December 11, 2011

So, what is there to do on a saturday night on Staten Island, anyway?

This is a question I find myself asking quite often. This is also the reason I moved to Williamsburg in 2009. Once I was there I longed for the nights of riding around aimlessly in cars, drinking tea at Everything Goes Cafe, and the chilled evenings at the South Beach boardwalk.

Needless to say, I moved back to Staten Island within a year. As much as I would like to like Brooklyn, I just prefer the open space, the cold beach air, the warm cafes here much better. So, since I am one of the twenty somethings that would like to spend my weekends local,  I will continually highlight some of the coolest hang-outs and places of potential on S.I.

First up: Coffee Shops, Venues, and Other Spots
Everything Goes Cafe and Neighborhood Stage
E.T.G. is a cozy, special place where one goes for a number of reasons. Not only do they have an exceptional tea and coffee menu, they offer light snacks: sandwiches, soups, cookies, chocolates which often feature locally grown and cultivated ingredients. They sell and advocate local, organic, fair trade.

Aside from the food, ETG also has a bookstore of used, vintage, and new books on every subject you can think of: history, religion, culture, children's books, poetry, self-help, philosophy, nature and science to name a few. There is also a great selection of local musicians cd's, locally featured art exhibits, and a small stage that is the performing grounds of many local poets/musicians/and dancers. If I have written the word local twenty times in one paragraph, it is because this place is one of the best places to meet your fellow Staten Islanders.

For those who do not have computer or internet access, you can use their computers for ten cents per minute. For those who want to read some news, they have magazines and leaflets that deal with politics, the arts, and sustainability. What's not to love?

There's also a sense of welcoming. The staff are always friendly, intelligent, and conversational. Katie and Steve, the mainstays, are always helpful. And the bathroom is well-kept, beautiful (this is an old building with mosaic tiles), and filled with advertisements for events, arts clippings, business cards and all. Consider it graffiti art of a different kind.

I first stumbled upon this place in 2007/8 and I go there whenever I am in St. George. They usually have bands playing, poets reading, and dancer's dancing. They frequently host community related meetings, such as brainstorming for Second Saturdays, arts groups, and hearings.

Did I mention this place has books? Tea? Cookies? Art? If you're bored on a friday (or any other day except mondays when they are closed) check out this local hot bed of cultural and artisan activities.

Tue -Thur  10:30 - 6:30                  Fri - Sat  10:30 -10                     Sunday  12 - 5pm
open until 10pm on event
evenings (see

PS: I recently read an inaccurate article written in the New York Times that depicts ETG (and Staten Island, in general) as an old, washed up, perhaps archaic place that seldom has any young people out and about. If you'd like to read that article for some outside perspective, you can do so here:

Ms. Bellafante could not have been farther from the truth in her description of ETG. I have been there on many evenings and late afternoons, either working, perusing, performing, or spectating. There is always something happening here. It is a quaint and wondrous place... and every year they participate in St. George Day!

Visit them on the web here:
Or in person here: 208 Bay Street near; turn left at Victory and Bay.

Everything Goes is the business model for GANAS commune. It features the Book Cafe, Vintage Clothing Store, Vintage Furniture Store, and a Gallery space. Check out their website here:

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