STATEN ISLAND, NY – A new market in Tompkinsville is sure to be one for the senses. Customers at the new Staten Island Food and Arts Market can indulge in the colors, scents, conversations and tastes showcased by the borough’s artisans and cooks.
The market is open at 20 Cebra Ave., between Victory Boulevard and Castleton Avenue, between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Organized by photographer Marcie Delapaz and Stapleton cafe owner Amira Cintron, the collaboration kicked off last weekend. Background music included tunes from Kelvin Wallace aka DJ K.Wah! as crowds infiltrated throughout the day.
At this inaugural presentation, vendors sold cosmetics, resin artwork, bath products, candles and scented oils. Maria Guzman of SHW Shego’s House of Wax exhibited handmade crystal jewelry and soy wax figurines. Her company started with candles and moved on to bath salts and soy candles, a distinct handicraft with vibrant colors and intricate detail.
Gladys Rose Exquisite Botanicals by Liz Baretto offered puffs of artfully crafted soaps pressed with dried organic flowers.
Barbara Longobardi sampled long-lasting creams and make-up as well as magnetic eyelashes, the latter of which was a hit with visitors on Saturday afternoon.
Adina Roman showcased personalized plaid candles with photos and resin crafts, the mainstay of her business, Roman’s Resins.
Gift ideas and scented treats came from Eviie’s Knickknacks and Jolees Lil Bit of Everything.
Conversations with vendors like Michelle Swiney McCombs shed some light on how inspiring COVID-19 has been for budding entrepreneurs. The New Brighton resident now consults on hair and make-up on an individual basis. She cuts and styles all hair types in her studio, and at the market sells “old-fashioned” brushes, unique oils, and a variety of skincare products.
And you could eat at your leisure in the market. Edibles are only offered on weekends. There are a few seats to have a meal. Otherwise, food is available to take away.
Co-host Amira Cintron sold cookies from her Van Duzer Street brick-and-mortar Amira’s Cafe ‘n’ Bistro. She offered cups of sorrel, a cranberry juice-like drink sweetened with its own vanilla bean simple syrup.
Interspersed with crafts and a local Beezy Beez honey stand were Lullo’s Sugar Rush cupcakes, custom creations from Amanda and January Lullo.
HOPES FOR GREATER EFFORTS
Caterer Dorothy Nelson hopes to one day sell from a food truck. For now, the caterer is testing the field with pop-up restaurants under the Momma D’s Catering brand. Raves among tasters included mac and cheese, pigeon pea rice, meatballs in sauce and crispy fried wings.
“We’re praying it takes off,” a smiling Delapaz said in the sunshine from outside the storefront.
“It’s baby steps. We’re going to an outdoor market. We want to provide support to these suppliers,” Delapaz said. This effort will be called “Small Business Saturdays” and will begin April 2 at 117 Wright Pl., Stapleton, across from First Central Baptist Church in the parking lot.
Cintron explained how the two concepts are inspired by a collection of dishes known as Smorgasboard established in Brooklyn. She hopes a new breed of foodie tourist will come to Staten Island to experience her own diverse cuisines. And this budding neighborhood market is a start to attracting new audiences from the ferry and beyond.
“We have good restaurants. Sometimes it’s a little hard to spread the word about them,” said Cintron who explained that it’s a good way for fans to be cultivated.
The Staten Island Food and Art Market is located at 20 Cebra Ave. in the heart of Tompkinsville, also known as “Little Lanka,” a nod to the concentration of Sri Lankan shops and restaurants. Parking is along Victory Boulevard. Sellers can contact Delapaz directly at 347-422-4056. The website with updated providers is SIFoodAndArtMkt.com.
Here are images of the market during its inaugural weekend.