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Christine Evangelista’s Guide to Staten Island

The New York-native on her juicy role on The Arrangement and where to find the best slice in the southernmost borough

In “The Arrangement,” E! Network’s latest scripted, soapy escapade, aspiring actress/frustrated waitress Megan Morrison (Christine Evangelista) must decide what she’s willing to do in exchange for insta-fame after shifty A-lister and relative stranger Kyle West (Josh Henderson) offers her a contract marriage. Unlike her character’s unconventional shortcut to stardom, Evangelista’s path was more of a good, old-fashioned schlep: As an ambitious drama kid growing up in Staten Island, she would take the bus or ferry to theater gigs in the city.

“I would commute to Manhattan every day after school to do off-Broadway plays and [community theater],” she says of her decidedly humble beginnings, especially notable given Evangelista’s own high profile connects (model Linda is a second cousin). “I was 14 and taking the [Staten Island] ferry late at night. If you missed it, you’d be stuck at the terminal with a bunch of undesirables, so I would sprint to the door as it was shutting, throw my bag in and slide underneath, Mission Impossible style.”

Evangelista’s Tom Cruise-like moves aside, “The Arrangement,” contrary to wide speculation, is not an adaptation of the TomKat saga (according to cast and crew). After all, Katie Holmes was hardly a struggling actress when she and Cruise got hitched at an Italian castle in 2004. And though the series shot on location in Italy, it was, as Evangelista revealed, for a plot line at the Venice Film Festival. “It was magical to film in the canal, riding boats through the city. It was incredible,” she says.

And how did Venetian cuisine compare to that of her native isle? “The Italian-American food scene is everything on Staten Island—even Asian restaurants serve it—but nothing compares to authentic Italian food,” she admits.

What it may lack in authenticity, Staten Island makes up for in kitschy charm (see: Goodfella’s Pizzeria) and pristine nature preserves (Greenbelt Park). Herein, Evangelista’s complete guide to its particular breed of “island” life.

Cup of Joe: I’d get my morning coffee at Colonnade Diner before getting on the express bus to Manhattan. 

Power Lunch: Goodfellas has awesome pizza. Awesome. I worked there for a bit, mainly for the employee discount. I think I still have my apron!

Cocktail HourAngelina’s is a great place to get a drink. Good music, beautiful views of the water, and a great vibe. 

Retail Therapy: The eco-friendly Secret Garden salon and spa sells great products like Aveda and Davines. Yasmin Gaffar is a must-see for hair color! 

Field Trip: The Snug Harbor botanical gardens are beautiful. As a teen I was involved with the theater program there and as a child, my mother and I spent countless days at their museum. It’s given me a lot of great memories. 

Date Night: Trattoria Romana has amazing Italian. Also, Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse—in high school you knew a guy really, really liked you if you went to Arirang for a date. 

Don’t Miss: During winter nights, my family and I head to Historic Richmond Town, a park and museum dating back to 1896.

Hidden Gem: Greenbelt Park is a nature preserve that no one really goes to and I wish they would. The trails are great. My brother and I would take our dogs there on runs. 

 

The Secret Garden Spa’s Vivian Pisano Makes Life Improvement Part of Customer Service
Franchisee shares her secrets for going above and beyond for customers.
BY Charles Internicola

06/15/2015 02:00 pm
Sounds simple and although most business owners (even the unsuccessful ones) think they understand their customers, but do they really? Not an easy task but definitely critical – how else can you deliver “value” for your customers unless you truly understand who they are and what they want?

Recently, our team had a great time visiting with our client Vivian Pisano – owner of The Secret Garden Spa. Vivian is passionate about what she does and, more important, she is one of the smartest business owners that I know. Vivian is focused on her business systems, constantly monitoring her business metrics and, best of all, she is truly focused on understanding her customers and creating valuable services and experiences for them. Not only does Vivian focus on providing great services to her clients (something many businesses do) she is also focused on delivering extra value (something very few businesses do). How does she do it? Well, she does it by genuinely caring about her clients and providing them with services and seminars that are focused on their wellness and sharing Vivian’s passion for wellness and a sustainable lifestyle.

After listening to Vivian’s entrepreneurial story and the stories of many of our successful clients, one common thread is that these entrepreneurs are passionate about what they do, they build a tribe of dedicated raving fan followers and they do this by delivering “extra-ordinary value”. Entrepreneurs like Vivian not only provide exceptional service at a fair price. They are also obsessed with providing their clients and customers with a whole lot more. In Vivian’s case, The Secret Garden Spa is not only about salon and spa services but also about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and assisting her clients in improving their lives.

Visualizing Her Business Then Taking Action. At the 1:13 mark of the video above there is a great image of Vivian’s “Inspiration Book” where she put together her ideas for her spa. It is amazing to see this book and how, eventually, what she drew and wrote down came to reality.

Wellness: The Added Value. Vivian is focused on the wellness of her clients and not just providing them with spas services. So much so, that some of the “services” that The Secret Garden Spa offers is focused on seminars designed to inform and empower her clients. At the 3:32 mark of the video, Vivian talks about The Secret Garden Spa’s “Bloom Workshops” that, according to Vivian, was motivated by the desire to “…educate the community about powerful lifestyle choices…”

When I think about Vivian and The Secret Garden Spa, the term that comes to mind is “purpose driven entrepreneurship”. For Vivian, her purpose goes far beyond the services that her business offers and it turns out that this purpose adds tremendous value to her customers. No wonder The Secret Garden Spa is so successful and well regarded. How does you business deliver extra value?

See Video

 

 

 

10933267-largeAngela D’Aiuto, left, executive director of the West Brighton Local Development Corp., with recipients of the first Staten Island Green Awards, from the left, Susan Fowler, JR Rich, Vivian Pisano and Maureen Fairlie. (Photo Courtesy of The West Brighton LDC)

 

West Brighton Community Local Development Corporation salutes ‘green’ business men and women
Print Virginia N. Sherry | sherry@siadvance.com By Virginia N. Sherry | sherry@siadvance.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on May 02, 2012 at 9:17 AM, updated May 02, 2012 at 11:04 AM

 

West Brighton Local Development Corp.
Angela D’Aiuto, left, executive director of the West Brighton Local Development Corp., with recipients of the first Staten Island Green Awards, from the left, Susan Fowler, JR Rich, Vivian Pisano and Maureen Fairlie. (Photo Courtesy of The West Brighton LDC)
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – CASTLETON CORNERS – Four green-thinking entrepreneurs and community leaders were honored last Friday at the First Annual Staten Island Green Awards Luncheon of the West Brighton Community Local Development Corporation, held in the meeting hall of Castleton Hill Moravian Church on Victory Boulevard.
Saluted for green business practices and community visions were:

* Maureen Fairlie, owner of Snappy Solutions, a company that provides eco-friendly cleaning supplies and construction materials. Its green product line emphasizes health, safety, and environmental protection.

* Susan Fowler, assistant manager of Healthy Neighborhoods Staten Island for City Harvest, who works to increase the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables to North Shore residents through community gardens and other initiatives.

* Vivian Pisano, owner of the Secret Garden Salon and Spa on Forest Avenue in West Brighton, featuring eco-friendly products and a green operating model.

* JR Rich, greening coordinator at the Joan and Alan Bernikow Jewish Community Center (JCC), who represented the agency in the Jewish Greening Fellowship training program funded by the UJA Federation of New York. The JCC’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint have included installation of a solar thermal heating system.

The West Brighton Community LDC’s Green Initiative provides technical assistance to small businesses, local institutions, and community organizations interested in reducing energy consumption and developing eco-friendly business practices.