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Over-The-Top Christmas Decorations Give Staten Island Homes a Seasonal Glow

By Nicholas Rizzi | December 22, 2014 3:06pm
Sharrott Avenue Christmas Display
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

STATEN ISLAND — Forget the Griswolds — this is Christmas Staten Island style.

Homes in the borough are aglow with over-the-top decorations so bright they bring crowds of visitors from miles around.

One homeowner claims to have fastened nearly 60,000 fairy lights to his Bland Place home — together with a flashing display synced to music from bands including Led Zeppelin.

On most night, George Maneates stands outside in the cold to hand out hot chocolate and cookies to visitors in exchange for donations to the Wounded Warrior project.

He said he was inspired to turn his home into a Winter Wonderland by the story of the Little Drummer Boy — who offers up his only talent of drumming to Jesus.

 Several homes around Staten Island put up elaborate Christmas displays to raise money for charities during the holiday season.
Staten Island Christmas Decorations
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"I felt like this is me playing my drums for the Lord," he said. "I wanted to throw a little good back at the world."

With so many lights ablaze, Maneates estimates his monthly electric bill for December will be $240.

A few blocks away on Kingdom Avenue, the Pansinis set up donation bins in front of their garage, which they've transformed into Santa's Workshop. The money's going to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, they said.

But one of the most well-known displays is on Sharrott Avenue, where Joseph DiMartino puts custom-made animated figures in the front, the side and backyard of his home to raise money for a local hospital.

"It's a big project," said DiMartino, who works for three months to set up his display. "But the end result makes a lot of people happy."

DiMartino started his display in 2003 with a nativity scene in his garage. It grew to take over his whole home.

He donates all the money to the pediatric ward at Staten Island University Hospital. He says he's raised $141,000 since he started.

"Christmas is for children, so why not helping sick children?" DiMartino said.

The displays stay up until after Christmas and both DiMartino and Maneates said it takes them a month to take down. On Christmas Day, DiMartino welcomes visitors until 2 a.m.