A FedEx office recently transformed into 4 St. Paul’s Café and gallery offers promise to Staten Island’s growing art community
It takes an imaginative group of creative types hailing from the growing artist community in St. George to recognize opportunity in a FedEx office. The storefront off Bay Street recently underwent a complete renovation and transformation, and now operates as a FedEx, art gallery, and café by day, chic wine bar and lounge by night.
Drawing its name from the address, 4 St. Paul’s Café and Gallery caters to artists, creative visionaries, and other style setters who appreciate a varied menu of international beers, fine wines, and some tasty nibbles. Great artwork is also included in the mix, as might be expected.
Gallery owner and entrepreneur Elena Centonzo opened the doors of the sleek gallery and cafe space, housed beneath a sophisticated five-apartment complex owned by George Christo and Sabrina Hamilton of Tompkinsville-based Door to Door Realty.
“Our aim is to provide a comfortable environment where artists of all types can find a stage for their work, and locals can share in the enthusiasm and energy of that world,” explained Sabrina Hamilton, design coordinator of Door to Door Realty. “The café and gallery personifies the energy and renewal ofStaten Island’s North Shore,” added George Christo, president of Door to Door Realty. “Neighborhoods such as St. George and Stapleton have fallen off the radar of visionaries for far too long, and the launching of this artists’ venue is a huge step toward changing that.”
The trendy destination made its debut in October with an opening reception that featured the work of several artists, including visual artist Sarah Kittinger McArthur and sculptor Jon Krawczyk, who was commissioned by Manhattan’s St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church to create a cross to replace an iconic I-beam cross discovered in the rubble of the 9/11 attacks. Moving forward, new artists and photographers will debut monthly.
Aesthetically, the space has a European-feel, and its décor was designed to serve as a “living canvas where visitors literally become part of the picture,” Hamilton explained. The trendy destination even has a resort-like vibe, as it offers a hint of Miami’s South Beach in an open-air backyard lounge. Since the art theme is truly a part of the entire space, the yard’s back wall is embellished with a painting that depicts a mirror image of the hillside that lies just beyond the wall.
At once fabulous and functional, the café offers an appealing meeting place for the blossoming community of artists, writers, photographers, musicians, and other creative thinkers. “Our venue is perfect for local entrepreneurs, including those who work from home. The on-site FedEx shop offers business support, providing mailboxes, document copying, professional packing services, faxing, scanning, FedEx shipping, and more during the daytime hours,” said Christo.
Since creativity knows no boundaries, an artistic vibe also infiltrates the culinary aspect of the café, with scheduled guest chefs making their debuts. “Everything we do has to tie into the arts. Even if its food, there’s some artistry involved,” added Christo. In addition to light fare and a variety of wines, the venue’s assortment of international beers will change with the seasons.
Open daily, the café will tempt guests with its freshly-prepared specialties and top-notch gourmet beverages, such as Italian import Lavazza coffee. The menu will continue to evolve, but the intention is to provide quality food at reasonable prices. (everything on the menu is priced close to $5). Sustainable and gluten-free options are also offered.
“In addition to inspiring harbor views and a convenient ferry jaunt to Manhattan, the area is unmatched for its variety of architecture, stunning renovations, and affordable residential and commercial spaces. These ingredients have fueled an art-filled culture and lifestyle that are fresh and exciting,” added Hamilton.
Stop by or call the gallery for news on upcoming art shows that will be held ongoing (the second Saturday of each month).