Staten Island Resident, Joe DiMartino Lights up Holiday Fundraiser Despite Hurricane Sandy
For over 10 years now local Santa Claus Joe DiMartino has been the ambassador for the holiday season on Staten Island, wooing crowds with his interactive Christmas display that gives Macy's a run for their money.
To date, Joe has raised over $100,000 in memory of his late wife, Debra Ann, through the generosity of his visitors. The money raised supports the expansion and renovation of the children's cancer center at Staten Island University Hospital.
Each holiday season, DiMartino pulls out all the stops, filling every square inch of his Rossvile property with animatronic scenes of Christmas Carolers, Mrs. Claus baking ginger bread, a Santa Claus train, Christmas Ice Capades, Ferris Wheel, Christmas lights, music, and spotlights. Every year he expands the experience.
In years past, Joe obtained permits from the city and through cooperation with his neighbors; has lined the sidewalks of Sharrotts Road with the sights and sounds of the holidays. Visitors tour through spectacular scenes from the birth of Jesus, to Santa's workshop at the North Pole and back… without leaving Staten Island.
A family tradition going back to his father, Murray in Brooklyn, Joe brought his display to Staten Island in 2000 with his late wife Debra Ann.
In December 2001 the lights were out at the DiMartino house for the first time since 1976. Joseph's wife, Debra Ann, lost her life in the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01. Debra Ann was a supporter of children's charities. In her honor, Joe decided to help children in need through his display.
Despite the events of Sandy, and volunteering a number of days at a relief kitchen, Joe was able to get his display ready for Black Friday.
"I know how it feel's to lose someone you love. So many people are suffering right now, it's heartbreaking," said DiMartino. "If this display can bring a smile to someone's face; and take their minds of things even for a moment; it's all worth it."
Santa Claus himself has scheduled a few test-flights to Joe's in preparation from Christmas. Santa will flying in to see the children of Staten Island on December 14-16, 21-23 from 7-8 p.m.
To get into the holiday spirit, visit the DiMartino house or mail your donation to Raimonda Clark, vice president of Oncology Services at SIUH at 475 Seaview Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10305 c/o Nalitt Institute.
Every evening from 5 p.m. - 11 p.m. beginning November 23 through January 6th.
The DiMartino house is located at 107 Sharrotts Avenue on the South Shore of Staten Island (between Bloomingdale Rd. and Arthur Kill Rd.) The Display runs through the holiday season and into January.