Clifton Merchant Magazine - October 2009

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My Mowimy Po Polsku (Dentystka)


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Clifton Merchant Magazine is published the first Friday of every month at 1288 Main Ave., Downtown Clifton • 973-253-4400


Letters to the Editor

Clifton Merchant Magazine 1288 Main Ave. Clifton 07011

The story in your Sept. edition about Sandy Grazioso, who lost her two sons on 9/11, holds special significance for me. I graduated CHS with Tim Grazioso in 1976. Last year, I sent a letter to Ms. Grazioso through Shook Funeral Home, where she works. I shared some memories I had of Tim, as we were in a few classes together at school. Since most of the Class of 1976 turned 50 last year, I also wanted her to know that I would wish him a ‘Happy 50th’ on Oct. 4. I received a lovely note back from her. Thank you for remembering the WTC fallen. We must never forget. Brenda (Ludvik) Calandrillo Mahwah

Rock & Roll Thanks: I appreciate you taking the time to interview me and publish the article in August’s magazine. It was well-written and my family and friends enjoyed it. The entire issue was fantastic, and I learned a lot about Clifton’s musicians. Keep up the good work! John Lebitsch Clifton

Dojo Tradition Remains in City: Koei-Kan Karate school has been at 1245 Main Ave. since 1965. A lot of history there, but the landlord raised the rent a little too much, so Sensei Pat Ciser relocated to 304 Clifton Ave. He said he couldn’t find it within himself to say there’s no Clifton dojo anymore. It was a huge undertaking, and he became driven, building everything from scratch.

Everyone chipped in a few dollars, helping with the floors, the painting and the cleaning. What’s deeper in this story, more than just a new location, is the emotional meaning of the new school. One of the founders, Sensei Edward Kaloudis, has Alzheimer's and has been in a home for many years. There’s a wall of tribute in the new dojo that is touching.

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Next in tribute is Sensei Brian Frost, who is now battling cancer. He used to live and teach in the old dojo. Letting go of the old location was emotional for many. But it is a new beginning and we bring with us our traditions and lots of hope. We also have a new tradition at the school—a garden at the entrance, with a samurai and small stones set throughout. When I asked Sensei what inspired him he said, “The Japanese say to bring the outside in.” I guess we all have a little Zen in each of us. Miriam Santana Clifton

Sensei Pat Ciser of Koei-Kan Karate.

The butterflies on this month’s cover were first seen in last year’s Halloween parade, which returns again this year on Oct. 25, along Lakeview Ave. To get the photo, I had to track them down at the HarvestFest in Nash Park where I convinced them to pose for me. Hope to see them and all of you at the parade—Tom Hawrylko

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A City of Entrepreneurs Stories of Business Successes & Struggles Story by Tom Hawrylko You probably recognize Ernie Seferagic from behind the counter at the Hot Grill. And while he continues to work at the landmark eatery, he has opened the Therapeutic Healing Center, right next door on Lexington Ave., another chapter in his American Dream. Like many entrepreneurs, Seferagic had often talked of having his own business— and had his struggles in getting started. Back in 1999, at the age of 23 and already a veteran counterman at the Hot Grill, Seferagic opened a clean-out service, Bosna Star Removal. “I was too young,” he said, looking back on his first venture. “ I just wasn’t ready yet.” Seferagic, who came to America in 1994 from Bosnia, matured and looked for voids in the marketplace, eventually focusing on healthcare. Last year, Seferagic, enrolled in the Berdan Institute with the goal of becoming a licensed massage therapist. The training wasn’t cheap—about $14,000—but the father of four knew this was his future. Beyond the cost of his training, Seferagic also made a significant investment in appointing his new professional facility with the proper tables and decor, where he and his part time staff offer a variety of massage services.

Licensed Massage Therapist Ernad “Ernie” Seferagic today, and at left, as a 23 year old business owner.

“I’ll succeed because our service is well priced and the service is superior,” said Seferagic. “There is no one out there offering massage in this type of setting.” Optimism, opportunity and the willingness to hard work are among the driving forces of entrepreneurs like Seferagic. On the following pages, we have profiled other business owners, who despite a recession and tight economy, are finding niches of services and products to offer our community. Read on and learn of their stories of business successes and struggles. 6

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant



October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

It’s Peruvian Soul Food At Blanca Andia’s El Fogon Restaurant on Main Ave. Story by Joe Hawrylko It’s a quarter after four on a Friday afternoon in September and Blanca Andia is sitting at the corner table in her restaurant, El Fogon. She’s spending a rare free moment taking her chance at a New Jersey Lotto scratch off. Unfortunately, Andia doesn’t hit a payday and she heads back into the kitchen for some last minute prep before the post-work rush crowd hits the tiny Downtown Clifton restaurant. Only two of the ten tables in El Fogon are currently occupied, but the phone is ringing with orders, foreshadowing the boom in business that is about to take place. Friday is fish day, and large orders of seafood are being placed by hungry families and local workers. Located on Main Ave., directly across the street from the former Bellin’s Pool property, El Fogon is a Peruvian restaurant in the heart of Passaic County’s diverse and growing Hispanic population, an ideal market for this eatery. But good food transcends all cultural differences—a Caucasian couple walks in and take seats at a table, the first customers of the dinner rush. “I get all types of people here,” said Andia, 59, who speaks with a thick accent. “Peruvians, Americans, Koreans, Mexicans… all nationalities.” While comfortable and welcoming, the blue collar ambiance and plastic tabletops at El Fogon are certainly not the draw.

Blanca Andia, with her husband, Roberto, right before a busy lunch is set to begin. The two own El Fogon Peruvian Restaurant on Main Ave. near the Passaic border in Downtown Clifton, just across the street from the former Bellin’s Pool property.

The old TV above the nearby refrigerator is turned to a Spanish soap opera, which is a few decibels louder than the commotion going on in the kitchen. The Peruvian culinary delights that emerge from here are what drives the business and brings customers back. “The food has soul!” said Andia, her hands emphasizing her point,

before speaking of the competition. “It’s not commercial. There are many restaurants, but most are commercial.” The soul that Andia speaks of comes from her native Peru, where she lived before moving to the United States in 1984. While some ethnic restaurants may temper exotic tastes in food to cater to finicky American October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


taste buds, Andia keeps her cuisine authentic. The recipes she uses were collected from friends and family members in Peru, who use the exact same ingredients in their kitchens at home. “In my country, everyone made food with spirit,” said Andia. “My husband and my kids always told me my food is delicious.” The support from family is what convinced Andia to go from employee to entrepreneur. She had no previous experience in the field,


October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

having worked a myriad of jobs, including stints as a paper deliverer, travel agent and quality control officer in a factory. “I just started experimenting with food,” said Andia, who taught herself the recipes at home before opening her first restaurant, La Nona, on Lexington Ave in 2001. “I learned by feeding my kids. If you teach me something, I’ll do it.” Family in Peru also guided her in starting a business. Andia’s family has owned a number of hotels

and restaurants in her home country. Still, no amount of advice can prepare an owner for an emergency situation, like botching an entire pot of food during lunch hour. “I burnt rice once,” recalled Andia, who responded to the crisis with a cool. quick solution. “I went out and bought Chinese rice and mixed it in to play it off.” La Nona went through growing pains, but ultimately became very successful. Andia sold the business in 2005 so that she could spend more time caring for her grandkids. By 2007, she grew restless and was ready to get back to work. That’s when she purchased El Fogon. When she took over the Main Ave. restaurant, Andia realized just how important the presence of an owner is to customers. “People still remember La Nona,” she said. “El Fogon had their customers but many people would say to me, ‘Oh, you were La Nona!’” Another key to success in this industry, said Andia, is offering value with meals. The daily special is $7 and includes a large bowl of homemade soup, a meat or fish appetizer with rice, beans or vegetable as well as desert and soda, coffee or tea. There’s also a couple of fish dishes on Fridays—the busiest day of the week—and breakfast served on weekends. For Andia, success comes by remembering her roots. She stays true to her Peruvian heritage and gives hard working people a good deal in a tough economy. Do that, she advises, and everything else will just fall into place. “Every job I’ve done, I’ve never felt fear or had a problem,” said Andia. “The food sells itself.”

Building His Own Future Ralph Bartnik opened Clifton Building Supply in 2007 Story by Jordan Schwartz When James Spirto closed K&S Building Supply on Colfax Ave. in 2007, Ralph Bartnik saw an opportunity. The Polish immigrant started as a driver and maintenance man at the K&S warehouse five years earlier and worked his way up to salesman and manager. “He taught me the business,” Bartnik said of his former boss. “I got a little inside scoop into how this is done. He was looking to get out and I had new ideas for the company, like downsizing. They needed new management, new staff and a facelift.” So, when K&S closed, Bartnik, whowasjust32atthetime,opened his own company—Clifton Building Supply—at the same location. He used his own savings and borrowed money from his family as start-up capital. He then christened the business with a title that exuded confidence. “It’s a big name for a small company,” Bartnik said. “I figured it’d be the only one in town, so it has to have a nice strong name.” Working with contractors and homeowners, Bartnik and his staff sell a variety of windows, doors, fencing, siding, decking and most every item for home improvements. He competes with major retailers like Home Depot, Lowes and other independents like him. “Everybody who walks in the door has a name, not just a number,” he said of how he keeps competitive “We do a lot of word-ofmouth business. If you do a good

Owner Ralph Bartnik at his store, Clifton Building Supply on Colfax Ave.

job for one person, you’ll get their next-door neighbor.” Bartnik reported that he has about 100 repeat clients—mainly contractors—to which he supplies with daily deliveries of replacement windows and doors, hardware and now, a new line of kitchen cabinets. “We have good vendors and we deliver when we promise.”

But like most every business owner and consumer, he’s been affected by the recent recession. “Last year wasn’t so bad because there was old money in the industry left over from people working on old projects,” said Bartnik. “This year is tough because there’s a lot of competition out there that can afford taking a hit.” October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Bartnik said the best way to survive in this competitive industry and in most any aspect of life, is to be focused on what you’re doing. “If you believe in what you do, you can succeed,” he stated, adding you need to set goals. “I’d like to get to the point, where I could come in at nine and leave at three,” he said as a half-joke. “It’s 10-hour days now. It’s tough. It takes a lot of focus being on track all the time, going out to jobs, measuring stuff and pricing it out for customers.” Despite the struggles, Bartnik said he realized long ago that being self-employed has its advantages— you are investing in yourself. The 4,500 sq. ft. building has five employees and Bartnik, who owns a home on Sipp Ave. in the heart of Athenia, would one day like to pass the store on to his daughters, JoAnn, 14, and Gabrielle, 10. “That’d be pretty neat,” he said. “To be able to pass this along to my daughters...”

When it comes to happiness, business owners top the charts, reports



Well-Being Index. Independent business owners outrank 10 other occupations for overall wellbeing. The poll, which surveyed 100,826 working adults between January and August, found that despite the risks and working the longest hours, small business owners enjoy more freedom, flexibility and control in the futures.

When Bartnik immigrated to the U.S. with his family at age 16, he spoke no English and experienced a great change in lifestyle. “I had a good life back in Poland and then you got to adjust to this,” he said of American culture. He knew that his parents, Frank and Maria Bartnik, left Poland in 1992, seeking a better life for themselves and their six children. His dad got a job at a machine shop, while

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his mom stayed at their Garfield home, taking care of the five boys and one daughter. Looking back on his first year in America, and seeing the success of his father, Bartnik remembers thinking that if he could land a job in a factory, he’d be pretty lucky and happy. “My dad worked long hours and just like him, I knew I was going to work hard,” said Bartnik. “Like him, I don’t know what a vacation feels like.” After Garfield High School, he began working full time at a Polish deli. Soon after, he married his wife Marta and had his first daughter when he was just 20. Instantly a family man, Bartnik realized it was time to find a serious profession and that’s when he started at K&S—and inadvertently began building his own future. “Like a lot of guys, I just fell into that first job,” Bartnik said of finding work in the home improvement industry. “I was lucky and worked hard and it is paying off.” Specializing in Medical & Surgical Foot & Ankle Correction

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October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

From Cuba to Clifton Noel Coronel owns NOC Autobody on Van Houten Ave. Story by Joe Hawrylko Reaching into the drawer behind the desk at his shop, Noel Coronel pulls out three photos, each of a blue 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle taken at a different angle. “That’s in my parents garage,” smiled Coronel. “That’s where it all started really.” The German-made car is the first automobile that Coronel ever restored. The native of Cuba labored for hours over his prized Beetle, de-chroming it and stripping down the bumper, among other modifications. When that first car was completed, it was just a hobby. Now, some 15 years later, classic car restoration and auto body repair is his career. Forgoing college, Coronel rented a shop and taught himself the art of body work and founded NOC Automotive Solutions. “I’ve kind of always been the type that likes to take challenges,” he said. “To make the impossible possible.” Looking back, Coronel said that he’s always had a passion for automobiles. As a kid, he’d spend hours in his parents garage building remote control cars. “Hobbies led to dirt bikes and dirt bikes led to cars,” he said. Upon graduation from Passaic High School in 1994, Coronel initially decided to head to school at Morris County Community College. He was enrolled in the Ford Asset Program for mechanics, but dropped after one semester.

Manager Thomas Ifversen with owner Noel Coronel of NOC Autobody.

School simply wasn’t for him. And despite his affinity for cars, it wasn’t the mechanics wonders of the automobile that intrigued him. “body work is much more of an art,” said Coronel. “It gives me much more satisfaction.” Following his heart, Coronel went down the unconventional route and started his own auto body shop with zero experience in a rented lot on Liberty St. in Passaic. His parents, who escaped Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba in 1980 so that their children could have more opportunities, were initially dismayed with Coronel’s decision.

“They were a little upset, but pretty supportive,” he said. “They saw I was being active, pursing what I really wanted to do.” But having a passion for something doesn’t necessarily mean immediate success. Initially, friends were the most frequent customers, and they told others of the quality of his work. Overtime, business began to pick up, and within five years, Coronel began looking for a larger property. “I was working seven days a week—there and here. That just doesn’t end,” he laughed. “The secret to success is hard work.” October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


In 1999, Coronel purchased a large body shop in Belleville, which enabled him to take on more clients. “From there, I wanted to bring my business back to Clifton, my hometown,” he said. Coronel couldn’t find a location in Clifton and had to settle for Belleville. “auto body is kind of like a liquor license. You can’t just buy anything.” While normal collision repairs drove the business financially in Belleville, Coronel’s reputation was built on the restoration of classic cars, something that moved with him to Clifton in December 2005. Coronel initially took over the Telep Towing lot on Van Houten Ave. on a one year lease, essentially sharing the lot with the previous owner. The PHS graduate learned how to operate towing equipment and run what would become another facet of his business. He also inherited the city’s towing contract, which he kept after buying the company and property outright the following year. “I’m hands on pretty much. People come in here and they’re looking for me,” he said. “This is a service type of business. People feel comfortable when they speak to me.” However, as much as he tries to be hands on, Coronel can’t do all of the repairs on his own. He employs a

The Coronel family and NOC Autobody are sponsoring a car accident prevention poster contest for Clifton students in three groups: K-5, 6-8 and 9-12. One winner from each category will be selected to win a $25 gift certificate to Barnes & Nobles, and the Home and School Association of the winner’s school will be awarded $100. Posters can be dropped off at the student’s main office or at NOC Autobody, 574 Van Houten Ave. Deadline is Nov. 2. Clifton residents can vote for their choice at from Nov. 9 to Nov. 16 and the final decision will be made by the staff at NOC. The finished poster must be 15 x 20 and all art work must be original. Include a statement describing the poster (‘Don’t Drink & Drive, etc’) at the top of the poster, and sponsored by NOC Autobody at the bottom. On the back, the poster should have the parents’s and student’s full name, grade, school and teacher’s name. For info, call 973-594-1005.

staff of four, with most of his past and current employs having a similar background as he did: low on experience, but big on work ethic. “Some pick it up not knowing it and I train them. You can kind of mold them,” said Coronel. “If you’re willing to learn, I’ll teach you.” His trained staff is capable of handling basic cosmetic repairs or a full body restoration on a beautiful classic Chevy BelAir, like the project currently in the garage. Unlike normal collision repairs, which Coronel aims to complete quickly and efficiently, classics take time—art can’t be rushed. Projects will take upwards of eight months, and Coronel is picky with what jobs he selects, rejecting offers

from impatient owners. He’s also more apt to accept a challenge, or work on a car that he really likes. “I like Porsche in general,” said Coronel, noting that the 911 series is his favorite. “I also like the old British cars... the Austin Healys and old Jaguars.” The only thing that Coronel isn’t so willing to do is restore his own car. With his wife, Odette, and young kids, Noelani, Olivia and Noel Oliver, time and money are limited. Plus, working for free after laboring for hours on a car isn’t too appealing. “When you work on it all day long, you just can’t,” he laughed. “It’s like the shoe maker with the holes in his shoes.”

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October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Branding Our City Bob Ferrante’s classic work can be seen around Clifton Story by Joe Hawrylko Cars whiz by below on Main Ave. as Bob Ferrante walks along the flat roof over the Deluxe Cleaners parking lot. A brisk September breeze swirls around as he leans over the custom porcelain and neon light sign that juts from the roof., some 25 feet in the air. At 73 years old, he should be relaxing, maybe shagging balls on the links somewhere or lounging about at his Florida home. But Ferrante loves his job. He loves working. Only two things will stop him. “Til I die or until I get sick,” Ferrante laughed. “I don’t like to sit around, it’s not healthy. It makes you rusty. I do what I really want to do.” It was a little over a half century ago that Ferrante first stepped foot on this roof. He built the original sign and neon lights, and was called out of retirement by Deluxe Cleaners to restore it. After completing his work for the day, Ferrante climbs about 10 feet down the ladder and takes a break on a ledge at the edge of the lot. “I learned how to work ‘cuz of my old man,” said the 1954 CHS graduate. “I learned the hard way. I got tired of working in factories and bouncing around. I wanted to do better.” October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Bob Genuardi of DeLuxe Formal Wear, Bob Ferrante and Pat DeLora of DeLuxe Cleaners in front of the Art Deco building on Main Ave. Ferrante originally built the signage back in the 1950s and has restored the porcelain and neon-light sign.

After his two year stint as a Navy Seabee was completed in 1958, Ferrante returned home and decided to get into the sign business. As a high school graduate, he had no direction, and this latest business endeavor didn’t immediately seem like it would work out. “I was a misfit,” said Ferrante. “I had 100 jobs and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. But I knew I liked art.” However, through hard work and word of mouth, the business began to succeed. He started picking up clients around Clifton and surrounding neighborhoods. “Sold ‘em, built ‘em, hung ‘em,” said Ferrante. “That was the science.” It was also an art form. The skillfully crafted sign atop the Deluxe Building is of the art deco variety, a rarity in modern times. Designs from the 50s, 60s and 70s had a kind of soul not found in work done today by graphic designers on computers, he said. “Back in my day, it was all angleiron, neon and box signs,” said Ferrante. “I had my own glass neon 16

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

shop. I’m self-learned. I threw the quills away. Everything is now done on computer.” Around Clifton, much of his work is still on display. Signs at Styretowne, including Rowe-Manse Emporium, was crafted by Ferrante. Many local banks also employed the Clifton native. “Tick Tock Diner brings back a lot of memories. I did the overall maintenance, electrical work... I was their handyman, a jack of all trades. I did the signs and the neons on the roof,” said Ferrante. “It’s the best diner.” Working on the iconic Route 3 eatery and other local landmarks helped his business grow. He became the biggest in his field in Passaic County. “Before I knew it, I had a crew of guys working for me,” said Ferrante. “I went from truck ladder to crane.” He began taking on more prominent clients like NBO, a chain of mens clothing stores, and for Esso . Ferrante’s work took him to cities in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

Life was good. Money was rolling in and Ferrante was able to afford the luxuries of life. He vacationed often, traveled Europe and frequented the Bahamas. He even landed an extra role in William Friedkin’s 1977 film, The Sorcerer. “I knew a movie producer,” he smiled. The short role had him sitting in Little Italy, drinking wine with a beautiful woman while surrounded by gangsters. However, as fast as he rose in the field, Ferrante fell just as quick. In the 1980s, everything fell apart. A divorce robbed him of his wealth. The business collapsed and life completely changed. It would be take several years before Ferrante pulled himself out of bankruptcy. “I went from a millionaire down through hardships and came back again,” he said proudly. By the mid-90s, Ferrante had restored the business, this time on a smaller scale. He worked by himself, hiring assistants when necessary. He rents vans when he needs them and subs out work for neon lights when necessary. Ferrante’s second stint in the business was successful enough that he was able to retire from full time work in 1999 and purchase a home in Florida. Every fall, he heads down south to relax by the beach and play golf. But come spring, Ferrante is back in New Jersey for the next six months, plying his trade every now and then for some extra money. Climbing up a ladder, feeling the wind in his face while he’s standing on a roof—it never gets old for Ferrante. “One thing you can’t say is that I don’t love my field. I love my work,” he said. “One of the most important things in life is that people should love their job.”

The Franchisee

Story by Joe Hawrylko

Frank Corradino owns New Jersey’s only Papaya King In the Corrado’s Family Affair complex, Frank Corradino is king. The 30 year old entrepreneur owns New Jersey’s only Papaya King franchise, which he purchased after nine years running his own hot dog joint. Brand recognition is necessary for Corradino to achieve his ultimate goal of owning a chain of stores, and despite the success of his previous business, there was limited potential for growth. With no business experience and only a high school degree, Corradino opened Frank’s Franks at the Newark Gateway Buildings in 1999. Located in the food court, he faced intense competition but benefited from a steady stream of customers. “It was crazy volume,” said Corradino. “People would come down the stairs at 11 am, and I’d crank out the line for two hours and then they would go back to work.” Peak business hours were so concentrated around the lunch hours that Corradino would be able to close at 3pm, working five days a week and turn a profit. At an age when most of his peers were struggling to get by financially in college, Corradino was making money through a simple, systematic process. The easy hours and good pay was enough to satisfy Corradino through his early 20s, when he wasn’t necessarily concerned about his future career.

Smoothies are popular at the Papaya King, said Frank Corradino.

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant



October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

However, as he matured, Corradino eventually realized that his business had effectively reached the glass ceiling. “There was no day that I’d make $100 and the next make $1,000,” he said. The location wasn’t necessarily the problem—if anything, it was why the business was a success in the first place. To grow his business, he needed outside help from a franchise to receive brand recognition that his own hot dog shop wasn’t getting. “If this said Frank’s Franks on this sign, I’d never have this amount of business. I’d lose 30 percent of it,” Corradino said as he sat at an outdoor table at his Papaya King just off Crooks Ave. “It’s brand recognition because of these cups.” According to Corradino, the distinctive red and yellow sign has drawn in customers who are often surprised to find a Papaya King in New Jersey. The origins of the franchise trace back to New York City, where owner Gus Poulos opened the first store at 86th St. and Third Ave in 1931. Papaya King is renown for its fruit-based drinks—which actually preceded hot dogs on the menu—as well as the all-beef frankfurters. With several locations around New York City, Papaya King is a recognizable franchise, and Clifton’s proximity to the Big Apple means that most customers at Corradino’s location have at least heard of the fast food restaurant. If he can get local fans of Papaya King into the store, he can bring in steady customers--something Corradino couldn’t do with his own store. “Seventy five percent of the business comes from the kids (at Dover Business College, also located in the Corrado’s Complex) and the people on the complex. I want to change that,” he said. “I want the guy driving into the complex for Papaya King.” There are still challenges to get that kind of volume coming into the store. Many of those who have heard of Papaya King may not know of the Clifton location. “I spend a ton on advertising,” said Corradino. “You’ve got to learn whether to spend $1,000 in ads or $1,000 into handing out flyers.” In this instance, ads work better since Papaya King has no competition on the Corrado’s

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We are just off Valley Rd., near Gensingers Motors 482 Notch Road, Woodland Park, NJ 07424 October 2009 • Clifton Merchant



October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

strategies of competitors to attract customers. Complex. In addition to many advertisements, “I don’t write down everything, I yell out orders conCorradino uses colorful signs and banners which stantly,” he said, in a nod to Hot Grill. “You always go directs passerbys to the store. and bite off other businesses all the time. You don’t He also makes sure to have a presence at community have to come up with an idea, just duplicate it.” programs, such as the Van Houten Ave. Street Fair and While Corradino continues to grow his store, his other local events. eyes are set on the future. However, despite the lack of competition on the com“My goal is to open two stores in the first five years, plex, Corradino has rivals all over town. Just out the exit and five in the first ten,” said at intersection of Getty and “It’s hard to compete,” Corradino. “Duplication Crooks Ave., is the Egg Platter should be an easy process if and the Getty Grill, and further said Corradino. “I’m a you place them strategically down Crooks is McDonald’s. Hot Grill fan myself.” in the right spots.” And Clifton’s got quite a repuPurchasing another franchise will only occur when tation for hot dogs, with Rutt’s Hutt, Hot Grill, The he feels that the potential has been tapped in Clifton. Midtown Grill and The Corral—just to name a few of the Corradino said he’d like to open another location in options located within city limits. Hoboken, Jersey City or another city with a vibrant “It’s hard to compete. I’m a Hot Grill fan myself,” nightlife like the one in New York City that drives the laughed Corradino. original Papaya King. Besides having a good product, he relies on having Though it will mean more work, Corradino knows customer service and greeting every customer as they that another store will enable him to achieve his goal. enter the store. Corradino is always present at the store, “You can’t quit man. There’s plenty of says you and as a result, the random person becomes a repeat think of having a nine to five, but that’s an average style customer. People recognize him when he is relaxing in of life,” said Corradino. “I don’t want to be average, front of the store during his free time. it’s mediocre. Average is boring.” Corradino said he likes to emulate successful

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Family Plan

Story by Joe Hawrylko

Abdelaziz Brothers Work in Tandem Cell phones, ice cream, burgers, cars... Alam Abdelaziz can find a way to make money off just about anything. The 1994 CHS graduate will undertake any worthwhile venture to make a profit. Abdelaziz has the heart of a hustler and the mind of a business man, a sharp sense that allows him to stay ahead of the curve and make money. His primary venture is the Main Ave. Sprint store at Burgh Ave., which he has owned since 2006. Abdelaziz also owns the T-Mobile store further down the road, which is managed by his brother, Nate Abdul. Abdelaziz’s previous endeavors have helped him succeed as a businessman. “I used to work sales before. I had an ice cream truck for nine years,” he said. “I used to manage at McDonalds back in the day.” He even ran for Clifton City Council in 2006. Though he doesn’t actually sell it anymore, Abdelaziz is still involved with ice cream sales, with his family managing a fleet that operates out of a building on Third St. He also works as an EMT for a private company and while the market has cooled, he Alam Abdelaziz (facing page) and his brother Nate, at left, run cell phone stores in Downtown Clifton, among their other ventures.

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still is a broker with The Winning Team Realty. There’s also a new burger joint, Mr. Hamburger, that Abdelaziz opened with family in two months ago in Carlstadt. Like most successful entrepreneurs, Abdelaziz had failures along the way. A car enthusiast, he makes side money by buying and selling cars. In 1997, Abdelaziz decided to gamble and attempt to make his side business a full-time venture by purchasing a body shop in Passaic. He figured that doing his own repairs would cut costs and boost the profit line. However, with no experience in the field, Abdelaziz soon realized that the endeavor was more than he could handle. “I had it for six months and had to get out,” said Abdelaziz. “I didn’t know what I was doing.” That was a one-time error, something he wouldn’t replicate when starting the Sprint store in 2006. “My friend found it and it was going to close,” said Abdelaziz. “My friend has a cell store in Passaic and had a license for Clifton.” Abdelaziz immersed himself in the Passaic business to learn how to manage a store and then opened up his own shop in a large commercial building on Main Ave. between Washington and Burgh Aves. “It’s all about good customer service,” he said. “The only reason customers don’t come back is if they don’t like the customer service.” With phone companies placing their products on the internet, many customers are coming in educated, and are simply looking for the best offer for their money.

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


“Plans used to be $200 to $3000,” said Abdelaziz. “Now, the same plan goes for $50. You need good customer service, good prices, deals... whatever it takes to make a deal.” As a result, part of the formula is drawing in customers. According to Abdelaziz’s brother and manager of the T-Mobile store, Nate Adbul, advertising is necessary in Downtown Clifton due to the lack of parking and minimal walk-in traffic. “We spend so much on advertising,,” he said. “We hope it comes back. We do a lot on the internet. Believe it or not, it does work. You have to have customers come in and see the products.” Despite the proximity of the stores to one another, Abdelaziz said his shops are generally not in much competition. Most consumers have decided upon a carrier before coming into the store. The T-Mobile store, which the brothers opened two years ago, was more of a move to prevent another aggressive owner from opening another Sprint shop. In the event that a customer at Abdelaziz’s store is looking for another product, he might direct them a few doors down the avenue. That’s the added benefit of working with family. When Abdelaziz is busy with one of his other endeavors, he calls on one of his brothers to step in.

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October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

“Of course, absolutely. If I’m not here, one of my brothers is here,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to do this if I was alone.” But even with the help of family, Abdelaziz’s schedule is hectic, easily loading him with 60 or more working hours per week. “It’s more work, but you’re able to grow,” said Abdelaziz. “Think about it, you work for someone else, that’s it, you’re limited to that. I don’t like to limit myself.” It’s a mentality that Abdelaziz got from his father, who was self employed as a wholesaler for most of his life. Abdelaziz came from Palestine in 1992 and arrived in Clifton in 1993, taking his father’s work ethic with him. “A lot of us like to grow business. It’s motivation. It’s a challenge,” he said. “You come here for a better life, so you’re not just going to work a 40 hour job— it’s not going to happen if you just get a 40 hour job. You might as well go back.” Abdelaziz believes that the long hours and added worries will eventually pay off in the long run in a way that no regular job could. “It’s the pressure that helps you keep moving,” he said. “When you have a business running and you don’t have to work, that’s it, you’re set. Hopefully, you get to that point eventually.”

St. Mary’s Hospital’s Emergency Room has been re-christened a Fast Track ER with the goal of serving patients more expeditiously. The hospital provides the only emergency department in Passaic and is the closest ER to many of the surrounding towns. Last year, over 35,000 people came to the facility. In order to treat such a large number of patients as quickly and safely as possible, Dr. Steve Okhravi has been named as the medical director of the Fast Track unit. He estimated that Fast Track patients with injuries and illnesses which are urgent but not life-threatening will be treated and released in about an hour or less. Consisting of five private patient rooms and a work area, the Fast Track unit also helps streamline treatment for critical patients, ensuring safer and more efficient care for everyone. Okhravi said it is another in a series of improvements at the hospital to make it more competitive with private doctor-run facilities. St. Mary’s is the sole survivor of Passaic’s three hospitals and it filed for bankruptcy in March. A new president, Michael J. Sniffen, has

send Clifton business news to

From left, Dr. Steve Okhravi, head of St. Mary’s Fast Track ER, Sr. Barbara Aires, Chair of the Hospital Foundation; Mario Marghella, longtime member of the Board of Trustees and Dr. Daniel P. Conroy, Vice President of Medical Affairs.

been named and the hospital is hoping to sell its former Pennington Ave. building by Oct. 5. Meanwhile, the hospital’s bankruptcy attorneys have until Oct. 7 to produce a reorganization plan or sale of the hospital.

Dollar General held a grand opening on Sept. 12 at 449 Lakeview Ave.

Funding for the ER initiative was provided by the St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation, St. Mary’s Hospital Guild, The Thomas and Agnes Carvel Foundation, The John Victor Machuga Foundation, Inc., The Edward W. and Stella C. Van Houten Memorial Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Cyril Forbes, Jr. and other major donors. Costs a Dollar, Generally: Dollar General opened on Sept. 12 in Lakeview. The 11,746 sq. ft. store sells items that consumers use and replenish often such as laundry detergent, dish soap and toothpaste, as well as other health and beauty care items. “We are a deep discount store,” said spokesperson Tawn Miller. “We have different price points, so not everything is a dollar. We distinguish ourselves from other similar stores by selling national brands.” October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Dollar General also offers consumables like snacks, milk, eggs and cheese, and basic apparel such as socks and underwear. There’s also a pet section within the store’s 12 aisles. The 449 Lakeview Ave. location at the corner of Roosevelt Ave. was one of three North Jersey locations to open last month. The other two are in North Arlington and Saddle Brook. “We look at communities that are adjacent to communities where we already have stores,” Miller said. “We’ve been in New Jersey for a number of years and thought this would be a good fit for us. We’re designed to be a neighborhood store. It’s smaller, so you can get in and out.” There are 10 parking spots, including two handicapped ones, on the side of the store and 30 more in a larger lot in the rear.


October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Istikbal Furniture and Bedding, located on Main Ave. at Troast Court, is expanding its showroom, adding more retail space and parking for scores of cars. The renovation continues along the property line on Troast, to Getty Ave.

Dollar General, which is based in Tennessee, operates more than 8,400 stores in 35 states. It employs 10 people in Clifton and is among the few industries thriving during the current economic downturn.

“We believe our model is more relevant than ever as consumers look for ways to save,” said Miller. “Dollar General is a great place to stretch your budget. That said, Dollar General has posted 19 years of consecutive positive same-store sales. That record is impressive because it proves that our business model is vital in both good and bad economies.” Executive Women of New Jersey has accepted Lourdes Cortez into the 28-year-old organization. Cortez has literally worked her way up the ladder and today is President and CEO of North Jersey Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Totowa.

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


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October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Lourdes Cortez has been accepted into membership in Executive Women of NJ.

At Clifton Savings Bank’s new branch at 646 Van Houten Ave., from left: Sonya Micevski, Joanna Jablecki, Manager/VP Kathyryn Hochstaedt and Marta Witas.

Cortez of Elmwood Park began as an employee of a family-owned jewelry store when she was 14. Later, she would self-finance her undergraduate education at Montclair State University and her graduate studies by working a second job at a Board of Education. Over the past 25 years, she has worked her way up from teller to president and CEO of NJFCU.

Clifton Savings Bank re-built and re-opened its branch office at 646 Van Houten Ave. Throughout October, they are offering bonus CD rates and providing instant cash prizes as part of a Treasure Island Sweepstakes. Customers can get a $50 cash bonus when opening a Clifton Totally Free Checking Account with direct deposit, as well as free online banking, free Visa

On Sept. 16 at Provident Bank on Lexington Ave, from left, NJ Banking Director Terry McEwen, Provident’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel John Kuntz, DOBI Commissioner Neil Jasey, New Jersey Bankers Association Executive VP and COO James Meredith, Clifton Assistant Branch Manager Oylum Seker and Assemblyman Thomas Giblin’s Chief of Staff P. Justin Fahey.

debit card and free bill pay. The Treasure Island Sweepstakes features a first prize of $750 in cash, a second prize of $500 and a third prize of $250. In addition to its newest branch, Clifton Saving’s headquarters are at 1433 Van Houten Ave. Five other branches are in Clifton, two in Garfield, one in Wallington and another in Wayne. Clifton Savings was founded in1928. For more info, call 973-473-2200 or visit Provident Bank officials met with New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Neil N. Jasey on Sept. 16 to tour the bank’s newest branch at 562 Lexington Ave. and discuss job creation by the state’s chartered banks. Those banks and national lenders with operations in the state added 3,800 jobs from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009, as 38 branches opened up. However, the new banks contributed no more than 500 of the new jobs. New Jersey’s current unemployment rate is at 9.7 percent, 0.4 percent higher than the previous month. October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


It will take years, but JuliaYoung is Healing Story by Jordan Schwartz

Jerry, Julia and Michele Young in 2008.

On March 14, 15-year-old Julia Young asked her parents, Jerry and Michele, if she could go to a friend’s house for a bonfire. Mr. and Mrs. Young, who had just relocated from Clifton to a smaller and more rural setting upstate, were celebrating their 16th wedding anniversary. They asked their daughter if there was going to be any supervision. Julia told them her friend’s dad would be there, so her parents let her go out. 30

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

But there were no adults on hand when the half dozen girls ventured out into the woods of Harriman, N.Y. There’s not a lot to do for a group of teenage girls in the small Orange County village, so Julia’s friends decided to entertain themselves by building a campfire within the 18 acres of forest.

section of Clifton with his two younger brothers, Gary They couldn’t get the flame going, so one of the girls and Brian, and their sister, Sharon. fetched a gasoline can. In an attempt to create a bigger Around the home, their father was always cooking, fire, Julia grabbed the can and poured the fuel onto the which got Jerry and Gary interested in the kitchen. burning twigs. Julia’s dad studied culinary arts at Johnson & Wales This set off a tragic chain reaction resulting in the College in Rhode Island for a year before entering the can exploding in the 15-year-old’s hand, burning her Marine Corps. From 1982 to 1986, Young served as a over 80 percent of her body. cook and a truck driver before completing his education “They weren’t doing anything wrong; it was a simat New York Restaurant ple mistake,” said Jerry Julia underwent five hours School in Manhattan. Young, who graduated Clifton But it wasn’t until three High School in 1981. of surgery on Sept. 24, years ago that Jerry, Gary “It was just one second of one of the more than and Brian opened Young not thinking and it just about cost her her life.” 50 procedures she’s endured Brothers Deli at 606 Van Houten Ave. “We all like to The father rushed to Julia’s since the accident. cook and the opportunity friend’s house after being arose,” explained Jerry, who alerted of the accident. was forced to quit his job after Julia’s accident. “There were fire trucks and ambulances there, but I Michele also left her secretarial position at Saint got my way into the house by knocking two state troopJames Church when the family moved to Blackstone, ers off the porch,” he remembered. Mass. in July to be closer to Julia at Shriners Hospital “She was sitting in the chair, covered in a blanket in Boston, which specializes in pediatric burn cases. with her clothes burnt off from third degree burns.” The teenager was invited to the hospital, which treats Julia was transported to Westchester Medical Center patients free of charge, after members read about the by helicopter. Her father said she would not have family’s plight in the newspaper. survived a long ambulance ride. This came as a godsend to the uninsured Youngs, Up in the air, a touch of home saved the teenager’s who racked up more than $3 million in medical bills life. Ken Reardon, who graduated CHS in 1988 with from Westchester Medical Center. Jerry’s brother, Brian, happened to be a paramedic “They’ll never see a bill at Shriners Hospital,” said aboard the helicopter. If not for him opening an air Hospital Board of Governors member Roland ‘Rip’ passage, Julia may have passed away before even Van Winkle of Ploch Rd. reaching the hospital. “Being a Shriner and sitting on the board, you get to The Young family only moved to Upstate New York see where your money goes and it makes you want to about five years ago because they wanted a lifestyle go out and earn more.” But Shriners International isn’t change. the only organization to come to the family’s aid fol“It’s a little more rural up there with a better school lowing this tragedy. system,” said Jerry, who grew up in the Allwood

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October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


it’s no fun sitting in a hospital room by yourself and Mario’s on Van Houten Ave., the Tri-State Areas all your friends are 200 miles away.” Music Community, the Passaic-Clifton Chapter of The tragedy has not only taken a physical toll on UNICO National and many others groups and individthe youngster, but an emotional one as well. “She’s uals have held benefits for Julia. “I’m in shock of dealing with it as best one could,” said her father. how many people have helped us out,” said Jerry. “She’s upset, but she knows what happened. She His daughter, who turned 16 in July, still has areas knows it’s her fault. on her lower calf and right forearm that need to be “We’re not worried about that now,” he continued. grafted. She’s also undergoing a tremendous amount “It’s more about keeping her smiling. Other people are of therapy in order to learn how to do everyday tasks again, like walking and eating with a fork and knife. out there for her. We’ve gotten cards from so many “She’s got to keep moving, otherwise more probpeople. The outreach is incredible. From Clifton and lems will arise with her bones or organs,” her father all over the country and even across the ocean, where explained. “She was sedated for two months in a hosmy sister lives in England.” pital bed, so the muscles Mr. and Mrs. Young take start to break down. It Up in the air, a touch of home turns sitting with Julia affects every part of your throughout the day, which saved the teenager’s life. doesn’t leave a lot of time body.” for employment. But the Nearly seven months after CHS ’88 grad Ken Reardon family is looking forward her accident, Julia is finally transitioning from the happened to be a paramedic and considering the options. Jerry is thinking about intensive care portion of her aboard the helicopter. returning to school to study treatment, during which she nursing and the hospital has was kept in an isolated even set up a couple of interviews for him. ‘bubble,’ to rehab. But that doesn’t mean the difficult “It’s a hard way to get a calling for something, but times are over. I just want to do something to help people,” he said. Young recently underwent five hours of surgery on Visit if Sept. 24, another in a string of more than 50 proceyou’d like to help the Young family. dures she’s undergone since the accident. Donations are also being accepted to help the fam“The surgeries go beyond skin grafts; they involve ily pay bills and the Julia Rose Young Trust was estabmuscles, organs and bones,” her father said. “She’s lished for that reason. Checks should be made to the going to be sidelined for a little while longer because of it. And really we don’t have a timeline for recovery.” Julia Rose Trust and mailed c/o KBK Wealth But the family remains optimistic about her future. Management, LLC, ATTN: Michael Kessler, 29 East “She can probably go back to school around the 44th St., Suite 1200, New York, NY 10036. start of next year,” Jerry stated. “She wants to go Supporters should also note a barbeque scheduled back to school. She never wanted to go before, but for Oct. 17 at the Clifton Masonic Lodge is cancelled.

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October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Shriners Answer the Call to Help

Roland ‘Rip’ Van Winkle (center) is on the Board of Governors at Shriners Hospital. Here, pictured in front of the Mason Lodge on Van Houten Ave., he is with his son, Jason (right), and Pat Doremus, who are also both Shriners. They are collecting aluminum can tabs that they will recycle and donate the proceeds to Shriners Hospital in Boston.

Roland Van Winkle looks down at the infant granddaughter on his lap and shudders at the thought of children her age being treated for burns at one of the 22 Shriners Hospitals across North America. That’s why the Clifton resident has been an active member of Shriners International since 1981. The Shrine of North America is an international fraternity of 525,000 Master Masons. They have operated the children’s hospitals, free of charge, for the past 87 years. The organization is supported by endowments, wills, fundraisers and gifts. Last year, Shriners Hospitals had an $826 million budget and in 2007, they approved 39,454 new patient applications and attended

to the needs of 125,125 patients. The Shriners also raise money through their Pull-Tab Program. The soda can tabs are sold to a recycling company and the proceeds are donated to the Shriners Burn Hospital in Boston, where Julia Young is being treated. The tab is collected because it is the only pure aluminum part of the can. Drop off your tabs at Clifton VFW Post 7165 at 491 Valley Rd., any day, between 1 and 11 pm. For more about the Shriners and Shriners Hospitals, visit or write Shriners International Headquarters at 2900 Rocky Point Dr., Tampa, FL 33607-1460 or call 813-281-0300. Here in Clifton, their home base is the Mason Lodge on Van Houten Ave. October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


VFW Post 7165 Benefit for Julia Handmade ribbons, homemade food and some down home music were all part of the donations of goods and services which helped raise more than $4,000 in a benefit for Julia Young. Coordinated by Greg and Pat Collucci, the fundraiser was held on Sept. 26 at the VFW Post 7165 on Valley Rd. “So many people helped make this successful,” said Pat Collucci. Working with Cmdr. Roger Oslizly and the trustees, the hall was provided at no charge while Allan Tuske, Rip Van Winkle, John Donetz and Matt Yagins contributed the beverages, she added.

A new fundraising idea came from Chris Cameron who created this pink and black handmade ribbon and is selling them for $2. She is also offering pink and black Support Burn Victims bracelets for $5. To purchase either, or for more info on other events, email Chris at or go to

At the VFW, the kitchen crew included Bob Ashbaugh, Colleen Sarpinto, Jackie Rhinesmith, Mike Freeman, Dennis Sudol, Eddie Nibbling Scott Yuenling and Greg and Pat Collucci.

Save Pull-Tabs for Julia Young Drop off your tabs at

VFW Post 7165 at 491 Valley Road (Between 1pm-11pm) for more information about the pull-tab program please visit 34

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Thanks to blues advocate and promoter John Muller, the services of three bands were also donated. They included Tony Santos and the Blues Conspiracy, Jimebeau and the Retrocasters and the Paul Gargiulo Band. Dozens of people donated door prizes and others simply made donations to the trust fund set up for Julia. Details on the trust can be found on page 32. “I would also like to thank each and every person that attended this event for our wonderful Julia Young who is showing such great strength in this very trying time,” said Pat Collucci. “On behalf of the community, we say God bless Julia and her family.”

Above, from left, Chris Cameron, Joyce Danelski, Julia’s grandmother, Nancy Young and former Clifton City Council member Lorraine Bremmer, who now lives on Long Island. “We cannot thank the community enough for their love, prayers, support and generosity, which comes in so many different ways,” said Nancy Young. Below, one of the donors of prizes, Joanne Graziano with Dawn Van Winkle and blues band Jimbeau and the Retrocasters, one of the three bands that volunteered their services.

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SMART! E R I F Y A T S “ BURNED.” DON’T GET As you know, burns are painful. And that’s why this year’s Fire Safety Campaign campaign focuses on preventing devastating burns while keeping homes safe from the leading causes of fire. As has been done in past years, Clifton FMBA Local 21 members are proud to team up with the business community to publish 10,000 copies of the fire prevention booklet for kids. This year’s theme is Stay Fire Smart! Working with Tomahawk Promotions, a 28 page book featuring coloring pages and activities has been printed and is being distributed to tell children about fire safety. Thanks to our sponsors (listed on the following page), the project is presented to the community at no expense to taxpayers. In October, Clifton Fire Safety officials will visit public and private elementary schools and talk to children about fire safety. But as we all know, fire safety is a discussion that must continue year round. In that spirit, we ask all community leaders, teachers and parents to help us to spread the word of Fire Safety. For any questions regarding fire safety, call 973-470-5801.

Clifton FMBA Local 21 President Bob DeLuca 36

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Clifton FMBA Local 21 thanks the following sponsors • Athenia Mason Supply • The Apprehensive Patient & Poller Dental Group • Clifton State Farm Agents: Tom Tobin & Bill G. Eljouzi • Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage • Matthew T. Priore, Esq. • Clifton Savings Bank • Tenafly Pediatrics • Wee Care Child Care Center • Shook Funeral Home • Thomas P. De Vita, Esq. • IHOP Restaurant of Clifton • Carl G. Zoecklein, Esq. • Clifton Moose Lodge Chapter 657 • Optimist Club of Clifton • P&A Auto Parts • Assemblyman Thomas Giblin • Members of Clifton PBA Local 36 Copies are being distributed to students in Grade 3 and below in all public and private elementary schools during October, which is Fire Safety Month. If you would like to receive a copy, visit Fire Headquarters on the 2nd floor of City Hall or call 973-470-5801.


October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


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Wines from Italy

Pinot Noir 750 ML Wild Horse 2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$21.99 Kali Hart Monterey 2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$18.99 Stephen Ross Central Coast 2007 . . . . .$17.99 Wyatt 2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$13.99 Belle Glos Clark & Tel. San. Barbara 2007 . .$39.99 Hirsch Estate Sonoma Coast 2006 . . . . . .$49.99 Sinskey Los Carneros 2005 . . . . . . . . . . .$34.99 Wesmar Sonoma Coast 2006 . . . . . . . . . .$34.99 Saintsbury Lee Vineyard Carneros 2006 .$34.99 Etude Carneros 2006 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$34.99 Staete Landt new Zealand 2006 . . . . . . .$21.99 Amisfield Central Otago 2006 . . . . . . . . . .$27.99 Kenwood 2006 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$14.99

Zaccagnini Montepulciano 2006 . . . . .$11.99 San Michele Amarone 2004 . . . . . . . .$24.95 Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre 2005 . . . .$15.99 Valle Dell’Acate Cerasuolo Sicily 2006 . . .$19.99 Antinori Peppoli 2006 WS90 . . . . . . . .$19.99 Great Values Under $15 Botter Pinot Grigio 2008 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$8.95 Valdicava Rosso di Montalcina 2007 . . . .$29.99 Chateau German Cotes De Castillon 2006 . .$11.95 Tomaiolo Morellino di Scansano 2006 . . .$11.95 Chateau Prestige De Ribebon 2005 . . . . . . . . .$12.95 Falesco Vitiano 2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$7.99 effective through Nov. 3. Good only at Shoppers Vineyard in Clifton. We reserve the right to limit quantities. Prices Chateau Padouin De Macard 2005 . . . . . . . . . .$10.95 Prices do not include sales tax. Not responsible for typographical errors. No rainchecks. Limited to store inventory.

Ready for Octoberfest

Awesome Values

OCTOBERFEST October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Adopting a New Identity Lauren Mufson has gone from Broadway star to stay-at-home mom Story by Jordan Schwartz A Dora the Explorer balloon wilts in the living room, desperately trying to reach the ceiling it knew so well just a couple days ago. A baby monitor crackles in the kitchen, where colorful thank you notes litter the table. Clearly, this is a home with a child, and its owners couldn’t be happier. When Lauren Mufson was finally granted permanent legal guardianship of her adopted daughter Ashley, the actress cried harder than when she was given a starring role in the Broadway musical Mamma Mia! “I’ve never felt such a weight lifted,” said Mufson, while taking a break from writing those notes for Ashley’s second birthday party. The 45-year-old and her husband of six years, Victor Romero, 47, began fostering their daughter on Sept. 12, 2007, when she was just a week old. After suffering the anguish of a miscarriage and having no luck with in vitro fertilization, the couple enrolled in New Jersey’s Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) Foster to Adopt program. It took more than four months for the Washington Ave. residents to receive their foster license, but soon after, they got the call about Ashley. “We knew she was a newborn and had two siblings in foster care,” Mufson explained. “We just said, ‘Yes.’” But adopting the little girl from Paterson wasn’t as easy. “There was a lot of uncertainty,” said the Mountain Lakes native. “Her family members kept stepping up to say they would take her. They never followed through but it was very scary.” Ashley’s biological mother was permitted weekly visitations, but she didn’t always show up and eventually defaulted on her rights to the child before passing away in April. That same month, the courts gave full parental rights to Mufson and Romero. “I can’t imagine loving her more,” the new mother said, adding that it makes no difference that she and Ashley don’t share the same blood. “We were her parents from the moment she got out of the hospital.” And Mufson isn’t particularly worried about the difficulties a white mother and Hispanic father might have in raising a black child. “I’m sure issues will come up,” she said, “but I think it’s becoming very 40

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Photo: Joan Marcus 2005

common. I go into New York City a lot, and I see tons of families like us.” Mufson admits she doesn’t notice as much of that in Clifton, but there’s still a great deal of diversity in town, which is one of the reasons why she and her husband decided to move here in March 2006.

Two Sets

8:30 &10:30

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


“Clifton kind of chose us,” Mufson said. “We decided to buy a house. I was busy working, so I couldn’t look at the place, but my husband saw this house and put a bid in. I didn’t see it until after.” The couple was able to relocate from New York to Clifton after Mufson played the lead role of Donna Sheridan in the Broadway production of Mamma Mia! during the winter of 2006. “It was a dream come true,” said the actress, who also starred in the show’s threeyear North American tour. Mufson’s love of theater and music began at an early age. Her mother, Marsha (Rivers) Mufson, was a Rockette and Broadway dancer, and so Lauren attended Vassar College, where she began an acting career. In addition to her work on the Great White Way, the Morris County native has performed off-Broadway, in regional theaters, on television and film and in concerts and clubs. A New Yorker for 20 years, Mufson met her future husband aboard an Amtrak train headed back to the city after appearing in Man of La Mancha at the Olney Theater Center in Maryland. It was during a snowstorm on Dec. 30, 2000 when the couple got to chatting. Romero is a merchandise manager for Shrek. The California native used to work in student affairs at Texas A&M—where he went to school—and

Cliftonites Victor Romero and Lauren Mufson with their adopted daughter, Ashley.

Manhattan College. Mufson is a full-time mom these days, but she’s considering taking a weekly singing gig at a club in New York. “I miss the performing but not the business of it,” she said. “I might be doing more kids music, too. It’s so cool now.” Spoken like a true mother.

Oct. 18th 11am & Monday, Nov. 2nd 7pm Open House! Sunday, Timed programs—please call with any questions. Twic Faith Family Future Queen of Peace •


High School

191 Rutherford Place, North Arlington, NJ 07031 201-998-8227 •

• Student to Faculty Ratio 14 to 1 • Total Co-ed Enrollment 550 students • Academic Scholarships & Affordable Tuition • Accelerated AP Courses & College Programs • Resource Room for Students identified with an ISP or specific Learning Disabilities • No Cost Transportation Services • Award Winning Theatrical Program • 21 Varsity Sports Queen of Peace is a Catholic, co-educational, college preparatory high school. Our school is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Queen of Peace High School is a twice honored Blue Ribbon School of Excellence dedicated to Faith, Family and Future. Contact our Admissions Office at to schedule your Griffin For a Day visit. 42

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Benjamin Moore Paints & much more... ABLE Hardware 745 Van Houten Avenue • 973.773.4997

2009 CLIFTON’S HOMETOWN HARDWARE STORE Able Hardware has served the community since its founding in 1959 by the late Stanley E. Jakubczyk and his wife Wanda, who at 89 still works in the Van Houten Ave. store today. His son, Stanley, took over the store some years back alongside his sister Barbara Mieczkowski and her husband John. Open six days a week for


1999 everything from Benjamin Moore paints to lawn mower and snow blower purchases or repairs, Able is a family run store. In addition to Stanley, John and Barbara, other family include John Mieczkowski jr and his wife Andrea, John’s sister Lisa Kulesa and her husband Brian (of BZ Irrigation), John Pelle and four great grandkids. Pictured through the decades, the folks at Able Hardware are there Mon-Fri until 7 pm and Sat. until 5 pm and offer their thanks for five decades of your patronage. October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


C. GENARDI CONTRACTING, INC. Roofing, Siding, Gutters • 973.772.8451


The Affordable TruSlate™ system from GAF-Elk.. can make your dream of owning a genuine slate roof a reality when you get the look of slate (below) at a fraction of the cost.

Corey Genardi of C. Genardi Contracting Inc. offers a variety of roofs for every type of home and at every price—choices range from asphalt shingles to wood shakes and modified rubber systems for flat roofs to affordable lookalike slate. One of the least-expensive roofing options, asphalt shingles are available in a dozen or so different colors both solid and blended. Using GAF products, Genardi said the roofs he installs are guaranteed for 20, or in some cases 30 years, making them an excellent value. Based in Clifton, the family-run and owned business was started in the late 1960’s by Corey’s father Ronald. “I was pretty much born into it,” said Genardi. “And I have installed most every type of roof there is.” The next upgrade from a standard three-tab is a thicker variation called an architectural shingle, explained Genardi. These shingles are built up to be about twice as thick as a normal shingle with the layers staggered to give them a heavier, more substantial or ‘architectural’ look. “In some colors they resemble slate, and in other colors wood shakes,” Genardi said. 44

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

One of the most unique roofing option on the market today is the TruSlate system from GAF, above. At about one-third the weight and cost of slate, these shingles look traditional and authentic and will last for generations. Genardi also installs Weather Watch Leak Barriers which create a watertight seal to keep water and snow from the vulnerable areas of the home—eaves and rakes, around chimney and in valleys. “It prevents leaks due to water damming in your gutters from wind driven rain or where ice collects,” he concluded.

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Grinnell Concrete Paving Stones, Inc. Entrances. Walkways. Driveways. Patios. Pool Decks. Steps. Circlestones. Paverart.

Turn Everyday Spaces into Extraordinary Places... Set your ideas in stone and create a backyard haven where you, your family and friends can relax, converse and entertain. PAVINGSTONES & RETAINING WALLS FROM ATHENIA MASON & GRINNELL What does the perfect wall look like? Is it natural or traditional, rounded or angular? Perhaps it has a charming staircase to welcome friends and family or the gentle, golden glow of accent lighting. Whatever your vision, Grinnell walls offer the stone styles and colors to give your vision shape. Your home reflects your unique taste and style. Now you can extend that style to your landscape. With Grinnell’s variety of attractive shapes, colors and textures available through Athenia Mason, you will be able to transform any area into one that is truly exceptional. Liberate your inner artist with the dramatic results you can only achieve with our beautiful stone designs, some shown below. With Paverart, you can create dramatic, colorful images embedded within your stonework.

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant



BLESING’S FLOORING 13 Sebago St • 973.471.7171

FOCUSED ON WOOD FLOORS Since 1983, Blesing’s has been a name synonymous with hardwood flooring. With a large showroom and stocked warehouse on Sebago St., just off Van Houten Ave., owner John Blesing is positioned to be extremely competitive. He said customers can select from his stock and have prefinished floors—which can be walked on immediately—installed in a day. Designing a new home or office, or renovating an old one? Blesing can help you select the right flooring and show you ways to dress it with beautiful custom inlays, borders and medallions made from a variety of exotic woods. His experienced restoration team can bring old wood floors back to their original beauty and luster. Using proven techniques to resand and renovate before applying a new, durable finish, the crew uses the highest quality materials, the latest equipment and non-toxic water-based finishes. At, customers can review many details about wood flooring, see photos of recent jobs and get help in choosing the materials and design for their needs. After browsing the site, just click the “Contact Us” button and submit the info form. John Blesing or one of his experts will get back to answer questions and provide you with an estimate for the job. 46

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Why Hardwood Flooring? They are easy to clean, more sanitary than carpet, offer an almost infinite array of styles, and outlast all other flooring types.

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For decades, the experts at Athenia Mason Supply have been supplying homeowners with the finest quality materials when it comes to designing every area of their home. Specifically, the authentic looking beauty and durability of Cultured Stone® gives homeowners a variety of ways to make a home warmer. Talk to the experts at Athenia Mason to discuss how Cultured Stone® can be cut to conform to any area, offering tremendous design flexibility. Athenia Mason has everything you need for unique interior and exterior residential, commercial and landscape applications—exceptional products and an unmatched variety of colors and textures that provide you with countless ways to create awe-inspiring custom looks.

Innovative. Distinctive. Inspiring... Quality products, innovative technology and creative solutions— discover why Cultured Stone is The Preferred Name In Stone.® With the cool weather here, it is not too late to design and create a fireplace for your home or even in your backyard. Working with your contractor, the people at Athenia Mason can create a sophisticated indoor hearth using a variety of products which can complement and blend with your existing decor. Stop in and see samples of Cultured Stone® in the Athenia Mason showroom just off Lakeview Ave. October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Plumbing & Heating Contractors No Job Too Small • 973.546.1330


Tired of the High Price of Oil Heat? Save thousands—convert an aging & costly oil heating system to an energy efficient gas boiler & water heater...

Leaky faucets, running toilets, an old and inefficient heating system... the list goes on and so does the wasted money. How long can you afford to turn a blind eye to those little problems around your home that slowly wastes money and then one day becomes a costly headache—and always on that coldest day of the year? If you decide that you are going to fix the problem before it becomes an emergency, then call Mark Zecchino of Holzec Plumbing & Heating. He is a licensed Master Plumber and would be happy to visit your home or office and discuss any of the problems listed above and give you an estimate of how much a repair or replacement will cost. His company has been in Clifton since the 1980’s when his father-in-law Mike Holzli began the business. Mark joined up with him in 1990 and formed Holzec, Inc. Over the last two decades, they’ve worked on plenty of homes and it is likely they’ve worked for a friend or neighbor as both Mark and Mike are Clifton residents. 48

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

No job is too small for the Holzec team. They’ll do the nitty gritty—cleaning out the clog of grime in a kitchen sink, laundry room or a bath tub—to more ambitious jobs like remodeling a bath and a shower or installing a hot water heater. Heating system not performing at top efficiency? Holzec can tune it up or discuss the costs and benefits of installing a new Weil McLain gas heater, which can cut annual fuel costs by up to 30 percent. For customers who decide to convert to natural gas, Holzec provides complete service from site evaluation, presenting options, securing the permits and installing the new equipment. In most cases, this work can be completed in a day and with minimum disruption to you and your family. So if you are among the many who have been “looking for a good plumber,” get your list of things to do ready and call Mark Zecchino at 973-546-1330.

Make an appointment before it’s an emergency!

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THE BEST OUTDOOR LIVING IDEAS COME FROM CAMBRIDGE CAMBRIDGE PAVINGSTONE— MADE IN AMERICA WITH THE ADDED VALUE OF ARMORTEC Choosing Cambridge Pavingstones for any project makes perfect sense. They can be installed anywhere instead of asphalt or poured concrete. With all the different shapes, colors and patterns to choose from, design possibilities for a terrific looking driveway, walkway, patio, pool deck and sunroom are endless. Made of high-density concrete, Cambridge Pavingstones are twice as strong as and less absorbent than poured concrete. Surface stains on patios and driveways are minimized. Damage from deicing salts and snowplows is eliminated. Interlocking pavingstones form a mortarless, flexible, engineered pavement that won’t crack or heave as a result of ground movement. Access to underground utilities is easily accomplished.

Personalize the Color of Your Pavingstones... At Athenia Mason, Cambridge Pavingstones with ArmorTec can be specially formulated to match any color you request... By installing Cambridge Pavingstones, ugly patches are a thing of the past. Only Cambridge has ArmorTec which prevents the natural aggregate in the concrete paver from being revealed, worn and tired looking after prolonged wear. By purchasing Cambridge Pavingstones, your patio, walk or driveway will look new even after years of use. October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Doing a Home Improvement?

Hiring a Contractor? Some Numbers to Call... Ready to renovate a kitchen, convert a basement into a recreation area or trade in and move up? Perhaps you just need some work done around the house. Whatever your reason, the advertisers found within this magazine will be helpful. The folks who advertise with us are trustworthy vendors and trades people. I say that because I know most of them personally. If you have any question about our advertisers, call me, Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400. And remember—before beginning any project, be sure to get the proper city permits. Here are some handy numbers to start... • The Engineering Department issues permits for curb/sidewalk construction, street excavation, tree planting and driveway widening—973-470-5793. • The Planning and Zoning Office can answer questions on pools, decks, fences, additions and other issues regarding new construction—973-470-5808.

15% Off Any Job

With this ad. Not to be combined w/other offers. Exp. 12/31/09.


October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

•The Building Department issues permits for plumbing, electrical, fire safety, elevators and other types of construction. The department also issues permits for demolition work, oil tank removal, asbestos and lead abatement—973-470-5809. • For a contractor, plumber or electrician to do any work to your house, they must be licensed in New Jersey. To see if your home-builder or contractor is licensed, call 609-984-7910. For plumbers, call 973-504-6420, for electricians call 973-504-6410.


Giving his fans

Clifton native Tony Portaro’s band is spicing up more than just the stage. By Jordan Schwartz


ony Portaro experienced his greatest life-altering moment on the day he was born. Adopted at birth by an Italian family in the Allwood section of Clifton, Portaro was spared from growing up poor in a one-room Paterson apartment with five brothers and sisters. Instead, he had all the toys he could ever want, including an electric guitar his parents bought for him when he was five. As an only child, Portaro also had plenty of privacy. “I wasn’t surrounded by a bunch of kids, so that helped me latch on to playing the guitar,” he said. “When my friends were out playing, I was in my room with my guitar.” All that practice paid off when Portaro and his band Whiplash played in front of 78,000 people at the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany this past July 31.

Tony Portaro performs during a Whiplash band rehearsal in Little Falls on Sept. 14. Also pictured is Whiplash’s limited edition hot sauce. October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


The Clifton native attended School 14 and Woodrow Wilson before getting serious about music during his time at Clifton High. Portaro was in a band with classmate Pete O’Donnell and then another called Toxin with Carmen LaBue on drums. After graduating CHS in 1979, Portaro went to Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he played in a band that covered Aerosmith and other classic rock artists. During his third semester at school, he went to go hang out with a friend, who lived with Japanese roommates. “They couldn’t speak English,” Portaro remembered. “I picked up a guitar and started playing ‘Highway Star’ by Deep Purple, and one of the Japanese guys picked up a bass and played the song with me, note for note. It proves that music is the universal language.” In the early ’80s, Portaro became interested in a new genre called thrash metal. Defined by its aggressively fast tempo, thrash grew out of Southern California with bands like Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer. Around that time, a North Jersey DJ introduced Portaro to Tony Scaglione of a metal band called Jackhammer, and the former Mustang went to see them rehearse.


October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Whiplash is Rich Day (bass), Joe Cangelosi (drums) and Tony Portaro (guitar).

The group didn’t have a singer, so during the session, Portaro picked up a mic and blew them away. Scaglione liked his voice so much that he joined forces with the Cliftonite to form Whiplash in 1984. They recruited Tony Bono on bass and released their first album, Power and Pain, the following year on Roadrunner Records. “We used to rehearse at 74 Jackson St. behind the Capitol Theater seven days a week, including Christmas and New Year’s,” said Portaro. Whiplash’s debut CD was followed by their first live performance at Ruthie’s Inn in Berkeley, Calif.—the heart of thrash country. Scaglione left the band for a short tour with Slayer and was

Tony in his CHS 1979 senior picture.

replaced in 1986 by the heavy-hitting Joe Cangelosi of Brooklyn. The power trio then recorded their second album, Ticket to Mayhem, in 1987.

Tony Portaro on stage at Dingbatz on Van Houten Ave. on Sept. 19 and with old friend, Tom Bertalan. Photo by Joe Cangelosi.

For the crew’s third CD, Insult to Injury, in 1990, they enlisted Glenn Hansen to take over lead vocals, allowing Portaro the freedom to focus strictly on guitar. Whiplash brought its combination of speed and melody on the road to Mexico City, Canada and the Midwest. The band also toured the tri-state area with shows at CBGB’s and L’Amour in Brooklyn, as well as Europe in ’86, ’88 and ’90. “The larger venues that we’ve been playing are all out of the U.S.,” said Portaro, who lives in Ridgewood. “In the States, there’s not as big of a market for thrash metal as there is in Germany, Mexico or Brazil.” Cangelosi went on to join German metal group Kreator in 1994 and recorded Cause For Conflict in 1995, but Portaro remained a constant in a band that experienced a number of lineup changes over the course of its six fulllength albums, which included Cult of One in 1996 and Sit Stand Kneel Prey in 1997. After playing guitar for Billy Milano’s M.O.D. on a European tour in early 1998, the original three Tonys got back together for a reunion CD called Thrashback. “I’m singing again and the fans really always wanted my vocals,” said Portaro, who you wouldn’t expect to be fronting a thrash band after hearing his mild-mannered voice over the phone. “It’s a lot different on stage,” he explained. “Something comes over me, I guess. The crowd feels it and adrenaline takes over. You don’t really come down from that high for a few days. It takes a while to come back to your normal lifestyle.”

But Whiplash isn’t all power-thrash riffs and thumping double bass that will make your mom think you’re into devil worship. With a mix of mid-tempo ballads and driving, bluesy rock hooks, the band has set itself apart from the run-of-the-mill headbangers. “Technique and theory has a lot to do with our original style,” said Portaro. “If you don’t know theory and you’re writing thrash, every one of your songs may sound the same. “A lot of our songs have groove or classical picking,” he continued. “It’s not just noise.” Bono, 38, died of a heart attack in 2002, but Whiplash reformed with Rich Day from Brooklyn on bass. Their new album is called Unborn Again, which was produced by Harris Johns & Portaro, who recently finished his studies with Rick VanBenschoten for audio production and Susan Nuziata for music marketing at New York University. Before last month’s release, the band allowed fans to get a first look at the new lineup and pre-production material on its video blogs at Whiplash will also be putting out a 25th-anniversary DVD entitled 25 Years of Thrash. This year, the rockers performed at several European festivals in Italy, Norway, Finland and the largest heavy metal event on the planet in Germany, where Whiplash performed before more than 50,000 people. But even though his band tours the world, Portaro doesn’t consider himself a full-time musician. In fact, he works as a network technician at Verizon in Madison. October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


“I don’t really want my life to revolve around the music because one day, it’s not going to be as popular as it is now,” he said. “I have three kids [Alyssa, 16, TJ, 11, and Joey, 8] and the music wouldn’t do anything for me when it comes to health insurance.” But Portaro sometimes has difficulty keeping his two lives separate. On one occasion, his flight arrived home late after a show and he didn’t have time to take his skull beads off of his beard before going to work. This year, Whiplash has played the Monterrey Metal Fest in Mexico, a show in Bogota, Colombia and smaller dates at Club Europa in Brooklyn and a hometown gig at


October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Dingbatz on Sept. 19. “It’s always fun,” Portaro said about playing in Clifton. “We end up seeing people we haven’t seen in 10 to 20 years.” Whiplash has also broken ground by introducing the first ever thrash metal line of hot sauce in a joint venture with the Canadian company From Mild to Wild. “My manager [Rob Bolger] found a company and it was his idea,” said the musician. “We had a lot of input on the label design and choosing the titles of the three different hot sauces.” Last Nail in the Coffin is a moderate habanero blend, Power & Pain is a spicy habanero sauce and Swallow the Slaughter is a zesty jalapeno sauce. Portaro is having a case of it shipped to his brother’s bar, Bit of Billiards, in Colorado. “I’m flying out to meet him in October, and my ass is gonna leave an impression on one of those stools in that bar,” he said. The musician met his biological family for the first time last December at his brother’s 50th birthday party in Florida. “It was good to meet my biological mother,” Portaro said. “It was a little emotional. I noticed things in my biological family that we have in common. They like to party just as much as I do.”

Jazz accordionist Eddie Monteiro (above) will perform in a free concert from 1 to 4 pm on Oct. 11 at the Holiday Inn on Rt. 46 in Totowa, thanks to Lillianna and Alexander Chudolij of the Clifton-based Music Magic USA. Monteiro and other accordionists are performing as part of a tour to promote the Roland V-Accordion, a new product from the company which combines the familiar sounds and nuances of a traditional accordion with the versatility of a modern digital musical instrument, offering French, Bajan, and classic Italian accordion sounds, and 24 new orchestral sounds. Monteiro will be joined by the 2009 Coupe Mondiale International Digital Accordion Competition Champion Cory Pesaturo. Also performing will be the Chudolij’s son Petro, a CHS freshman who is also a U.S. National VAccordion Festival Junior Division finalist. For info, call 888-887-0975 or email Since founding the company in 1997, Alexander Chudolij has become one of the foremost accordion dealers in the nation, serving national and international stars.

The Mike Luipersbeck Quartet: (left to right) Peter Greco, Corrine Somers, band leader Luipersbeck and Michael Gabriele will perform at the Nutley Museum, 65 Church St., on Oct. 10 at 7:30—the third installment in the “Jazz at the Museum” series to benefit the Nutley Historical Society. A “free-will” donation of $5 per person is suggested. The evening will include complementary beverages and snacks and the audience will be invited to tour the museum during intermission. Call 973-667-1528 or go to Photo credit: Julia Kluth

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


The Clifton Association of Artists has elected officers for the upcoming season. The first meeting will be held on Oct. 6 at the Senior Citizens Community Center on the City Hall campus. Incoming board members are President Tom Dubzina, First Vice President Dominick Di Donato, Second Vice President Dorothy Nieradka, Third Vice President and Show Chairwoman Eugenia Gore, Treasurer Marie Hyman, Corresponding Secretary Dom Mauro and Program Chairwoman Gloria Marino. The CAA meets the first Monday of each month from October through May. Councilmen Frank Fusco and Steve Hatala will be the chefs for An Autumn Fundraiser & Feast to benefit the Clifton Arts Center. The event will be held at the Senior Citizen Barn, behind City Hall, on Oct. 18 at 2 pm. Tickets are $25. The CAC is also holding a membership drive until the end of the


October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

From left: Tom Mullin, Dom Mauro, Marie Hyman, Dominick Di Donato, Eugenia Gore, Tom Dzubina, Dorothy Nieradka and Gloria Marino.

year. An annual member receives mailings about exhibits, unlimited free admission and an invitation to a holiday open house.

Membership is $15 for an individual and $25 for a family. It’s fully tax deductible and will be valid to September 2010. Call 973472-5499 or visit Remembering Ronnie I, a tribute to the late Ronnie Italiano, founder of Clifton Music, is Nov. 28 at the Lodi Boys & Girls Club, 460 Passaic Ave. Italiano passed away in March 2008 and his wife, Sandra, now operates his iconic doo wop store. Italiano was a champion of street harmony, and his record store was renown in North Jersey. Performing at the tribute will be The Harptones, The Solitaires, The Devotions, Barbara English and the Clickettes, Cornerstone and a surprise group. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at Clifton Music, 1135 Main Ave., or call 973-365-0049. Ronni I in his Downtown Clifton music shop back in 1998.

Bottle of Bread returns to Fitzgerald’s Harp & Bard on Lakeview Ave. on Oct. 24 at 8:30 pm. The Americana roots band features Cliftonites Bob Messineo and Pete Agnoli, as well as Jeff Bleeke, Andy Sandel and Brian Brodeur. Visit The 2009 North Jersey Arab American Comedy Show is on Oct. 2 at 8 pm at the Memorial Auditorium of Montclair State University. Go to or call Rick Khalil of 1001 Laughs and Outreach Media Entertainment Group at 888-656-2772 for info. Fall Fest 2009, a New Jersey Music and Arts production, is on Oct. 23 at 7:30 pm at Passaic County Community College auditorium, Paterson. This celebration of the season features music, drama and dance by the New Hope Players, the WAIT Dance Team and others. For $10 tickets, call Francesco Santelli at 973-272-3255.

Maestro Francesco Santelli, Artistic Director of the Clifton-based Garden State Opera presents a double bill at the YM-YWHA on Scoles Ave. on Nov. 7 at 7:30 pm. The performance includes four scenes from Paul Hindemith’s opera Mathis der Maler and Donizetti’s Italian opera buffa Il Campanello. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. The performance supports the Clifton Public Schools’ Adopt a Music Student program. For info, call 973-272-3255 or visit The Passaic County Film Commission hosts a free student workshop on short film and video production from 9 am to noon on Oct. 24 at the Passaic County Economic Development Dept., 930 Riverview Dr., Totowa. High school and university students are invited to attend. RSVP by Oct. 22 to or 973569-4720 by Oct. 22. More info at

Opera comes to Clifton with Alyssa Bowlby as Serafina in 'Il Campanello' on Nov. 7.

The Passaic County History Fair is on Oct. 10 from 10 am until 4 pm at Lambert Castle on Valley Rd. Free and open to the public, more than a dozen historians, history groups and museums will participate. Visitors can peruse the tables or participate in programs that will run throughout the day. For info, go to or call 973-247-0085 ext. 200.

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Theater League of Clifton Presents:

And Then There Were None And The There Were None, the latest production by the Theater League of Clifton, will be staged Oct. 9-11 and 16-18 at School 3, 365 Washington Ave. This detective fiction by Agatha Christie focuses on 10 people, (cast and crew pictured here) who previously committed murder but escaped due to technicalities, who are tricked into coming to an island. Each is mysteriously murdered in the manner of the nursery rhyme, one by one. And Then There Were None is Chirstie’s best-selling novel with 100 million sales to date, making it the world’s best-selling mystery and the seventh most popular book of all time. Tickets are $15 or $10 for students and seniors. There’s an opening night special (Oct. 9) of two for the price of one. For group rates or other info, call 973-458-9579 or visit TLC is also holding its 5th Annual Halloween Costume Party on Oct. 31 at 7 pm at Mario’s. Tickets are $35 and includes buffet, dessert and coffee. Reservations by Oct. 24.

Barbara Novak

Charles Timm

DJ Montroni

Frank Fusco

John Bertrand

Kathleen Kellaigh

Kodi Milde

Maria Montroni

Mark Gordon

Jeannie Rae Kempa

Matthew Furfaro

Sandy Robertson

Sarah Fusco

Tim Barnhart

Mark Peterson


October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Bellin’s Swim Club Makes Way For Housing/Retail Development Story by Joe Hawrylko

The former Bellin’s Swim Club, a 2.5 acre tract which used to be hidden on Main Ave. near the Passaic border, is being demolished and cleared. Developer Peter Evgenikos plans to construct a mixed-use complex that would feature retail on the first floor, senior housing on the second and third, with below ground parking.. Prior to being sold in 2007 to Evgenikos, Bellin’s was a landmark destination in Downtown Clifton. Built in 1932 and originally named Rentschler’s Pool, admission was just a nickel a day and it was the place to be, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Rentschler’s attracted well over 2,000 people on any given Saturday, as the photo on the facing page attests. 60

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

In 1942, the late George Bellin Sr. became pool manager, and eventually wound up purchasing the 2.5 acre property in 1965. Five years later, it was converted to a membership-only facility and flourished. Operated for the last three decades by his son, George Jr. and his wife Diane, Bellin’s drew in over 800 annual members during the 1980s. But as suburbanites began to purchase their own pools, membership slowly declined and Bellin’s closed after the 2006 season. Today, the once hidden and expansive property is now reduced to rubble, as demolition crews break up and recycle the locker rooms, office and concrete pool which once held one million gallons of water.

As the project proceeds, the plan recently approved by the city is similar to the original that Evgenikos proposed about a year ago. Clifton Economic Development Director Harry Swanson said it includes a three-story building, which will be constructed in roughly the same footprint where Teddy’s Restaurant now sits on Main Ave., which will also soon be demolished. When completed, the project will have 25,000 sq. ft. of retail space on the first floor and 28 senior housing units in total on the top two levels. “An underground parking garage will be the fourth level,” added Swanson. “The senior citizen apartments would be interconnected to the underground parking garage.” The resident-dedicated parking facility will offer 60 spots and will likely be accessed by a key code. In total, there are 171 parking spaces, which includes eight for people with special needs. Swanson stated that given the zoning for residential and commercial use, the parking spaces meet the code requirement. According to Swanson, the retail component will likely house seven to eight small stores, depending on what companies Evgenikos can lure in to anchor the property. “He’s got a letter of intent from one of the dollar stores,” said Swanson. “I’m not quite sure which one, but that’s the only commitment there.” Additionally, Evgenikos, who also owns the Grand Chalet in Wayne, is drafting plans for another building further back on the property, which would require a separate review. Swanson stated that the developer is seeking approval for a restaurant that was not included in the original plans.

An undated photo of Bellin’s Pool on the July 2006 cover of Clifton Merchant. At left is how the property looked as of Sept. 28, as FYC Recycling demolishes and clears it to make way for a mixed use retail and residential project.

“That is not approved yet, and will go up for review in November,” said Swanson, noting Evgenikos is a seasoned developer who recently completed building a hotel and resort in Greece. Evgenikos will appear before the Planning Board in early November to seek approval for a second entrance from Hadley Ave. near Getty Ave., into the property. “Parking has become an issue in terms of accessing the property,”

said Swanson. “When the state rerouted the Weasel Brook, (which runs under the property) they put a 12-foot-high retaining wall, blocking Getty Ave. from the tract.” This also forced Evgenikos to place the building near Teddy’s footprint. Swanson estimates that demolition will be completed by the end of the year, with construction starting in the spring. “It won’t be functional until 2011,” he said. “But, wow, this is a real boost in the arm to the area.” October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Van Ness Appeal Dismissed BOE is vindicated on 290 Brighton Rd. Clifton Board of Education scored a victory with the three Appellate Division Judges ruling in favor of the district regarding the CHS Freshman Annex on 290 Brighton Rd. The decision settles an appeal filed on Oct. 11, 2007 by the Van Ness Plastic Molding Company. The ruling, made public on Sept, 2, also admonished the Clifton Zoning Board of Adjustment for overreaching its boundaries. Former Board of Education attorney Anthony D’Elia, who handled the case, stated that the Zoning Board’s denial of the variance—first in March, 2006 and later in a second opinion—was arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable, and that the trial judge had erroneously remanded the matter to the Clifton Planning Board. The Appellate Court affirmed D’Elia’s position, which essentially created a statewide precedent on how much say Planning and Zoning Boards have as it relates to building schools or capital improvement projects. After winning approval by voters in December 2004, the 500 student school at Brighton Rd. was referred to the 62

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Story by Joe Hawrylko

Zoning Board, since the building was in a mixed industrial area and work could not begin without variances. Commencing on Aug. 17, 2005, the BOE plans were reviewed by the Zoning Board for 15 drawn-out hearings, with the final meeting on March 16, 2006 when the Board voted 5-2 to deny the variances. The BOE filed an appeal before Superior Court Judge Robert Passero that month, who remanded the case back to the Zoning Board in Nov., 2006. They again considered the application and on June 7, 2007, denied the application by a 4-3 vote. The decision started a new round in the appeals process as the BOE brought the issue again before Passero. On Aug. 30, 2007, the judge found that the Board of Adjustment’s decision was “unreasonable” and so he granted the variance himself. Bill Van Ness, who owns Van Ness Plastics next to the school, filed the appeal at NJ Superior Court to stop the project but the BOE decided to begin construction rather than wait for the ruling.

The legal affirmation came on about the same day the CHS Annex opened to some 540 students—five years after it was approved by voters. If for some reason the Brighton Rd. Annex was not permitted to open this September, the main campus of CHS would be crowded. Clifton’s ninth grade enrollment is at about 1100, nearly 25 percent higher than estimates, a 224 student increase from the previous year. Though the city’s student population has been on an overall incline for a number of years, this latest enrollment boom seems to be connected to the economy as some parents pulled their children from private schools, opting for a free public education. According to district figures, there are 291 new students that were previously in a private or parochial school. Clifton’s elementary schools have shouldered most of the burden, with about 170 new pupils. The high school gained 89 students and the middle schools received 38. District wide, the enrollment numbers are up 223, bringing the total to 10,762 students, but that figure will not be official until mid-month when it is reported to the NJ DOE. In a summary of the ruling provided by D’Elia, he wrote: “I am also very happy to see that the Appellate Division acknowledges that there is significant increase in the number of school age children. I also find it revealing that the Appellate Judges recognize that Clifton’s Master Plan summarizes the problem of overcrowding in the

Media Specialist Pat Bender and Vice Principal John Lopez with freshman Ronnie Soriano.

Clifton School System yet contains no recommendation on how to address the needs of those students through new or improved schools.” While many other issues are covered in the 80 page ruling, one thing is clear—the CHS Freshman Annex is open and students seem to be enjoying the new facility.

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Jeff Weingarten Clifton’s Grassroots Man Story by Joe Hawrylko

Tea parties are as old as our Nation. But today’s revolutionaries are rallying against big government, as they support the Constitution, individual liberties and a free market. Jeff Weingarten, President of the Morristown Tea Party Organization and co-founder of the Clifton Tea Party, is on the front lines of that revolution. Jeff Weingarten relaxes on one of two couches in the small living room of his second floor apartment on East Clifton Ave., awaiting a phone call. This residence is home to Weingarten, his son Freedom and their dog Squog. It is also the makeshift headquarters of the Morristown Tea Party Organization and Clifton’s Tea Party group. Weingarten, who is president of the Morristown group and co-founder of the Clifton chapter, has been working the phones to prepare for a Sept. 12 national Tea Party rally in Washington D.C. against President Obama’s plans for healthcare reform. Nationwide, Tea Party groups are forming in response to growing voter dissatisfaction. Weingarten’s non-partisan group supports the 64

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Constitution, promotes personal responsibility, individual liberty, and is an advocate for a limited, transparent government and free markets. Recently, healthcare reform discussion has drawn the ire of tea partiers. Some proponents of a government option for healthcare have criticized opponents as being out of touch with reality; so affluent that expensive health care costs are not a concern. Weingarten says that most Tea Party members— including himself—are your average, blue-collar citizens who work hard for what they’ve earned. “My car outside is 15 years old, a ’94 Mercury,” he said. “What you see is what you get.” The interior of his apartment isn’t lined with luxuries. Weingarten and his son still use an outdated

standard-definition TV. In the same room are two mismatched couches and a small wooden coffee table. It’s all Weingarten can afford. Since the 1990s, he has been receiving disability after being hit by a cab, injuring his back and now lives on a fixed income. “I paid into the system and got back what I put in,” he explained. “It’s not fair to base this on my personal history.” But Weingarten said he is living within his means, something the government isn’t doing. He sees a country that is being decimated by frivolous spending, unearned handouts and government intervention in the private sector. “This and past administrations have wanted to turn this into a nanny state,” he said. “The free market has to decide what the people want.” According to Weingarten, most people don’t want socialized healthcare. He claims—without citing a source—that 84 percent or more of Americans are satisfied with their own healthcare. “It should be your choice,” said Weingarten, who said the uninsured numbers are inflated with illegal immigrants and people who chose to not buy it. “There may be eight to 15 million Americans who possibly can’t find insurance,” he continued. Jeff Weingarten showing a page from his copy of Be Here Now, a spiritual book by Ram Dass. “I find the book very grounding,” said Weingarten. “The philosophy is very appealing.”

Weingarten said Tea Party groups aren’t just comprised of Republicans spurned by the party’s loss in 2008. The membership is made up of individuals from a variety of backgrounds. “There are a lot of Democrats who have experienced buyer’s remorse with [President Barack] Obama,” said Weingarten. “Some have left them and joined the Tea Party movement, which is non-partisan and issue oriented.” While there are a number of priorities that Tea Party members rally against, health care has been the most prominent in the news, as Obama attempts to garner support for health care reform. Weingarten and other local Tea Party members went to protest at Montclair State University on Sept. 3, just hours before an open forum sponsored by Congressman Pascrell on the controversial topic. “Pascrell had four people he gave the mic to,” Weingarten claimed. “He wasted a good half hour of the people’s time, which was pure propaganda. We wanted the congressman to hear us.” Weingarten believes there are a number of flaws with the three plans currently being considered by law makers. Drafts are long-winded and hard to read. Weingarten said he has not seen any of the transparency in passing bills, which Obama promised during his campaign.




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October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Weingarten claimed that a public option will be a death blow to insurance companies who won’t be able to compete. If the government is the sole provider of health care, consumers will get inferior service. “Look at everything the government has touched: the Post Office, Medicare, Medicaid, the clunkers project,” said Weingarten. The Cliftonite was also concerned about Obama’s speech to students, which was presented nationwide on Sept. 8, just a few days after Weingarten’s interview. He believes that the President originally intended to use the speech to put himself in a positive light, but plans were changed once it leaked to the public and caused a controversy. “I think [the Tea Party] has had some input on that,” said Weingarten, adding that he would have rather have the President focus on personal responsibilities. “Statistically, inner cities are made up of children having children,” he said. “How ridiculous is it that a girl in Massachusetts can get an abortion without the parents knowing? Parents need to take more responsibility.” Asked if his son, Freedom, who is now 19, was still in school, would he have allowed him to watch the speech? “I would endeavor to go to the school,” said Weingarten. “If I saw it wasn’t [about responsibility in school], I’d probably pull out my child.”


October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Weingarten wasn’t pleased with the media coverage on the controversial speech. He said he believes liberal-leaning media outlets tend to support Obama’s policies like his position on health care, and may omit coverage on contrasting view points. “Journalism seems to be a dying commodity in America,” lamented Weingarten. “I grew up with the New York Times and still love the Science Times. But when they printed the Obama puff piece editorial and refused to print [Republican Presidential Candidate Senator John] McCain’s...” Rather than mainstream outlets like CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS or MSNBC, Weingarten said he gets spinfree news at websites like,,,, or “It speaks terribly about the state of journalism,” he said. “And it speaks about the growing power of the grassroots.” As someone who is championing a movement from his apartment living room, seeing other independent individuals succeed gives Weingarten motivation to give power back to the people. “The reason I’m doing this is because I like the country I grew up in,” he said when asked of his goals. “The average American has lost touch with the democratic process and we are taking it back.”

Election Day is Nov. 3 Cliftonite Michael G. Mecca III is the lone Republican on the ballot for an Assembly seat in the 34th District, as he tries to unseat Democrat incumbents Thomas P. Giblin and Sheila Y. Oliver on Nov. 3. Also running are independents Clenard H. Children Jr. and David L. Taylor Jr., who are a part of the A Better Tomorrow party. Mecca is currently the Chairman of the GOP Strong and is a former Passaic County Freeholder. However, he faces strong competition. Giblin will be seeking a third term in the NJ Assembly this fall, while Oliver is up for her fourth. The Democrats have long held power in the 34th Legislative District, which includes part of Passaic County (Clifton, and Woodland Park, formerly West Paterson) and some of Essex County (Montclair, Glen Ridge and East Orange). Three Passaic County Freeholder positions are also up for grabs. Incumbent Democrat Tahesha Way is joined by Evangeline Gomez and Domenick Stampone. The newcomers hope to capture the seats of Sonia Rosado

Assemblyman Giblin recently toured the 334-unit Styertowne Apartments to get an idea of housing options in NJ. From left: Keith Farrington Jr., (kneeling) George Jacobs, Keith Farrington, Jamie Wohr, Giblin, Barbara Ahn and Ray Kunz.

and James Gallagher, who did not seek reelection. Keith Kazmark seeks the position of County Clerk. Republican Freeholder challengers are Michael Marotta, Edward O’Connell and Deborah Ciambrone while Kristen Corrado is running for County Clerk. Governor Jon Corzine is also up for reelection and faces off with

Republican Chris Christie as well as Independent Chris Daggett and former Clifton resident Gary Steele, who was profiled in the July 2009 Clifton Merchant. To be eligible to vote on Nov. 3, one must be registered by Oct. 13. Don’t wait until the last minute and call Clifton City Clerk, Barbara Nagy at 973-470-5824.

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Over 380 community members participated in BAPS Charities Walk for the Clifton Police Department on Sept. 20. The walk started along Brighton Rd. and up Market St. for a 5K course. While all proceeds from the Walkathon benefited the Clifton Police Department, the purpose of the event was to inspire people to go the extra mile to make a difference in someone’s life—part of President Barack Obama’s Service Initiative, ‘United We Serve.’ Nationwide, BAPS also organizes over 100 community events, including health fairs, blood donation drives, health awareness campaigns and walkathons. BAPS is a registered non-profit international charity, with over 50 years of experience. Over 55,000 individuals provide 12 million volunteer hours annually. For more info, visit The Coalition for Brain Injury Research’s 10th annual Cure for Traumatic Brain Injury Walk-athon is Oct. 18 at the City Hall Complex, 900 Clifton Ave. Proceeds will benefit the search for a cure. The event is dedicated to Dennis John Benigno, who was involved in an accident in 1984 that left him unable to walk, talk or communicate in any way. The three-mile walk will start at 9 am. For info on participation or to contribute, call 973-632-2066. Join Hannah Anolik, her family and team, Hannah’s Bananas, as they take part in their fifth Walk to Cure Juvenile Diabetes. The two-mile walk will leave from Medco Headquarters in Bergen County at 10 am (registration starts at 9 am) on Oct. 18. Lunch and t-shirts are provided. To join the team, visit or call Ellen Anolik at 973-779-2875. 68

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

About 300 people participated in a BAPS Walkathon on Sept. 20 to inspire people to go an extra mile and make a difference in someone’s life.

Clifton Goes Blue: Nov. 14 is World Diabetes Day, and cities nationwide will be draped in blue light to recognize the day which was created by the United Nations in 2005. Clifton’s City Hall will be blue, just like the Empire State Building, Sears Tower, the Eiffel Tower and other world landmarks. Locally, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation will hold its annual walk for the cure. Cliftonite Hannah Anolik’s team, Hannah’s Bananas, will participate the event and is now accepting donations. For info, call 973-779-2875. A fish and chips fundraiser dinner will be held at Allwood Community Church Fellowship Hall, corner of Chelsea and Merrill Rds., on Oct. 18 from 3 to 5 pm. Tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for children 10 and under. Visit

The Clifton Recreation Dept will host a family trip to Dorney Park for Halloween Haunt on Oct. 17. The park will be completely shrouded in darkness and guests can enjoy outdoor mazes, haunted houses, live shows and all of the park’s regular rides and attractions. There is also a Boo-Blast scare-free zones, where youngsters can trick-or-treat and meet Peanuts characters and more. This part of the event will close at 5 pm and at 6 pm, the Haunt begins and the park is taken over by ghouls and monsters. Tickets are $28 and $5 for children two and under, and the price includes admission and transportation. The group will depart from City Hall at 11 am and returns at approximately 11:30 pm. Proper permission slips must be filled out and payment must be received so register by Oct. 12. For info, call 973-470-5956.

Cub Scout Troop 21 of Clifton recently enjoyed an exciting trip to Laurel Caverns in Western Pennsylvania for a high adventure caving experience. Along with a trained guide, the group hiked two miles under the earth with only the light from their miner’s helmets to guide the way. The troop also participated in their annual pinewood derby held at the St. Philip’s School auditorium. The boys built a car from a block of wood and learned about the physics of friction, drag and wind resistance by seeing how fast their cars could go. First to fifth graders and their parents are invited to join the scouts or learn more by calling Cub Master Ken Papuzenski at 201-214-8327. St. Peter’s Haven for Families is holding a tricky tray at 6:30 pm on Oct. 8 at the Brownstone in Paterson to raise much needed funds to benefit its family shelter and food pantry efforts. While supply has been down, the demand has increased greatly with more than 950 people visits for food and other essential items monthly. Reservations are $50; email, call 973-546-3406 or mail checks to St. Peter’s Haven, Attn. Tricky Tray, 380 Clifton Ave., Clifton, NJ 07011.

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Boys from Cub Scout Pack 21 at Laurel Caverns in Western Pennsylvania and at the pinewood derby at St. Philip’s School.

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October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


The Boys & Girls Club’s summer basketball league had seven high school teams and four middle school teams. The program ran from July to August. The middle school championship team included Kaan Sahin, Mubeen Rana, Julio Moreno, Niko Desousa, Amanda Millerferli, Jackie Bergen and Sara Ismail. For more information on the league, call athletic director Michelle Acosta at 973-773-2697 x 29. Sandy Grazioso, the mother of two Clifton sons, Tim and John who died as a result of the terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center on on 9/11, met with students at Passaic County Technical Institute on Sept. 11. This was the fourth year that she has visited PCTI on the anniversary to share her experiences with teenagers— and likewise, listened to them as they shared their remembrances of tha fateful day. Grazioso was profiled in last month’s edition of Clifton Merchant Magazine.


October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

The high school aged Boys & Girls Club of Clifton summer basketball champions. The team included Nick Mangone, Kevin Lyons, John Varriano, George Velasquez, Joe Calzaretta, Julian Nazario, Nick Lavender, Brandon Hawkins, Elron Robinson and John Rubino.

One World, Different Music and Dance Day sponsored by the Phenomenal Grandmothers #1036 and the Clifton Main Library needs volunteers of Russian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Ukranian, Albanian and Gregorian descent to appear for one performance on Dec. 5 at 2 pm. To participate or for details, call Colleen H. Murray at 973-253-9579. The Polish Peoples’ Home in Passaic will celebrate its centennial anniversary on Oct. 11 at 2:30 at the Home, 1-3 Monroe St., Passaic, with an afternoon of music by Ray Skorka’s Ablemen. The Polish Peoples Home houses cultural groups, including the Central of Polish Organizations—General Pulaski Parade Committee of Passaic and vicinity, Polish Veterans, local Polish schools, PolishAmerican Congress, and a number of sports groups. For tickets, call John Budzinski at 973-779-4310.

The Ukrainian Center at 240 Hope Ave. in Passaic is marking its 50th anniversary with a weekend of activities on Nov. 13 and 14. All kozaks (at left) or those who just like to party like one are invited. For tickets, call 973-473-3379 or write to The Clifton High School PTSA is hosting a calender raffle sale to fund student activites at the school. Winners are selected daily, with prizes ranging from $25 to $200, and three grand prizes of $250, $500 and $1,000. Calenders are $10 and include 90 drawings. The first drawing is on Jan. 13, and the grand prize will be awarded on April 12. Calenders can be obtained at CHS, school functions or through students, with the top three student sellers receive awards of $250, $150 and $100. Winners will be announced at For info, email Councilman Steve Hatala at

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant



October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Lightning Squirrel, Clifton’s resident rodent superhero, makes his triumphant return on Nov. 8 at the Clifton Comic Expo, which will be held at the Recreation Center on Main Ave. from 10 am to 4 pm. Lightning Squirrel is the creation of Jeffrey Kipnis, a 1989 CHS graduate and aspiring comic writer. Entry to this event is free. For more information, visit H1N1 Shots and Flu Clinics: The Clifton Health Department will be holding six seasonal flu clinics in October, as well as off-site clinics for the Senior Center, Evergreen Manor, Senior Horizons, Adult Opportunity Center and the Clifton Post Office. Nurses can also visit those unable to leave their home. Dates and times are as follows: Oct. 2 (1 to 4 pm), Oct. 6 (9 am to noon), Oct. 17 (8:30 am to 1 pm) and Oct. 19 (3 to 7 pm). Be sure to schedule an appointment. H1N1 (Swine flu) vaccines are expected to be available in Nov. and priory will be given as directed in the CDC guidelines. For more information, call 973-470-5760.

Clifton Public Health Nurses Leslie Leonard, Jane Scarfo, Barbara Luzniak, Monika Burdzy and Fran DeVos are offering flu shots over the coming weeks.

The Clifton Fighting Mustangs annual beefsteak fundraiser tricky tray is on Oct. 30 at 6:30 pm at the Boys & Girls Club. Tickets to this Halloween-themed event are $30 and checks can be sent to P.O. Box 843, Clifton, 07015. BYOB. Call Carl or Tammy Gebbia at 973-772-6288. DeLuxe Cleaners at 1280 Main Ave. is offering a free suit cleaning or interview outfit to anyone who is unemployed and preparing to go on an interview. All you need to do is

provide a current unemployment check stub. DeLuxe is offering 500 free cleanings with a maximum of three per family. Call 973-5461106 or visit Recycle your electronics at the DPW yard, 307 East Seventh St., Monday thru Friday from 7:30 am until 3 pm. From computers, TV’s, old radios and other electronic, most items are accepted and there is no charge. Visit or call Clifton’s Al DuBois at 973-470-2239.

Jeff Kipnis will be appearing at the Clifton Comic Expo on Nov. 8. Here he is with his wife, Nancy, and their children, Jenna and Jack. At right is an example of Kipnis’ creations, including Comic Man, which he modeled after himself. October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


John Samra was a Clifton motorcycle officer who was killed in the line of duty on Nov. 21, 2003. To keep his memory eternal, a scholarship fund was established in his name and events such as this run help fund it. Presented by the Clifton PBA with support from the Clifton Roadrunners, there are various levels of participation, from newcomers and youth, to competitive runners and seniors. Go to for details or mail a $20 check to Clifton PBA 36, c/o P.O. Box 1436, Clifton, NJ, 07015. For sponsor info or other details, call John Kavakich at 973-470-5897 or send an email to The Clifton PBA 36 Poker Run is on Oct. 3, starting at noon at the Motorcycle Mall, 165 Washington Ave., Belleville and concluding at Pub 46 on Rt. 46 East in Clifton. Registration is $25; $30 if you sign up on the day of the event. To participate, call 973-470-5897 or visit


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October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

John Samra Memorial 5K Oct. 11, 8:30 am The Samra Run is open to people of all ages. Above is a youth contestant from last year and below are members of the Samra family with PBA officials. Unfortunately, patriarch Michael W. Samra Sr. died March 4 of this year at the age of 90.

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October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Halloween Parade


along Lakeview Ave. and in Nash Park on Oct. 25, 2007


The Annual Halloween Parade and Harvest Fest is Oct. 25 (rain or shine). Kicking off at the corner of Lakeview Ave. and E. 4th St. at 12:45, pm, the cavalcade of costumed Cliftonites proceeds down Lakeview Ave. to Piaget Ave. ending at Nash Park, where judging takes place. Harvest Fest then begins and runs till dusk. Parade participants are to meet at the designated corners (call the Rec Dept for details: 973-470-5956) at 12:15 pm to register for the costume contest and to march in the parade. Those wishing to pre-register for the contest—strongly recommended—may do so at the Rec Dept., 2nd floor of City Hall. There are also categories for pets (must be on a leash or other type of restraint), groups of at least six people and homemade floats. Harvest Fest offers food, fun, games, crafts, rides, animals, vendors and even an Apple Pie Bake-Off. Paint a pumpkin, stuff scarecrow, visit the Petting Zoo or take a hayride in the park. With games and rides costing between a quarter and $1, there is lots to do at a great price. Vendors will be selling food and other goods. Volunteers and vendors are welcome. Purchase tokens in advance and receive a discount. For more info, call the Clifton Rec Dept. at 973-470-5956.

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


2009 Boys & Girls Club

Hall of Fame As shown on the cover of our September 1999 issue, the Clifton Boys & Girls Club has become a more diverse place since it was first established on one floor in Botany’s School 7 back in 1947, but the culture of fun and education hasn’t changed in 52 years. From 6:30 to 11 pm on Nov. 13, the Club will induct its second Hall of Fame class with two members being honored from each decade ranging from the ’50s to the ’00s. For tickets or more information, call 973-773-0966. Over the next pages, we offers photos and tell more about some of the members of this class of inductees.

Laura (Fasino) Marchioni Laura (Fasino) Marchioni was a member of the Boys & Girls Club from 1977 to 1987. She first joined when she was eight years old. “I literally grew up at the Club,” said the Alfred St. resident. “Living directly behind the Club, I spent all of my time there. Many of my fondest childhood memories are from the Boys Club. “I would spend my days being taught by Al how to play pool, and my nights being kicked out of the junior’s room, when I was not of age to be there.” Marchioni, who is a certified medical assistant at North Jersey Cardiovascular Consultants, said the Teen Center was a great place to hang out with friends. “I met a lot of great people at the club including one of my best friends at the time, who later became my husband,” explained Marchioni, who graduated with honors from Clifton High in 1987 and valedictorian from Berdan Institute in Totowa in 1998. 78

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“Bob was always there to kid around with and also keep you in line when needed.” Marchioni worked at the Club one summer as a seven-year-old counselor and learned what it was like to be responsible for someone else’s children while keeping them safe and letting them enjoy their summer vacation. “I left the Club for a number of years, however, when I needed childcare for my only child Jamie, I knew right where to turn,” said Marchioni. “Where else would we be able to leave our four-year-old and feel totally confident that she would be in safe loving hands.” Marchioni and her husband founded the Pete Marchioni Alumni Scholarship for the Club and cochairperson of the Alumni Reunion (2008-2009).

William Marchioni William Marchioni belonged to the Club from 1983 to 1988, during which time, he met his best friend and wife, Laura.

“The years I spent there are unforgettable,” said the director of CADD Design in Midtown Manhattan. Marchioni went on to be a graphic artist and owner at Gary’s Sportswear and did all of the printed apparel for the Club for eight years. When he and his wife put their daughter in the childcare program there, they got a chance to reconnect with the Club. “I was shocked to see how different the Club was and how it had grown,” said Marchioni. “I had also forgotten how much the Club had shaped my life and helped me become the person I am now.” Two years ago, the Alfred St. resident lost his older brother, Pete, to a rare disease. Pete was the one who got William started at the Club in the first place, so he decided to establish a Club scholarship in his name. Marchioni and his wife have also chaired the Alumni Reunion for the past two years.

William Marchioni

Laura (Fasino) Marchioni

Brian Shadiack

Monique Mariso

Danielle (Ratajczak) Levi

Monique Mariso swam for the Club and was Youth of the Year this decade. She is now a college student in Maryland.

Danielle (Ratajczak) Levi was Youth of the Year in the ’90s and is currently living in West Creek. “The Boys & Girls Club was important to me during my teenage years,” said the 1989-1995 member. “It afforded me many opportunities that I would not have had otherwise, particularly Keystone. Keystone helped develop my character and encouraged responsibility towards

the community. I will always have fond memories of the Club.” Levi is a learning disabilities teacher consultant at Ocean Acres School in Stafford.

Brian Shadiack Brian Shadiack played lacrosse and soccer and was Youth of the Year in 2000. Shadiack, who graduated CHS in 2002, also helped coach some of the Clifton Stallions youth teams for a few years.

nder of e are the sons of the fou , a family R.F. Knapp Construction ed in Clifton owned business found the beginning, nearly 50 years ago. Since Siding prodwe have been using Alcoa ens-Corning. ucts as well as GAF and Ow ing, gutters, We specialize in roofing, sid a call and us e leaders and windows. Giv int appo ment to we will gladly set-up an and go over a discuss your job needs . complete written estimate

Peter Liloia Peter Liloia was a member of the Club’s swim team.

Jim Hassert Jim Hassert was the 1978 Youth of the Year. He was involved in the Club band.


Brothers Don and Rich Knapp

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Keith Oakley

Bob Lipala

Lou Poles

Keith Oakley

Kuper, who earned his BA from Rutgers University and MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University and is now a general manager at Data Delay Devices on Mt. Prospect Ave., is involved in a number of charitable organizations. These include the Goodwill Rescue Mission, Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, Girls & Boys Town, Omaha Home for Boys, United Cerebral Palsy, Shriners Hospital for Children and Feed the Children. “I always believed that children are our greatest asset,” he said. “It is up to all of us to do what we can to assist children in need and provide what is necessary to help them all obtain their greatest potentials. “As when working at the Club, the social recreational, educational and character development of youth was our motto.”

protecting the environment.” Lipala, who lives in Hopatcong, was honored as Youth of the Year in 1966, Golden Chief-Camp Clifton Director in 1987 and Chemist of the Year at Aqua ProTech Labs in 1997.

During the ’60s, the Boys Club was serving more than 1,000 community youth. To provide more activity in the summer, the Boys Club (with the help of the Clifton Men’s Club) bought 90 acres in Jefferson Township in 1963, a place formerly known as Camp Ranger. Camp Clifton was born, and by 1969, it became the place to be for summer fun. “We watched the landing, the moonwalk, the whole thing on a little black and white television set in my cabin,” Keith Oakley told Clifton Merchant Magazine in February 2007. He was joined by Ed Welsh, Rich Dudek and Paul Dooley. “About 12 boys were crammed around this little TV trying to get a glimpse of Neil Armstrong.” “Camp Clifton,” Oakley continued, “was a safe, fun place we could escape to while the world around us seemed to be going nuts.” Oakley remains active in the Club today, serving as a member of its Board of Trustees and other activities.

Paul Kuper Paul Kuper of Hoover Ave. in Bloomfield was a member from 1972 to 1976 and worked at the Club as its youth activities director from 1977 to 1982. 80

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Bob Lipala Bob Lipala was a member of the Club from 1960 to 1967. “As a member of the Keystone Club, I learned what it was like to help people,” he said. “At Camp Clifton in the ’60s, I loved teaching nature to all the campers and staff. These experiences focused me to major in psychology, become a teacher in the outdoors and later to become an environmental chemist

Lou Poles Clifton’s sports historian also has another claim to fame: he’s was the first member of the Boys Club, which was then located in a lot right behind Sacred Heart Church on Parker Ave. in Botany Village. “I was in high school, 16 years old,” he recalled. While he is grateful for the recognition, Poles says that his mother is actually more deserving of the award. “She started the Woman’s Auxiliary, and got all the woman that eventually became legendary people,” said Poles. “They all became backbones of the Club and ran all the stuff out of there.” Poles loves all Mustang athletics, and is renown for his knowledge of Clifton’s extensive sports legacy. Harry Murtha once said of Poles, “While I might know what a quarterback did in a big game, Lou Poles knows what he did, along with the brand of toothpaste the quarterback used before the game.”

Jim Hassert

Bill Sala

Danielle (Ratajczak) Levi

Bill Sala

Captain in the Army. He considered asking to push back the start of his duty so that he could witness the birth of his daughter Alexandra, but Sala decided it would be too difficult to leave right after his child was born. So, Bill kissed his eight-and-ahalf-month pregnant wife Barbara goodbye and departed for Southeast Asia. Sala’s father delivered little Alexandra a couple weeks later. For two years, Bill worked logistics for the Army in the town of An Khe. Carlet also served in the Army, attending basic training at Fort Knox for six months in 1960, but he never served overseas. When Sala finally returned to the States in 1967, he landed his first job as the Assistant Prosecutor for Passaic County, working for attorney Ed Wolak, who he says was a

big influence on his career. “He encouraged me to be the attorney for the Board of Adjustment.” And that’s exactly what Sala did from 1970 to 1973, before taking a job as legal counsel with the Passaic County Board of Education. Personally, Sala has connections with Sacred Heart Church in Botany. He was also once active in the Boys & Girls Club, but now devotes his time to the Cadorin. “I run the Dolomiti dinner every year, where we get around 200 people. We run it at the Italian American Coop in Botany Village because of the chair lift,” explained Sala, who is the President of the Dolomiti Society. The group brings together the descendants of the Cadore region of Italy who settled in Clifton to preserve their heritage and their unique dialect.

Growing up, Bill Sala never had any real passion to become a lawyer. In fact, it wasn’t until he graduated from Notre Dame in 1961 with a degree in economics that he decided law school was for him. “I looked around at the job market and I said to myself, ‘There’s got to be something better,’” Sala told Clifton Merchant Magazine for a December 2007 profile on him and fellow influential city lawyer, Frank Carlet, who was inducted last year. “Going to law school gave me a number of options: being a lawyer, going into politics or business.” To pursue his interests, Sala headed to Rutgers Law, graduating in 1964. However, because he was a member of the ROTC at Notre Dame, Sala was sent to Vietnam as a

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Grandfather of Track John Pontes is Passaic County Coach of the Year Story by Joe Hawrylko With just five days until their first meet, members of the Mustang cross country team begin practice on Garret Mountain with a quick pep talk. As the group gathers under a pavilion on the Great Meadow to wait out the passing storm, coach John Pontes addresses his squad of runners. “Last year, were our boys or girls picked to win the county?” the coach asked rhetorically, referencing The Bergen Record’s annual preseason predictions. “Who won it?” Last season was the fifth consecutive league title for the girls and the fifth in seven years for the boys. This year, The Record ranked the Pontes’ girls 12th in North Jersey and the boys 17th.

“There’s no failure if it’s the best we can do,” said the 1968 CHS alumni. “It’s a miracle that the last five years the girls are league champs.” His uplifting, pat-you-on-theback style of coaching works, evidenced by Pontes being named the Passaic County Coach of the Year. The coach’s record over the years is impressive. In the three sports that he coaches—cross country, indoor track and boys spring track— Pontes, 58, has accumulated 28 league titles, 15 county titles, two state sectionals (the boys and the girls in XC) and one overall state title in 1985 for cross country. Success is nothing new to Pontes, or the Mustang track program that he’s been a part of since he ran for Clifton from 1964 to 1968.

Coach Pontes with the girls from the 1985 cross country championship squad. 82

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“It’s kind of neat to be coaching the same thing that I did at Clifton High for Coach Zak,” said Pontes. “After my father (Lou), he’s the biggest influence on me. He had a way of making you learn that everything you did was going to be important in someway somewhere.” However, Pontes’ career did not begin in Clifton. Following his 1973 from William Paterson College, the health and physical education major began teaching sex ed and coaching track at Essex Catholic High School in Newark. Though he was only at the now-defunct school for seven years before coming to Clifton, Pontes learned a lot about the unique life of a coach.

“The most important thing for a coach is to marry the right person,” laughed Pontes, who has been married to his wife, Carol, for over 30 years. “You spend your whole life coming home late for dinner, praising other people’s children.” The coach would run back and forth to work–about 10 mile each way—making his work days even longer. Pontes was also an avid runner in those days and spent a lot of spare time training. “I ran the New York Marathon 28 times, with a career best of 2:32 in 1979,” he said proudly. Pontes also ran the Boston Marathon five times, with a personal best of 2:29 in 1979. However, arthritis derailed his running career, and Pontes instead focused on coaching, building a long list of accomplishments. “The thing you have the most passion for can also break your heart the quickest,” said Pontes. “But when it works, it’s an amazing thing.” The coach has over a quarter century of memories at the oval track at Clifton Stadium. “Some of the greatest moments have nothing to do with victory,” said Pontes. “I’ve seen a kid who could barely run break a five minute mile. The look on his face when we told him was as if he just won the lottery.”

Lou Fraulo pictured with Pontes (a few years back!): “John Pontes is a coach’s coach. He’s the most dedicated, knowledgeable track and cross country coach that I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. He is Clifton through and through—his blood is probably maroon and gray. He’s more than just a friend. I consider him like a brother. He and I have probably spent more time coaching and being at meets than we do with our families. When you do that, you get to know someone very well. If my kids came back to run track and cross country, it would be an honor to have him coach them.” He’s seen thousands of kids come through the school and go on to successful careers. Some, like CHS girls assistant coach Adam Piotrowski, returned to coach alongside Pontes. “I’ve been lucky enough that I’ve had really good kids to call me coach,” he said. “They really deserve the credit.” Victories are pretty sweet too.

Pontes said the most memorable was cross country’s overall state championship in 1985. “It was mid-November and it snowed two inches that morning. We ran at 1 pm that afternoon,” recalled Pontes as he watched this year’s Mustangs on Garret Mountain . “We won by one point over Brick. We won it on the last stride of the race, just one yard ahead.”

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


In the later stages of his career, Pontes got to coach his own children: Deire, Class of 1996 and Joe, Class of 1998. One of his best coaching memories was Joe’s senior year, when he made the All-County cross country team. “My dad, who was terminally ill, got to see that,” recalled Pontes. “He used to come to watch all the meets, even before my kids—his grandkids—were running. He was just another fan. That was big.” A few months before, Lou was given six months to live. He ended up hanging on for four and a half years before passing on March 13, 2002. “One of the last conversations we had was about the icing on the cake of life,” said Pontes. “He said he wished he could have done what I do.” Those last words stuck with the coach, who can’t seem to bring

Pontes family in 1994. From left Joe, Coach Pontes, Deire and his wife, Carol.

himself away from the game. Pontes said he’s thought about retiring, but his love of running and his father’s words keep him hanging around. “A coach always sees next

year,” said Pontes, reflecting of his time spent nurturing the young talent of Clifton. “By the time you know it, next year is three years later and you made a promise to one more kid.”

Optimist Cup ‘09 Thanksgiving Day, 10 am Clifton Stadium In this, the 81st clash between the Indians and Mustangs, Clifton, which is in possession of the Optimist Cup, leads the series, 40-35-5. At the conclusion of the game, the winning team will take home the Optimist Cup. Trophies are also presented to the offensive and defensive MVPs on each team, selected by the athletic directors of each school.

Hot Dog Night Wed., Nov. 18 Call 973-253-4400 84

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September 4, 2009 Meeting & Installation of Officers 86

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Veterans Parade Every time he hears the thumpthump of helicopter blades, Joe Tuzzolino returns to Vietnam. “Whenever we heard that sound, that meant we either were getting picked up or were getting food and supplies,” said Tuzzolino, who will be the grand marshal of the 2009 Clifton Veterans Parade on Nov. 8. A member of I Corps, Third Battalion, 1st Marines, Tuzzolino served in America’s most controversial war from 1968 to 1970. He was stationed just below the DMZ in the northern part of South Vietnam. As a ground troop, or “grunt,” Tuzzolino’s duties included going out on patrols and engaging in “sweeps” of the surrounding area.

From left, veterans Joe Tuzzolino, John Biegel Jr., Helene Lenkowec, Walter Pruiksma and Randy Colondres from our May 1999 cover. Below, Tuzzolino in Vietnam. To participate or find our more about the parade, call Keith Oakley at 201-774-6666.

As one of the smaller guys in the unit, he was sometimes called on to serve as a “tunnel rat,” which meant checking out underground Viet Cong hideouts. Tuzzolino made it home the hard way. He was wounded by an enemy grenade and took shrapnel in his upper right leg, buttocks, back and right arm. His body still contains a portion of these fragments. He spent months recuperating in hospitals in Vietnam, Japan and the United States.

Arriving back home with a Purple Heart, he had a new battle to face—culture shock. “Everything had changed. When I was in high school, we still had dress codes. I grew up in a military family. My father and his brothers all served during World War II. I grew up watching John Wayne war movies on television. A lot of veterans had a rough time making the adjustment. They weren’t returning to the home they had been away from for such a long time.”

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Birthdays & Celebrations! send us your dates and names...

Sarah Bekheet . . . . . . . . . . 10/1 Melissa Szwec . . . . . . . . . . . 10/2 Awilda Gorman . . . . . . . . . 10/3 Ashley Messick . . . . . . . . . . 10/3 Charlene Rivera . . . . . . . . . 10/3 Grace Robol . . . . . . . . . . . . 10/3 Frank Antoniello . . . . . . . . . 10/4 John Brock Jr. . . . . . . . . . . . 10/4 Kimberly Ferrara . . . . . . . . . 10/4 Kayla Galka . . . . . . . . . . . . 10/4 Lisa Junda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10/4 Alan Merena. . . . . . . . . . . . 10/4 Bruce Merena. . . . . . . . . . . 10/4

Happy Belated Birthday to Emily Duchnowski, who turned 9 on Sept. 15. Happy Belated Birthday to Saverio Greco, who turned 44 on Sept. 26. Congratulations to Frances and Saverio Greco, who will celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary on Oct. 26.

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Lindsay Berberich celebrates her 20th birthday on Oct. 30. Patrick M. Doremus Jr. . . . 10/21 Eugene Osmak. . . . . . . . . 10/21 Katelyn Smith . . . . . . . . . . 10/21 Toni Van Blarcom . . . . . . . 10/22 Daniel Atoche . . . . . . . . . 10/23 John Bross . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10/23 Allison Beirne. . . . . . . . . . . 10/24 Sandra Kuruc . . . . . . . . . . 10/24 Heather Sito . . . . . . . . . . . 10/24 Paul G. Andrikanich. . . . . 10/25 Matthew McGuire . . . . . . 10/26 Kristofer Scotto . . . . . . . . . 10/27 Nicole Keller . . . . . . . . . . . 10/28 Ashley Gretina . . . . . . . . . 10/29 Raymond Romanski . . . . . 10/31 Josef Schmidt . . . . . . . . . . 10/31



194 Bloomfield Ave., Caldwell • 973-403-9968 –– 2 Union Ave., Paterson • 973-595-1647


October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


That lamb of a Clifton Optimist George Hayek turns 83 Oct. 1.

Rosalie D. Konopinski . . . . . 10/5 Kyle Takacs . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10/5 Gene D’Amico . . . . . . . . . . 10/6 Nicole Nettleton . . . . . . . . . 10/6 Christopher Phillips . . . . . . . 10/7 Jilian Fueshko . . . . . . . . . . . 10/8 Nick Kacmarcik . . . . . . . . . 10/8 Kyle Zlotkowski . . . . . . . . . 10/10 Eileen Patterson . . . . . . . . 10/11 Anthony Shackil . . . . . . . . 10/11 Michael D. Rice . . . . . . . . 10/12 Stepanie M. Palomba . . . 10/13 Kimberly Beirne. . . . . . . . . 10/14 Lil Geiger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10/14 Mary Anne Kowalczyk. . . 10/14 Andrea Kovalcik. . . . . . . . 10/15 Stephen Kovalcik . . . . . . . 10/15 Marianne Meyer. . . . . . . . 10/15 Nicole Zlotkowski . . . . . . . 10/16 Devin DeVries . . . . . . . . . . 10/18 Matthew Fabiano . . . . . . 10/18 Edward Holster, Sr. . . . . . . 10/18 Jamie Norris . . . . . . . . . . . 10/18 Brian James Grace . . . . . 10/19 Kristen A. Hariton . . . . . . . 10/19 Rocky S. Angello (woof!). 10/20 Joan Bednarski . . . . . . . . . 10/20 Jean Chiariello . . . . . . . . . 10/20 Lea Dziuba . . . . . . . . . . . . 10/20

Turning 8 is great for Angello twins Renee Kimiko and brother Jeffrey Joseph, who will party on Oct. 4.

Noel Oliver turns 5 on Oct. 16.

Clifton Merchant Magazine Call Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400 for rates and info


October 2009 • Clifton Merchant


An estimated 458 people gathered at Pulaski Park in Passaic on Sept. 26 in an attempt to break the world record for the largest water gun fight. They came up short but had a blast. The fundraiser, hosted by the Paulison Ave. ShopRite, raised money for the Partners in Caring Foundation.

Food & Drink Specials on Game Days

John Saffioti’s

Acoustic Bands, Karaoke Wed- Sat

973-773-2409 It’s Fall and we’re all moving indoors rt so come enjoy an evening out at the Hea and food t of Athenia. We have grea drinks, all at affordable prices. This season, we’re adding live entertainment on Wed through Sat nights—call for our schedule or if you would like to perform. On game days, we serve up great food along with drink specials that are all easy on your wallets. We are on a one way street off of Van Houten so to get here, take Pleasant or Sade St.

Private Parties for up to 50 People! 90

October 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Our Tavern is Meticulously Restored

Pool, Darts & a Great Jukebox

Artfully Pouring Stella on Tap

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Tomahawk Promotions 1288 Main Avenue Clifton, NJ 07011


From Main Ave. to major highways, Clifton and all of northern New Jersey offers a diverse community in which to work and live. We thank Nick for being an advocate of Economic Development in our city & region.

Why Clifton?

Gloria Martini, President, North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce 1033 Route 46 East, Suite A103, Clifton, NJ 07013 973.470.9300 •

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