A windy Great Kills Beach as Jose passes by in the Atlantic

Posted on Updated on

While Hurricane-turned-Tropical-Storm Jose is making its moves in the Atlantic, it’s making its presence known along the coast with high surf and riptides.

It won’t be coming here, Andre Fitzgerald assured us. It’s going north and turning east. Rain here, but more in Long Island tonight.

We decided to go to the beach and see for ourselves what if any effect it was having on Staten Island. We headed for Gateway National Park Area at Great Kills. We drove past the harbor and down to the last parking lot between the beach house and Crooke’s Point.

“The breeze is right into your face. It’s what I like,” said Kevin DiStefano who spread his arms and let out a hoot when he arrived.

“It’s not a day for a book and a flask of tea. This is a hold onto your stuff for dear life day,” observed Anthony Difato who nonetheless had book in hand.


Joe Maturi, Media Dept. supervisor, started to head down to the water with Kevin and Tim Fauske. They didn’t get far before a mini sandstorm arose.

“A bunch of sand started blowing hard,” said Tim. Through the fuzzy scene we could see a pair doing yoga at the water’s edge. “It was hard to take a picture,” said Riki Garcia.

Luckily the sand whipping around didn’t last long. But Jose’s reach could be seen in the choppy water and white caps, the dramatic clouds and the blowing leaves and grasses.

“That looks really rough. I wouldn’t go out in that water,” said Joe Trischitta when he saw the photos back in the Media Room. He does quite a bit of boating. And in fact, there were no boats out, even the gulls were hunkered down on shore for awhile. The rain hadn’t moved in yet though, so the sun, clouds and grey and silver water made for a beautiful and relaxing place to be.

We weren’t the only ones. In addition to the yoga pair, there were a couple of dog walkers, a cyclist and a rollerblader to name a few.

All in all it was a good nearly end of summer day. Enjoy the breezes and the clouds, which have been joined by the rain now as Jose passes by.

Kathryn Carse with Anthony DiFato, Kevin DiStefano, Tim Fauske, Andre Fitzgerald and Riki Garcia. Joe Trischitta and Joe Jones who were not with us at the beach also helped shape the story. Photos by Riki, Harry Rodriguez and Jenn Romano





Riki’s Third Tattoo

Posted on Updated on

I like geeky stuff. This tattoo is from a Japanese cartoon or anime. I like the design. It’s my personality. It’s my body. This is my geeky side.


Riki’s latest tattoo, inspired by anime. “It’s my geeky side,” says Riki. (Yoni Chernock/Lifestyles)
Everyone wants to know: Are you afraid?

No. It didn’t hurt. Maybe a little spasm. But in general, I have a high tolerance for pain, so I feel nothing. The hard part is the tattoo takes hours. You have to stay still, not move around. You have to relax and stay physically still.

First me and my mom have to set up a consultation with the tattoo artist to decide the best place, size and color of the tattoo. My colors are white, dark purple and black.

Both cats have a yellow half moon shape. It is on my first tattoo too. (See below.)

The artist has to have a license. My artist was female. The place has papers that you have to sign. You have to bring ID to show you are of age — over 18.

Riki G talks about her new tattoo. (Yoni Chernock/Lifestyles)

You have to take care of it. You have to wash it twice day with unscented bar soap to clear off bacteria. Then you put a small circle of lotion on it. You can’t swim. You can’t shave your legs.

I got my first tattoo when I was 21. I like bows, dressing up nice. I showed a picture to my mom. She liked it. It’s my tattoo, but she has to be “in the circle.”

I got my second tattoo when I was 22. The meaning is private.

This is my third tattoo. I’m 23. It’s a way to express myself.

This story was written form an an interview with Riki G by Angel Bruno, Yoni Chernock, Timothy Fauske and Anthony Kefalinos

Joe’s Walking essay

Posted on

Joseph Padalino aiming his camera. (Meredith Arout/Lifestyles)

My day of being in a wheelchair is horrible. It’s horrible because of my circumstance. I want to be able to walk like other people. I want to kick a ball like other people. I want to be like a normal person. Not because I’m normal now, you know what I mean? I want to be more normal than the average person. Physically, I can’t go to the bathroom by myself, feed myself, put my shirt on or go in the pool. I want to be able to do more things on my own. I want less help.

The reason why I’m revealing my feelings about walking is because I want people to understand what I’m going through.  Sometimes when I go home, I listen to Josh Groban. And I go in my room and listen to him and I cry. I cry because I sometimes get very emotional about this and crying releases tension. 

I like coming to Lifestyles because it brings me to a place where I have friends. It is not a babysitting service. Lifestyles is a structural program, which teaches us to go out into the workforce. It also gives us an opportunity to expand our minds.

And it gives us a chance to shine. Lifestyles hais a social basis where people come and be happy. And this is why I feel good when I come here. We learn to properly introduce ourselves. I enjoy interviewing people on camera and off. We take pictures and learn to be photographers. So when I come to Lifestyles, I feel like I have a purpose. I feel very special because Lifestyles got me a camera that I can put on my tray, so I can take pictures.

There is an invention called [Robotic] Exoskeleton that you put on like a jacket and you can walk. It has worked with some people, but for me, I don’t know. If you take a picture of my spine, it’s curved. So I don’t know how the Exoskeleton would work. I hope someday in the near future it would. The first thing I would do is go on a plane and take a trip to Italy to see my cousins. I did it once, but there were people to lift me. I want to actually walk by myself.

I enjoyed dictating this essay because it gave me a chance to tell you what I go through everyday in a wheelchair. I hope you read my story because I want everybody to know what I’m going through. Thank you everybody for listening and have a good day.

Joseph Padalino attends Lifestyles for the Disabled day habilitation program. This essay was dictated to Acewin Tam, an intern from Staten Island Technical High School, and Kathryn Carse with the Lifestyles M

Review: Nova’s Death ‘Dive to Saturn’

Posted on Updated on

If you want to get up close and personal to the planet Saturn, you can’t get any closer than the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, which meets its end this week on a final decent into the planet’s atmosphere.  PBS’ Nova explores this pioneering probe in Death Dive to Saturn, premiering September 13, 9 pm. Eastern (check local listings).

Death Dive explores the mysteries of the rings of Saturn and unlocks the secrets of what may lie below the planet’s gaseous surface.  The probe will dive into Saturn’s atmosphere on Friday, September 15, on its likely final mission. Meanwhile, Nova will explore the twenty-year journey of Cassini, and the thirteen years it has been exploring Saturn.

Saturn in Red

-Written collaboratively by Anthony DiFato and Edward Gregory with input from Anthony DiCostanzo.  Photo courtesy of NASA.

Coney Island Day Trip

Posted on Updated on

On a hot day toward the end of August, a group and their staff decided to head off to one of the famous summer destinations in New York.

Coney Island.   FullSizeRender_3

“I loved it,” said Janet D. “I want to do it again.”

She and Kamila B came to the Media Department to be interviewed about the trip that also included Becky C and Chris K along with staff Stephanie DiStefano and Patricia Salemmo.

And if Brooklyn’s world famous beach side amusement park wasn’t enough,  the anniversary of its equally world famous roller coaster, The Cyclone, was being celebrated.

“It sounded like a train,” said Janet.

“Because it’s made out of wood,” added Kamila.

They saw a lot of excited families and tourists, some speaking foreign languages, all lining up for a ride.

No they didn’t take a ride, this excursion was exploratory only – they took in the rides, the boardwalk, the beach scene and they stumbled upon a  cool art exhibit.


And of course, they couldn’t go to Coney Island without a stop at Nathan’s Famous. They didn’t sample the famous hot dogs or frogs legs, but they did enjoy chicken sandwiches and burgers.

The other rides that caught there eye were the iconic Parachute Jump, now defunct and a landmark,  and the Wonder Wheel.

“The Wonder Wheel is older than the Cyclone,” said Michael Mazzone, Media Department staff.

“It’s 99 years old,” said Andrew M after a quick Google search.

In addition to being a ferris wheel, some cars “slide out” over the water, said Kamila.

“What would you like to ride on a future trip?” asked Joseph Jones.

“I don’t like rides,” said Kamila, shaking her head. But she liked the look of the Parachute Jump.

“The teacup is too fast for me. It makes me dizzy,” said Janet. “I like the bumper cars.”


One unexpected highlight was discovering Coney Art Walls, an exciting outdoor exhibit of street art.

“You could spend all day there,” said Stephanie of the murals painted on cement walls like handball courts.

“How did you get there? Did you take the D train,” asked Andrew Moszenberg.

“We took the van over the Verrazano,” replied Janet.

“When we got there around 10, it was quiet, but by the time we left, the boardwalk and beach were packed,” said Stephanie.

Michael Cilmi, Anthony DiConstanzo, Anthony DiFato, Riki Garcia, Joseph Jones, Andrew Moszenberg, Greg Perosi and Eric Schwacke contributed to this story with Kathryn Carse.

Mastering the jigsaw puzzle

Posted on Updated on

Anthony DiCostanzo, one of our puzzle masters is at it again. He connected the 300 pieces of this Colosseum puzzle in less than four hours.

Anthony DiCostanzo shows off his finished 300-piece Colosseum puzzle. (Christopher Macina/Lifestyles)

What interests him about doing puzzles? Pretty much the basics.

“Putting the correct pieces in the correct order,” he said, is what gives him satisfaction.

He shared a bit about the Colosseum with the Media Department too. It was built in Rome AD 72 and was known as the Flavian Ampitheatre. It could hold between 50,000 to 80,000 people for gladiator contests and other spectacles.

By Joseph Jones with Kathryn Carse/Photos by Christopher Macina



We Rock the Spectrum – Staten Island

Posted on

Life-Wire’s own Anthony D. took an inside look at a sensory gym located here on Staten Island.  James Grosso, Owner of “We Rock the Spectrum” talks about the idea behind the gym and the different equipment and activities they have. “The gym is made for all kids, the gym is for every child for all abilities.” said James Grosso.