Clifton Merchant Magazine - September 2006

Page 1

Clifton Merchant Magazine • Volume 11 • Issue 9 • September 8, 2006





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Living on the

By Jack De Vries & Joseph Hawrylko


loria Vidal remembers her lemonade stand. She sees the Italian Coop building and recalls the many parties she attended... or the many she worked there as a waitress. She eyes Municipal Parking Lot No. 3 and recalls the large backyard it once was, complete with a vegetable garden. She walks to the live poultry store and visualizes the small Clifton Police station that was once was on the square, something she wishes would return. In fact, from her home on Dayton Ave., right on Sullivan Square in Botany Village, Vidal can’t help but run into a memory. That happens when you spend 45 years in a neighborhood, living in the home where you were raised. Vidal has watched Botany evolve—from being a place dominated by Italians, Germans, and Poles—to welcoming many ethnicities that today call the historic district home, people from a variety of European and Latin American nations. Each time, she stated, the transition was similar, the old timers hanging on to their Botany homes and their sons and daughters moving to new areas. And each time, the neighborhood’s change has been peaceful.

Meet the Vidals: Miguel and Gloria with their children Maria and Miguel Jr. “I never remember there being any fights or arguments between different nationalities,” she said. Her home is an example of meshing cultures. Vidal’s first language is Italian; her husband Miguel, a native of Spain, speaks Spanish. Those two languages, plus English,

sound throughout the house, home to the couple’s children: Miguel, 10, and Maria, 12, and Gloria’s mother, Vera DiPietro, who lives upstairs. Gloria said her best memories of Botany are the informal neighborhood gatherings that took place during her youth.

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“Back then, there were music shows in the square or other events that the whole neighborhood would come down to watch,” she remembered. “Once these events stopped happening is when things started changing for worse.” But you don’t live 45 years in one place without fighting to keep your neighborhood. Vidal joined the Botany SID (Special Improvement District). Since the group was formed, she reported, the area has been coming back with cleaner streets, better security, and music is again playing in the square. Though she’s seen Botany improve, the area still has its problems. Vidal mentioned a recent mugging near the Pathmark and one of the local bars that’s noted for noise as examples. Another problem is the vagrants that call the streets home. “That’s not a life for any person,” said Vidal, a third grade teacher in Passaic’s Jefferson School No. 1, about the homeless people. “They need to be helped… to find a job, to better themselves.” And while she appreciates the work of the Clifton Police and the efforts of the SID’s security patrols, she wishes there was a more visible presence to deter crime. “I know the police are trying hard,” she stated, “but I wish they could bring back the community police station or we could see more cops walking the streets.” 16,000 MAGAZINES are distributed to hundreds of Clifton Merchants the first Friday of Every Month. MAILED SUBSCRIPTIONS $15/year in Clifton $25/year out of town CALL 973-253-4400 entire contents copyright 2006 © tomahawk promotions 4

September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

The Vidals can smell the kielbasy being smoked at Stefan & Sons, above. However, problems aside, she would rather live no where else. “Botany is my home, where I feel comfortable… so many memories,” she said. Vidal likes shopping at Pathmark and at Damiano’s Pharmacy on Parker Ave. In fact, she describes Botany as a place where you can get anything. “My mother doesn’t drive,” she said, “and this neighborhood is perfect for her—everything in walking distance. That’s what I tell other

people about Botany. There are so many quaint and interesting shops, some with many varieties of products you’ll find no where else. People, especially those who live in other sections of Clifton, should try us and shop here.” And along with the shopping, Vidal continued, Botany offers more. “The people who own businesses here,” she said, “don’t treat you like a customer, they treat you like family. Where else can you find that?”

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Botany Reinventing the Village

By Joseph R. Torelli


troll along the streets and avenues of Botany Village on any given day, look up and you’ll see the the flags of dozens of nations waving alongside the Stars and Stripes. Listen and languages from across the globe will be heard. Shop and purchase products and services that reflect the international flavor of this old world neighborhood. Once populated mainly by the families of Eastern European immigrants who flocked to Botany to work in its factories during the late 1800’s, the area is now home to an increasingly evolving population. A formal survey conducted by the CHBD along Botany’s main streets this past April reveals just how international the area has become. Nearly 40% of the 480 survey respondents said they speak both Spanish and English, or Spanishonly, at home. Another 11% speak Polish or Polish and English, and a smaller percentage speak a variety of foreign languages, such as Albanian, Armenian, Arabic, Ukrainian and Macedonian. Just one-third of the respondents said they speak English only. The continually evolving culture in Botany is reflected in the eclectic mix of its shops and businesses. Long-time retailers like Joe D’s Appliances and Damiano’s

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During September, the free outdoor entertainment series continues on Fridays, from 6 to 9 pm. And on Oct. 1, the Botany Blues Festival will bring in some big names— that’s also free. For a line up of events, and for more on the district, or for info on stores and restaurants, go to

Pharmacy on Dayton Ave. now share the shopping district with niche shops that have their roots in a serving an ethnic population. Here you’ll find Leecatzin, a Mexican-American New Age store

a short walk away from the modern Pathmark supermarket. Given that, it is apparent that small, ethnic-centered merchants are not the only businesses contributing to Botany’s ongoing evolution. Major franchises and big retailers like Kmart and Fashion Bug have invested in the district as well. For instance, the 110,000 square foot Botany Plaza on Randolph Ave., which opened in 1997, is testament to the commercial viability of this section of Clifton. please turn to page 10

with herbal remedies, perfumed oils, and incense, located just across the square from Ozzie’s, a traditional Italian-American barber shop. You’ll even find an oldworld style live-poultry market just



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September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

Botany Leadership A

ll SIDs (Special Improvement Districts) are not the same. While most are restricted exclusively to businesses, Clifton’s Historic Botany District (CHBD), the non-profit corporation appointed by the City Council to manage the Botany SID, has both residential and business property owners serving on its Board of Directors. Botany is only the second SID of the 89 in New Jersey to have done so. CHBD Administrator Don Smartt noted that Botany residents have always had a voice in the welfare of the community. “They’re not only included in the SID,” Smartt pointed out... “they actually make up more than half of the board.” As with all Special Improvement Districts in New Jersey, the CHBD imposes a supplemental tax on its members. The additional money, a surcharge on regular property taxes, is collected by the city and returned to the SID to improve the designated area. Owners of one-family and owner-occupied two family homes in the Botany district are exempt from pay-

ing the special assessment. The majority of the money raised by the special tax, approximately 88%, is contributed by businesses even though residential properties comprise more than half of CHBD membership. Historic Botany encompasses about 80 businesses along Randolph, Dayton and Parker Aves., including Pathmark, K-Mart and all stores and offices in Botany Plaza, as well as 36 residences in the district. In total, the 5.7% tax assessment will generate about $80,000 annually, plus the SID receives a match from the city. Funds are used to hire supplemental cleaning and maintenance crews, purchase additional lighting for district parking lots and to operate a community safety patrol on weekend evenings. The CHBD will soon make money available to Botany merchants to help them pay for signage for their businesses. City Manager Al Greco said that the city is working with the CHBD to streamline the purchasing process for the signs. The CHBD is also set to launch a media campaign to attract new businesses and homeowners to the area. Smartt said the program will have two phases to it: Shop Botany, aimed towards boosting business, and Botany Living to promote the “old world values” of the residential side of the district.

From left, some of the folks helping to manage the district: John Damiano, Judy Francis, Joe and Arlene Nikischer and their son Joe, Josephine Fabi and John Penkalski. September 2006 • Clifton Merchant


“Improvements in lighting and Botany’s cleaner look are good for the people who live here, but they don’t bring me any more business.” Oswaldo “Ozzie” Chiarella Ozzie’s Barber Shop.

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Except for the modern, 14-acre Botany Plaza, the Botany Village of today seems not to have changed much since it was established along the Passaic River more than a century ago. With its older two and three-story multiple-family houses, many with ground-level storefronts, the district has much the same look

and feel that it had back in the early 1900’s. But it is not the same at all. The giant Botany Worsted Mills that at one time employed more than 6,400 workers closed its doors for good in the 1950s. In the following decades, many factories and shops in and around the area soon joined the huge mill in an exodus out of Clifton and Passaic.

As a result, anchors such as the A&P market in Botany Square closed, along with smaller stores and businesses that served area workers and their families. In 1977, an ambitious urban development project was undertaken to revitalize Botany Village by restoring some of its turn-of-the century ambience. Planners obtained more than $15 million in grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for neighborhood restoration. Working with merchants to create a plan and using the grant money along with municipal and private funds, brick sidewalks and wrought-iron lamp post

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Corporate Investors I

t is not just smaller, first time investors or local mom and pop business owners who are putting money into the district. Over the past two years, three corporate franchises and major chains have opened locations in both the historic district and the new, adjacent Botany Plaza. Syed Rizvi is the owner of Botany Subway, which opened on Botany Square last April two doors away from a busy Dunkin Donut. A block away in Botany Plaza, just around the corner from Pathmark, is another sandwich franchise, Quiznos Sub. What is the attraction for the franchises to open in this older Clifton neighborhood? To Rizvi, who is 33 years old, (the Clifton location is one of his two Subway franchises; he opened a second this year in Weehawken) the Botany Square site—with Route 21 a block away and thousands of homes nearby—was an undeserved market. “Our sales have steadily increased since our opening and there are literally thousands of people nearby,” said Rizvi when asked why he selected Botany.

Showing their corporate connections, from left, Faram Amin of Subway, and Beatriz Barrera and Yenny Natalia of Dunkin Donuts. “The franchise for this area was available and the space was reasonably priced,” Rizvi added. After negotiating a long term lease, Rizvi invested thousands of dollars more into designing the former retail store so that it looks like any of the other17,000 Subways worldwide.

In the former Dayton Restaurant, another investor has completed gutted the property and added balconies, more windows and an expanded second floor. Workers in the building said the site is being renovated by an investor who owns two Spanish restaurants.

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were installed, reviving some of Botany Village’s Victorian charm. The restoration project met with modest success but with continuing losses of nearby manufacturing jobs, the neighborhood struggled as both a business and a residential community. And then in 2000, Botany lost a vital lifeline. The once convenient Route 46 exit which funneled shoppers into district stores closed permanently to make way for the completion of Route 21 (see story page 21).

Without the exit, the district, it appears, was slowly being choked as an easy access from the highway was denied to shoppers and visitors from the other side of Clifton. Drivers would need to go two miles into Elmwood Park and make a Uturn to get to Botany. Another exodus of merchants began, and destination retailers like Parian Jewelers and Marchesin’s Shoe Store soon closed and moved to suburban malls. Botany clearly was heading for tougher times. please turn to page 18

“The butcher shops have everything we like, from cold cuts, kabasy, bread, cakes and dinners-to-go. And Pathmark and Kmart make shopping easy. In reality, Botany Village has a little bit of everything...” Julie Wislocki Sherman Place resident


riginally from Paterson, Jennifer Sanchez moved to her Milosh Ave. home seeking a better place to live. “It is just a better neighborhood, much safer,” said Sanchez, 32, who works in Chatham as a legal secretary. “We all know each other on my block.” Now a Botany resident for seven years, she likes the convenience of large stores like Kmart and the smaller family owned shops. Just down the street, her church, St. Cyril & Methodious, is within walking distance. However, she worries about her new neighborhood becoming like the one she left a decade ago. “The police need to patrol the streets more,” said Sanchez, who has a son, Jonathan, in CCMS and said she supports the construction of a Latteri school. “There are too many teenagers hanging out down here.”

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Mixed Opinions T

wo years of caring doesn’t negate 20 years of neglect. That about sums up Jackie Licata’s view on Botany Village. As an employee of the Rainbow Montessori School for the past 19 years, a resident for a year and currently a landlord, Licata has been here first hand for many of the changes that have gone on in this community. In her opinion, the modifications so far don’t exactly add up to a better Botany. “People still have that attitude about Botany Village,” she said, singling out the completion of Route 21 as probably the most destructive of the changes. “It is just neglected all together.” While working at the Rainbow Montessori School, Licata has had the opportunity to traverse Botany’s shopping district several times, both for her personal needs, as well as soliciting for the school’s various fund raisers. Although she acknowledged that the SID has cleaned up a lot of the garbage that had plagued this area, one thing that hasn’t changed has been the stores.


Licata claimed that many of the stores have odd hours, or close randomly in the middle of the day without putting up notice of when they will return. She also said that several times she has encountered rude employees. However, Licata said the biggest issue that hampers the growth of this diverse community is the language barrier. Not everyone speaks English as a first language, something that can make or break a business. “Catering to one small ethnic group only goes so far—you have to cater to all of your customer’s needs,” she claimed, adding that the language barrier is not just limited to the business district. “I thought for a while that my neighbors were rude because they didn’t talk to me,” said Licata, who lived on Exchange Place, at a location that she now rents out. “After a while, I realized it was because they didn’t speak English.” In addition to the difficulty of communicating with her neighbors, Licata said that the residential section also faces other hardships, such as tidiness in general.

ince moving to Clifton from Passaic Park in 1993, Lisa Sandoval’s perspective on Botany Village has soured. “I came to Clifton because I thought it would be a good city to move into,” said Sandoval, 43, who operates a construction company with her husband. “It used to be special and unique, but that kind of all went away. The city just stopped caring about this part of Clifton.” Botany has been allowed to deteriorate into a less than ideal neighborhood, said Sandoval. She says the main reason that Botany has declined can be traced to the bars, whose loud patrons create trouble near her Russell St. home. She said if the City Council—or the CHBC—wants to try improving Botany again, tackling the problems created by the night spots would be the place to start.

Jackie Licata She said that while living on Exchange Place from July 2004 to the following August, most mornings meant cleaning up trash. “Botany is a big renters area,” she stated, giving her opinion on why the area suffers from this dilemma. “If the landlord isn’t living there, they most likely will not care.” She also added that next door to her property is a home that has broken windows and garbage strewn about. However, this is the city, not the CHBD, that is failing to punish those who violate housing codes. An abandoned home on Arthur St., which has been reported by Clifton Merchant previously, is now in worse condition. Despite her gripes, Licata said the actions of the Botany SID has brought attention to the area. It’s just that the progress just hasn’t been as fast as she would like. “It definitely has potential. Most of the houses and businesses are in decent shape,” she explained. “But personally, I haven’t seen anything that I can say, ‘wow!’ But it has only been about two years since the SID has been here.” By Joseph Hawrylko September 2006 • Clifton Merchant


Ukranian Kitchen I

t started with a gift. During a tree lighting ceremony in December, Lidia Gusciora brought Ukrainian food and hot cocoa to the crowd in Sullivan Square. On that cold night, people enjoyed Lidia’s steaming borscht and poppy seed cake, food from her just-opened Restaurant Lidia. The Botany Special Improvement Districts (SID) wanted to pay for the food she served, but Lidia refused; it was a gift to her neighborhood. “That’s when we got the idea to help her,” said Josephine Fabi, a SID board member who owns and lives in a two-family home a few doors down on Parker Ave. “Lidia’s food,” Fabi added, “is fresh and tasty—I think it’s delicious. But because it’s authentic Ukrainian food, not all people are familiar with it.” Fabi and the SID went into action. They translated Lidia’s menu into English and began helping her with pricing, portion control, and scheduling. “Lidia cooks and serves all the food,” Fabi added, “and often gave her customers too much and sometimes at too low a price. We want her to succeed. Running a business is hard—especially when you’re doing everything yourself.” Botany’s SID is pledged to helping local businesses thrive. In fact, Fabi, who is of Italian and Polish ancestry, will serve as hostess for Lidia on Friday and Saturday nights during September, helping introduce new customers to the establishment. “One idea is to create a sample platter,” said Fabi, “so that customers can experience several types of Ukrainian food.” 14

September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

Neighbors Lidia Gusciora and Josephine Fabi. Lidia Gusciora is typical of Botany’s neighborhood spirit. Born near Chornobyl, Gusciora immigrated to the US in 1993 and moved to Clifton seven years ago. A widow, she worked cleaning houses and caring for the sick before earning enough money to start her small business. Josephine Fabi is also an example of Botany’s determination. She moved to Clifton from Chicago over a decade ago and decided to get involved when she heard about the SID at J. Michael’s Florist. Fabi sees Clifton not as a city of separate neighborhoods, but as a city of neighborhoods dependent on each other. “Some neighborhoods are better than others,” she claimed, “but if one part of the city goes down, it drags down the rest of Clifton.”

She also knows it’s easy for residents to complain when they experience things they don’t like. “Making your neighborhood better,” Fabi added, “won’t happen by magic. You have to give back—get involved. The mayor, council, and DPW have been wonderful and supportive—but they can’t do it alone. We all have to help make Botany better.” In the meantime, Fabi and the SID will go on helping their neighborhood improve. They hope to bring more people to Botany with Friday night events in the square, better lighting and security, and increasing the diversity of merchants and ethnic products few areas can offer… including Restaurant Lidia’s Ukrainian cuisine. “Try the borscht and the pirogies,” recommended Fabi.

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or some 33 years now, Anthony A. Accavallo, shown here, has been helping make the American Dream become a reality, right here in Clifton. As President of Federal Mortgage & Investment Corp. at 1111 Clifton Ave., Clifton, he and his firm have written millions of dollars worth of mortgages which have allowed people to purchase homes. And while that work has been fulfilling, Accavallo said he is getting his greatest satisfaction these days by helping senior citizens with reverse mortgages. A reverse mortgage is a special kind of mortgage loan for seniors. “It is a safe, easy way to turn your home equity into tax-free cash,” he continued. “Unlike a home equity loan, you do not

have to make monthly payments. Instead, a reverse mortgage pays you. More importantly, you do not have to repay the loan for as long as you live in the house. It’s a great way to keep your home and get money from it at the same time.” The name “reverse mortgage” describes exactly what the mortgage is — it is the exact opposite of a conventional mortgage. That is, with a conventional mortgage the borrower pays the lender but with a reverse mortgage, the lender pays the borrower. In the past, a senior citizen in need of money would have to take out a loan against their house and immediately start making monthly payments again or sell their home. But a reverse mortgage allows seniors to borrow against the equity they

How do I qualify for a Reverse Mortgage? It’s simple. You and your co-borrower must be at least 62 years old. You must own your home free and clear or have just a small balance on your existing mortgage. Best of all, there are no income or credit requirements to satisfy. How can I receive my money? You can receive it in several ways: •Equal monthly payments as long as you live in your home •Equal monthly payments for a certain period of time •As a line of credit you can draw upon as needed, for whatever reasons •As a lump sum draw at closing •A combination of the above, to meet your requirements. When must I repay the loan? You must repay the loan if you no longer live in your home. In the event of your death, your heirs can choose to repay the loan and keep the house or sell the house and repay the loan, What are interest rate charges & fees? •An adjustable rate of interest is charged on reverse mortgages •Closing costs are typical for any mortgage closing and all may be financed •No out-of-pocket expenses at closing Are Reverse Mortgages safe? •Yes, FHA and FannieMae guarantee the payments you receive •FHA and FannieMae also guarantee you will never owe more than your house is worth — no debt left on estate

already have in their home... and they never have to make a monthly payment. Each reverse mortgage candidate is required to attend a free counseling session with a local independent housing agency approved by FHA (Federal Housing Administration). Candidates are encouraged to bring other family members with them to help in the decision-making process. “This process ensures that the borrower understands the program fully and aides them in determining whether or not a reverse mortgage is for them,” said Accavallo.

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September 2006 • Clifton Merchant


Mexican Shaman T

he sweet aroma of incense, oils and candles wafts through the air near the corner of Parker and Lake Aves. Follow the scents and it will bring visitors to Leecatzin, a New Age store, where they will meet Jose Juarez, proprietor and shaman. On a recent visit, Juarez was blending oils, herbs and locally-grown green vines to create a seasonal potpourri, to “heal the home,” he explained. Juarez has practiced natural medicine for some 20 years now, the last four from his Botany storefront. Juarez said he was 7 or 8 years old the first time he felt the energy of herbs, which his mother had blessed in the temple in Veracruz, Mexico, his homeland. “All cultures use herbs and plants to regulate body functions... to bring balance and harmony to the home,” he said, excusing his English language skills, which seem to work effectively. Juarez explained that his expertise is in understanding a visitor’s problems or issues and then offering natural remedies. But one does not need to have problems to visit Leecatzin. The store is filled with stone and wooden jewelry, rows of candles, bottles of scented oils, baskets of both fresh and dried herbs and seasonal hand-crafted items. “That is an exotic soap from Mexico which will cleanse the soul,” he said of a pleasant smelling ball wrapped with rough, small vines. “We are in a good place,” Juarez said when asked of the impact of the SID. But then, perhaps his response was addressing issues greater than the Botany business district.

Jose Juarez outside his store, Leecatzin, at Lake and Parker Aves.

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“Business is a little better since the SID began operating last year.” Andrzej Lazar Ars Catholica

Improvements Begin

revitalization efforts include, George Silva, John Penkalski, Joe Nikisher, Sr., his wife Arlene, and their son, Joe Nikisher, Jr. Silva recalled how difficult those days were. “We had to go door-to-door begging merchants for five and ten dollar donations so we could hold the fairs,” said the owner of the Competitive Caskets

Amid this turmoil, a few key merchants kept things going. In the mid-1990’s, they organized and ran street fairs, car shows, carnivals, and other events to let the rest of Clifton and the region know that Botany was still viable. Some of the organizers who are still at the forefront of the district’s

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store on Botany Square. “Nobody thought we could ever come back.” With the support of the city, the merchants’ efforts, and direction from Don Smartt, whose company, The Community Advocates, specializes in setting up and managing downtown areas, the formation of a Special Improvement District (SID) happened in 2005. Named the Clifton Historic Botany District, Inc., the SID is a group of Botany property owners who have self-imposed an additional tax on all district property, except owner-occupied one and two-family homes. The money is collected by the City of Clifton and returned to the SID for exclusive use in district improvement projects.




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“Botany is cleaner, Botany has more lighting and Botany is safer... the SID is making a big difference in the quality of life in this neighborhood.” George Silva Competitive Casket Oswaldo “Ozzie” Chiarella the proprietor of Ozzie’s Barber Shop and a longtime merchant on Sullivan Square, said that improvements in lighting and Botany’s

cleaner look “are good for the people who live here, but they don’t bring me any more business.” Igor Tolomanoski, the owner of Botany Village Pizza for the past six years, agreed but stays involved as a sponsor of events. Tolomanoski, who is of Macedonian descent, said delivery business is what fuels his business as it accounts for 70 percent of his profits. “If you’re a walk-in business here, you won’t make it,” he stated frankly.

Dental Health Associates of Clifton • 973-778-5006 716 Broad St. Since its inception in May 2005, the CHBD has used the additional tax dollars to hire maintenance crews to spruce up the area, power-washed district buildings and sidewalks, conducted safety patrols on weekend evenings, and added additional lighting in the neighborhood. The group has also sponsored a variety of events, from concerts to car shows to tree lightings and other events to showcase the neighborhood and the vitality it offers. “The SID is saving Botany,” an enthusiastic Silva proclaimed. He noted that merchants who once showed little interest in the group’s activities are now “lining up” to donate food, beverages, and money for CHBD-sponsored Thursday night concerts, special Friday-night summer music programs in Sullivan Square, and the annual Festival in the Park held each Labor Day weekend. But not everyone is as enthusiastic as Silva. Reaction to programs has been mixed among the business owners who contribute their tax dollars to the organization.

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“Being in the antique business you tend to just like old style stuff. That’s why I liked Botany when I bought my property here about 30 years ago. Other dealers said ‘ah, no way it will work’ but I thought it would. But they were right and I was wrong.” P. Bill Hacking The Estate Outlet

Like others, Tolomanoski did concede that the neighborhood is more attractive since the inception of the CHBD, and as a result, his Botany Pizza is a supporter of the weekly music series, contributing food and drinks.

Andrzej Lazar’s view is a little different. While not as passionate as Silva, the owner of the Ars Catholica religious store in Botany Square said, “business is a little better” since the SID began operating last year. Lazar, who is of Polish

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descent, recently increased his inventory of Spanish-language publications to meet rising demand. He used to stock Polish and Englishlanguage books exclusively. “You have to have what people are looking for,” he said. Lori Ann Stopyra, Property Manager for Nassimi Realty Corp. the Pennsylvania company that owns and manages Botany Plaza, which is anchored by Pathmark and Kmart, and other retailers,

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Phantom Highway P

erhaps no other project has had a greater impact on Botany than completion of the Phantom Highway—Route 21— in 2000. Originating in Newark, Route 21 connects to Route 46 in Clifton, some 14 miles away. However, it took over 50 years for the highway to be fully completed. In the 1950’s, plans were drawn to extend Route 21 from Newark.. Construction began but stopped in 1972 due to environmental concerns, leaving a road that ran to Hope Ave. in Passaic. It would be almost 25 years before the state would add the “missing mile”. However, when construction began, it was announced that a Route 46 ramp leading into Botany would be eliminated, cutting off Botany from the rest of Clifton. Merchants protested and and hired an engineer, who proposed a left hand exit off eastbound Route 46 to go under the new bridge and provide access near Hot Grill by Randolph and Lexington Aves.

From Route 21, the entrance to Botany Village at Randolph and Clifton Aves. However, the New Jersey Dept. of Transportation rejected the merchants’ plan and many say the impact of that decision forever changed Botany and East Clifton. Heeding their concerns, in 2001, the NJDOT began a five-year study to measure how much the construction impacted life in the district.

The report will be released later this year. Titled, Economic and Quality of Life Impacts of Route 21 Freeway Construction, the goal is to evaluate Route 21’s “impacts on neighborhoods, residential real estate values, the success of commercial enterprises in the area, and traffic and safety in the local area.”

Inaccessible from Botany and hidden by Route 21, the Dundee Dam rises some 20 feet and offers a spectacular sight as it diverts water to the Dundee Canal and back to the Passaic River, which provides some good fishing spots for local anglers. Nearby is the Safas Corp., located on Dundee Island, just off the Ackerman Ave. bridge and near the entrance to Route 21.

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said “we feel the SID is an asset to the area. It’s still in its young, developmental stages and we hope it will give more curb appeal and bring in customers.” Stopyra noted that Nassimi is the largest contributor to the CHBD and has been “very successful with our mix of tenants. We’re pleased to be in the district.” She said the company would consider expanding in Botany if sufficient space were to become available.

Quality of Life While opinions vary on how successful the CHBD has been in its 16month existence, most surveyed or interviewed for these stories agreed that improving everyday quality of life remains the most important issue. In that regard, much has been accomplished. Flags line the streets to let visitors know they are in the district. Parking areas, green spaces and once dark streets are now well lit. “Look around,” said George Silva, pointing to one of the daily maintenance crews which are paid for with district funds. “Botany is cleaner, Botany has more lighting and Botany is safer than it was two years ago. The SID is making a big difference in the quality of life in this neighborhood.” CHBD Executive Director Don Smartt noted the SID-sponsored safety patrol which tours Botany for several hours each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night has also improved safety and cleanliness in the district. Smartt often rides with the patrol and noted that the policy of the crews are to more of a friendly, helpful and nosy neighbor. “We’re not the police,” he stressed, “and we don’t intervene in criminal matters. But we are visible and people know us and potential troublemakers seem to be getting the message.”

“If you’re a walk-in business here, you won’t make it.” Igor Tolomanoski Botany Village Pizza

The Future Situated at the edge of Clifton at the Garfield border, Botany Village continues to be a desirable place to live and conduct business. The demand for housing remains high even with the recent downturn in the real estate market, and the commercial vacancy rate is among the lowest in Clifton. Realtor Ernest Scheidemann, of Ernest T. Scheidemann Real Estate and Insurance, said that demand in Botany for housing is better than average because of the neighborhood’s many two and three-family structure. “People looking for a way to help pay for a home find the multiple dwellings in Botany very attractive,” he said.

Clifton Economic Development Director Harry Swanson noted that Botany’s commercial vacancy rate of 8.5% in early May was identical to that of Van Houten Ave. and was lower than that on Main Ave. Only seven of the 82 commercial enterprises in the district were vacant at that time and turnover is typically swift when openings occur.

Botany also remains attractive to commercial developers. With the city’s support, the huge Recycled Paperboard building is scheduled to undergo a major overhaul during the next year. Eckstein Developers LLC is planning to renovate the two-block long building for use as a corporate records storage warehousing facility.

September 2006 • Clifton Merchant



fter spending nearly two decades as a volunteer planting and nurturing rhizomes in the famed Presby Iris Gardens in Montclair, Julius Kiraly is focusing his green thumb expertise three doors down from his Botany Village home. Kiraly, a 78-year-old retired painting contractor, has adopted a portion of Hird Park and will transform it into a blooming centerpiece of his neighborhood. But, he warned, “it won’t look like anything for three years,” he said, “It’ll take that long to get the full bloom.” Kiraly has sectioned the oval, located at the intersection of Clifton and Lexington Aves., and has detailed 6 VILLAGE SQ. EAST CLIFTON, NJ 07011 TEL. (973) 546-7111 (973) 546-7227 FAX. (973) 546-5225

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September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

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diagrams as to where he has planted at least 150 varieties of iris in the center of the small park. Kiraly estimated about 50 percent of these plants will bloom for three weeks during late May or early June then reproduce and add hundreds more. Irises are low maintenance and require little watering, although Clifton Firemen from Engine 3 have promised to help out with that chore. The volunteer project was done with Kiraly’s wife of 40 years, Ellen, and their 9 year old granddaughter, Rachel Pierson, (she’s the one with the dirty face above) who said she looks forward to maintaining the garden when she becomes a teenager.

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One Botany businessman who remains especially upbeat about the district’s future is attorney Bennett Wasserstrum. He has been practicing law at his 3 Village Square West location for more than 30 years, and his family has had a continual presence in the neighborhood since his grandfather settled there in 1910. The attorney, who sits on the board of the CHBD, said that Botany’s diversity has been a boon to the district. “The people moving in are becoming good neighbors,” Wasserstrum said. “Everybody seems to know everybody else and they watch out for one another. If it stays that way, it will be good.”





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on’t know if Kevin Kiley and his Out-Patients will wail about the issues facing Botany but we do know that the veteran Bluesman and four other bands will bring some life to Village Square from 1 to 7 pm on Oct. 1 in a free concert. Some Botany shops and restaurants will be open and there will be craft and vendor booths. In case of rain, the Botany Blues Festival moves upstairs to the Italian American Coop Hall. For info on this and other events, call 973-857-1467 or go to

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Botany History W

hen Bill Walters became the city’s urban renewal director (circa 1966), one of his first priorities was rehabilitation of the rundown Botany Village shopping area. A thriving industrial center during the 19th century, the area adjoined the famous Botany Mills which, along with nearby Forstmann Mills, made Clifton one of the American wool industry’s vital centers. But in the mid1960’s, when the companies joined the trek of textile firms moving south, Botany Village faded in importance and the socalled urban decay began.

Walters’ plan took four years of convincing and construction as well as advocacy from individuals such as Carmen Maggio of the Rowe-Manse Gift Shop; Tom Sullivan, a newspaperman with the former Paterson Morning Call, who had presented the Victorian-themed restoration idea to merchants two years earlier, along with Vincent DeRose, the VP of First National Bank of New Jersey. While Clifton established Botany Village in 1968, the photo above is of Vladimir Surgent, Commander of VFW Post 347, at the official dedication, in October, 1972. At left is the groundbreaking of Botany Plaza on July 26, 1996, with Clifton Mayor Jim Anzaldi, Passaic Mayor Margie Semler and representatives of the Nassimi Realty Co, which constructed the center on a former mill along the Clifton/Passaic line at the Passaic River.

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Botany Memories Walking Through Clifton with Bill Wurst

The giant Botany Worsted Mills at one time employed more than 6,400 workers but closed its doors for good in the 1950s.


took a long, thoughtful walk through Clifton’s Botany section recently to recall what it was like growing up there some 50+ years ago. From the late 1940’s to the late 1960’s, Botany was my home. As I strolled along, a flood of memories cascaded into my consciousness... factory whistles piercing the morning stillness; voices speaking a rainbow of different languages; the sweet smell of jelly donuts from Heck’s Bakery on Highland Ave... I could almost smell the strong aroma of cigar smoke from taverns as I rode by on my bicycle and see sidewalks crowded with workers dashing off to the Botany and Forstmann woolen mills or the throngs of Friday night shoppers. 28

September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

Those woolen mills were largely responsible for both the shoppers and the retailers who served them. Through the 1950’s, Botany’s prosperity depended on the financial well being of those factories. I was fortunate to live in Botany for awhile before the mills closed and “moved south”. I can still see the many faces of my neighbors and friends in those days and the vibrant and close knit community that we lived in. There were stores and services that catered to every need. Damiano’s Pharmacy is still in business today, but Multz’s Pharmacy at the Lake and Parker Ave. intersection is gone. Before Dairy Queens and Carvels, we enjoyed our ice cream sodas and sundaes at the drug store soda fountains.

In the 1950’s, there was still one “penny candy” shop– Rutberg’s – on Parker Ave. I can still taste the bubble gum, root beer barrels, Mary Janes, and licorice sticks. As you walked in, Mr. Rutberg would emerge from his apartment in the rear of the store, grab a brown paper bag and fill it with the treats that you selected from the old glass and wooden display cases. Because Botany then—and still today—is home to so many different ethnic groups, we enjoyed shopping at a wide variety of food stores. There was homemade pasta and ravioli at Maria’s Italian Specialties, homemade cold cuts at Triebel’s Delicatessen (later taken over by Stefan Hauser), and several butcher shops catering to the different needs and wants of customers.

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That’s Bill Wurst in Nov., 1952, at rear left of the photo with Miss Dittrich in School 7, now Randolph Park. A classmate of his who readers might recognize is Peter Marchesin, the boy at the extreme right. His father owned the shoe store on the Square. I lived with my parents in an apartment over one of those food markets—Farina’s—on Dayton Ave. I can still see the owner, Peter Farina, wielding his meat cleaver as he chatted with his customers. Farina’s also sold cold cuts and groceries. As a child, I would be sent “downstairs” for a loaf of bread or a can of pork and beans. I didn’t need any money to pay for my purchases. “Pete” had a large sheet of white butcher paper attached to a piece of cardboard. On the paper, he would jot down the

cost of the items and, once a week or so, his customers would come in and settle their accounts. Riccobono’s and Pomper’s were two grocery and vegetable markets that I recall. Frank Pomper and an employee whose name was Lambert, had an incredible ability to add up your purchases mentally with a pencil on a paper bag. They never made a mathematical error as they calculated the cost of all of your fruit and vegetables. The store cash register was used only to record the total purchase. 1074

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As I continued my walk through Botany, I remembered other stores— Delancey’s Men’s Shop presided over by the affable Benjamin Marchesin’s Shoes Delancey. owned and operated by Clifton (yes, named after the city) Marchesin and William Tell’s Hardware Shop (after the legendary archer?). There was also Parian’s Jewelers where, at age 10, I bought my mother a $10 ring for Christmas. I had worked hard to save up what I then thought was an astronomical amount of money.

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Good meals could be enjoyed at the Dayton Bar and Grill (later the Dayton Restaurant) owned by Sal Latteri. For entertainment, you walked over to the Strand Theater on Parker Ave. where for the price of one ticket you could see two feature length films and a cartoon. Since few of us had air conditioners at this time, the Strand was the place to be on a hot summer afternoon. Also, on Tuesday nights my mother would come home from the movies with a free soup bowl or dinner plate. If you attended the theater every week, you would eventually accumulate an entire set of dishes. Several faces from Botany are still fresh in my mind. There was Al the bus driver who picked me up regularly when I was about eight years old and, with my parent’s permission, would take me on the bus to “far off” Passaic and back for free! And then there was our neighborhood police officer—Max. Dark-complexioned, burly and with

Columnist Bill Wurst will write about Clifton neighborhoods monthly. few words to say, he walked the Botany beat and commanded respect from us youngsters. How about Miss Kimble, my third grade teacher at School Seven (now just a memory in Randolph Park)? The talk of the classroom was that she was an ASPCA officer and carried a gun with her! We didn’t have a park in Botany but we kids didn’t seem to mind. We played stick ball in a vacant lot on Randolph Ave., looked for fish and turtles along the Dundee Canal

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and Passaic River and rode our bicycles. On hot summer nights, families sat on lawn chairs on the sidewalk. The grownups chatted and we kids played. One summer, a rowdy motorcycle gang organized in Botany and crisscrossed the neighborhood streets night after night with their engines roaring. My parents and other adults were up in arms. That didn’t bother me. I thought it was cool to watch and to listen to those powerful machines and their rebellious riders. For a while, I attended the free Tuesday evening movie shows sponsored by the Clifton Boys Club. Their building on Center St. had a log cabin facade. Along with the movies, we kids received free hot dogs and soda. When I was in junior high school, my first “love affair” ended in a luncheonette in Botany. I wanted out of the relationship because—at age 14—I was feeling “tied down”. I couldn’t telephone the young lady from my home because I did-

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n’t want my parents listening in. So, in those pre-cell phone days, I used the phone booth (remember them?) in the luncheonette to say “goodbye”. As my Botany walk and my reminiscing came to an end, I realized that no matter where I live now or in the future, my old neighborhood was really still there. Sure, the buildings, the stores and the people are not the same as I remember from my childhood, but I did see continuity. Just like during my youth, I heard a variety of languages as I

strolled along. Several food stores and restaurants carried signs indicating that they catered to a specific ethnic group. Diversity was still in evidence. Yet there was unity in Botany as well. People make a neighborhood “home”, and my walk brought me into direct and indirect contact with many of today’s residents and shopkeepers. Their combined efforts to create a safe and supportive environment could be seen in many, many ways. There were the smiles

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and the warm and friendly sidewalk greetings and conversations that I witnessed. The community spirit was also evident in well-kept homes and businesses. Backyard gardens, green and lush and dotted with flowers of red and yellow, reminded me of those tended by my proud neighbors decades ago. As I headed back to my car, I heard the sound of footsteps. I turned to see a dark-haired boy of about eight running along the sidewalk looking here and there. He didn’t seem to have a care in the world. My mind plunged backward. That young fellow resembled me some 50 years ago when I ran to board Al’s bus for my trip to Passaic. Wouldn’t it be great if I could be a child of eight again and relive those Botany years! Of course, that’s not possible. I do, however, have many happy, rich and poignant memories that can carry me back to the time when Botany was my home.

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Kashian’s Poultry When we announced our Botany project, we received a few historical tidbits... this one is especially fitting as Clifton Live Poultry on Parker Ave. still offers the same service in the same location as this story from 1977 explains...


hen you walk down Parker Ave. in Botany Village, don’t be startled if you see a bunch of fluffy clumps moving in a store window. Those fluttering clumps you see that day are that night’s fryers, broilers and roasters. They’re the window displays—and the merchandise—at Kashtan’s Live Poultry Market. Even with the assortment of frozen and refrigerated chickens— whole, split or quartered—at supermarkets, some people still want to pick their chickens and know they’ll be fresh, said Irving Kashtan, who’s owned the store with his wife Frances for 35 years (they retired in the early 1980’s).

Instead of picking an anonymous, bald chicken that may have wax and preservatives on its skin, you can select a healthy-looking Plymouth Rock, a rooster or a pullet—and even pinch it to see how meaty it is. Then wait a few minutes in the cement-floored store while the birds are readied for your recipe. While you’re waiting—listening to clucking, crowing, chirping and squawking—one of the chickens just might lay an egg. “Here, feel it, it’s still warm,” said Kashtan, showing off the brown egg. Mrs. Kashtan, who runs the business, doesn’t think there’s anything interesting about a live poultry market, but she says some teachers and students do.

Irving Kashtan on Parker Ave. Occasionally, teachers bring classes to the market to show youngsters what Kentucky Fried looks like before Colonel Sanders gets to it. Plenty of people passing by stop in—especially with children—because they’ve never seen live poultry, Kashtan said.


September 2006 • Clifton Merchant


But, for the Kashtans, it’s all old hat. Mrs. Kashtan’s sister gave them the store—a poultry market since the 1920s—during World War II, after Kashtan lost his job as a trucking dispatcher. “It’s a rough business,” said Mrs. Kashtan. “You have to kill them, cut them up...” Every morning the chickens’ cages must be cleaned (otherwise you couldn’t come in because of the stench, she added). Twice a week Kashtan drives his

red pickup truck to the market in Newark, and returns with wooden crates full of chickens, turkeys and sometimes ducks or pigeons. “You make a living... that’s all. You can never get bigger than what you are,” said Kashtan, who is wearing dusty wine-colored pants, and galoshes on his feet. Even though his business is not exactly a breeze, he doesn’t feel threatened by the nearby supermarket’s array of ready-to-cook chickens.

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“People are really going back to fresh foods, and there aren’t many markets around,” he claimed. When I tell my customers I want to retire, they say, “Please don’t; where will we go for fresh chicken?” So while the customer waits, Kashtan does the “rough work.” In the back room, he and an assistant do what must be done to all chickens to prepare them for the oven: they slit their throats, dump them in a funnel until the blood runs out, then dunk them in 140-degree water and pull the skin off the feet. The step that transforms a feathered bird into a cluster of drumsticks and wings, dark meat and light, is the plucking. Kashtan holds the chicken over a rotating drum from which rubber “fingers” protrude. The “fingers” rub the feathers off in seconds, and the wet, feathered mass that might have turned some people’s stomachs is now just another piece of poultry. The head and feet are cut off and internal organs pulled out. The feet, liver and gizzard are stuffed into the cavity. The chicken is then wrapped for the customer, who’ll cooks up a fresh, tasty dinner.




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September 2006 • Clifton Merchant


Riccobono Market I Here’s another story we received regarding a legendary merchant of Botany Village.

n 1914 Giuseppe Riccobono opened a market on Dayton Ave.... some three years before each of the neighborhoods of rural Acquackanonk Township were incorporated into the city of Clifton. Then, in 1920, he moved across the street to the building that he purchased and where the business remained until 1990.

The Riccobono Bros. market stood in the shadow of the Botany and Forstmann woolen mills where immigrants from Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Italy found work. Many of them grew up on farms and longed for fresh fruit and vegetables. To meet that demand, Riccobono would begin his day at 3 am as he traveled by horse and wagon, crossing the Hudson River by ferry to the Washington market in downtown New York where farmers brought their fresh produce. When he noticed the customers wanted fresh fish, Riccobono added visits to the Fulton Fish Market to his early morning schedule on Thursdays and Fridays. Years later, he purchased a Mack truck to transport his wares. While Riccobono was in the city, Lillie, his wife, would already have the store opened for business. For several years, his younger brothers also worked in the store with them until they had careers of their own. He brought into the business such diverse items for sale as Christmas trees during the holiday season, vegetable plants and flowers in the spring, live goats during

Lillie and Giuseppe Riccobono the Easter season, jack rabbits for his German customers and carloads of California grape boxes for those who made their own wine. He also operated his own winery for about five years in his basement. In 1972, he was held up in his store by a few hoodlums and sustained a broken hip, however, he continued to run his business with his wife of almost 60 years. After her death in 1980, he continued to run the store; two of his grandsons joined him in 1985, until after over 75 years, the store closed in 1990. A family celebration was held on Ellis Island on July 16 of this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival into America of Giuseppe Riccobono, along with his father and eldest sister.

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September 2006 • Clifton Merchant



September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

September 2006 • Clifton Merchant


Fall Spo r ts ’06 Football • Soccer • Volleyball • Cross Country • Gymnastics • Tennis Cheerleading Marching Band

All stories by Joe Hawrylko


fter starting off even with a 5-5 record in his first season, third year coach Ron Anello and his Mustangs took a small step backwards in 2005, finishing at 4-6, which he chalked up to a lack of experience. “We were just a young team, a lot of juniors and sophomores,” explained Anello, the 18th coach in the Fighting Mustang history. “But now we’ve got guys like seniors Derek Stroble, Louis Feliciano, Nick Cvetic and Anthony Giordino, who started half of last year for us. We got a nice core of kids.” 38

September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

Giordino, the senior quarterback who came as a transfer last year from St. Mary’s, will play the role of the catalyst in the team’s fortunes this year. “When Ant’ took over, we won three out of the last four. He obviously brought a spark to the team,” the coach said. “He’s exactly what we look for... an extension of the coach on the field.” Behind him is the thunder and lightening duo of Feliciano (6’2”, 190 lbs) and Stroble (5’11”, 170lbs) who will be blocked by junior FB Matt Davella.


Sept 8


7:00 pm

Sept 21

at Teaneck

7:00 pm

Sept 29

at Hackensack

7:00 pm

Oct 6


7:00 pm

Oct 12

at Eastside Paterson

7:00 pm

Oct 21

at Montclair

1:00 pm

Oct 27


7:00 pm

Nov 3

St. Joseph

7:00 pm

Nov 12


Nov 24

at Passaic

TBA 10:30 am

Send your Mustang sports news to Joe Hawrylko at

The 2006 Fighting Mustangs seniors, top, from left: Louis Feliciano, David Fahy, Adam Justin Dela Mota and Brian Fierro. Middle, from left: Joshua Texidor, Paul Andrikanich, Phillip Buzzone, Mirsad Bruncevic and Barron Johnson Up front is Matthew Detres, Johnathan Brito, Derrick Stroble and Omar Saleh. Photo at right, from left, are Fighting Mustang captains Nick Cvetic, Rob McClear, Tim Jacobus and QB Anthony Giordano.

Cvetic will line up at TE, and at 6’6”, 230 lbs, will dominate. Wideouts are senior Rob Johnson and juniors Lamar Rodriguez, Freddy Reyes and Ricardo Emile. Senior Brian Fierro, junior Greg Slater and sophomore Donte Glenn will rotate at T. Seniors Omar Saleh and Timmy Jacobus will anchor the guard positions and junior Paul Andrikanich is the center. On D, the ‘Stangs will run a 4-3 base, featuring Cvetic coming off the end and a rotation of juniors Rafael Polanco, Wes Bowman and Josh Killian. Tackles are sopho-

more Khalid Pitts and seniors Fierro and Adam Justin Dela Mota. Seniors David Fahy, Josh Texidor, Saleh and Davella will play LB. In the secondary are Johnson and Stroble at CB, with Rodriguez at FS and senior Robert McClear at SS. Sophomore Nelson Tejada kicks senior Matt Detres will punt.

The future is bright, says coach. “We’re working with the community on this,” concluded Anello, who applauded the cooperation of the youth team, where many of his kids first learned the same system that he runs at CHS. “We all have to work better for the kids. They’re deserving of it, that’s for sure.”


September 2006 • Clifton Merchant


Clifton enters 2006 as an early favorite to repeat as County Champs. For that to happen, the Mustangs pictured here will have to play as consistent as they did last season, when they went 19-3. Front row, from left is Manny Caicedo and Juan Carlos Leal. Behind them, from the left stands Michael Pomykala, Teddy Zubek, Chris Bednarz, John Acosta and Francisco Lugo.


decade of dominance on the pitch. That’s what the Mustangs are striving for this year as they attempt to continue their nine year reign as Passaic County Champs. As always, the Mustangs will field a strong squad, but will it

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September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

be enough to defend their crown against the likes of county foe and arch-nemesis Wayne Valley and other staunch competition? Fifth year head coach Joe Vespignani thinks so, as long as the Mustangs address certain issues. “We lost Majdi Zaineh (Goalie) and Tom Bodyziak (Defense) to graduation,” said the coach, whose team finished 19-3 and lost in the third round of states to Montclair in 2005. “Those are the two guys we really have to replace. People will really need to step in and help in those positions this year.” Attempting to replace the AllState goalie will be a trio of hopeful candidates: senior Nick D’Alto, junior Chris Kosciolek, sophomore Tom Faraczek. A goalie-by-committee approach in the first part of the season will most likely determine who plays between the posts in towards the end of the season.

Despite uncertainty in the net, Vespignani is hardly concerned, since Clifton’s defense is once again a force to be reckoned with. With experienced senior captains David Abukhater, an attacking defender, and David Marco, a marking back, prowling the backline, the coach said there is little reason to be concerned about the goalie situation. However, Vespignani said the Mustangs will be shedding the notion that Clifton is a defense-first team this year. “All of the success in my time here has been defense, not just from the back, but as a team,” said Vespignani, who added that the midfield is much deeper then last year, as is the rest of his squad. “But I think the offense will make the difference this year once team chemistry builds and the philosophy takes a hold. They will score a lot of goals.”


Sept 8

Eastside Paterson

Sept 11

at Kennedy

4:00 pm

Sept 13


4:00 pm

Sept 15

at Hackensack

4:00 pm

Sept 18

at Teaneck

4:00 pm

Sept 20


4:00 pm

4:00 pm

Sept 21

at Paramus Catholic

4:00 pm

Sept 25

Bergen Tech

4:00 pm

Sept 27

at Don Bosco Prep

4:00 pm

Sept 29

at Passaic

4:00 pm

Oct 3

at Bellville

4:00 pm

Oct 5


4:00 pm

Oct 10

at Bloomfield

4:00 pm

Oct 12


4:00 pm

Oct 17


4:00 pm

Oct 19

at St. Joseph

4:00 pm

Oct 24

Bergen Catholic

4:00 pm

Senior Captain Frank Vogas, a third year Varsity member who scored 13 goals and 15 assists in 2005, will lead the charge as he

Does Clifton have what it takes to become a state champion again? The Mustang’s fortunes on the pitch will have a lot to do with these three young men. From left are captains David Abukhater (D), Frank Vogas (M/F) and David Marco (D).

floats between midfield and striker this year. Supporting him will be senior Lucian Radoslovescu, who in just 15 games last year scored 13 goals, a number coach expects to improve. Keep an eye out for senior Chris Bednarz and junior Manny Caicedo, who will find the net often this year.

“Technically we are going to be a better team, we are just working on the physical component of the game,” concluded Vespignani. “Last year we only had a hand full of options off of the bench. This year, we have much more, especially from the midfield. We’re going to try to make it 10 in a row.”

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Key players on the pitch this year for the Mustangs will include these girls. Top row, from left is Stefanie Cramer, Chelsea Welsh, Arielle Saltzman and Kristina DiDonna. In the front is Melissa D’Arco, Holly Sieradzki and Samantha Bartlett.



he Lady Mustangs enter 2006 with a different look under new head coach Dan Chilowicz, a CHS teacher who brings several decades of experience to the pitch. Inheriting a talent-laden team that went 11-4-4 last season, Chilowicz, who was the boys soccer JV coach for the past five years and the 1990 Coach of the Year with Butler boys soccer, said he simply doesn’t want to “upset the apple cart.”

However, after a preseason scrimmage where his girls came out sluggish and went down early 1-0, only to tie it in the last five minutes, he conceded that work is needed. “We need to play the first two minutes like the last two,” explained Chilowicz, a honors and college prep chemistry teacher at CHS. “We will preach attacking and teach them to get into space.”

Technique, tempo and toughness will be the philosophy that the Lady Mustangs employ in 2006. These principals will begin with the midfield, which Chilowicz identified as the team’s strongest and deepest position. Led by junior Holly Sieradzki, who added All-League, County, and State honors to her resume last year, the middies will set the cadence of the game.

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Sept 8

at Eastside Paterson

4:00 pm

Sept 11


4:00 pm

Sept 13

at Paramus

4:00 pm

Sept 15


4:00 pm

Sept 18


4:00 pm

Sept 20

at Ridgewood

4:00 pm

Sept 21

Paramus Catholic

4:00 pm

Sept 26

at Bergen Tech

4:00 pm

Oct 3


4:00 pm

Oct 5

at Nutley

4:00 pm

Oct 10


4:00 pm

Oct 17

at Montclair

4:00 pm

Oct 19

Holy Angels

4:00 pm

Oct 24

at IHA

4:00 pm

She will be flanked on the right by freshman Vanessa Pinto and on the left by sophomores Julianna Natale and Jamie Lisanti. They will be feeding a core of forwards, who are led by senior Erica Cardillo. Support will come from senior Samantha Bartlett, jun-

Lady Mustang captains Erica Cardillo, forward, and Brittney Harraka, sweeper.

ior Chelsea Welsh and sophomore Kristina Cordova. The attackers, coach said, still need some work. The team’s other question mark is the backline, which will start three sophomores—Alexandra Gonzalez, Adriana Daley and Alyssa Robinson—and veteran senior sweeper Brittney Harraka. However, their strength is in net.

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Soph GK Lianne Maldonado, an All-State selection, trains with the national team. Senior Arielle Saltzman, will press her for time. With such youth, and a new frosh team, the future is bright, however, there is concerns from the bench: “Were good with starters,” said Chilowicz. “But if someone gets hurt, we could be in trouble.” Specializing in Medical & Surgical Foot & Ankle Correction

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The 2006 girls volleyball team. Top row, from left: Deanna Giordano, Danielle Woolverton, Monica Stroz, Kim Lope and Alison DiAngelo. Bottom row: Dana Riley, Cheryl Porter, Jessica Munoz, Natalia Dziubek and Alexandra Semidey.


s it seems every year now— and with good reason—the talented Lady Mustangs come into the season with high expectations. “We walk into each season with the same goals: winning the League, County and State

Championships,” explained 6th year head coach Mike Doktor, whose team is just six “W’s” shy of reaching the 500 win milestone. “Anything less then that and we didn’t accomplish what we had wanted to do.”


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September 2006 • Clifton Merchant


Dominick & Carmen


Sept 8

at Eastside Paterson

Sept 9

Eastern Tournament

4:00 pm 9:00 am

Sept 11


4:00 pm

Sept 13

at Paramus

4:00 pm

Sept 14


4:00 pm

Sept 16

Clifton Tournament

9:00 am

Sept 18

at Teaneck

4:00 pm

Sept 20

at Ridgwood

4:00 pm

Sept 21

Paramus Catholic

4:00 pm

Sept 25

at Bergen Tech

4:00 pm

Sept 28


4:00 pm

Sept 30

Wayne Valley Tourn

9:00 am

Oct 3


4:00 pm

Oct 5

at Nutley

4:00 pm

Oct 10


4:00 pm

Oct 12

at Barringer

4:00 pm

Oct 14


Oct 16

at Montclair

4:00 pm

Oct 19

Holy Angels

4:00 pm

Oct 21


Oct 23

at IHA

Oct 25


Oct 27

at Ramapo

Oct 28



Oct 31

NJSIAA starts



TBA 4:00 pm TBA 4:00 pm

In returning a good nucleus of his starters from last year’s team which recorded an 18-8 campaign, Doktor, who is also the boys coach, has a lot of confidence. “We’re bringing back a lot of our key players,” said the coach. “But we are also bring in some younger players that are really going to add to this team.” Tall and imposing, senior Deanna Giordano and junior Alison DiAngelo will be menacing opposing blockers this year with their devastating attacks. Giordano is highly regarded as one of the best in North Jersey and DiAngelo will likely build her reputation as the season goes on. They will be supported by senior

Dana Riley, whose precision passing will be key in setting up attacks, as well as seniors Cheryl Porter and Jessica Munoz. Junior Alexandra Semidey will looked to to utilize her speed and knowledge of the game in her role as the starting setter. Senior Danielle Woolverton, is the anchor for the Mustang’s defense and top blocker. Also a senior, Monica Stroz’s height and reach make her another skilled blocker, as well as a consistent hitter. Be on the look out for senior Rachel Prehodka-Spindel, whose ability to play any number of positions makes her an asset on both sides of the ball.

Other Mustangs include first year player junior Kim Lope, who coach cited as a natural athlete who nonetheless will see time. Another newcomer is frosh Natalia Dziubek, a setter with outstanding talent and potential “We have a very strong underclass group, one of the best freshman teams in years,” Doktor added. “There’s a lot of solid sophomores and freshmen that will be expected to contribute.” “I think there’s a big improvement from last year,” continued the coach, sizing up his team’s overall skill level. “We’re a faster team, better defensively and we’re also bigger. We’re going to be pretty strong this year.”





Team Tryouts for new swimmers will be held by appointment ONLY on Sept 12th. Call for an appointment time at 973-773-2697 ext. 31 The last day for tryouts will be held Sept 13th from 6-8 pm No appointment necessary for this date.

S WIM T EAM P RACTICES B EGIN : Mon, Sept 18th . . . . . . . .5:30–8:00 pm Complete Program includes: Dual & USS Swim Meets, Daily Practices (Mon–Fri), New Jersey Swimming Membership & Much, Much More…Season runs from Sept 18th -– March 2007 1264

For more information contact the Aquatics Department @ 973.773.2697 x31 FALL 2006 S WIM P ROGRAMS • Youth Swim Lessons • Adult Swim Lessons • Adult Lap Swims • Complete Aquatic Program Guide Available •

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2-Hour Rentals ‘Birthday Parties’ – 1-Hour in pool, 1-Hour in the Party Room Days: Saturdays & Sundays Time: Saturdays 4-6 pm, Sunday NOON-2 PM, 3-5 PM & 4-6 PM Fee: $200 (Maximum of 25 children, each additional child $10) Contact: Front Desk (No reservations made over the phone-must sign contract)

All groups subject to pool rules & regulations

To Register for any of these programs please come to the Boys & Girls Club at 181 Colfax Ave. For further info call

973.773.2697 September 2006 • Clifton Merchant






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ver the last several years, the Mustangs have established themselves as Kings of the Hill under the guidance of coach John Pontes. Perched atop their track on Garret Mountain, last year’s squad dominated the competition enroute to their sixth consecutive league title for the boys and second for the girls. Also, the boys won County’s and placed third in the States, while the girls placed second in Passaic County and came in fourth for states. It’s been a wild ride for the Mustangs and by the looks of things, they aren’t close to relinquishing their crowns yet.

Cross county team captains, from left: Jessica Torres, Brian Dunphy, Alex Anolik and Chris Bienkiewicz. Some varsity members of the 2006 XC team, above front from left: Mike Papa, Sarah Mendoza, Sabina Weglinska and Susan Martinez. In the middle: Vicky Leja, Melissa Aviles, Elba Mendoza and Sarah Weiss. Top: Adit Desai, Bryan Gabel and Leyla Darzanoff. 48

September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

“We’re looking forward to another good season with both squads,” predicted Pontes. “Practice has been going good and the help of assistant coach Lisa Smith has been a big factor.” With 40 runners, the Mustang have the skill and depth to repeat.

The girls, who finished 24-6, are led by Senior captain Jessica Torres, who has been a consistent performer since her sophomore year and will provide valuable leadership. Classmates Leyla Darzanoff and Karen Rondon will figure in as key contributors, as

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Sept 9

at Lancer Inv. in Liv.

Sept 12


3:45 pm

Sept 19

Pas/Hack/St. Joes

3:45 pm

Sept 23

at Pass. City Inv.

9:00 am

Sept 26


3:45 pm

Sept 29

at Maroon Inv

3:30 pm

Oct 3

JFK/RIdgewood/BC/IHA 3:45 pm

Oct 6

at Ramapo Inv.

4:00 pm

Oct 10


3:30 pm


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Oct 24

Haw/WM/Lake/PV/Man 4:00 pm

Nov 04

State Sectional

Nov 11

at State Group Champ

Nov 18

at State Meet of Champ 10:00 am

Nov 25

at N.E. Champ

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will junior Vicki Leja. Other juniors include Sue Martinez, Alyssa Philhower, Sabina Weglinksa, Sarah Weiss and Sarah Mendoza. “Freshman Daphne Bienkwicz is a good solid worker with a lot of potential,” added Pontes, who has 23 years of experience as CHS cross country coach. “She’s very coachable and will contribute.” Seniors Alex Anolik, Chris Bienkiewicz, Brian Dunphy and Mike Tanayan will figure in as the leaders for the boys, who went 30-1 Fellow senior Adit Desai will lend support, as will juniors Ryan Dunn and Bryan Gabel. The boys have depth, with the likes of sophomores Ivan Enriquez, Pavel Romanovski, Sammy Mowaswes, Francis Eusebio and Hanni Abukhater. “Enriquez is working really hard,” Pontes said. “He’s like a young man on a mission.” “Our guys and girls won leagues again last year,” reflected Pontes, as he pondered their fortunes for the upcoming season. “We definitely want to continue that streak. I think we will be alright this year.”

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September 2006 • Clifton Merchant


The 2006 gymnastics team includes, back row from left: Kayla Santiago, Samantha Bassford, Tara Danny, Jasmine Adams, Alexandra DeLiberto and Valentina Khadkevich. In the middle is Soin Alexander, Danielle Tekirian, Brooke Mullen, Stephanie Cornejo and Allison Busha. In front from left is Donnalayha Cook, Emily Urcioli and Erika Garcia.


ith a squad filled with mostly raw athletes that have little, if any, dance or gymnastic experience, 2006 will be another rebuilding season. “Most of the girls just lack experience,” said head coach Judy D’Argenio, who enters her 19th season. “We have a few girls that are dancers who are just trying to build up their skills.” Helping to shape these atheletes are two of D’Argenio’s former gymnasts Kim Nichol and Susan Palm. She also noted that senior student managers Paul Falduto and Peter Caper, will be returning this season to help out. In addition, the coach is also counting on some of the more experienced gymnasts to tutor the incoming Mustangs. Senior captain Jasmine Adams, an all-around performer specializing in the vault, is one of those who 50

September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

is expected step up as a leader. Classmate and fellow captain Amy Wong, a dancer who specializes in beam and floor, will be another mentor for the Mustangs on the mat this year. “She will be one of the highest scorers on the beam,” predicted D’Argenio. “She is fabulous at dance and floor exercise.” Junior Brooke Mullen returns as a top all-around performer. Freshmen Stephanie Cornejo (allaround) and Emily Urcioli (allaround) join her as the only girls with gymnastics experience prior to joining the team. In fact, Urcioli is an elite level gymnast and may be the most skilled on the squad. “Someone with that type of skill could have an ego but Emily is just like everyone else on the team.” said D’Argenio of Urcioli. “We expect her to qualify for State Sectionals and Finals.”



Sept 19

at Fair Lawn

Sept 21

at Montclair

4:30 pm

Sept 27

Indian Hills

4:30 pm

Sept 29

at Ridgewood

4:30 pm

Oct 3

at Ramapo

4:30 pm

Oct 6

at Wayne Valley

4:30 pm

Oct 10

Wayne Hills

4:30 pm

Oct 13

Passaic Valley

4:30 pm

Oct 17


4:30 pm

Oct 19

Pascack Valley

4:30 pm

Other gymnasts include seniors Allison Busha (beam/floor) and Tara Danny (vault/bars) and sophomores Chelsea Gurley (beam/floor) and Kayla Santiago (vault/floor). The dancers are seniors Valentina Khadkevich and Jessica Lima, juniors Soin Alexander and Samantha Bassford, sophomore Donna Cook and freshmen Alexandra DeLiberto, Danielle Tekirian and Erika Garcia. “We’re going to build and be competitive,” said D’Argenio. “We’ve got a great bunch of kids who are easy to work with.”


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CHS Some of the 2006 girls tennis squad, front, from left stands Jackie Purisima, Neana Yoo, Janki Patel and Monica Ahmed. Behind them, from the left is Xiao Zhang, Bhoomi Upadhyaya, Kelly Rivadeneyra and Lia Salierno.


espite returning only three full-time Varsity starters, head coach Chad Cole says there is potential on this team. However, it probably won’t be tapped this year. “We lack Varsity experience,” explained the 25th year coach. “But we had a great turnout, I had to split sessions.” Among those returning is senior Kelly Rivadeneyra, junior Bhoomi Upadhyaya and stand out sophomore Lia Salierno, who continues the family CHS tennis legacy.

“Lia has improved over the summer and will be a first or second single,” said Cole. “It is good to see that kind of growth.” Others expected to contribute this year will be seniors Jackie Purisima, Janki Patel and Xiao Zhang. Juniors Elizabeth Kochan and Minica Ahmed and sophomore Jeanna Yoo will help as well. “We also have a lot of raw freshmen,” added Cole, who has 29 girls. “I anticipate another growing year, but we will be better.”

TENNIS Sept 20

Fair Lawn

4:30 pm

Sept 23

at Indian Hills

4:30 pm

Sept 26


4:30 pm

Sept 29


4:30 pm

Oct 03

Wayne Valley

3:00 pm

Oct 06

at Ridgewood

4:30 pm

Oct 11

Wayne Hills

4:30 pm

Oct 14

at Passaic Valley

4:30 pm

Oct 18

at Butler

4:30 pm

Oct 20

West Milford

4:30 pm

Oct 22

at North Jersey Invitnal 4:30 pm

Oct 26

NNJIL Champs


Nov 01

Passaic Cty Tourn


Nov 03



Nov 11

State Championships

TBA 1040


Junction of Routes 3 & 46, Clifton 52

September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

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September 2006 • Clifton Merchant


Drum Major Ceru llo by Elaine Sanchez


hristopher Cerullo woke up June 1 with thoughts of disaster. Later in the day, he envisioned he would trip on his shoelaces or fall flat on the floor or, even worse, maybe do both. But when the moment came to show his skill, Cerullo shoved his nervous thoughts aside and executed the commands he’d practiced for the past several months. Cerullo gave it his all in his audition to be the drum major of the Marching Mustangs, but he could not be sure if he got the job. He left the audition in a mix of emotions: the coveted position could be anyone’s. Two long hours later, with one announcement, feelings of uncertainty morphed into pure excitement. “Your new drum major for the 2006 season is … Number Two!” Joy and relief took over Cerullo, happily wearing the Number Two audition stub. He’d just become the 2006 leader of the Showband of the Northeast, the Marching Mustangs. The new designation will bring Cerullo to the forefront of CHS’ renowned marching band, leading nearly 90 musicians, majorettes and color guard in parades, concerts, competitions—and best of all—into Clifton Stadium for football games. During the team’s first home game on Sept. 8, Cerullo will make his debut, joining a 68-year-old legacy while donning the traditional uniform, consisting of knee high boots, white gloves, black pants and a white top with a red design. There, he will direct the band downfield into its signature “Floating M.” 54

September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

Cerullo said while he feels the typical jitters that come with a first performance and being at the center of attention, he is eager for the moment to come. “That will be one of the most exciting moments of the season,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it.” The 17-year-old Clifton native is no stranger to a musical environment.

Born June 30, 1989, Cerullo has played the trumpet since the fourth grade and the baritone horn since the eighth grade. His sister, Amanda, was a CHS majorette when she graduated in 2003, and Cerullo joined the band his freshman year as a baritone horn player. Parents James and Mariesa attend almost every football game to cheer

The drum major is responsible for conducting and calling out commands, everything from “Mark Time,” signaling the band to march in place, and “Forward March,” instructing members to, well, march forward. He or she also warms up and tunes the band, makes sure members are working their hardest and in proper formation and, most importantly, acts as a role model. The title of drum major brings with it a considerable amount of pressure, and Cerrullo admits his new role is very different from his

old one at the back of the band. “It gives you a new perspective on everything,” he said. “Being in the band, you have to be focused and concentrate on what you have to do. Being in front of the band, you have to see how they’re working as well as do what you have to do.” But Cerrullo said he’s ready to take on the leadership position, something he’s been eyeing since his freshman year. Back then, he realized he wanted to be more proactive, and actually decided he would try out for drum major.

☛ 1716

on their son. Cerullo said his family plays a huge role in motivating him to go for his goals. “They’ve been very supportive and very interested in finding ways to help me better myself,” Cerullo said, adding that his 21-year-old sister gave him valuable advice before his audition. “‘Don’t worry if you mess up. Whatever you do, don’t stop; the worst thing you can do is walk out,’” Cerrullo recalled. Although it was important for him to do well during the tryout, where he performed in front of the five band directors and four assistants, Cerrullo said his audition was a culmination of years of observation and months of hard work. One night a week for a couple months at the end of his junior year, Cerrullo attended a clinic for drum majors, majorettes and the color guard. There, directors Michelle Morgan and Emily Klein taught them everything they needed to know, Cerullo said. Qualities he’s developed over the course of his band career include confidence, leadership, patience and determination—all essential for a drum major, who, for those not attuned to band jargon, does not use any sort of drum.

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With a summer of lazy days, hanging out with friends and a vacation in Aruba behind him, the 17-year-old said he was looking forward to the grueling hours which was in store for him during the 10-day band camp. “I’m really excited,” Cerrullo said, a week before the week of practice would begin. “I’ve been waiting all summer for this.” Beyond band, this fall, the senior will also prepare for the college application process, as well as a


Here’s Chris Cerullo with his mom Mariesa, sister Amanda, a former Marching Mustang Majorette who graduated in 2003, and dad Jim.

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packed course load that includes AP English, AP chemistry, honors calculus, sociology and band. He has yet to determine what colleges he will apply to, but he does know he will be looking for medium-sized, urban schools out of state, where he may study chemistry or pre-law. Cerrullo also might pursue something music-related in college.

After all, band remains one of his favorite classes in CHS, an activity that, according to Cerrullo, was hard work, but especially fulfilling and enjoyable. And why exactly does he keep coming back for more? “The relationship with the people—we just have a lot of fun doing what we do,” Cerrullo said on behalf of the Marching Mustangs.

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When Chris Cerullo leads the Marching Mustangs onto the field and in parades, he won’t be alone. Here are some of the seniors Mustangs, from front on ground: Ana Munoz and Donald Lopuzzo. Kneeling from left: Sandra Kuruc, Stacey Corbo, Jillian Gradzki, Dennis Dutkevitch, Randee Meyers, Christina Sauerborn and Roger Calderon. Standing from left: Kristen Hariton, Alina Arias, Francesca Hemsey, Michael Urciuoli, MaryKate Torley, Jeff Laux, Jillian Sinski and John Thomas.

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Jack DeVries takes us back to a CHS Protest • Clifton History, 1966

The Radical Sixties It was the Age of Aquarius, the time of the Beatles, and an era of social upheaval. Women burned bras, students burned draft cards, and the establishment burned with anger as hippies, yippies, and assorted radicals challenged the status quo. Adults were confused and angry. The kids grew their hair long, communicated in a new groovy language, and listened to ear-splitting, root-of-all-evil noise called rock and roll. And it seemed kids during the sixties were upset about everything. They rallied against discrimination, screamed for equal rights… and demanded the government ban the bumps! That’s right, bumps—as in speed bumps. At least Clifton High School students did back in 1966 when they focused their youthful rage on the macadam mounds. The problem started when kids began drag racing in the school parkThe Clifton Board of ing lot. Education decided to erect a fence to keep the hot rods out. The fence worked… until a befuddled milkman plowed his truck through it. With the fence a mess, a new solution was needed. “We were afraid a kid was going to get killed,” says Fred Lombardo, a retired industrial arts teacher. “The kids would drive in to the parking lot with their souped-up cars and start racing. Either someone was going to get run over or a driver was going to lose control and crash. One of the teachers came up with the idea for the speed bumps because he’d seen it used somewhere else.” The Clifton Department of Public Works (DPW) got to work, determined to create a hassle for GTOs and little deuce coups. But no one in the high school or over at city hall would realize what a commotion this action would cause.

On March 30, 1966, this student, who refused to give his name to a photographer but willingly posed for this picture near the Clifton Police paddy wagon, tried to burn his CHS student activity card during a protest. Years later, he is identified as Terry Krinsky.

September 2006 • Clifton Merchant


Mid-March, 1966, 35 macadem speed bumps installed at CHS...

Looking over a partially installed bump leading to the entrance of CHS are Walter Senko (right) and Emil Mihalik, two high school custodians. The car is stopped at a board, which will later be covered by macadam.

To create the new speed bumps, workers took 2-by8 boards, placed 2-by-6 boards on top of them, and covered the boards with macadam. They installed six bumps and planned to build 29 more. That’s when the trouble began. First, school janitor Charles Bruin was hurt after crashing his car on a bump. Three Public Service busses also had nasty bump encounters. Students scraped their cars’ oil pans on the speed bumps, and industrial arts teacher William Borowski’s little foreign car got stranded on a macadam mountain. Even parents dropping off underclassmen began freaking out when the bottom of their station wagons scraped on the bumps.

What a drag! It was time to question authority, and Clifton High Students began to rise up and protest. “Like any change, there’s always a reaction,” recalls Lombardo. “But the teachers were surprised how the kids reacted.” On a March morning before school, 20 students staged a sit-in on one of the 6-inch high, 49foot wide bumps. Herald-News reporter Gordon Bishop wrote: “The 20 card-carrying demonstrators were supported by almost 200 pupils, crowding about them on the sidewalks.” Students carried signs and chanted, “Ban the Bumps!” and “What’s next? Bars on windows?”

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March 30, 1966, CHS students protest to Ban the Bumps...

Protesting CHS students stopped a school bus and caused havoc as part of the Ban the Bump walkout.

Other students voiced their support by hanging banners from classroom windows. But before the protest could escalate, the Clifton Police were called and herded the students back into school. The next day, the students staged a demonstration that would make Abbie Hoffman proud. “I can’t even remember who started the protest,” claims Nancy Muddell, a student at the time and and today a Clifton school teacher.

“But it became the thing to do,” she admits. “Most of us were coming into school when it started and we stayed outside and took part.” Cars with beige masking tape spelling out “Ban the Bump” drove around the school. Marchers sang, “Old MacDonald Had a Bump.” Nearly the entire student population of 2,500 united behind removing the speed bumps. “Most kids were just protesting for the sake of protesting,” Lombardo believes.

Nonetheless, things did get heated. Newspapers reported students grappled with police. Four protesters were taken away, including a 17-year-old senior who struck a police officer trying to disperse the crowd. Cries of “police brutality” rang out. Sergeant Frank Strawz had to wrestle with one 6-foot 2inch senior to subdue him, and Patrolman Gerald Wirt injured an ankle while struggling with another protester. Please turn to page 67

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Who are the Radicals? The Class of ‘66 has plans for a November reunion. Here is a look back at some of the students...


an the Bumps is just one of the big issues Nancy Maurer Muddell to be discussed at the 40th reunion of the CHS Class of 1966. This year’s gathering, A Time to Remember, will open with a pre-weekend yetto-be determined event on Nov. 17. “We’re hoping to be watching the Fighting Mustang play in the state footJackie Sussman Schein ball tournament,” said Jackie Sussman Schein, who along with Nancy Maurer Muddell, are the key organizers. The main event is set on Nov. 18 when a casual buffet dinner dance will be held from 7 pm to midnight at the Regency House Hotel on Back in 1966, that’s Mrs. Dolores Colucci supervising her Route 23 in Pompton Plains. Adventures in Design class on their various projects. Bennett Wasserstrum

Michael Ressetar

Nicholas Telep

Nancy Demattia Ressetar

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September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

can email or call Nancy Maurer Muddell at 201-723-0402 or Jackie Sussman Schein at 201-303-7033. Reservations are due by Oct.10 and must be paid in advance of the reunion. The Class of ’66 holds the distinction of having had a reunion every Stephen Morici five years, according to Schein and Muddell, both of whom currently teach elementary students in the Clifton Public Schools. Past events have been very successful, they report. Even with a roster of 1,041—Clifton’s largest graduating class to date—the number of alumni who are located and contactDan Goodell ed continues to grow, and the turnout Class Scholars: James Leach and Linda Faltings. is usually excellent. So who are the radicals that essentially And then on Sunday morning, classmates took over CHS that cool March day back in are invited to gather at the Regency for the spring of 1966? Are some of the protest breakfast. Cost is $55 per person, which organizers pictured on these pages? And includes dinner, dancing, reunion directory, whatever happened to that card-burning awards, and other unannounced surprises. Terry Krinsky? We’re not sure but we hear Rooms are being blocked for alumni at a he is among those scheduled to return to rate of $82 and breakfast is additional. Clifton to seek amnesty this November... Frances Bushey Tufaro Alumni who have not received the mailing

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“We got over it pretty quickly,” says Muddell, who helps coordinate reunions for the Class of 1966. “Today, when we ask our classmates to write down their memories, the most frequently mentioned is the ‘ban the bumps’ protest.” The speed bumps that now guard the CHS parking lot are a testament to Muddell’s class, a legacy that can be passed down to the Class of 2007—a time when courageous students showed what the phase “Power to the People!” really meant. Yeah, right, a student of today might say... “a protest over speed bumps? Get real—that’s not even worth pushing pause on my iPod.”

Not at the protest, but the yearbook reported the Key Club hosted a Demolition Derby so members of the Class of ‘66 “had an opportunity to release their hostilities.”

The demonstration continued inside the school. After classes started at 8:05 am, some students continued to march in the hallways, chanting against the bumps. Student Terry Krinsky tried to burn his student activity card but it wouldn’t ignite because of the plastic coating. Poor Aaron Halpern. The principal of Clifton High returned from a business trip to find his school in an uproar. He called a special session of the student council to allow student president John Clark to speak

with his fellow students. At the end of the school day, Halpern met with student representatives and agreed the bumps were too high and would be “trimmed down.” Like many sixties protests, the great “Ban the Bumps!” demonstration led to positive change. With lower speed bumps, Clifton High returned to normal. The students of CHS fro mthat eera had lived their own civics lesson, using their voices to defeat the establishment—much to the chagrin of city’s auto mechanics.




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Attaboy Steve: After seeing the article in last month’s issue about sports legend Bennie Borgmann (pg. 109), Karen Schulz told us about her brother’s meeting with the Basketball Hall of Famer. In 1962, Clifton’s Steve Schulz and his pal Frank Spring, both 14, found Borgmann’s wallet in a phone booth near the old Grant’s store on Route 46, near Van Houten Ave. The wallet was filled with cash, credit cards, and important papers—info that Borgmann, then a scout with the St. Louis Cardinals, needed about baseball prospects he was interested in signing. When Borgmann realized his wallet was missing, he flagged down a state trooper who took him


back to the Clifton phone booth only to discover his wallet gone. “There wasn’t a question of what we should do with the wallet,” said Steve Schulz, who now lives in Fresno, California. “We took it to my house and my mother found Borgmann’s phone number inside it. She called his house to let him know we had it. “Bennie was very appreciative. When he came to get the wallet, he brought me a ball and bat autographed by Stan Musial and invited us to the Polo Grounds to watch the Cardinals play against the Mets.” Though Spring wasn’t able to go, Schulz and his dad went to the game and met Bennie on the field. “Before the game started,” Schulz

Above, in 1962, Cliftonite Stephen Schulz, Baseball Hall of Famer Stan Musial, and Basketball Hall of Famer Bennie Borgmann. Top of page, the 5’8,” 160-pound Borgmann who scored over 25,000 points in a career that last ed from 1918 to 1938. 68

September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

remembered recently, “Bennie called Stan Musial over, saying, ‘Hey, Stan, I want you to meet some friends of mine.’ I think Stan already knew the story about me finding Bennie’s wallet. He shook hands, posed for pictures, and wished us good luck. My father couldn’t get over how big Musial’s hand was.” Though the 14-year old Clifton lad was a Brooklyn Dodger fan, meeting Musial was special. “I didn’t root for the Cardinals,” admitted Schulz, who moved from Clifton in 1970, “but everyone respected ‘Stan the Man.’” In a June 27, 1962 Paterson Evening News article about the wallet story, Borgmann said: “We read much about the bad things some youngsters do. I feel similar prominence should be given for the nice things our boys do.” And after 44 years, “nice things” are still remembered.

Cover girl: It was an honor to see myself on the August cover of the Clifton Merchant Magazine. You can only imagine my delight and surprise. At 83 years of age, thanks for keeping me young! My husband Mario and I look forward to your next edition and to seeing everyone at the home football games. Marie (Vullo) Giunta Clifton

1939 Presidential visit: The footnote last month on the Magor Car Corporation and a May 18, 1939 visit to Clifton by the President of Nicaragua brought about a conversation with Ray DeBrown. He informed us that book cited, The Magor Car Corporation, is primarily based on info provided by his brother, Elmer ‘Dan’ Danbrowney, who had been Magor’s purchasing manager for over 35 years. In fact, the company was a family affair for DeBrown. His father was a foreman for several years in the woodshop and his older brother Clarence worked in the machine shop. Ray Danbrowney, who is now 70, graduated CHS in 1953, and then apprenticed as a draftsman at Magor for five years (many of his illustra-

Our July and August editions which focused on Clifton nostalgia and history have generated a tremendous response. In future editions, we will continue our historic timeline, picking up events from 1967 when Clifton celebrated its 50th anniversary. If you have photos or info you’d like to share, contact us at the address at left.

tions are also in the book) before moving to the Walter Kidde Co. An accomplished musician and leader of his own big band and various smaller groups, DeBrown left the security of the corporate world and followed his muse. In 1958 at the age of 22, he opened the Ray DeBrown Music Capital on Van Houten Ave. and trained thousands of students on all types of instruments until he retired in 1983.

In 1903, Basil Magor stands next to a Magor railroad car made in Clifton.

Trains still viable: This letter is to clarify your story about the end of the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad on April 1, 1963, in the Aug. edition (pg. 95). I am a freight railroad conductor being trained as a railroad engineer for Norfolk Southern (NS). Rail service remains viable here in our hometown as New Jersey Transit (NJT) owns most of the rails in Clifton and operates commuter passenger trains on it. When the railroads divested themselves of passenger service, they maintained the rights to operate freight trains on their former lines. NS now owns those rights on the NJT Main, Bergen, Boonton and Pascack Valley lines, and still operates freight trains here. Many Clifton companies rely upon freight deliveries, including Black Prince Distillery, Athenia Mason Supply and Van Ness Plastics, to name just three. I don’t know how much more we can do to further develop freight rail service in the area, but we can certainly raise public awareness. Andrew Kiely Clifton September 2006 • Clifton Merchant


I’d like to nominate Richard DiRienzo, Class of 1953, for the 2007 Athletic Hall of Fame. He played three sports for CHS—baseball, football and basketball and was drafted by Major League Baseball right out of high school, but ultimately he tore his rotator cuff, ending his career.


Richard Cimera, CHS ‘51 North Caldwell

The picture of School 10—the Annex to old-timers where we went before the ‘Big High’—in your July edition (pg. 36) brought back memories. Harry Collester was the VP there when I started CHS in 1948. My father went to the Annex in the teens. When he went, the top floor was the entire Clifton High School. A total of 19 students graduated in his class just after World War I. There was a shortage of students to fill the baseball team and then-teacher Harry Collester played the infield. John A, Celentano, Jr. Chair, Clifton Savings Bank, S/L.A

Did you play for Coach Frank Pecci’s 1966 Junior Mustangs (above), the first Clifton youth squad to receive an invitation for an out-of-state game? If so, call teammate Rich DeLotto at 973-478-0522 who is organizing a reunion.

No one stayed for free: We reported last month that WWII defense plant workers lived rent-free in Acquackanonk Gardens. Long-time AG resident Muriel Sakas notified us that they did indeed pay rent, around $35 for a three room duplex.

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The Paramus Catholic Class of 2006 Commencement at Continental Arena.

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A Symposium on the Arts is planned on Sept. 30, 9 am to 4 pm, at the Hamilton Club Building of PCCC, 32 Church St., Paterson. Presented by the Clifton-based New Jersey Music and Arts, Inc. with the PCCHC, the theme is Arts and Values: How can the arts have a positive impact on society? Artists from the fields of music, dance, drama, visual arts and literature will participate. There will be a question and answer session. Registration is $10 (includes lunch). NJMA is also producing Fall Fest 2006, a celebration of the season with performances of music, drama and dance at the Woodrow Wilson Middle School auditorium on Oct. 29 at 5 pm. Tickets are $10. For details on either of these activities, call NJMA at 973-272–3255. Random Journeys is an exhibit by painter Michael Gabriele and sculptor Brian Hanlon at the Clifton Arts Center, on the city hall campus. Gabriele primarily works in pastel and focuses on landscape and still life. Among Hanlon’s work is The Involved Student, which is a part of the Clifton Arts Center Sculpture Park. The exhibit will be displayed from Sept. 20 through Oct. 28, and a reception is on Sept. 23 from 1 to 4 pm. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 1 to 4 pm. Admission is $1. Call 973-472-5499 for info. 1799

A free music lesson is now offered at Menconi Music Studio to celebrate its anniversary. As a premier music educational center since its founding in 2003, Menconi offers private and group lessons for a variety of instruments. Over this past year, founder Anna Maria Menconi introduced new programs, such as a fife and drum corps program—perfect for future Marching Mustangs— and a flute fest, among others, which are being developed in conjunction with the Clifton Arts Center. The free trial lessons for any instrument are offered through the end of Sept. The studio is located on the corner of Lakeview and Merselis Ave’s., and is open Mon-Fri from 1 to 8 pm and on Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm. Call for details: 973-253-7500. At right, a pastel by Michael Gabriele, and below, The Involved Student by sculptor Brian Hanlon.

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September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

Mutual Aid: The West Paterson Volunteer Fire Dept. Co. 3 hosts a fundraiser on Oct. 6 at the Boys & Girls Club at 6:30 pm. The $15 ticket includes dessert, coffee and one ticket sheet. Call 973-812-1867. The Clifton Hawks Annual Awards Beefsteak is on Sept. 22 at 7 pm at the St. Philip Church Auditorium, 797 Valley Rd. The Hawks are a Clifton club baseball team for young men. Rich in history, the Hawks have been previously reported about in Clifton Merchant. The Hawks seeks donated gifts for raffle; tickets are $25. Call Dave Santosuosso at 732-684-1601. The Annual Elmer Goetschius Fish ‘n’ Chips Dinner is Oct. 21 at 5 pm at First Presbyterian Church, 303 Maplewood Ave. Tickets are $11 for adults, $6.50 for kids. For info, call 973-523-1272. Sag-A-Bits 29th Reunion: As the name implies, this group of oldtime Cliftonites have realized that as they have aged, their bodies tend to sag a bit. However, that has yet to stop them from getting together

every year for beefsteaks, a few beers and some entertaining stories. This year’s reunion will take place on Oct. 26 at the Valley Rd. VFW Hall at 6 pm, because, as the founders put it, some of them are getting too old to be driving at night. Tickets are $35. To RSVP, call John Filipone at 973-772-7959. 10-year-old Miguel Vidal has formed a team, the Miguel Marchers, to participate in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Walk to Cure Diabetes on Oct. 15 at Berkeley College, West Paterson. Nearly 21 million Americans have Diabetes and nearly 3 million of those suffer from Type 1 or Juvenile Diabetes. All three forms involve a problem with insulin and blood sugar and generally require several injections or blood samples per day. Vidal, who has Type 1 Diabetes, (he is also pictured on page 3) will be walking with friends and family to raise money to find a cure. If you’d like to support him, or for more info, visit or call 201-568-4838.

Msgr. Peter Doody (above) of St. Philip Church will be honored on Oct. 22 at the St. Philip’s Knights of Columbus Degree Exemplification. The Knights invite all to come ‘break bread’ at the church hall, 797 Valley Rd., starting with a cocktail hour at 4:30, which is followed by dinner and dancing. Wine, beer, soda and dinner is included in the $42 ticket. For info, call Grand Knight Ray Lill at 973-472-1756. Clifton Night with the Jackals was held at Yogi Berra Stadium on Aug. 8, with over 300 residents attending. Those who came —like this crew at the left—enjoyed raffles, crafts, give-aways and more throughout the evening. A highlight of the night was when nine Clifton youth ran onto the field as Baseball Buddies with Jackal players. They included Brittany Griffin, Zachary Davila, Dillan Keenan, Derek Keenan, Jessica Goldberg, Keith Bassford, Eddie Edel, Zak Doka and Jonathan Schuckman. Music Fest 2006 is a concert series held on the first Saturday of each month at St. Peter’s Church, 380 Clifton Ave. Shows start at 7:30 pm and tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for ages 13-17. On Oct. 7, the Robert Ross Duo will perform. For more info, call 973-546-3406. September 2006 • Clifton Merchant


Your Future Begins




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Adult students are able to complete their High School education and receive a High School Diploma. This program is fully approved by the New Jersey Department of Education and the Passaic County Technical Institute Board of Education. FREE to all interested adults. Call 973-389–4101.

Apprenticeship Program: Carpentry, Electrical, Machine Shop, Plumbing and Heating are available. For information call 973-389–4101.

GED Testing Center: Take the State GED Tests at Passaic County Technical Institute. For information call 973-389-4388

Adult Learning Center: We offer Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language, Civics Education, and courses to earn a GED. For information call 973-684–0106.

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Licensed Practical Nurse Program: Passaic County Technical Institute also sponsors a year long full–time days Practical Nursing Diploma Program which prepares the student to sit for the New Jersey Board of Nursing Licensed Practical Nursing Exam. Call for brochure... 973-389-2020.

Evening Career & Continuing Education Courses: • ACCA Refrigerant Handlers Certification • Accounting I & Automated Accounting/ Excel • Administrative Medical Assistant • Advertising Art and Design • Aerobics • Auto Body I & II • Automotive I & II • Bass Fishing (Spring) • Blueprint Reading I & II • CNC Lathe, Basic & Advanced • Computer Aided Drafting Basic & Advanced • Computer Keyboarding • Computer Repair Certification • Computer Survival Toolkit • Culinary Arts-Pasta,Pasta,Pasta • Developing Vocal Techniques • Dietary Managers (Fall) • Do-It-Yourself Home Improvement • eBay • Engineering Drawing • Entrepreneur • Electricity I & II • Excel • Fireman’s Black Seal Licenses • Food Service

• Golf • Heating • Home Remodeling & Improv. • House Framing I & II • Housewiring • Industrial Wiring I & II • Intro to the Internet & E-Mail • Intro to Computer Programming • Intro to the Web Page Design • Machine Shop I, II, & III • Manicuring (Fall) • National Electric Code • Networking for Home & Small Business • Nurses Aide • Nutritional Cooking • Personal Computer I, II & III • Plumbing I & II • Plumber’s License Prep • Power Point • Real Estate Salesperson Licensing • Refrigeration I,II & III • Small Engine Repair • Sign Language • Skin Care • Stained Glass • Swimming • Welding Basic or Advanced • Word 2000 / XP

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September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

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Prevent Cooking Fires is ‘06 Coloring Book theme More fires start in the kitchen than in any other part of the home and teaching families and kids how to keep cooking fires from starting in the first place is the focus of this year’s Fire Safety Month promotion. The Clifton FMBA Local #21, working with Clifton Merchant Magazine, Tomahawk Promotions and various advertisers, will once again publish and distribute 10,000 fire safety activity books during October, Fire Safety Month, to Clifton school kids, grades 3 and below. It will feature illustrations and safety basics for families on how to stay safe and prevent fires in their home. This book is produced at no cost to the taxpayers, thanks to advertising support. Become a Clifton Fire Safety Activity Book sponsor. Call Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400. For issues related to fire safety, call the Clifton Fire Prevention Office at 973-470-5801.

Clifton FMBA President and Clifton Fire Department Lt. Nicholas Marchisello, and at left, the cover of this year’s coloring book which , thanks to sponsors, is produced at no cost to taxpayers.

Clifton Police Officers will distribute 7,000 Halloween Safety Glow Sticks and Reflector Bags to city school kids. The effort, now in its fourth year, is based on a program begun by Fair Lawn Police Officer Mary Ann Collura, who was slain in the line of duty on April 17, 2003. About $8,500 is needed to be raised. Contributions should be made payable to the Mary Ann Collura Memorial Halloween Program and mailed to the Clifton Police Dept., 900 Clifton Ave., Clifton, NJ 07013. The program was initially launched by Clifton Community Police Officers Thomas Lanzalotto and Henry Ribitzki. To become a sponsor, call 973-340-5151.


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Clifton’s Halloween Parade & Harvestfest is on Oct. 22. The parade starts around noon on Lakeview Ave. while the Harvestfest is until dusk in Nash Park. Call 973-470-5958.

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September 2006 • Clifton Merchant




hen word first arrived at 8:45 am on 9/11/01 that a plane had struck the World Trade Center, the country went into a state of shock. As the second airliner slammed into the South Tower at 9:03 am— followed at 9:43 am with American Airlines Flight 77 crashing into the Pentagon—the country went into a state of panic. It was clear these were not accidents but part of a well calculated attack. Soon, we did what people have done for centuries when faced with adversity, we prayed... at home, in houses of worship or on Sept. 16, 2001, in front of City Hall. As the photos on this page illustrates, over 1,000 people gathered for an interfaith prayer service and candlelight vigil where religious and political leaders stood side by side.



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Aakash Shah, a CHS sophomore back in 2001, was the catalyst for the citywide candlelight vigil. He suggested the idea to Mayor Anzaldi, word spread and the event happened in less than 24 hours. “Blood drives were going on and I felt helpless because I am too young to give blood,” said Shah, who is a member of the Jain faith, a sect of the Hindu religion. “Our community is a diverse group—it’s good to put our differences aside in a time of need.” Following the attacks, and for months to follow, Cliftonites banded together, giving blood, donating supplies, and praying for those who had died and those who were still missing. When the dust settled, the losses became more of a certainty... Cliftonites who died on 9/11... Timothy Grazioso • John Grazioso John P. Skala • Edward C. Murphy Kyung “Kaccy” Cho • Zuhtu Ibis Edgar H. Emery • Ehtesham U. Raja Francis Joseph Trombino

America’s Faithful for America’s Future is the theme of an Interfaith Candlelight Service on Sept. 10 at Lambert Castle from 6:30 to 8 pm to commemorate the events of 9/11/01. Rev. Carlisle H. Dickson of the First Presbyterian Church on Maplewood Ave. is coordinating the event and he noted representatives of the Baha’i, Sikh, Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths will participate. To become involved, call him at 973-523-1272. Rev. Cari Keith, the pastor of the Allwood Community Church in Clifton, is among the speakers. For nine months, she served as a volunteer chaplain at Ground Zero. Rev. Keith is also a psychiatric RN; thus her speech will focus on her experience from when she provided counseling and First Responder care near the World Trade Center. Another speaker, John A. Azzarello, offers a unique perspective. He is a former senior counsel for the 9/11 Commission who lost two brothers-inlaws in the attack on the Twin Towers. His comments will be focused on national safety. Columnist Bob Braun from the Newark Star-Ledger will discuss the impact of how the families of those killed on 9/11 are coping. Rev. Dickson said the names of the 31 individuals from Passaic County who perished on the date will be read while officers from the Clifton Fire Department toll a memorial bell. A free will offering will be collected and funds raised will purchase a cobblestone at the planned World Trade Center Memorial to commemorate the 31Passaic County residents killed in the attacks. Throughout the evening, the Passaic County 9/11 Memorial Musicians will perform contemporary patriotic tunes. An Interfaith Chorus assembled by Clifton City Councilpersons Peter C. Eagler and Gloria J. Kolodziej will sing patriotic and spiritual tunes.

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Ballroom Dancing Movie has Downtown Clifton connection By Jack DeVries


he tire iron rises up in the young man’s hand and crashes down, cracking the windshield of the principal’s car. Next, the young man pounds it on the car’s hood before smashing its headlights. Standing nearby, Pierre Dulaine silently watches—wondering what would cause such anger in the young man. He decides to help him the only way he knows how… through ballroom dancing. That’s right—ballroom dancing.

Back in the mid-1980’s and in Downtown Clifton, that’s Pierre Dulaine with Lake Epstein, a former student of Dulaine’s and the proprietor of Epstein’s, a clothing store which for decades was at the center of the shopping district.


Pierre Dulaine and his partner Yvonne Marceau today.

C. Genardi Contracting Inc. Clifton





September 2006 • Clifton Merchant


This scene from the movie Take the Lead (which opened this summer and is now on DVD) begins to tell the story of Pierre Dulaine, an elegant dance instructor who volunteers to help inner city high school students, teaching them the waltz, foxtrot and tango. The dances are as foreign to the students as the Lena Horne music Dulaine plays in the classroom. Despite his students’ resistance, Dulaine, portrayed in the movie by actor Antonio Banderas, is never deterred, ultimately teaching his unlikely students to perform the dances of “royalty” and “great warriors.” In the process, he teaches his students about self discipline, determination and respect. The movie does not tell it but there’s a Clifton connection to Take the Lead. From 1980 through 1991, Dulaine operated Continental Dancecenter, a spacious ballroom in a second floor walk-up near the intersection of Harding and Main Aves. “I simply loved the size of that ballroom,” Dulaine said about why he chose to establish his dance instruction business in Clifton (Continental is still open on Harding Ave., now owned by Fernando Andrade).

From 1980 to 1991, Dulaine, his partner Yvonne Marceau and his students were involved in many aspects of Clifton life. They and their students would perform at events and street fairs. The couple was also active in the former Main Mall Business Association. “Clifton was good to us and we simply returned the favor,” Dulaine recalled in a recent interview. Clifton was only one stop in Dulaine’s incredible career. Born in the Middle East, he was raised in England. By age 21, he joined the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and won the “Duel of the Giants” at London’s Royal Albert Hall and the “All England Professional Latin American Championship” title. In 1971, Dulaine came to New York City for a vacation and never left. Awards and success followed. In 1989, Dulaine and partner Yvonne Marceau starred in Tommy Tune’s Broadway’s hit musical,

Antonio Banderas portraying former Clifton business owner Pierre Dulaine in the movie Take The Lead.

Grand Hotel, for which they won the Astaire Award winner for “best dancing on Broadway.” He also found time to join the faculty at the School of American Ballet and Juilliard School.


Describing Dulaine’s career in a recent profile, the New York Times called him: “Dancer and teacher extraordinaire.” It was during his time on Broadway when Dulaine sold his dance school and left Clifton. “I couldn’t be in two places at one time,” he explained. “I was sorry to leave but we all must move on.” Three years later, Dulaine and Marceau founded the American Ballroom Theater (ABrT), a NYCbased, not-for-profit corporation that presents social and ballroom dances theatrically on the stage. ABrT has presented more than 350 performances in 28 states in seven countries. But it is Dulaine’s “dancing classrooms,” which inspire Take the Lead, that are perhaps his greatest successes. Administered through ABrT, he brings ballroom dancing to more than 120 NYC schools and 12,000 elementary and intermediate school children.

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CHS Class of ‘56 will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Oct. 6 at The Brownstone. It is also a milestone for the school itself, which will mark 100 years of education in Clifton. Committee members for the Class of ‘56, some of which are pictured in this recent photo at right, include Pat Altieri Stupiello, Nina Netto Neglia, Mary Ann Brinka Miksits, Al Mardirossian, Carol Chanda LoGioco, Maxine Prail Greenwald, John DalPan, Joan Sanford, Bob Feldner, Don Seabeck, Terry Guarrera Gloed, Barbara Toscano, Bob Hofmann, Jean Volikas DalPan and chair Judi

Zagaya DenHerder. To attend or for more info, contact Judi Zagaya DenHerder at 973-779-6923 or

write to her at or Carol Chanda LoGioco at 973208-9190 or CHS Class of Jan. 1948, at left, has plans in the works for a 60th class reunion in Jan. 2008. Rudy Hudak, CHS 48’ and former social studies teacher and supervisor for 40 years at CHS, came up with the idea after seeing former classmates Hank DeVos and Victor Rossi. Officers for the class of 1948 included: President Clair Durst, Vice President Victor Csrip, Secretary Eleanor Kreske and Treasurer Shirley Van Kirk. For info, call Rudy Hudak at 973-777-4376.

Members from various CHS classes from the 1950’s attend an annual spring reunion organized by Joe Scancarella, Walt Calligaro, Al Mardirossian, Frank LoGioco and Felix Rossi. A date, time and location for 2007 is already set: it is 6:30 pm on May 30 at the Brownstone. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased by calling 973-777-7775. The event is open to anyone who attended CHS from 1950 to 1959. Pictured at the 2006 event, from top left, Roger Fardin, Frank Pecci and Jack Kievit. Sitting George Telesh, Mustang Coach Bill Vander Closter and Dave ‘Moose’ Bosson. 80

September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

The Botany Friday night free music series at Sullivan Square continues with The Front Kings on Sept 8, the Ethan O'Reilly jazz trio on Sept. 15, a doo-wop show on Sept. 22 and Clifton’s country music man, Tex Doyle, on Sept. 29. Then on Sun., Oct. 1, starting at 1 pm, the Botany Blues fest will feature five blues bands in a free jam. For details, go to

Van Houten Ave. will be closed to vehicles on Sept. 17 for the fourth annual Athenia Street Fair. Sponsored by the Athenia Business Assoc., the event has a rain date of Sept. 24. Info: 973-773-0802. Downtown Clifton Oktoberfest is on Oct. 7 from 3 to 10 pm. Main Ave. will be closed from Washington to Sylvan Aves. and vendors will serve German dishes like bratwurst, kraut and knockwurst. Visitors can relax in the beer garden while listening to a German oom-pah-pah band. Children’s activities, inflatable rides and local performers. Rain date is Oct. 14. Call 973-253-1455 for more details.

Tex Doyle is in Botany on Sept. 29.

CHS senior Karla Yeamans, left, and Venessa Baez, perform in Downtown Clifton on Oct. 7 at 6:30 pm.

Vito DeRobertis will display his 1975 Eldorado on Sept. 17 at the Athenia Street Fair. For info, call 973-473-0986.

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September 2006 • Clifton Merchant


The Friends Are Back T he Main and Allwood Branch libraries are more than just a warehouse of books to one dedicated group that serves and promotes both community facilities—the Friends of the Clifton Library. Formed in 1985 by Clifton residents to support and promote both branch libraries, mainly through fundraising, they also raise awareness of the library for services and needed materials. The former group started strong, sponsoring trips to theaters and having numerous programs in the library for children. However, they started to fade in 2000, about the time of the death of president Ruth Lombardi, said Christine Zembicki, the director of the Clifton Public Library for six years. Zembicki said that no one stepped up to take Lombardi’s place, so the Friends

became dormant. “Her personality guided the Friends,” Zembicki recalled of Lombardi. “When she died, it was like the group died.” But the library was not the same without the spark that the Friends offered. The group needed a revival. In November of 2003, Zembicki invited the public to a meeting at the Allwood Branch Library regarding the Friends. From those who attended, one person who stepped in to help revive the Friends was Alice McCausland. She joined the group, serving as treasurer and became acting president/treasurer last year. “The Friends are about interacting with the community,” McCausland said. “We would like people to help support the library services, to be more aware of the library and to voice their ideas to us on how to improve the library,” she added.

By Alicia Feghhi

Now with McCausland and a team of trustee, the Friends are back to doing what they do best: raising funds and awareness. “Now that we are back into action, I think that people will become aware of who the Friends are and how we promote the library through special programs and fundraising,” Zembicki said. The Friends officers meet monthly at the Piaget Ave. Library and they’re back to doing what they do best. “It’s all about planning activities, discussing library needs and brainstorming fundraising ideas to support the library,” McCausland said. “The Friends are just a great group of people who share the same goal and desire to promote and help the Clifton Library.” From left, some of the trustees of the Friends of the Clifton Library: Colleen H, Murray, Barbara Polk and Kathe Pinchuck. Standing: Marie Stefanelli, Christine Zembicki, Doris McFarlane, Kathleeen Boylan and Alice McCausland.


September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

One of the primary goals of the group is to raise money, offering the Clifton Library supplemental funds for items and programs not covered in the annual budget provided by the city government. The Friends have raised funds in a variety of ways. In the past, they have sold Christmas ornaments with the library logo as a fundraiser. Their latest fundraising effort offers tote bags ($20 each and pictured at left), which sport a new library logo, created by Christopher Columbus Middle School student Pura Hernandez. The logo was selected through a contest in CCMS, and is also on the library website and on its newsletters. The members also seek grants from local business, individuals, corporations and government sources, such as the Passaic County Cultural and Heritage Council (PCCHC). That grant—and matching funds provided by the Friends—have been used to develop Youth Stages, an interactive program of children’s classic stories. The Friends are currently planning new children’s programming, such as having a series of performers who sing and tell stories. . “Adding children’s programming remains a priority of our group,” stated McCausland. Those interested in joining the Friends pay inexpensive dues— from $5 a year per individual and $10 per family/year, to a lifetime fee of $100. The next general membership meeting is in October. Zembicki said there are about 25 members who come to the meetings, and she noted that the community is invited to join. For info on joining the Friends, or to offer a donation to the Clifton Library, call 973-772-5500 x3006.

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Club Marks 20th Anniversary ‘New’ Director Foster offers a Seamless Transition By Robert Wahlers


hen he was a toddler living in Kingston, NY, Bob Foster watched in envy as his older brothers and sisters trotted off joyfully to spend another fun day at the Boys and Girls Club. “I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to go along with them,” recalled Foster, the newly appointed executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton, Inc. “After what seemed like forever, I became a member when I entered kindergarten. The club has been a big part of my life ever since.” Foster succeeds Dolores Colucci, who has retired after holding the executive director post since the Boys Club and Girls Club consolidated into one unit in 1986. “Dolores has been my mentor for all of these years and she’s a tough act to follow,” Foster said. “But I’m not in this alone. We all work as a team for the benefit of the kids. The board, Dolores and I have all envisioned this as a seamless succession. In fact, Dolores’ retirement coincided with the formation of our Strategic Plan through 2010.” Foster said key components of the five-year plan include an expansion of services. “We want to expand programs and services into schools and possibly other recreation facilities in our community,” he said. “We’re also working toward offering a more comprehensive teen program that would include opportunities for career development, computer skill development, community and civic involvement and social and life skills.” 84

September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

Bob Foster and Dolores Colucci in front of the Clifton Ave. Administrative Offices

“We must do everything we can to give children a place to go after school, where they can keep themselves busy and stay out of trouble,” said Foster, noting that studies have shown that the busiest time for police officers in the juvenile division occur between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. In terms of cost, the average Boys & Girls Club spends a few hundred dollars on each youth per year. In contrast, keeping a young adult in jail costs taxpayers anywhere from $25,000 to $75,000 per year. Foster says another goal is to continue reaching out to all ethnic groups and fostering mutual under-

standing and respect for all cultures. “We try to reflect the diversity of our community through our staff,” he said. “At last count, you could hear 69 different languages spoken in Clifton. But in my years working at the club, I’ve discovered kids are kids, no matter where they’re from or what language they speak.” Foster said there are also plans to augment the existing adult aquatics programs. The Clifton club is also participating in a statewide initiative to reunite club alumni and raise funds to benefit member clubs throughout New Jersey (Visit for more about this).

The Biggest Challenge Like all nonprofit organizations, the biggest challenge for club officers and board members is to raise enough funds to keep programs intact and serve as many member of the community as possible. The Boys and Girls Club of Clifton must rely on sources other than dues and fees for more than half of its budget. “We held an annual golf tournament in early August and did well, with about 150 golfers participating and some good sponsors,” said Foster. Right now, the club wants to build on the success of the new “One” Campaign, a uniform strategy launched in Boys & Girls Club affiliates throughout the country that seeks to increase private sector fundraising. After earning a bachelor’s of science degree from Springfield College in Massachusetts in 1979, Foster set out to be a physical education teacher in the public schools. “Teaching jobs were scarce back then, but fortunately, I was offered a position at the Boys Club here in Clifton in 1980. It seemed like a natural fit and Clifton has been my home ever since.” Foster worked for six years in the dual role of teen director/social recreation director before being promoted to program director. From 1991 to 2004, he served as director of operations, doing everything from overseeing programs and services to calling bingo numbers. “That earned me the nickname of Bingo Bob,” Foster said. For the last two years, he has worked as assistant executive director, being closely involved with preparing a multi-million dollar operating budget, fund raising and staff development, among countless other tasks and responsibilities. This Spring, Foster earned a Masters degree in Human Resource Development at Clemson University, thanks to the school’s online long distance learning program. “Being named executive director represents a career goal that I’ve been working toward for 26 years now,” said Foster. “There are not too many of us who get their dream job, so I consider myself very fortunate.” Clifton is fortunate to have Bob Foster as well. Besides his commitment to the Boys and Girls Club, Foster somehow finds time to get involved in many other youth-oriented programs, organizations and events throughout the city, including the Clifton Stallions, the Board Of Recreation, the Halloween Parade and the Easter Egg Hunt, to name just a few. In the City that Cares, Bob Foster is a shining example of what that slogan truly represents.

This column was originally started by our founder, the late Murray Blumenfeld. In his spirit, we continue its publication.


here’s something invigorating about the change of season. September heralds the arrival of fall and all the wonderful holidays to come. The excitement is equally as wonderful in the jewelry industry when all the new fashion treads arrive at the store. Long - Longer & Longest - yes layering of multiple chains and necklaces ranging from 16” to 54” is the latest rage. With the return of long sweaters and narrow pants we need some length and dimension. The biggest hit so far has been the “inside-out” diamond hoop. This design has diamonds lining the outside of the hoops as well as the inside. It provides sparkle at every angle. They are available in a wide range of sizes and carat weights. Colored stones (some with names we’ve never heard of!) are BIG this year. Colors of the rainbow, and cuts that are out of this world are being shown in all types of jewelry - also pink gold is here to stay. The trend started slowly last spring. Designers first showed it in bi and tri-tone combinations with yellow and white, but rose gold on its own has grown into one of the holiday 2006’s strongest directions. It’s a soft warm look and it also brings out the romance in more antique inspired looks. The birthstone for September is Sapphire. Sapphire has been credited with profound powers such as the ability to protect the wearer against poisons and evil spirits. One of Nature's most durable gemstones, Sapphire shares this quality with its sister, the Ruby. Red corundum is Ruby; all other members of this mineral species are called Sapphire. Sapphire is found in many parts of the world, but the most prized Sapphires are from Myanmar (Burma), Kashmir and Sri Lanka. Have a sensational September and we’ll talk to you next month.

JEWELERS RICHFIELD SHOPPING CENTER 1354 CLIFTON AVE • CLIFTON • 973.777.4329 September 2006 • Clifton Merchant



Birthdays & Celebrations! send us your upcoming family birthdays &

Katlyn Webb turns 16 on Sept. 6th Michael Capwell. . . . . . . . . 9/1 Allison Di Angelo. . . . . . . . 9/2 Bill Federowic. . . . . . . . . . . 9/3 Dave Gabel. . . . . . . . . . . .9/3 Sharon Holster. . . . . . . . . . .9/4 Joseph Shackil. . . . . . . . . . 9/4 Eric Wahad. . . . . . . . . . . . .9/4 Christy Gordon. . . . . . . . . . 9/5 Congratulations to Mike and Karen Hrina married 26 years on Sept. 20.

Mohammed Othman. . . . 9/5 Ana Stojanovski. . . . . . . . . 9/6 Darren Kester. . . . . . . . . . . 9/7 Eddie Bivaletz. . . . . . . . . . .9/8 Shannon Carroll. . . . . . . . . .9/8 Geoff Goodell. . . . . . . . . . .9/9 Annamarie Priolo. . . . . . . .9/9 George Andrikanich. . . . 9/10 Nicole Moore. . . . . . . . . . . 9/10 Ronnie Courtney. . . . . . .9/11 Andrew Orr. . . . . . . . . . . .9/11 Maureen Scali. . . . . . . . . 9/11 Andrew Shackil. . . . . . . . . 9/11 Lee Ann Doremus. . . . . . 9/12 Carly Hawrylko. . . . . . . . . .9/12 Cheryl Hawrylko. . . . . . . .9/12 Dorothy Knapp. . . . . . . . . 9/12 Sarah Bielen. . . . . . . . . . . .9/14 Anthony Dorski. . . . . . . . . 9/14 Jayde Gouveia-Hernandez . 9/14 Manny Monzo. . . . . . . . . . 9/15 Stacey Corbo. . . . . . . . . .9/16 Nancy Ann Eadie. . . . . . . 9/16 Joe Genchi. . . . . . . . . . . .9/16

Carly & mom Cheryl Hawrylko share a birthday on Sept. 12.

Jaclyn Scotto. . . . . . . . . . .9/16 Kathleen Gorman. . . . . . . 9/18 Amanda Meneghin. . . . . 9/18 Dawn Smolt. . . . . . . . . . . 9/18

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September 2006 • Clifton Merchant

Copyright  2004 Edible Arrangements, LLC

Ron & Doreen Williams celebrate their 7th anniversary on Sept. 21. Daniel Smith. . . . . . . . . . . . 9/18 Gloria Turba. . . . . . . . . . . .9/18 Mickey Garrigan. . . . . . . . 9/19 James Graham. . . . . . . . .9/19 Sara Gretina. . . . . . . . . . . .9/21 Lynne Lonison. . . . . . . . . . 9/21 Annamaria Menconi. . . .9/21 Peter Skoutelakis. . . . . . . .9/21 Valerie Carestia. . . . . . . . 9/22 Beverly Duffy. . . . . . . . . . .9/22 Timothy St. Clair. . . . . . . . .9/22

Isabella Rose Andruch was born on July 1 to parents Ihor & Kristy Andruch. Keith Myers. . . . . . . . . . . .9/23 Brian Salonga. . . . . . . . . . 9/23 Brian Engel. . . . . . . . . . . . 9/23 Pam Bielen. . . . . . . . . . . . 9/25

Arwa & Jamal Alazizi celebrate their 3rd anniversary on Sept. 28.

Adeline and Jack DeVries Sr. celebrated their 50th anniversary with a family trip.

Kenneth & Margareta Supko celebrate their 50th anniversary on Sept. 8. Happy Birthday Dorothy Knapp who celebrates on 9/12.

Russell & Louise Maultsby Deanna Cristantiello. . . . .9/25 marked their 55th anniversary on Aug. 6 with 9 children, 10 Donato Murolo. . . . . . . . .9/25 Corey Genardi. . . . . . . . .9/26 grand-kids & 6 great-grand-kids. Barbara Mascola. . . . . . .9/29 Happy Birthday to Thomas E. Moore. . . . . . . 9/29 Eddie Bivaletz Mary Perzely. . . . . . . . . . .9/29 who will be 18 on Sept. 8. Lauren Hrina. . . . . . . . . . .9/30 Ryan Lill. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9/30 Celebrations continue on the next page...

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Maryann & Joe Cornett celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary on Sept. 12.

Kristin Tauber & Sean McHale were wed on April 1 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

Dr. Alexandra Pappas & Chad Gomes were wed on June 3. Parents are Jimmy & Ralia Pappas

Kristy and Jonathan Wellins & Family announce the birth of their twins. Ryan Christopher & Casey Nicole on June 26.

86 Birthday Wishes to Wanda Jakubczyk who turns 86 on Sept. 28.

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September 2006 • Clifton Merchant


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Grzegorz & Margaret (Drelich) Nysk announce the birth of their daughter Emma Natalia on June 5.

Ukraine’s blue and gold flag was raised at Clifton City Hall on Aug. 24 to mark the 15th year of that nation’s independence from the former Soviet Union. With three local churches serving the greater Clifton area, and a growing number of businesses, the community has over 2,000 people of Ukrainian descent who live and work nearby. Approximately 75 people attended the flag raising ceremony, including clergy, politicians, long established citizens and newly arrived immigrants. The American and Ukrainian national anthems were sung and a reception was held within city hall. Also in attendance was Anastasia Tymtsiv a 21-month-old child from Ukraine who was born with several heart defects. Earlier this summer, members of the Clifton Rotary Club arranged for Anastasia and her mom to come to America as part of Rotary International’s Gift of Life program. Anastasia underwent successful heart surgery at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson and will soon return to Ukraine. St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church of Passaic hosts a parish picnic on the church grounds, 216 President St., on Sept. 10, from noon to 8 pm. Food and drinks, kids’ games and live Ukrainian orchestra. The picnic will be held rain or shine. The Ukrainian Orthodox Holy Ascension Church on Broad St. hosts its parish picnic Sept. 17, noon to 8 pm.

From left, Avalina Michel, Anastasia Tymtsiv a 21-month-old child from Ukraine and Mike Celuch, the president of the Self Reliance (NJ) Federal Credit Union and a Clifton Rotary Club member. Tymtsiv recently underwent successful heart surgery thanks to members of the Clifton Rotary.

Give your child or grandchild the priceless gift of a Catholic School education.

St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic School 223 President St., Passaic, NJ 07055 • 973-779-0249 • email:


See what a difference we can make in your child’s life. We offer a progressive educational experience: • • • • • •

Pre-Kindergarten – 8th Grade Small Class Sizes Dedicated Teachers Religion Classes Science Lab Computer Classes

• High-Speed Internet, Cable TV’s & VCR’s in Every Classroom • Library Program • Music Program & School Choir • Physical Education • After School Program for Working Parents 1625

September 2006 • Clifton Merchant


The Friday Night Canteen is a Rec Dept sponsored program for mentally or physically challenged people that meets every Friday at 6 pm at the Rec Center on Main Ave. Founded over 30 years ago, the Canteen’s activities include Special Olympic competitions, trips, social events and bowling. During warmer months, the Canteen meets at School 3 for softball, which is where this picture was taken. Those above include Pat Dyche, Joey Svec, Dave Calafati, Steve Haskorr, Drew Simon, David Reck, Diane Fasano, Dave Royster, Steve Condon, Gabor Winters, John Eager, Tony Den Uyl, Barbara Grossman, Gabe Winters and Barbara Powers. For more info, call 973-470-5956. Volunteers are always needed.

... & Dr. Moore Chiropractic 850 Clifton Ave. • Clifton • 973-253-7005

Roberta will be assisting Physical Therapist patients and instructing individuals with personal training. Pictured with Roberta (center), is Dr. Moore (left), and Israel Juskowicz, Physical Therapist (right). One more reason to Get On Track! Some of the services we offer at

On Track Rehabilitation • • • • • • •

chiropractic services all new state of the art equipment on-site x-ray facility licensed physical therapist state of the art rehabilitation gym ample parking personal training


September 2006 • Clifton Merchant


On Track Rehabilitation welcomes their new Rehabitation Assistant, Roberta Teibel (center)

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