first time home buyer

Notre Dame Academy


Located on a 13-acre campus at 78-78 Howard Avenue in Grymes Hill, Notre Dame Academy is a private Catholic girls’ school consisting of an elementary school (Pre-K- 8) and a high school (9-12). Notre Dame serves approximately 700 students and provides an education in the Catholic tradition while being open to girls of all faiths.

Notre Dame Academy was founded in 1903 after Mr. William Miller-Jones traveled to Montreal to ask the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame to come and start a school on Staten Island. The school opened in September 1903 and was called the Academy of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament.

Notre Dame Academy High School offers a college preparatory liberal arts and STEM (science technology, engineering, mathematics) curriculum. In addition to fulfilling the requirements for a Regents diploma with Advanced Designation, students also have the opportunity to take a selection of Advanced Placement courses and earn college credits through its affiliation with a nearby University. Students are offered an array of electives, activities and athletic teams.

For more information, visit

St. John’s University


Located at 300 Howard Ave and overlooking the scenic New York Bay atop of Grymes Hill, St. John’s University is a private, Roman Catholic, coeducational university serving over 2,000 students who are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Founded by the Congregation of the Mission in 1870, the school was originally located in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant. Beginning in the 1950s, the school relocated to its current location to Utopia Parkway in Hillcrest, Queens. St. John’s has a total of six campuses: Hillcrest, Staten Island, Manhattan, Rome, Oakdale, NY and a Paris campus.

The Staten Island campus offers students 16.5-acres of rolling and wooded lawns, apartment-style student residences and a variety of architectural styles. The site of the Grymes Hill campus was originally purchased in the early 20th Century by immigrant John Gans. For over thirty years between 1930 and 1970 the estate became the home of Notre Dame College, a premier women’s college on Staten Island. In 1971, Notre Dame College consolidated with St. John’s University and the Staten Island campus of SJU became a reality, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, business and education.

For more information, visit

Wagner College

Wagner College | Holly's North Shore Buzz Realty

Located at 1 Campus Road in the Grymes Hill neighborhood of Staten Island, Wagner College is a private, co-educational, liberal arts college with approximately 2,100 students enrolled. The college was originally founded in 1883 in Rochester, New York as a seminary to train Lutheran ministers. In 1886, it became the Wagner Memorial Lutheran College after a buildingin Rochester was purchased for its use by John G. Wagner in memory of his son. The college moved to the 38-acre former Cunard estate on Grymes Hill in 1918.

Wagner offers several undergraduate degrees in the arts and sciences as well as some pre-professional courses of study. The most popular undergraduate majors at Wagner are Biological Sciences, Business, Psychology, Sociology and Theater. The college offers various academic and athletic scholarships and competes at the NCAA Division I level in all intercollegiate athletics.The college also offers public theater performances by their nationally ranked theater program and an art gallery (Union Gallery) open to the public that features works from students, faculty and alumni.

For more information, visit

10 Top Staten Island North Shore Night Life Spots To Check Out!

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Staten Island usually isn’t the place people think about when they talk about New York City nightlife. The truth is, Staten Island is often considered lacking when it comes to having a social scene for its residents. Although this may be true, in comparison to New York City’s other boroughs, there are some places on Staten Island’s North Shore that are worth checking out if you’re looking for some hip and entertaining things to do at night.

Flagship Brewing Company

38-40 Minthorne Street, Tompkinsville

Owned and operated by three Staten Island childhood friends, the Flagship Brewing Company brings a unique product and a unique atmosphere back to Staten Island’s North Shore. Flagship’s tasting room is open Thursday through Sunday, and offers a relaxing and laid back atmosphere for people looking to just “hang out.” If you’re looking for a little more excitement, there are plenty of events happening on the weekends at Flagship -comedy nights, open mic and local bands- all featuring local talent. Check out their events calendar here for more information on upcoming events.

Beso Restaurant

11 Schuyler Street, St. George

A popular and enticing dining option is Beso Restaurant, a small and cozy Spanish restaurant with tapas, entrees & sangria. Beso is perfect for any occasion: a family dinner, romantic evening or a night out with friends.

Burrito Bar

585 Forest Avenue, West Brighton

The motto reads, “Peace, Love & Mexican food” and the food, drinks and atmosphere has won this West Brighton Tex-Mex restaurant and bar the Staten Island Reader’s Choice Award for best happy hour.

120 Bay Café

120 Bay Street, St. George

Formerly known as “The Cargo,” 120 Bay Café is located just two blocks from the Staten Island Ferry in the heart of St. George. It is known for its food, live music, surreal artwork, and eclectic crowd.

Local Arts Scene

Deep Tanks Studio

150 Bay Street, St. George

Deep tanks photography studio and art space functions as an art gallery, performance venue and a full-service photography studio. Art walk events are open to the public on the second Saturday of every month. These “Second Saturday Staten Island” can include visual and performance arts, including photography, painting, sculpture, film dance, spoken word, music, and more.

Elsewhere on Staten Island


1100 South Avenue

This dazzling, glitzy nightclub that opened in 2012 atop the Hilton Garden Inn draws huge crowds. It features a high-tech dance floor, state-of the art music system and lighting, huge glass windows and outdoor areas with spectacular views.


Hometown Bars and Pubs

Staten Island also has many hometown bars and clubs- practically one in each neighborhood. Local hang-outs like Dannyboys, Nurnburger Bierhaus, Jody’s, Lacey’s Tavern and Jimmy Max have been around for decades and are routinely filled with devoted patrons.

With roughly $1 billion in private investment coming into Staten Island’s North Shore, there is bound to be more nightlife entertainment options to offer Staten Islanders in the near future. As North Shore developments are finally set into motion, Staten Island neighborhoods like St. George and Tompkinsville just may end up being entertainment and leisure destinations in the near future.

In the mean time, feel free to browse through the neighborhood section of my website for more information about some of Staten Island’s most popular restaurants, parks, local businesses and points of interest. If you’re interested in buying a home or Staten Island real estate and want to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact me on Facebook or Twitter.

There are two kinds of real estate professionals…those who understand the emotional and financial complexity of selling or buying a home …and those who don’t!

I look forward to meeting with you soon!

Casa Belvedere


Casa Belvedere is located at 79 Howard Avenue, in the Grymes Hill neighborhood of Staten Island. Originally constructed in 1908 as a mansion, Casa Belvedere is now a cultural center devoted to preserving, promoting and celebrating Italian heritage. Meaning “house with a beautiful view,” Casa Belvedere lives up to its name as it boasts some of the most spectacular views of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and the New York City Harbor. Over the years it has housed many families, and for several years it was the official residence of the President of Wagner College. In 2006, it was declared a New York City Landmark as the Louis A. and Laura Stirn House. In 2008, the building was purchased by Gina Biancardi and Luciano Rammaironi, and turned into a cultural center. Currently, it hosts Italian language classes for both adults and children, and offers other Italian-oriented events including wine tastings, lectures, films, cooking lessons, book signings, displays and art exhibits. For more information, visit

Winter Activities on Staten Island’s North Shore

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The winter solstice, which occurred this past Sunday, Dec. 21, marked the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. To be specific, winter officially began at 6:03 p.m. when the Northern Hemisphere was pointed at its furthest distance from the sun. Although December 21st may have been the longest night and the shortest day, the good news is that from now until the summer solstice, the days will get longer (and hopefully warmer).

If you’re the type who enjoys the winter weather, then you’ll want to read on to find out about the different types of winter activities that take place throughout Staten Island. Even if you’re not winter’s biggest fan, you may want to check out some of the indoor activities listed below, especially if you’re in the mood for getting out of the house or you’re desperate to find something fun for the kids to do. You may just find the perfect solution to getting yourself (and the kids) out doing something fun and creative this winter.

Ice Skating

Staten Island Skating Pavilion
3080 Arthur Kill Road
Visit Website | 718-948-4800
As one of the only indoor rinks in the city, the Staten Island Skating Pavilion offers public skating sessions on weekends (more during school breaks), lessons, events, games, hockey leagues and even birthday parties.

WWII Veterans War Memorial Ice Skating Rink
Clove Lakes Park- Victory Boulevard west of Clove Road
Visit Website | 718-720-1010
Take advantage of the cold weather at Staten Island’s only outdoor skating rink, which has become increasingly popular with local families. The rink also offers skating lessons, public sessions and birthday party packages.

Staten Island Sledding

Although the small hill at Clove Lakes Park (at the corner of Slosson and Martlings) is known as the “official” sledding spot on Staten Island, but there are plenty of other places to get a sled run in. Many kids (and adults) love sledding down “Dead Man’s Hill” in Silver Lake Park, or taking a ride on the hills on the La tourette Golf Course. Either way, many memories will be made on these sleigh-riding hills.

Another Venue for Skaters (that is, skate-boarders)

5050 Skatepark

354 Front Street


For teens and young adults, Staten Island’s 5050 Skatepark is the place to be. As the only indoor skatepark in the city, this is a great place for teens (or anyone else) who needs the indoor space to work on their scooter, skateboard or BMX bike tricks. There are open sessions, beginner sessions and one-on-one lessons as well. Visit for more details.

Cultural Offerings

Staten Island Children’s Museum

1000 Richmond Terrace
Telephone: 718-273-2060 / Fax: 718-273-2836

Located on the grounds of Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the Staten Island Children’s Museum offers a variety of hands-on educational exhibits such as Block Harbor, House: About It, Portia’s Playhouse, Great Explorations, Bugs and Insects, Ladder 11, Sea of Boats, and DB’s Fantastic Machines. It also provides special programming for children of all ages on a regular basis, such as daily activities like Storytime, weekday programs like Kidz Cook, toddler programs like Artist in Me and weekend family workshops like Up 4 Art. Perfect for anyone feeling cooped-up indoors!

St. George Theatre

35 Hyatt Street


There is nothing like catching a show at the iconic St. George Theatre. This upcoming week you won’t want to miss “Frosty the Snowman,” presented on December 29, 2014. The theater will also be hosting a series of intimate performances in the mezzanine lounge, ranging from music, illusion, jam nights, original works, cabaret and comedy. Visit for more details.

Staten Island Museum

75 Stuyvesant Place


Hosting both indoor and outdoor adventures, the Staten Island Museum is a place for thinkers, doers, explorers and anyone with even just a touch of curiosity. This month the museum is hosting a variety of workshops, including family art workshops, outdoor adventures and bird walks, and even science programs. Visit their website at for more information about upcoming events.

Tibetan Art Museum

338 Lighthouse Ave


Perfectly nestled on the side of Lighthouse Hill, the Tibetan Art Museum presents the art and culture of Tibet and the Himalayas in order to educate and inspire. Besides offering a variety of exhibits and programs, the museum will also open its doors on weekends in February for guided meditation. Visit their website at for more information.

Staten Island Greenbelt

700 Rockland Avenue


Staten Island’s Greenbelt has loads of programs available for adults and children of all ages, all year round. If you’re a runner and want a change of scenery, take advantage of the group trail runs the Greenbelt is offering. Or, get your children involved in all of the President’s week activities that will be taking place during their week off from school. Adult artists, little tots and anyone looking to increase their knowledge of the natural world or enjoy Staten Island’s trails should take advantage of these Greenbelt programs. For a list of upcoming events taking place at the Greenbelt, visit their website at

Historic Richmond Town

451 Clarke Avenue

Visit Website |  718-351-1611

Historic Richmond Town, Staten Island’s living history village and museum complex, is alive and kickin’ even in the dead of winter. It’s time to relax by the fire while listening to some of the best folk and acoustic songwriters and musicians in the country. Check the Richmond Town website at for information on the upcoming tavern concerts that will surely transport you back to a simpler time.

Mariners Harbor Library

206 South Ave

Staten Island, NY, 10303

(212) 621-0690

The state-of-the-art Mariners Harbor Library is the first New York Public Library branch to open since the Battery Park City Library opened in 2010. Designed with an exterior of mostly windows and skylights, the 10,000 square foot library is bright and spacious. With no walls, the layout encourages an open community feel. The library contains approximately 17,000 books, DVDs and periodicals, 38 desktop computers, 10 laptops and FREE Wi-Fi. It’s also ADA accessible, has a children’s-only bathroom, a community room, and a garden and terrace. Like all library branches, it regularly hosts programs for all ages, including storytimes, crafts, movie nights, exercise classes and even FREE after-school homework help. To find out more information about New York Public Library offerings, visit

Tap into your Creative Side

Staten Island Makerspace

(718) 273-3951

Founded in 2013, SI Makerspace is a non-profit, community co-working space for makers, builders, tinkerers, hardware developers, hobbyists, artists, entrepreneurs, and anyone with a curious mind who wants to make something. For those looking to pursue a hobby or just try something new, SI Makerspace offers memberships to individuals to use the tools and equipment in their facility, and a variety of workshops for adults and children. For more information about their upcoming workshops, visit


Of course, these aren’t the only things happening on Staten Island this winter. The Staten Island Zoo, Staten Island Parks, and Snug Harbor Cultural Center are among my favorite places to visit- even when the cold sets in. If you are looking to buy a home or any type of real estate on Staten Island and want to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact me on Facebook or Twitter. Take a look at my website for helpful information about the different North Shore neighborhoods, photos , local businesses, news and events. Don’t forget to check out North Shore Buzz for video interviews and home-buying tips.

Have a wonderful holiday from my family to yours!

North Shore Updates

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As a Staten Island Realtor and a resident of Staten Island’s North Shore, one of my passions is staying up-to-date with North Shore news and local happenings. Within the past year, I wrote about many exciting developments that I think all Staten Islanders should know about; including the New York Wheel, Empire Outlets, Lighthouse Point, Staten Island Makerspace, the Stapleton waterfront, and many more. Well, I’m back to give you some updates on some of these, and get you excited about what to look forward to in 2015, right around the corner!

Empire Outlets

You may already be aware that Nordstrom’s Rack, a 34,000-square-foot Rack store that offers shoes, apparel and accessories, is scheduled to open in fall 2016 as one of Empire Outlet’s anchor stores. Although we are still waiting for BFC Partners to release more information about who else will occupy the retail space, there is no question that construction on Empire Outlets is underway.

In fact, Staten Island Ferry commuters may have already noticed some changes and additions to the ferry terminal over the past few months. A sales suite/leasing office for The New York Wheel and Empire Outlets opened up in this past October in the ferry terminal, giving interested commuters information about the 900 rental apartments that will soon be available once the project is complete.

As of December 1st the 300 parking spaces in Lot A, located next to the terminal, will be unavailable until the construction of Empire Outlets is completed. To accommodate commuters, 800 monthly parking permits will be offered for all spaces in lots B and C, and five temporary parking lots will have shuttle service to the terminal.

The five remote lots will compensate for any losses of the 300 parking spaces, and are located at 680 Richmond Terrace, 22 Academy Place, 475 Bay Street, 40 Prospect Street, and 355 Front Street. Shuttle service times will be posted at each of the lots.

Once the project is complete, parking lots designated for commuter use will be available in the newly constructed parking garage.

The National Lighthouse Museum

Making major headway is the development of the National Lighthouse Museum, located at the former US Lighthouse Service Depot and on the future grounds of Lighthouse Point. After 16 long years, the National Lighthouse Museum is finally settling in at its new home located adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry. The museum will be one feature of Lighthouse Point, a development that will include 100 residential units, a hotel, a variety of retail shops and dining options, open space and parking.

Currently, the museum is open to the public, holding educational programs and special events such as lectures, festivals, lighthouse trails and conferences. Site tours are available by appointment. Because work is currently underway on the Educational Resource Center in Building 11, there is no charge for admission. Guests can view the ongoing work being done on the current exhibits and visit the Museum Gift Shop. The first phase of construction is scheduled to be completed this upcoming spring.

Current exhibits include a Wall of Lights Exhibit, which consists of a variety of over 150 miniature lighthouse models on display, illustrating the many types of lighthouses seen throughout the world. Integrated into this structure is a database that allows visitors to access information about specific lighthouses around the world. Exhibits under construction off-site include the Purpose of Lighthouses, Lighthouse Technology, Lighthouse Keepers, Lighthouse History and National Lighthouse Museum History.

The National Lighthouse Museum continues to provide special events, presentations and lighthouse tours while work is being done on the museum. For more information on how to contribute to the development of the exhibits and the future of the museum, or for a list of upcoming events, visit

Staten Island Makerspace

This past year I posted two blogs and featured a video on North Shore Buzz highlighting Staten Island Makerspace, Staten Island’s first small business incubator. Sponsored by the NYCEDC, Makerspace takes the “do it yourself” idea to a whole new level as it gives both skilled craftspeople and hobbyists the opportunity to make their ideas come to life.

What was once a metal shop has been transformed into a creative community workspace for artists, craftspeople, makers, and hobbyists… and has certainly made headlines! Makerspace has proven to be as creative and inspiring as promised, drawing in hundreds of individuals with classes, workshops, events and celebrations. Check out their website for a list of upcoming workshops and classes, open to all ages and skill levels. Use Makerspace to “dream, create, make!”

Stay tuned…

Over the next few weeks I hope to continue to bring you more information about new businesses, restaurants and other upcoming events taking place on Staten Island’s North Shore. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy a restful holiday season with your friends and family. There truly is no better time of year!

If you are looking to buy a home or any real estate on Staten Island and want to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact me on Facebook or Twitter. Even better, my website is full of helpful information about the different North Shore neighborhoods, local businesses, news and events. I look forward to meeting up with you soon!

What’s New at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal

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If you’re one of the thousands of commuters that board the Staten Island Ferry each day, chances are you’ve seen the transformation that has taken place over the past few months. New restaurants, new exhibits, and a sneak-peek as to what commuters and tourists have to look forward to in the near future… the Ferry terminal has been transformed from a drab waiting area to a bright, clean transportation gateway.

So, if you’re heading into Manhattan this holiday season to do some shopping or perhaps some ‘touristy’ things of your own, be sure to allot some extra time to check out what’s new in the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.

A New Look

The new terminal provides beautiful views of the harbor, high ceilings, and a well-lit, open space. Replacement of the harbor side brick wall with a 40-foot glass wall allows for a perfect view of the ferry boat while it approaches the terminal. Transportation connections to bus, subway, train and car have been improved, allowing for a seamless commute.

Also on display in the ferry terminal are rendered photos of Empire Outlets, giving future shoppers a sneak-peek of the new outlet mall.

Restaurants and Cafés

Passengers at the ferry terminal can enjoy a wider variety of dining options as well. Below is a list of current eateries located in the ferry terminal.

  • Au Bon Pain
  • DQ Grill & Chill
  • Eat-a-Bagel Ferry
  • Island Soft Pretzel
  • Statue of Liberty Deli
  • Subway Restaurant
  • Wateredge

Opening soon in the terminal is a 24-hour restaurant, the River Dock Café, which will not only offer seafood and American fare, but views of Lady Liberty and the New York Harbor.

Leasing Office

Commuters interested in rental options in St. George can also take advantage of the convenience of the Empire Outlets leasing office being located in the Ferry terminal. Along with 30,000 square feet of retail space, the plans for Empire Outletalso include space for 900 rental apartments.

Living Roof

“Green” features have been included in the renovations of the terminal, specifically an 18,000 square-foot living roof. Located atop the terminal building, visitors and commuters can enjoy a view of living vegetation of local flora adjacent from the public viewing area.

The Culture Lounge

One of my favorite new additions to the ferry terminal is the Culture Lounge, located along the strip of restaurants and storefronts. Sponsored by Staten Island Arts, the Culture Lounge serves as their new office, gallery and shop, and is being called a meeting place and a project space for both international and local artists- from visual artists, poets, musicians, writers and performers- to display their artistic projects.

One aspect of the Culture Lounge is the Artists Market, which is located at the forefront of the space. It offers a wide variety of unique, handmade goods, created by local artists, and all within a “New York Harbor” theme. Perfect for tourists looking to purchase authentic gifts and as a permanent gallery for local artists to display (and sell) their work.

Parking Updates

Along with the “new look” of the Ferry terminal, and all of the wonderful things it has to offer, commuters and tourists should also be aware of the parking changes that have recently taken place since construction for Empire Outlets has begun.

Currently, the 300 parking spaces in Lot A, located next to the terminal, will be unavailable for about two years, until the construction of Empire Outlets is completed. To accommodate commuters, 800 monthly parking permits will be offered for all spaces at lots B and C, and five temporary parking lots will have shuttle service to the terminal.

The five remote lots will compensate for any losses of the 300 parking spaces, and are located at 680 Richmond Terrace, 22 Academy Place, 475 Bay Street, 40 Prospect Street, and 355 Front Street. Shuttle service times will be posted at each of the lots.

Once the project is complete, parking lots designated for commuter use will be available in the newly constructed parking garage.

As you can see, there is so much happening on Staten Island’s North Shore! If you are looking to buy a home or any Staten Island real estate and want to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact me on Facebook or Twitter. Even better, my website is full of helpful information about the different North Shore neighborhoods, local businesses, news and events. Don’t forget to check out North Shore Buzz for video interviews and home-buying tips.

I look forward to meeting up soon, and have an extraordinary day!

Shop Locally this Holiday Season on Staten Island’s North Shore

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In just a few days, hundreds (perhaps, thousands?) of Staten Islanders will hit the stores and malls in their quest to get the best price for the items on their shopping lists.

Although I’m not much of a Black Friday shopper, I know many folks who look forward to this day every year. For many, it marks the official start to their holiday season.

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it seems that retailers are constantly coming up with creative incentives for people to buy their goods. And although I am all for a thriving economy, I want to encourage you to support our local businesses by shopping locally as much as possible this holiday season.

This Saturday happens to be Small Business Saturday, an American shopping tradition that has taken place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving since 2010. Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to patronize small and local business, in contrast to the big box retail and e-commerce stores. So, in honor of Small Business Saturday, I have provided a list of my favorite local businesses on Staten Island’s North Shore. These stores not only have great products, but they’re sure to have something on your holiday list.



Whether you’re heading out to a holiday party or stuck on what to leave for Santa, chances are, your local bakery has just what you need. Surprise your loved ones with their favorite treats and a gift certificate to one of Staten Island’s infamous bakeries.



I’m sure there is a wine lover in your life who would love a bottle of wine, personalized wine glasses, or a gift basket from their local wine shop. Check out these local businesses, who not only provide the best wines, but the best service.



Surely, someone on your list has a favorite place to dine at. Or, perhaps you know of a place they would love but haven’t tried yet. A gift certificate to a local restaurant is a perfect gift that not only supports local businesses, but gives people on your list a reason to get out and celebrate!

There are so many restaurants on Staten Island’s North Shore worth listing, but here are some of my favorites.


For Kids

Not sure what to get the children on your list? Stop in one of the local toy stores or children’s boutiques and I’m sure one of “Santa’s Helpers” will help you find the perfect gift.


Health and Beauty

The gift that keeps on giving sometimes includes a trip to the local salon or spa. I’m sure that anyone on your list would appreciate a few hours of relaxation and much deserved pampering at one of these North Shore locations.



Still stuck? Check out Gifted at their new location at 717 Forest Avenue. Here you are sure to find a beautifully wrapped holiday gift basket that anyone would enjoy. Also consider a unique fabulous handcrafted gift from the Staten Island Arts Culture Lounge, located at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.

This holiday season; please consider supporting one of your local businesses. There are so many benefits to shopping locally: it preserves the local culture, improves the local economy, creates jobs, enriches the community, and helps build relationships by providing a personalized experience.

Best of luck to you as you tackle your holiday shopping list and get your last minute shopping done. If you’re looking to buy a home on Staten Island or purchase Staten Island real estate please feel free to visit my website for information on listings, local attractions, home-buying tips and neighborhood information. You can also connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday, and look forward to meeting you soon!

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