts at Historic Richmond Town, 441 Clarke Ave., continue with Michael Morreale, on Friday, 3/3 at 8 and Stout on Saturday, 3/5 with shows at 6 and 8.  Online tickets are available up until 3pm, two weekdays before the concert. For Saturday and Sunday events, tickets are available online until 3 pm Thursday. For reservations, call 718-351-1611 or visit info@historicrichmondtown.org

On Friday and Saturday at 7:30 at Everything Goes Book Café, (Home of Used Books, Organic Espresso, Organic Chocolate, huge selection of teas, Stage Events. Garden Patio, Vinyl Records, Local Art and CD’s) 208 Bay St., meet your friends or make new ones at a BEATLES CABARET-–two nights of Beatles music performed by local musicians. For more events at the Café, visit http://www.etgstores.com/bookcafe/events.html

Attend a FREE nine-session choral music course for adults 55+ directed by Carolyn Clark, Music Director for the Unitarian Church of Staten Island on Saturday at 10:30 at St. George Library Center, 5 Central Ave. Sing a variety of songs in the African-American blues style, including spirituals and work songs that preceded the blues. To support your singing experience, breathing, posture, range, diction, and basic music reading techniques will also be practiced.

Reptilefest takes place on Saturday from 1-3 at Clay Pit Pond State Park, 2351 Veteran's Rd. West. The Staten Island Herpetological Society will be bringing a few scaly critters to teach you about the unique qualities of reptiles.

Staten Island OutLOUD welcomes Islanders to Memoirs OutLOUD – A Creative Writing Workshop on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month.  The next workshop is on Saturday at 10. This stimulating writing studio which is open to all adults, meets at the St. George Library Center, 5 Central Ave.   If you are an experienced writer or just beginning to explore your writing potential, this workshop offers a welcoming and nurturing environment. For more information about Staten Island OutLOUD, visit http://www.statenislandoutloud.org/category/upcoming-events/

Sponsored by Recycle@GrownNYC.org and funded by NYC Sanitation, make it a point to go to the Stop ‘N’ Swap on Saturday from 12-3 at Christ Church, 76 Franklin Ave.  Bring clean, reusable, portable items—clothes, housewares, electronics, books and toys.  No furniture or large items will be accepted.  Take home something new-to-you FREE!  You don’t have to bring something to take something.  How great is that!

At Port Richmond H.S., 85 St. Joseph’s Ave. on Saturday at 9 a.m., School District 31 and the Staten Island Field Support Center invite you to a FREE conference for parents and families of English Language Learners to share information about resources available to support your children in school. Community organizations will be on site to tell you about the services they provide to families, and local cultural organizations will sponsor fun activities for the whole family. Conference registration includes continental breakfast and light lunch. Interpreters will be provided for those who need translation services. Call 718-273-3600 or visit http://sifamilyconference.eventbrite.com

Join your friends and family at the 52nd St. Patrick's Parade on Sunday, 3/6 at 12:30 in the Forest Avenue Business Improvement District.  The Parade begins at Hart Blvd. and Forest Ave. and ends on Jewett Ave. 

Discover Crooke's Point at Great Kills Park on Sunday at 1.  Join naturalist Paul T. Lederer in a talk and walk where he will discuss the geology and human history of the site as well as the plants and animals that call this place home. Meet at the Beach Center Parking Lot in Great Kills Park near the dirt road leading out to Crooke’s Point. To get to the Parking Lot, follow Buffalo Street to just before it turns into the dirt permit road. For further info, call Paul Lederer at 718-987-1576.

On Sunday at 2 at the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, 338 Lighthouse Ave., there will be a film screening of Asian Corridor in Heaven: The Road to Pilgrimage. This film traces the journey of five Tibetan men from the Dege region of Kham who decide to make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Lhasa--a 7 month journey of approximately 1300 miles--with full body prostrations along the way. Admission is $6 or $4 for students and seniors.

Don’t forget, you can get help with filing your taxes from AARP volunteers for FREE at the New York Public Library for low and middle income taxpayers, with emphasis on Senior Citizens on a first come, first serve basis on Monday and Wednesday at 11 at West Brighton Library and Thursdays at 10 at the Todt-Hill Westerleigh Library.  At the St. George Library on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 2-6 you can receive help in preparing and filing your tax return electronically from a tax assistant at the St. George Library Center and Tuesday at 11 at Richmondtown Library.  http://www.nypl.org/events/calendar

Do you know the history of your neighborhood on Staten Island?  If you want to share photos of you in the “olden days” or at events, I’d be happy to post them. You can call me at 646-258-9696, leave a comment below or e-mail me at joan.coogan@gmail.com

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