Meet Local Artist Keri Sheheen

Keri’s Artistic Roots

With an illustrator for a father and a bakery-owner for a mother, Staten Island native, Keri Sheheen, grew up surrounded by creativity and art.  She has been drawing for as long as she can remember. Her father’s hobby of collecting strange antiques guided her interests and imagination. Some of his collectibles included skulls, taxidermy statues, and vintage posters. Growing up surrounded by these objects led Keri to her niche of creating art that evokes the essence of late 19th-century superstition, spiritualism, folklore, and unusual phenomena. 

Keri Sheheen, printmaking


Keri is a printmaking artist working with various materials such as wood, paper, and clothing. Much of her art focuses on optical illusions and “persistence of vision” projects, using printmaking to create flipbook type artwork. Staten Island’s history and architecture have inspired much of her work. Keri explained, “We are always the odd borough out, which carries some comfort as an artist interested in the odd.” 

Preview(opens in a new tab)


Keri Sheheen, printmaking

She received her BFA in printmaking from SUNY New Paltz in 2013. Keri’s art has been exhibited across the tri-state area, including the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, The Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, Staten Island’s Artspace and The Alice Austen House Museum. She also illustrated the official t-shirt for the 2018 Mermaid Parade. 

Where to Find Keri

You can often find her at vendor fairs such as the Snug Harbor Fence Show and Coney Island’s Strange and Unusual Market. She also sells her work on Etsy and her prints on merchandise via Society 6. You can view her portfolio and works for sale on her website or follow her on Instagram and Facebook

Keri Sheheen, mechanical flipbook

Door: Mechanical Flipbook no.2👁️ Each frame is hand-painted and silkscreened 👈.Box built by @carlgallagher83 .This project was made possible in part by a DCA Premier Grant from @statenarts with public funding from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs…#animation #animate #flipbookit #flipbookfun #flipbook #mutoscope #silkscreen #screenprint #printmaking #handprinted #handmade #painting #artistsoninstagram #parlortrickprints

Posted by Parlor Trick Prints on Friday, November 22, 2019

Voter Information for Staten Island

In the midst of the pandemic and the USPS thrown into turmoil, Election Day 2020 is rapidly approaching. In order to combat the hurdles of voting during Covid-19 and the USPS crisis, here is a comprehensive list of voter information specifically written for Staten Island, NY. This information will be updated as more details come in so check back frequently for more news.

Are you Registered to Vote?

As a United States citizen, you are not automatically registered to vote. You have to register to vote on your own. 16 and 17 year olds can pre-register but cannot vote until they are 18 years old. All citizens 18 years and older are allowed to vote (if registered) with a few exceptions. Are you qualified to vote?

If you qualify to vote, you can check your registration status here. You can also call (866) 868-3692 and ask.

I’m Not Registered. Now What?

There are several ways to register to vote:

Mail-In Registration

You can obtain paper forms in a variety of ways. Forms are available at…

  • Libraries
  • Post offices
  • Government agencies
  • Call the NYC BOE 1-866-868-3692 to request a form.
  • Email with your mailing address and name of your borough in the subject line. 
  • Download the form here

Mail it to: Board of Elections 32 Broadway 7 Fl New York, NY 10004-1609

Mail your registration forms by October 9, 2020 to vote on November 3, 2020. With the slowdown of mail and USPS issues, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to register well before October 9th. 

In-Person Registration

Each borough has a Board of Elections (BOE) office and you can register to vote in -person at this office. Please be mindful that masks are required and temperatures will be checked. The address is listed below.

Staten Island’s BOE office Staten Island 1 Edgewater Plaza 4 Fl Staten Island, NY 10305 Phone: (718) 876-0079


If you have a valid NYS DMV license you can register online.



“Registered voters do not need to show ID to vote, unless they did not provide identification with their registration. First time voters must provide identification either on or with their voter registration application. If you have not provided ID by Election Day, you are still allowed to vote by affidavit ballot, but not using the poll site scanner.”

Make a Plan to Vote

  • How will I vote?
  • Where will I vote?
  • Do I know what transportation I will need to vote?

If you are registered to vote, there are several ways to go about voting this year.


Election Day is November 3, 2020 and you can vote in-person at your polling site. If you are unsure of what your polling site is, you can look it up here.

Mail-In Ballot Request

Important information about Mail-In Voting

  • This year, starting August 20, 2020, anyone is allowed to request a mail-in ballot due to concerns over the risk of catching or spreading Covid-19
  • Ballots will NOT be mailed to you automatically. You MUST request a ballot to vote by mail.
  • You MUST select “Unable to appear at the polls due to temporary or permanent illness or disability” if your reason for voting by mail is concern about Covid-19 
  • Your absentee ballot request must be emailed, faxed, completed online, or postmarked by October 27, 2020.

Where do I request an absentee ballot?

  • Online – This is the link to request an absentee ballot online.
  • Email application to *Applications must be saved in a (.pdf) format to avoid delays *  If you need help converting your ballot request into a (.pdf) format, please contact and we will assist you. 
  • Fax application to 212-487-5349
  • Call 1-866-VOTE-NYC (1-866-868-3692)
  • Print and mail application to Staten Island BOE office: 1 Edgewater Plaza 4 Fl Staten Island, NY 10305

This is the form to request an absentee ballot (in English). 

This is the form to request an accessible absentee ballot (in English).

This is the form to request an absentee ballot (in Spanish).

This is the form to request an absentee ballot (in Chinese).

This is the form to request an absentee ballot (in Korean).

This is the form to request an absentee ballot (in Bengali).

I Received my Absentee Ballot. What Do I Do With It?

You can mail in your ballot to the Staten Island Board of Elections office. You can also drive-up or walk it in. Masks are required and temperatures will be taken if you hand it in in person. You can request information on how to track your ballot to ensure it was verified. We recommend personally bringing your ballot into the office to avoid any issues with the post office.

Ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, November 3, 2020.

Ballots without a postmark must be received by November 4, 2020.

Staten Island Board of Elections:

  • Address: 1 Edgewater Plaza 4 Fl Staten Island, NY 10305
  • Telephone: 1-718-876-0079
  • Driving Directions: Directions
  • By Bus: S51 to Bay Street/Edgewater Street
  • By train: Exit at Clifton Station

Voting Early

What is Early Voting?

Voting early is different than voting with an absentee ballot by mail. Voting early means you will go to a polling site and cast your vote prior to Election Day

When Does Early Voting Start?

Early voting begins on October, 24, 2020 and will continue through November 1, 2020.

Where is my early voting polling site?

You can look up your early voting poll site here. A list of all early voting sites in Staten Island is located here.

Need More Help?

Vote NYC has a wealth of information. If you prefer, you can call (866) 868-3692 to speak to someone.

We are here to help! Email Staten Island Community News with the subject line: Voting help with any questions and we will work to resolve your issue.

Staten Island Events 8/13- 8/20

This list of Staten Island events is being continuously updated. Check back for additional events/activities.

Want to add an event? Contact us at

Staten Island Events August 13, 2020:

  • 12:30-1:00pm Project Hospitality Mobile Pantry 285 Vanderbilt Ave Vanderbilt Moravian Church
  • 4:30-6:00 Project Hospitality Mobile Pantry 1665 Richmond Rd Turkis Cultural Center of Staten Island: Dinner and Groceries
  • 6:30-7:30pmProject Hospitality Mobile Pantry 239 Seguine Ave- The Reformed Church of Prince Bay: Dinner and Groceries
  • 7:30-8:30pm 5-Boro Emergency Census Town Hall via Zoom. Sign up via
  • 7:00-8:00pm Gentle Yoga outdoors at the Yoga Nook

Staten Island Events August 14, 2020:

Staten Island Events August 15, 2020:

August 16th:

  • 5:00pm Juicy Lucy BBQ a Flick and a Feast drive-in movie. Playing Jaws
  • 8:15pm Juicy Lucy BBQ a Flick and a Feast drive-in movie. Playing Jaws

August 18th:

  • 5:00pm Juicy Lucy BBQ a Flick and a Feast drive-in movie. Playing Toy Story
  • 7:00-9:00pm Smithsonian Screening-Legend of Lead Belly movie night via Zoom from Snug Harbor Cultural Center. Register here.
  • 8:15pm Juicy Lucy BBQ a Flick and a Feast drive-in movie. Playing Toy Story

August 19th:

  • 4:30-7:00pmWellness Wednesdays at Snug Harbor Cultural Center: Farm Stand, Margarita Tasting, Nutrition 101
  • 5:00pm Juicy Lucy BBQ a Flick and a Feast drive-in movie. Playing Up In Smoke
  • 8:15pm Juicy Lucy BBQ a Flick and a Feast drive-in movie. Playing Up In Smoke

August 20th:

  • 5:00pm Juicy Lucy BBQ a Flick and a Feast drive-in movie. Playing Devil’s Rejects
  • 8:15pm Juicy Lucy BBQ a Flick and a Feast drive-in movie. Playing Devil’s Rejects

Practice Yoga- It’s More Than A Trend

by Nicole DiBenedetto

Yoga is everywhere. We see it in commercials, movies, and television shows. We see people walking down the street carrying yoga mats slung over their shoulder. It seems like everyone is practicing yoga. What is all the hype about? Is it just the current trend for exercise these days? As the studio owner of The Yoga Nook in Great Kills, I would like to help shine a light on the benefits of yoga.

Why Practice Yoga?

Although any form of exercise can bring tremendous health benefits, yoga is highly
recommended because it not only stimulates the body, it supports our mental and emotional
health as well. There are three aspects of a well-rounded yoga practice.


The asana practice is the practice of physical movement. It is what you generally think of when you think of practicing yoga. We use it to release unwanted tension, gain flexibility, stimulate blood flow, build stamina, improve balance, and increase strength.


In a yoga class, there is much emphasis on the practice of breathing, known as pranayama. By learning different breathing techniques we learn how to use the breath as a reliable tool. It helps lower our blood pressure, improves the oxygen levels in our bloodstream, and helps find grounding and calmness.


Meditation practice is also a vital part of yoga. We use many different methods to help find peace, clarity, and openness in the mind and heart.

The yoga practice as a whole helps us to make better lifestyle choices. These include the promotion of better nutrition and overcoming negative habits. The yoga practice is more than just exercise, it is an experience.

Who Should Practice Yoga?

Yoga is made for everyone. There are many different styles and levels a practitioner can choose from according to their specific needs and preferences. Be mindful that there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” yoga class. It is important to understand why you are choosing to take part in the practice.

“My mind is too scattered.” “It’s hard for me to sit still.” “I’m not flexible enough.”

Those that resist yoga practice with these types of excuses are exactly the people who should be taking part in yoga. Yoga helps us to reset ourselves and work through any of our imbalances on a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual level.

We ALL can benefit from the gifts of this ancient practice.

Where Should You Start Your Yoga Practice?

Due to Covid-19, studios in the New York City area are forced to remain closed until further
notice and are now sharing the practice of yoga by teaching virtually. This has opened the
opportunity for new students to get a taste of what the practice is all about in the comfort of
their own home and on their own time. You can find countless studios and independent instructors offering online sessions for you to try. You can find both live stream classes and recorded sessions to fit yoga into your personal schedule.

Start your journey by tuning in to a 10-minute recording of a guided meditation. Ten minutes is all it takes to get yourself into a better frame of mind and to switch your mood for the rest of the day! If you have more time to dedicate to your practice, try to tune in to a short beginner or gentle class to start introducing the fundamental poses to your body.

As an instructor, I find it important to teach yoga at different intensity levels so that the participant gets the opportunity to learn the practice in stages rather than getting thrown straight into a power flow class. Building your foundation is key to growing into more advanced practice. After you get familiar with the basics, you can always move further by trying longer and harder classes. Once you get comfortable with the practice, a good next step is to sign up for a local class held in your area. Practicing in a group setting is the greatest way of connecting with others’ energy and raising your own vibrations by feeding off of the other students in the class.


Those who say they do not have time for yoga are the ones who need it the most. Some of us
may not have the luxury of attending an hour-long yoga class at a local studio daily, yet that
does not mean you cannot still practice.

Can you find 10 to 15 minutes in your day to set aside to take a few deep breaths, to clear your mind and to stretch your body? If yes, then you can do this! Yoga is more than wearing fashionable yoga clothes or going along with the popular fad.

The reason why yoga is so popular is because of how amazing it makes you feel. It
changes the way you look at yourself and the world. It changes the way you care for yourself
and the world. It makes you realize that you and the world are connected as one.

Yoga Exercises to Practice on Your Own

If you would like to try some small exercises on your own, below are two samples you can

Meditation to Clear the Mind

Try recording yourself reading the guided meditation below so you can follow along.

Take a moment to find a comfortable seat. Be mindful to hold good postural alignment yet still be able to soften and relax. Allow your hands to rest on the knees with the palms down. Let the eyes drift closed or keep them gently open with a soft gaze towards the earth. Begin to breathe slowly and softly in and out through the nose. Notice any thoughts that are running through the mind. Be a witness to these thoughts, yet try not to develop the thoughts any further than what they already are. As a new thought comes to mind, envision the thought transforming into a fluffy white cloud and the cloud floats up to the sky and gently drifts away from you. With every thought that comes to mind, let’s continue in the same way:

Turn the thought into a cloud.
Let the cloud float to the sky.
Let the cloud drift away.

Thought after thought we continue with this method, choosing to let thoughts drift away so we can find some peace. Continue this exercise for a few more moments, enjoying the relief of letting go of all thought.
Begin to deepen the breath, bringing awareness back to your body and back into the space
you are in. When you are ready, flutter your eyes open. Take one more long deep breath in
through the nose and open your mouth and sigh out your exhale. ◆︎

Pranayama – Alternate Nostril Breathing

Try recording yourself reading the guided breathing exercise below so you can follow along.

Take a moment to find a comfortable seat. Be mindful to hold good postural alignment yet still be able to soften and relax. Bring your right hand to your face. Place your two peace fingers (pointer finger and middle finger) on your third eye, the open space between your eyebrows, to help connect more deeply with your intuition.

Your thumb will be used to control the right nostril and the ring finger and pinky finger will be used to control the left nostril.

Let the eyes close and take a long deep breath in through the nose, then press your thumb against the right nostril and exhale only through your left nostril. Take a deep breath through your left nostril, then close off the left nostril and open the right nostril and exhale.
Inhale through the right, exhale through the left.
Inhale through the left, exhale through the right.
Inhale through the right, exhale through the left.
Inhale through the left, exhale through the right.
Continue this rhythm of breath for a few more moments at your own pace.
Drawing the exercise to a close, when you find yourself exhaling through the right nostril again,
complete the exhale and bring both hands to rest on your knees with the palms down.
Take a few moments with your eyes closed to connect with how you feel.
Begin to bring awareness back to your body and back into the space you are in. When you are ready, flutter your eyes open. Take one more long deep breath in through the nose and open your mouth and sigh out your exhale. ◆︎

If you would like to join The Yoga Nook community, please tune in to our live stream classes on
Facebook and Instagram. Join us at our weekly Outdoor Yoga Class every Saturday morning at 8am-9am at The Seaside Wildlife Nature Park in Great Kills (class level: gentle/meditation). Please visit our website for updates on our class schedule, our reopening guidelines and our studio information.

Staten Island Sisters Help New York City’s Hunger Crisis

by: Crystal Migliorisi

New York City’s Hunger Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated New York City’s hunger crisis. A study conducted on behalf of Hunger Free America in April 2020 concluded that forty-seven percent of New York City households have reported a decrease in income since the start of the pandemic. Poverty and food insecurity is a reality for many New Yorkers.

Despite the thriving economy, between 2016-2018, 16% of children in the city lived in food-insecure homes. As of April 2020, that percentage has more than doubled to 38%. The uptick in food insecurity is likely due to a lack of access to food in schools and parents’ loss of employment during the pandemic. Many children are either missing out on one meal per day or receiving smaller portions of food. The study also concluded that 34% of adults are also skipping a meal or eating less food. This is 3.5x the hunger rate of adults in 2018.

SNAP benefit recipients in NYC increased by 68,714 people at the start of the pandemic. The Heroes Act, was finally passed in May, delivering relief to many New Yorkers. In response to the data from the study, Mayor DeBlasio increased free meals to 3 a day for anyone who might need them. Each public school student will receive a food stamp card worth $420. Still, despite this effort, more work needs to be done to help food-insecure families. Many organizations are stepping in to help fill the gap.

Staten Islanders Called to Action

Three sisters and North Shore natives, Zainab, Mariam, and Amal Muzaffar, are all professionals in their own right. Mariam is the Managing Director of a brand consulting agency in NYC. Amal is a Product Manager at Facebook, and Zainab is the Founder and CEO of Beautiful and Delicious, which is their joint entrepreneurial venture. Beautiful and Delicious (BAD) is a leisurewear company manufactured and sourced in the U.S. As women of color eager to have representation in the clothing industry, they had big plans for their clothing line before COVID hit. “We soft-launched [our clothing line] in December and COVID kind of messed it all up and we’ve just been going with it,” Amal said. Although COVID interfered with their business plans, it opened the door for them to help in the community.

Giving back is an important aspect of all three women’s lives. Their parents have always been active in the community in a wide range of ways. They helped build their mosque. They’ve run civic programs like voter registration and census education events. The family would serve meals on Christmas Eve. Their mother regularly donates to refugee programs. When they were children, their mother encouraged them to add small amounts of their own money along with her own donation.

Because Mariam, Zainab, and Amal grew up seeing their parents’ altruism, helping others is second nature to them. Each of them independently focuses on philanthropic causes that are personal to them. Zainab raises money for education in Pakistan. Amal helps support underrepresented communities in the tech industry. Mariam organizes school supply drives for homeless NYC kids. They found a common goal when it came to the current hunger crisis in New York City. Amal recalled how their fundraising idea came about. “We heard on the news about how New York City’s food banks were facing a 5x increase in the need for their services. Over one million New Yorkers lost their jobs and 1 in 5 New Yorkers didn’t know where their next meal was coming from. There were families that had never needed assistance from food banks suddenly standing on long lines in need of food and immediate assistance.” 

NY River Fund

Knowing they could do something to help, the three used the resources available to them through their clothing line to create a fundraiser for River Fund NY. The River Fund has provided food to New Yorkers in need for over 20 years in all five boroughs. In addition to providing food, the organization also provides nutritional education, income support, and benefits enrollment services to those who need it. River Fund has been at the front lines of the pandemic, helping to fill food pantries. 

“We like the NY River Fund because it’s a grassroots organization…directly working in the community. The founder started the food bank from his home and now people from all over the city come to receive food from them. We wanted to donate to an organization where our donations would make a tremendous impact. $20.00 feeds one family for one week,” Amal informed me. 

Fundraising Success

Zainab, Mariam, and Amal created a New York Strong-themed line of shirts, which were available for purchase through their website. Though the shirts are no longer available, they were a big success and sold out twice. “New York Strong” was printed on the front with “Keep Back 6 Ft” written on the back. They advertised via their BAD Instagram account, their personal accounts, and word of mouth. The River Fund also promoted the fundraiser directly. These three motivated and driven Staten Islanders raised $3,000 with their fundraiser. This money helped feed about 150 families in the city, making a big difference in many people’s lives when they need help the most.

Ways You Can Help the Hunger Crisis

  • Donate to the River Fund’s Covid-19 response here.
  • Volunteer/donate food at the Forest Ave ComeUnity Fridge.
  • Donate to Project Hospitality.
  • Are you financially secure and don’t need the food stamp card, which will be issued to public school students? Consider using the $420 on the cards to buy food items for one of the food pantries listed above.

Do you know an inspirational Staten Islander? Write to us and let us know at