Stories behind Christmas… Every family has its own, but DiMartino story is truly inspirational.
People see what they expect to see. Wouldn’t you be surprised to see exquisite, animated Christmas installation, that should be in Holiday Decorated windows of the most exclusive Manhattan stores, around a corner, on a quiet street, in the far south corner of Staten Island?
I was shocked, when I saw Joes display before Christmas for the first time few years ago. I always appreciate real talent and decided to find out more about people created this Christmas Wonderland in our neighborhood.
DiMartino Christmas story started when Joe was a young boy and lived with his family in Brooklyn. A lot of people in New York decorate their houses for Christmas, but in his family it was a passion and a work of art. Joe used to work on Christmas installation with his uncle. Once he grew up and moved out to Charleston, Staten Island, he continued this beautiful tradition with his own family.
For many years, few months before Christmas, Joe and his late wife Debra Ann were starting rearranging everything in and around the house, bringing all decorations from storage and building magical “Christmas Theater” for everybody to enjoy during the Holidays. Every little thing here is so exquisite, alive and beautiful, that you simply can’t pass by, without walking around and admiring the talent and craftsmanship of its owner and creator. It’s like our own North Pole!
Happy family, beautiful house, good jobs, adorable girls growing up and there was always a next year’s fun Christmas project, until … September 11 2001 … Joe’s wife and partner for many years Debra Ann DiMartino, mother of his two daughters, was killed among others in the World Trade Center terrorist attack.
Everything went dark for Joe including his Christmas display. When they returned home Joe was struck by the darkness & sadness of his house. He realized that his wife would not want him and the girls to spend the rest of their life in the dark. Working on Christmas installation helped Joe to survive. It was his own Christmas miracle when he opened his house grounds for visitors and it gave him hope!
Joe and his family always visits WTC memorial on September 11, and right after he starts working on his “lifetime” Christmas project.
Joe’s goal became making the display bigger and better every year. He is adding new scenes to his installation to keep people coming back for more.
I met Joe and Marisa for the first time few years ago. He remarried a few years ago and his new wife Marisa shares his “Christmas Passion”. She takes care of all the decorations inside the house and it’s tasteful and really beautiful. What would Santa do without Mrs. Clause?? They are very nice and warm people. I asked Joe’s permission to make a video of his Christmas installation and to tell his story on my New York Christmas Website to let people know that there is a True Miracle just around the corner! Definitely worth a trip!
Want to Come? Here is how to find Christmas Village.
Admission to Joes Christmas Display is free but there is donation box if you feel generous or want to support a noble cause. All funds go Outpatient Children’s Cancer Unit at Staten Island University Hospital.
“I lost a lot, but I still have so much, that I can share with others”
said Joe. And he really does!
To make a donation or share your thoughts, please contact Joe and Marisa by email:
If you want to come and visit Joe’s Christmas Miracle Village, his house is located at:
between Bloomingdale and Arthur Kill roads,
Charleston, Staten Island New York 10309
The display will be open for viewing nightly from end of November 2014 through first week of January 2015 from 5:00-11:00 PM. We will update future schedule once it will be set for this upcoming Holiday Season 2014.
May this Holiday Season be a Tribute to Family, Friends and Lasting Peace!Story By Lilia Maloratskiy