Sharing the Vision – A Letter from Staten Island

in Art & Community

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

Hello Sabrina,

I have been meaning to write you since the night I tended bar at The Saint
Paul’s Cafe. It was such a pleasure to meet you and your husband, George.

You guys are really fun and you are an amazing artist. I loved your
photographs of the Verrazano Bridge. I had such a great night. I can’t
believe that we ended up at Poco Loco. I’ve always wondered about that place and it was surprisingly better than I had expected! But as cool and
fun as you both are, I was especially impressed and excited to learn about
all of the projects that Door to Door Realty is working on. I looked at
the plans for Pavilion Hill and was blown away by the scope of the project.
I sometimes walk that back staircase with my dog and always believed it to be such a hidden gem. Even though you explained to me what was intended for the lot behind 4 Saint Paul’s, it was only after I viewed the elevations that I was able to fully comprehend the concept. I love the idea of the catwalk and of joining commercial and residential areas for mutual benefit.

As a native St. Georger, I too have dreams of a community transformation,
where coffee shops, boutiques and galleries were commonplace instead of the fast food restaurants, check cashing places and vacant storefronts that are typical of the commercial areas in the neighborhood. One of my life goals is to open a bar/lounge within walking distance from the ferry that will blend art, culture and design to provide an environment where locals and
visitors alike can relax on a comfy upholstered sofa, meet like-minded
people, look at art, hear good music and sip fine wine.

That is why I was so excited to meet you and George. You are creating
change and making things happen. We all have a love for Staten Island and want to make it more than what it is. The island has so much potential to
be a place where people love to live and also a place where people want to visit. I am so sick of having nowhere to direct tourists when they come
off of the ferry, looking for something to see, buy or eat. I am also
tired of having to go into the city to find a decent place to hang out.
Visiting Staten Island should not be considered a waste of time. It is
time for the negative stigma that has stained the reputation of Staten
Island to finally be eradicated.

I look forward to witnessing all of your new developments that are soon to
come to the neighborhood. If you ever need anything, I would love to be
of assistance to you, even if it is to exchange ideas and opinions. I
work as a design consultant at a custom home furnishings and fabric
showroom in the Flatiron district and work with designers and architects
all the time. You and your husband are inspirations to me and I can’t wait
to work and hang out with you again. Until next time.

Best Regards,

Alison Cortes

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