local businesses

Love Is in the Air on Staten Island’s North Shore

IMG_0507Every February 14th, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. Long celebrated as a day of romance, February 14 is usually a day dedicated to expressing one’s affection for their loved ones.

However, unfortunately, this day of love can also prove to be stressful, as people tend to set or attempt to meet extremely high Valentine’s Day expectations.

Whether you are planning a grand gesture of romance or have something simple yet meaningful in mind, there are plenty of places throughout Staten Island’s North Shore that can help those who are hoping to make this Valentine’s Day a memorable one.

The History Behind the Valentine’s Day Holiday

Most people are aware of the legendary story of St. Valentine: a third-century priest who illegally performed marriages for young couples, at a time in ancient Rome when the emperor thought single men made better soldiers than men with wives and families. Valentine continued to perform marriages for couples in secret, and when he was found out, he was ordered to be put to death.

In the late 5th Century, Pope Gelasius declared an ancient Roman fertility festival (that took place on February 15) “un-Christian,” and instead, officially declared February 14 as “St. Valentine’s Day,” after the martyred priest.

Since then, the traditions of Valentine’s Day have spread and evolved with slight variations and even more symbolism: cupid’s arrow, red roses, pink hearts, lovebirds, even the small tokens and notes that are exchanged (we call them valentines), all have interesting cultural origins and meanings that date back thousands of years.

Celebrating on Staten Island

So, what are your plans for this Valentine’s Day? If you’re still stuck on how what to do this February 14, below are some of my favorite North Shore businesses that may be able to help make this Valentine’s Day a memorable one.


Growing up in the floral industry, I always spent my Valentine’s Day working. My specialty was making floral arrangements on-the-spot for customers looking for a unique and customized arrangement for their loved ones.

That being said, I know for a fact that Valentine’s Day isn’t complete without red roses.  Red roses are the traditional symbol for love and romance; red being a color that has always symbolized life and deep emotion. Want to send the strongest message of love? Send red roses.

Other roses have significant meanings as well. The pink rose symbolizes grace and elegance, and is often given as an expression of admiration. The yellow rose brings feelings of warmth and happiness and is usually associated with friendship. White roses represent innocence and purity and are often times associated with marriages and new beginnings. Orange roses represent desire and enthusiasm and can be a sign of passion and fervent romance. Lastly, lavender roses are a symbol of enchantment, and are often used to express that feeling of “love at first sight.”

Staten Island’s North Shore is full of florists that are there to help you send the perfect message of love. Check out some of my favorite places:

Sam Gregorio’s Florist: 814 Forest Ave (718) 447-7673

Clark’s House of Flowers: 1875 Victory Blvd (718) 442-6453


IMG_5828The exchange of chocolate and candy actually started in England during the Victorian age, when love-birds obsessed with courtly love showered each other with elaborate gifts. During this time, Richard Cadbury (recognize the name?) had perfected his family’s chocolate recipe, and used Valentine’s Day as a way to sell his chocolates in some of the first ever heart-shaped boxes.

These boxes were adorned with cupids, roses and other embellishments, and were designed by Cadbury himself.  After the chocolates were consumed, the beautiful boxes were used to store mementos or exchange love letters. Thus began the tradition of exchanging chocolates, also a reported aphrodisiac, on this special day.

If you’re looking to share some sweets with your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day, you should check out some of my favorite North Shore places:

Lee Sims Chocolates

422 Manor Road (718) 448-9276

A Sweet Occasion:

368 Forest Avenue (718) 273-2707


IMG_6615There is no question about the link between wine and romance. If you’re looking to celebrate with a toast (or more) on this February 14th, check out these locations. The owners there are wonderful and will surely help you pick out the perfect wine for the occasion.

Honor Wines:

36 Bay Street (718) 954-0452

Jean’s Fine Wines & Spirits:

642 Forest Avenue (718) 815-7600


Whether you are planning a romantic dinner for two, or are looking for a reason to get a night out alone (couples with kids know all about this), there are many restaurants on Staten Island that have Valentine’s Day specials to commemorate this day of romance.  Here are just a few:

Blue Restaurant:

1115 Richmond Terrace (718) 273-7777

Enjoy a special three-course dinner and a beautiful view of the North Shore waterfront to celebrate this Valentine’s Day.

South Fin Grill: 300 Father Capodanno Blvd (718) 447-7679

Enjoy live music the entire weekend, a candlelit dinner, and a special Lover’s Brunch on Sunday.

Joe and Pat’s Pizzeria: 1758 Victory Blvd (718) 981-0887

Looking to dine-in? Joe and Pat’s heart-shaped pizza puts a romantic spin on an otherwise casual dinner.

Unique Expressions of Love

Make this a Valentine’s Day a memorable one by checking out one of these events taking place on Staten Island this upcoming weekend.

Valentine’s Day Couples Welding at Staten Island MakerSpace: 

Get creative this Valentine’s Day! Get an introduction to MIG (metal inert gas) welding and use a plasma cutter to cut and create your own Valentine’s Day gesture. Couples will also enjoy a champagne toast at the end of the class. For more information, visit www.simakerspace.com.

“Romance.com” at Full Cup: 388 VanDuzer Street (347) 562-4496

Join Full Cup as they host the cast of “Romance.com,” an original musical about online dating, for three weekends starting February 14. Check out www.FullCupSI.com for more details and reservations. Also check out the video interview http://youtu.be/-ddilQvKIrg

“Valentine’s Day Doo-Wop Spectacular” at The St. George Theatre: 35 Hyatt Street (718) 442-2900

Enjoy an evening of vocal rhythm and blues at the St. George Theater on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 8pm as Rrazz Entertainment, Inc. brings a “Valentine’s Day Doo-Wop Spectacular” to Staten Island.

The Al Lambert Trio at Lorenzo’s Cabaret, Hilton Garden Inn:

1100 South Avenue (718) 477-2400 extension 5.

The Al Lambert Trio will appear in Lorenzo’s Cabaret on Valentine’s evening from 6:30-10:30pm. Guests will enjoy a three-course dinner. Overnight accommodations are also available and include champagne and a buffet breakfast.

For Kids

Looking for something to do with your kids this Valentine’s Day? Celebrate your love for your little ones at The Staten Island’s Children Museum (1000 Richmond Terrace), where they will be hosting a special Valentine’s Day version of “Kidz Cook.” Kids 5 and up will get the chance to celebrate the love-filled holiday with a decadent Willie Wonka chocolate fountain.

Or, take them out for dinner and ice cream, candy and novelties at Egger’s Ice Cream Parlor, located at 1194 Forest Avenue in West Brighton or 7437 Amboy Road in Tottenville.

Although over the years Valentine’s Day has stirred up some controversy (why do we  reserve only one day per year to express our love and affection for someone?), and has become extremely commercialized (making us think we have to go “above and beyond” year after year), Valentine’s Day always will be a day symbolizing love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you find yourself on Staten Island for this special holiday and fall in love (that is, with Staten Island), please don’t hesitate to contact me on Facebook or Twitter. My website is also full of helpful information about the different North Shore neighborhoods, local businesses, news and events. Check out North Shore Buzz for video interviews and home-buying tips. Find out why so many people are falling in love with Staten Island!

I hope to meet up with you soon!

Honor Wines Review

IMG_6621“From wine what sudden friendship springs!” John Gay

This quote hangs behind the register at Honor Wines, located at 36 Bay Street, in the heart of St. George. To me, this quote perfectly represents the essence of Honor Wines: a warm, inviting and authentic place where browsing, exploring and lingering are encouraged. In a world of busy schedules and deadlines, this is definitely not your typical “I’ll be in-and-out” type of store. In fact, from the moment I entered Lorie and Robert Honor’s wine shop, I could tell that I would be in there for a while.

Authentic and Real

Visiting Honor Wines is an experience in-and-of itself. The warm atmosphere, whimsical touches and the rustic flair seem to transport you to another place and time. There are very few places on Staten Island that provide this type of atmosphere.  At Honor Wines, there is more to a visit than just buying a bottle of wine. Lorie and Robert have created a place where relationships are formed, friendships are made, and memories are created.

On display here are hundreds of bottles of wine, each neatly placed on shelves constructed of reclaimed wood and steel beams. I felt like I was in a library of wines, each bottle unique, and each with their own story. In the midst of the wine displays are Lorie and Robert’s personal touches. Between the paintings that decorated the walls to the hand-crafted wine holders at the register, to each unique bottle of wine, it seemed as though each element in the store had its own story to tell. And Lorie Honor, the owner, could tell you the story behind each one.

Providing A Quality Product

In fact, each one of Lorie’s products does have its own story. From the unique blend of grapes used to make the wine, to the season in which they were grown; from the age of the wine to the casking in which it was stored; Lorie seems to know the intricate details behind each type of wine she sells.

This is no surprise, since Lorie and Robert are extremely dedicated to providing a quality product to their customers. And part of acquiring that high-quality product is in knowing where it comes from and how it is made. As the only “green” wine shop on Staten Island, Honor Wines not only sells a wide variety of organic wine, but they only support growers who specialize in small-yield, well-crafted, natural and organic wines from small farms and businesses.

Lorie finds comfort and pride in knowing that the wine in her store has been produced from grapes that were hand-harvested by farmers who observe sustainable farming practices. Having met many of the owners of the wine she sells, she is able to give her customers the intricate details behind the growth, harvesting and production of the wine they are about to consume. Not many business owners can actually provide that information, making this store a truly unique place. To Lorie, it is all part of her passion for wine.

Staten Island Proud


What left the biggest impression on me, however, was how committed the Honor’s are to their community. This was evidenced by the way they interacted with their customers and through the relationships they have developed with other small businesses across Staten Island’s North Shore. From providing wine at Snug Harbor events, to matching wines with local business menus. The Honor’s truly are proud Staten Islanders who are passionate about the community in which they live and work, and are also committed to seeing it progress even further.

Honor Wines is just another example of the many small businesses you can find on Staten Island’s North Shore that offer their community something rich and something unique; the personalization and small-town feel that an urban setting sometimes can’t provide.

For more information on Honor Wines, visit their website at www.honorwines.com, or better yet, stop in for a visit! They have wine tastings every Friday evening.

If you are looking to buy a home on Staten Island’s North Shore, or specifically St.George I would love to help you find your niche. You can contact me through my website, or can connect with me on Facebook or Twitter. My website also has plenty of resources that can be useful to potential home-buyers; including recent listings, Staten Island attractions, videos, and information on local businesses like Honor Wines. In the mean time, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season (be sure to support your community by shopping locally). I hope to meet up with you soon!

Honor Wines


As the only “organic” wine shop on Staten Island, Honor Wines sells a wide variety of organic wine, and only sells wine from growers who specialize in small-yield, well-crafted, natural wines from small farms and businesses, where do I find this shop?

  • 36 Bay Street, Staten Island New York 10301
  • Hours: Monday-Closed, Tuesday-Thursday: 12:00-8:30pm, Friday-Saturday: 12:00-9:00pm, Sunday: 12:00- 5:00pm
  • Weekly tastings every Friday: 5:00-8:00pm

Honor Wines is owned and operated by native Staten Islanders, Lorie and Robert Honor, and is located in the heart of St. George. Offering quality wines at affordable prices, Honor Wines is a warm, inviting and authentic place, owned by individuals who strive to build relationships with their customers and are committed to their neighborhood.