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Riverdale’s ONLY Locally Owned Newspaper!

Volume XIX • Number 1 • January 12 - 18, 2012 •


Local resident named Obama’s top aide By BRENDAN McHUGH President Obama has named Riverdale resident Jacob “Jack” Lew to be his new chief of staff. Lew, 56, is currently director of the Office of Management and Budget, a Cabinet-level position and a post he also filled during the Clinton administration. He will replace William Daley. Obama named Lew as his budget office director in July 2010. Lew also has experience in Congress, having served as policy director for the late House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, a Massachusetts Democrat. Daley is leaving after just over a year on the job. He replaced Rahm Emanuel, who left the White House to run successfully for mayor of Chicago. The transition from Daley to Lew will take place at the end of this month. Lew will complete the budget proposal and Daley will oversee crafting of the State of

the Union address due in two weeks. “If there was a Hall of Fame for budget directors, then Jack Lew surely would have earned a place for his service in that role under President Clinton, when he helped balance the federal budget after years of deficits,” Obama said in a press conference Monday. Lew left the Clinton administration with a record $236 million budget surplus but now inherits a growing $1 trillion deficit. The Bronxite reportedly commutes from New York to Washington, though common sense says he will have to spend much more time in Washington in his new post. Lew could not be reached for comment. The new chief of staff has ties to the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. Rabbi Steven Exler said in a statement, “he is a beloved, warm, and wonderful person.”

As an Orthodox Jew, Lew observes the Jewish Sabbath, leaving the office Friday afternoons in time to get home before sundown. He does not use electric or electronic devices, including the telephone, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Once, while working for Clinton, Lew’s home phone rang on a Saturday. He didn’t answer but could hear the president’s voice on the answering machine, urging him to pick up the phone. Clinton said he understood the sanctity of the Sabbath, but that it was important that he talk to Lew. He even said, it was later reported, “God would understand.” Lew later consulted with his rabbi, who said that taking an important phone call from the president of the United States would be permissible on the Sabbath under the Talmudic teaching that work on the Sabbath is allowed in order to save a life. Praise came from both sides of the Continued on Page 12

Riverdale resident Jacob Lew

P.S. 24 student leads drive for toy donations

By BRENDAN McHUGH After seeing the abundance of holiday toy drives throughout the community this holiday season, P.S. 24 fifth-grader Noa Furman was inspired to start her own collection. By putting a box in the lobby of her Independence Avenue building, she collected around 100 toys for needy children in The Bronx. “We do this thing in my school, P.S. 24, where they collect toys every year,” 10-year-old Noa said. “I heard on the radio and everywhere else, so I just decided to do it in my building.” The fifth-grader joined her brother Al, 8, and her friend Emily Cohen, 10, and handed the toys to children at the Children’s Aid Society Bronx Family Center, a foster care organization on Southern Boulevard, on December 27. “I enjoyed just seeing their faces,” Noa said. “They were all so happy when we gave the toys to them.” Noa said her entire six-story building donated toys. Her mom, Inna, said her daughter came up with the idea on her own. “We gave toys to like 10, 15 kids,” Noa said. “Then we left the rest of the toys with them to give out.” Marsha Campbell, the supervisor for the Bronx Family Center, said the majority of toys they receive come from companies, not individuals, making this donation Continued on Page 5

PS 24 students Emily Cohen and Noa and Al Furman with the toys they collected to brighten the holiday for needy kids.

Thursday, January 12, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Dogs taken from wayward owner By BRENDAN McHUGH Though apparently the dogs have stayed out of trouble for the past few months, a city administrative judge has ordered a disobedient Riverdale resident to turn over her pets. Philomena McNamara will have to hand over her half-dozen dogs, including German shepherds and Siberian huskies, after they repeatedly bit and attacked her Riverdale Avenue neighbors during the past two years. At a city hearing this summer, northern Riverdale residents testified that McNamara’s dogs attacked them, their neighbors and even their own dogs. At one point, police shot one of the dogs with a tranquilizer gun. Locals were thrilled at the judge’s ruling. “It’s nice to hear that,” McNamara’s neighbor Marvin Martin said, adding that the city had better keep an eye on her. “I’m sure she’ll relapse after a while,” he said, thinking that if she gets her dogs back the same habits will continue. “Or she’ll give them two dogs and save the rest.” As a result of the hearing, John Spooner, the administrative judge handling the case, ruled that the city could remove the dogs for evaluation “to ensure that the dogs do not attack any more community residents.” Last year, when residents came to public safety meetings at the 50th Precinct, police had a difficult time explaining why more protection couldn’t be afforded. Because the laws are different between people and animals, Deputy Inspector Brandon del Pozo, former commanding officer of the 50th Precinct, said it is difficult to police the animals. Unless an officer sees a dog in the streets or there are multiple reports of animal attacks, there is little the police can do. When dogs have been on the loose in the past, residents routinely called the police. But by the time a patrol car arrived each time, the dogs were back on McNamara’s property. Catherine O’Brien testified that on June 17, 2006, two of McNamara’s dogs ran onto her property and attacked her Jack Russell terrier, reports said. In the following years, the dogs chased her son and other neighbors. A neighbor reportedly lost a fingernail and suffered a fracture to his hand, which was chomped on by one of the Siberian huskies, medical records submitted at the hearing show. After multiple complaints from residents and even from City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell, the city finally took some action. The city Health Department ordered McNamara to submit her dogs for evaluation by a department behaviorist, enroll them in training and leash and muzzle them in public. The city also required her to show proof that the dogs would be secured on her property by a fence, obtain licenses for the each of them and provide proof of immunization, all by April of 2011. She took only two of the dogs to one

obedience class. McNamara then told the city that she could not replace her fence because she was out of work and couldn’t afford it. She also claimed that she moved all of the dogs to a friend’s home upstate. While neighbors were complaining of barking coming from the home shortly before the administrative hearing was held in the summer, Martin noted that she and her dogs have been very quiet recently, possibly due to the hearing. McNamara was unavailable for comment.

By BRENDAN McHUGH Community Board 8, if they wish to be heard, needs to take a stance sooner rather than later on what they’d like to see at the 230th Street development. At last week’s economic development committee meeting, the nine-person group passed an impromptu resolution asking the New York City Economic Development Corporation to eliminate proposals that include housing. NYCEDC will choose a developer to build at the site from a group of proposals they received in a 2011 request for proposals. The resolution still needs to be passed by the full board, which meets Tuesday, January 10, after press time. It is unclear whether the resolution will be introduced. Because of board regulations, the resolution did not pass in time to go before the full board automatically, so it will have to be introduced from the floor. One source close to the project said that if board members want their voices to be heard, they should propose a resolution this month. While exact details aren’t being made available by NYCEDC, those familiar with the proposals for the development say housing is a major component of a majority of the projects. A retail center is also included in all of the projects. The main point of discussion in last Thursday’s meeting surrounded the housing component of the project. Maria Khury, vice chair of the board, has attended meetings with the NYCEDC about the proposals. She may have had the most telling statement of the night. “EDC will choose what’s best for the city,” she said, highlighting the fact that the agen-

cy may choose not to include the board’s concerns when choosing a project. The Kingsbridge Riverdale Van Cortlandt Development Corporation attended the economic development meeting, lobbying for the board to vote in favor of a housing component. Their attempts at persuasion, however, offended some members after it was discovered more than halfway through the meeting that KRVC is working with a developer who has a proposal for the site. KRVC did not reveal they were working with a developer before they began speaking about the positives of housing. “They got caught in a lie and they behaved in an unethical fashion,” said one person after the meeting. Others called it “a little ridiculous” and “insane.” KRVC executive director Tracy Shelton said her group is a “community sponsor” for a developer and added that she believes all developers should have a liaison to the community. KRVC also submitted a proposal the first time the city tried to develop at 230th Street, and it included housing. KRVC representatives said they believe the only way the development can succeed financially is to include housing. Any housing on the site would be partly “affordable” or low income housing. This is the second attempt to develop there. Last year, Ceruzzi Holdings was set to purchase the land from the city after two years of delays, but they failed to close on the deal and never developed the land. Ceruzzi’s proposal did not include housing. And the majority of those present didn’t see housing as a good thing. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who has

for years been an opponent of mixed-use development at this site, spoke at length why housing shouldn’t be included. “I don’t want to live between Broadway and the Major Deegan,” he said. “It’s not a desirable site.” KRVC said Broadway lacks housing, and having it next to the No. 1 subway line, the highway and the bus lines is a big plus for most families. Having housing included in a shopping development also gives retailers customers right in the building. But board member Ari Spett said those are the things that make it undesirable. “Any proposal that includes housing on that site would be terrible,” he said, calling it a quality of life issue, with noise, traffic and pollution surrounding the area.

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3 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 12, 2012

Conflict of interest in 230th Street development?

Dinowitz added that Broadway between West 225th and West 238th streets is turning into an entirely commercial corridor, with the Target shopping center at the bottom and the former Stella D’oro factory, soon to become a BJ’s Wholesale Club, at the top. Housing detracts from commercial use, he said. Broadway in that stretch was named one of the ten most dangerous roads in the tri-state area in 2011 by major the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a safe transportation advocacy group. Adding up to 200 families—a number KRVC floated out to the audience—to the area would worsen traffic, both automobile and pedestrian, Dinowitz said. Board member Sylvia Alexander, also the education committee chair, pointed out that some of the schools are already at capacity. Adding 200 families and children wouldn’t help the situation.

Thursday, January 12, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Around the schools... P.S. 24

Preliminary applications for kindergarten placement in the 2012/2013 school year will be accepted staring next week for children born in 2007. Children who live within the P.S. 24 zone are eligible for March registration. Children who live outside the zone, including those with siblings attending the school, may apply as well, but their names will be included on a waiting list for September registration if seats are available. Application requirements include a parent’s photo ID, two original proofs of address and a photocopy of each for school records, the child’s original birth certificate and a photocopy for school records, and proof of immunizations—originals and copies. Parents can schedule a registration appointment once they submit a completed application. Children to be registered must attend along with their parents at registration time. Applications will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. according to the following alphabetical scheme: Parents of children whose last names begin with A through E should appear any day from Tuesday, January 17, through Friday, January 20. For last names beginning with F through K, the dates are Monday, January 23, through Friday, January 27. For last names beginning with L through Q, the dates are Monday, January 30, through Friday, February 3. For last names beginning with R through Z, the dates are Monday, February 6, through Friday, February 10. For more information about eligibility documents or other registration matters, call the school at 718-796-8845 and ask for Florence Byrne at extension 1062 or Linda Hickey at extension 1120.

P.S. 81

Students collected more than $1,000 in pennies for Penny Harvest, a four-phase program that engages schoolchildren in fundraising for a charitable organization. It develops student role models, provides teachers with a service-learning curriculum, helps students decide upon an organization to receive their grant, and facilitates the presentation.

Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy

The community’s high school students and their families are invited to the RKA high school guidance department’s an-

nual Financial Aid Night this Thursday, January 12, at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium. The event will offer information on the many sources of financial aid and on the free application for federal student aid form.

SAR High School

The Columbia Scholastic Press Association awarded a Gold Medalist award to the school’s Math Mag. For the third consecutive edition, it garnered All-Columbian Honors in the categories of Organization and Content. Nearly every article and poem was singled out for special praise. The publication won First Place with Special Merit as well as Best Departmental Magazine, earning a full 400 out of 400 points for Content Coverage and 150 out of 150 points for Design. The judges noted, “What a totally unique magazine—there’s something for everyone….Your magazine shows the superior efforts of talented and creative editors, writers, artists, photographers, layout/graphic designers, staff members and advisor.” The Math Mag staff is led by faculty advisor Deborah Stepelman.

Horace Mann School

The Middle Division’s annual Souper Bowl, a campaign to benefit the Yorkville Food Pantry, was launched last week with the proceeds of an afternoon movie showing. Students collected many cans of soup and $150 in cash, which they’ll use to purchase more cans of soup for the pantry.


Kinneret Day School

The school is honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this week. First-graders are studying his life and creating their own “I have a dream” essays for publication in the school newsletter. Kindergarteners are already reading books about Dr. King and are discussing laws, equality and the importance of getting along with each other.

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By MIAWLING LAM Locals will get a slight reprieve from heavy congestion after city officials caved into demands and agreed to mitigate dangerous traffic conditions outside two of Riverdale’s public schools. The Department of Transportation earlier this month announced it would extend the bus-loading area outside P.S. 24 in a bid to combat the area’s gridlocked streets. DOT revealed they would extend the “No Standing 7AM to 4PM School Days” sign by 40 feet by March 31 to accommodate the extra buses. The designation, which follows a 12week comprehensive study, means the bus zone will now stretch along West 235th Street between Douglas and Independence avenues. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who along with Councilman G. Oliver Koppell and State Senator Adriano Espaillat last year submitted a list of seven trafficcalming measures, said the decision was a win for Riverdale.

“I am pleased DOT has decided to implement the first of several components of our plan to improve traffic safety for the children of our schools and residents of the community,” he said. “I look forward to working with the DOT to continue to make this area safer.” Councilman G. Oliver Koppell also fired off a press release to celebrate the news. “I am grateful that DOT has responded to the needs of my district and is taking the steps necessary to improve conditions for residents in the area,” he said. Residents and parents claimed a series of traffic-calming measures were desperately needed along the five-block stretch of Independence Avenue between West 232nd and West 237th Streets because student lives were being put on risk. Signal timing changes, improved signage, the creation of a 20-mile-per-hour speed limit and additional road markings were among the solutions originally flagged.

After slap on conflict, Carrion resigns post

By BRENDAN McHUGH Former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion is stepping down from his post as regional director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in New York and New Jersey next month. Carrion reportedly is leaving the Obama administration to go to the private sector and help work to re-elect the president. One source said he is planning on starting a company. After serving as borough president until 2009, Carrion went to Washington to serve as Director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs before taking the position at HUD. Carrion officially leaves his post Feb. 10. The resignation comes less than two months since the New York City Conflict of Interest Board fined him $10,000 for his connection with an architect who helped renovate his home in 2006. At the time, the architect was also seeking approval from his office for a separate project. The source, with Washington ties, said the resignation is likely an effort to get himself back into the political limelight for the 2013 mayoral race or city comptroller. With City Comptroller John Liu struggling lately, Carrion

could hope to gain the minority vote in either race. He has over $2 million in his war chest that could be used for either race. Current Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., also a Latino, still hasn’t ruled out a run for mayor either, though.

P.S. 24 toy drive Continued from Page 1 more enjoyable for everyone. “What was special about her donations, this is something she did out of school,” she said. The trio of school children got to hand out the toys one-by-one. “They got to experience it first hand. That was something special,” Campbell said. “She worked hard collecting the toys. I think they really appreciate that.” Campbell later sent a letter to Noa, thanking her for her generous donations. “Your contribution made a tremendous difference in the lives of children and families serviced by our agency,” the letter said. Noa hopes that next year, other buildings will start their own collections. “Maybe next year, more buildings can do the same thing I did.”

Community Board 8 member Robert Press first raised the issue last September when he revealed that motorists were double-parking, triple-parking, blocking traffic and recklessly darting in and out of the four-way stop sign intersection outside P.S. 24 and Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy. Press said while traffic conditions have always been hazardous, the situation was exacerbated after M.S./H.S. 141 changed their arrival and dismissal times. Under the changes, which came into effect last September, all RKA students now start and finish school within 10 minutes of their younger counterparts. This year, RKA students attend school from 8:20 a.m. to 2:40 p.m., while P.S. 24’s school day runs from 8:10 a.m. to

2:30 p.m. Kindergarteners are dismissed at 2:20 p.m. Last year, middle school students attended school from 8:41 a.m. to 3:31 p.m., while hours for high school pupils ran from 7:50 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. The changes were designed to beef up RKA’s extended-day program, principal Lori O’Mara said. Meanwhile, in another rare win for Riverdalians, the MTA has agreed to add extra Bx7 and Bx10 buses during the evening peak rush hour. The beefed-up schedule, which goes into effect this spring, means commuters will face an easier commute home. Overcrowding and lengthy waits have plagued bus riders at the West 231st and Broadway stop for years.

5 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pols and DOT make progress on school traffic gridlock

Thursday, January 12, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Workshop on compost making scheduled

Worm Bins Made Easy: This handson NYC Compost Project workshop on the essentials of indoor composting with worms is ideal for those who want to compost food scraps at home, work, or school but do not have access to an outdoor space. Participants will be eligible to ‘adopt’ a dozen worms in a mini-bin made of recycled materials and can receive a discount coupon toward the purchase of a larger system from the Union Square GreenMarket. Registration required; e-mail the NYC Compost Project in the Bronx at or call 718.817.8543. The workshop will be held on Thursday, January 12, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., at Bon Secours New York Health Systems/Schervier, 2975 Independence Avenue, meet at main entrance.

Chabad to celebrate 20th anniversary at NYBG

The Riverdale community will be celebrating 20 years of Chabad-Lubavitch in Riverdale on Saturday, January 14, 7:00pm at The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. The Guests of Honor are Ilene & Neil Leibowitz, dedicated supporters of Chabad of Riverdale, in bringing the message of love and caring to the entire community. Vicky & Raphael Nadel are being honored as Parents of the Year for their dedication to the ideals of Chabad. Their commitment to the pre- school is remarkable. They are selfless and are available to help especially when it is needed most. Additionally, we are honoring Margaret & Mayer Fried, Holocaust survivors, with the Keepers of the Flame. Twenty years ago, with the blessings and guidance of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of blessed memory Rabbi Levi & Sorah Shemtov were given the opportunity to serve the spiritual needs of the Riverdale Jewish community and the borough of the Bronx. To be sure, there were already established day schools, organizations and synagogues addressing the needs of the affiliated Jewish community. However, there was a need to reach out to an overwhelming portion of the Jewish population that was uncommitted and under-affiliated.

Overall, Chabad Lubavitch of Riverdale has become so much a part of the Jewish growth and enthusiasm now setting our entire community abuzz. To join the community as a sponsor of this tribute or for reservations, please call Chabad at (718) 549-1100 ext 10 or visit our website www.ChabadRiverdale. org and click on the 20th Anniversary Dinner link.

Obama campaign kickoff and petition clinic

The kickoff for the Obama for President campaign for the northwest Bronx will be at the headquarters of the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, located at 304 West 231st Street (between Tibbett Avenue and Riverdale Avenue) on Saturday, January 14, at 1PM. All supporters of President Obama who would like to volunteer are urged to attend. Democratic Party petitions to place the president and his slate of national convention delegates on the ballot will be available at the event. Members of the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, Northwest Bronx for Change, and local elected officials will be in attendance to launch the local campaign effort. Prior to the opening, at 11AM, a petition clinic will be held to help familiarize first-time petitioners with the process and to sharpen the skills of experienced petitioners. For further information, call the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club at 718-796-6177.

“Forum” by the Riverdale Rising Stars

The Award-Winning Riverdale Rising Stars open their 2011-12 season with A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum at the Riverdale Y. With book by Larry Gelbart & Burt Shevelove and music by Stephen Sondheim, Broadway’s greatest farce is light, fast-paced, witty, irreverent and one of the funniest musicals ever written. Show stopping favorites include “Comedy Tonight” and “Everybody Ought To Have a Maid”. Come join the laughter, which will surely warm your heart during our winter season at the Y. Show dates and times are Saturdays, January 14 & 21** at 8:00 PM, Sundays, January 15 & 22 at 3:00 PM, with additional lowcost performances on Sunday, January

15 at 7:00 PM and Thursday, January 12 at 7:30PM. Tickets are $18 online ( or $20 at the door, $12 for students and seniors. Our low cost weeknight performances are $10 for all. For more information or group sales please contact Laurie Walton at Saturday, January 21 is a Special Benefit Performance of FORUM featuring original Rising Stars cast members including Alumni audience favorites: Greg Kanter, Ben Becher, Emily Walton, Anthony Malchar, Danny Mejia, Jake Levy, Allison Kline, Deborah Sacks, Fania Leyvi, Emily Parson, Kristen Mahony, Katleen Lozada, Podokshik, Janine Elliot, Chris Rodriguez, Robert Zilinyi, Elia Rangel, Max Frampolsky, Jessie Fried, Eric Dinowitz, Drew Lewis, Merry Scholl. The Riverdale Y is locatead t 5625 Arlington Avenue (off 256 Street). Tickets are available online at

Councilman Koppell praises new taxi plan

As Chair of the Council Committee that deals with disability services and a longtime advocate for full taxi accessibility, Council Member Oliver Koppell is particularly pleased that the legislation creating changes in NYC taxi service will provide for wheelchair accessibility and has praised Governor Cuomo as being instrumental in making this happen. In a letter to the governor, Koppell said, ‘Your leadership with respect to this legislation was crucial in moving the city toward the goal of full accessibility. Without your insistence that there be greater taxi accessibility for disabled people this would not have happened’. In addition to giving credit to the governor for the success of this historic legislation, Koppell also credited the disabled community and their advocates saying, ‘A victory of this magnitude does not happen in a vacuum. It can be attributed in large measure to those who have been forcefully calling for ‘taxis for all’ for more than a decade. As the prime sponsor of a bill in the City Council to make all new yellow cabs in New York City wheelchair accessible, Koppell has been a strong spokesman for equal transportation. The legislation provides for 2,000 more wheelchair accessible yellow cabs, whose medallion auction is expected to raise at

least $1 billion for the city. It also creates a new class of livery cabs with metered fares, credit card readers and roof lights. Of the 18,000 new permits that the Taxi and Limousine Commission is expected to issue for these cabs, one fifth will be wheelchair accessible. The city will also provide up to $54 million in subsidies and loans to encourage livery drivers to buy vehicles that accommodate disabled riders. As part of the deal, within a year, the city must create a long-term plan to convert the entire yellow cab fleet to disability access. The State Department of Transportation, which is overseen by the governor, will have to approve that plan before the city can auction all 2,000 new medallions. Koppell is also gratified that people in northern Manhattan and the outer-boroughs will have vastly expanded access to taxi service, something his constituents have wanted for a long time.

JASA Senior Center announces activities

Upcoming cultural and recreational events at JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center in January 2012: The Alzheimer’s Assoc. will present a talk about the Medi-Alert and Safe Return program on Wed. Jan. 11th at 11:15 AM. Warm up with a Mid-Winter Sing Along with pianist Marilynn Seits on Thurs. Jan. 12th at 1:00 PM. Observe Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Day on Tues. Jan. 17th with James Cannings, world musician/composer/arranger, at 11:30 AM. Stay for a delectable lunch at 12: 15 PM followed by lively dance music. Suggested contributions are $2.00 for lunch and $2.00 for entertainment. Call the center office 718-549-4700 by Fri. Jan. 13th to reserve for lunch. We are offering a trip to Empire City casino on Wed. Jan. 25th. For information and reservations, please contact Maritza Silva at 718-5494700. Lucy Degidon, artist, will instruct Jewelry Making on Fri. Jan. 6th at 1:00 PM. She will present an art history talk about the renowned Columbian sculptor Botero on Fri. Jan. 27th at 1:00 PM. Howard Newman will make you laugh in Jokexercise on Mon. Jan. 30th at 11:15 AM. JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center is located in the Van Cortlandt Jewish Center at 3880 Sedgwick Ave. off of Van Cortlandt Ave. West on the Bronx #1 or #10 bus routes. We are non-sectarian. Seniors age 60+ may register for free. We provide a nutritious kosher lunch daily. For more information, please call the center office at 718-549-4700.


Every Sunday morning starting November, Chabad of Riverdale will be hosting Sunday Morning Kollel Learning for men and women, with five different rabbis. (A kollel is an institute for adults within a community to engage in Jewish learning and explore Judaism’s classic texts in depth.) This learning event promises to be filled with interesting topics and relevant classes that will address mystical as well as practical aspects of Judaism. The classes being offered will cater to all levels of learning and are open to the public. The schedule on Sunday mornings will be: 8:45 am Shacharit Morning Prayer, 9:30 - 9:45 am Coffee/Bagels, 9:45 - 10:45 am Choose from one of six classes, and 10:45 - 11:15 am One-on-One Learning. The six classes to choose from that will be offered from 9:45 - 10:45 am are Kabbalah & the Parsha, Practical Jewish Law, Understanding Prayer, Reading Hebrew, Talmud for Dummies and JLI Fascinating Facts: Exploring the Myths and Mysteries of Judaism. The suggested donation for kollel learning is $5. To register or to schedule One-on-One Learning for an additional fee of $18, contact Chabad of Riverdale at 718-549-1100 ext. 10 or email For people who would like to sponsor a Sunday Morning Kollel Learning in honor of someone or in memory of a loved one, contact Rabbi Levi Y. Shemtov, $ 718-549-1100 ext. 13.

S.J. Rozan to speak for benefit of Riverdale Senior Services

As part of Riverdale Senior Services An Evening With---Series, this year begins with a local favorite, S. J. Rozan. She will be hosted at a beautiful Riverdale home on Tuesday, January 24, 2012. Rozan, a well known NYC author and winner of the Shamos and Anthony Awards, will discuss her most recent novel Ghost Hero. Sun Senteniel’s recent review stated ....”Rozan again proves that the private detective novel thrives in the 21st century.” Tax deductible tickets for each of these events are $125 per person. All proceeds go to benefit the Riverdale Senior Center. For further information and reservations, call Riverdale Senior Services, (718) 884-5900. Space is limited. Reservations are required. A stimulating evening is guaranteed.

Shelley Olson exhibits art work at RSS

Shelley Olson, Artist/Poet/Composer/ Educator, has a doctorate in education from the University of Houston and has studied music at the Juilliard School and at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Shelley has traveled widely, living and working in five continents, and currently spends much of her time in NYC where she is completing a book on the Bronx. She is an active member of the Riverdale Senior Center participating in art classes and the poetry and creative writing groups. Some of her poetry is being incorporated into her upcoming book. Ms. Olson influenced by the economic crisis and the occupy Wall Street movement has executed a series of portraits entitled ‘Money Movers Behind the World Wide Economic Meltdown’ which she is

exhibiting in the RSS lounge during the month of January. RSS is located at 2600 Netherland Avenue in the Century Building and the exhibit is available for viewing during the month of January from 9:30 - 4. For more information contact RSS at 718884-5900.

Free life-saving training offered

Join us on January 11 as we kick off the New Year with “Friends and Family CPR Anytime”, a free life-saving training from the FDNY Mobile CPR unit. Family and Friends CPR Anytime Training on January 11, 7-8 p.m. FREE training on basic CPR skills.· Conducted by FDNY personnel who are American Heart Association Certified CPR instructors. For anyone who does not need a certification card to meet a job requirement. Hosted by Bx8 NYC OEM CERT at Bon Secours NY Health Systems/Schervier, 2975 Independence Avenue, Community Room. Space is limited. RSVP required. For information or to register, contact or 347-389-0844. Be prepared. Get Involved. gov/cert

Ethel and Leah Strenger art exhibit

Ethel Strenger, a nonagenarian and her 22 year old granddaughter, Leah Strenger will exhibit their paintings during January. Ethel didn’t start painting until she was 50. It was one of the things she wanted to do ‘before I die’. So, at 50 she discovered adult art classes at DeWitt Clinton High School in the afternoons and soon was painting in oils. She continued at various centers and painted for twenty years. Then she decided to take up sculpture. She studied at the Senior Center in Riverdale and sculpted for 12 years. This exhibit will be mainly of her oil paintings. She paints whatever pleases her and is especially attracted to portraiture. For this exhibit Ethel has invited her granddaughter Leah to share her artwork as well. Leah Strenger is a painter and print maker currently residing in Philadelphia. Originally from New York, she lived in Riverdale until relocating to Philadelphia to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the University of Pennsylvania in 2006. Ethel Strenger has been a member of the Riverdale Art Association for many years and actively participates at meetings and group art exhibits. The Reception will be Sunday, January 15 from 1:00 - 3:30 p.m. The community is invited to celebrate the art at the Riverdale Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture 4450 Fieldston Road Bronx, NY 10471 718-548-4445 The exhibit is open Monday through Friday from 10 to 5 and Sunday 12 - 1. Telephone 718-548-4445. The Riverdale Art Association is a group of local artists who also welcome the community and new members at its meetings. They meet the second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at the Riverdale Atria, Henry Hudson Parkway East, just south of the Monument.

Sunday Morning

Kollel Learning

Chabad of Riverdale will be hosting Sunday Morning Kollel Learning for men and women, with five different rabbis. (A kollel is an institute for adults within a community to engage in Jewish learning and explore Judaism's classic texts in-depth.)

Schedule: 8:45 am Shacharit Morning Prayer 9:30 – 9:45 am Coffee/Bagels 9:45 – 10:45 am Choose from one of six classes 10:45 – 11:15 am One-on-One Learning Six classes to choose from: Kabbalah & the Parsha Practical Jewish Law• Understanding Prayer Reading Hebrew • Talmud for Dummies JLI Fascinating Facts: Exploring the Myths and Mysteries of Judaism suggested donation for kollel learning $5

To register or to schedule One-on-One Learning for an additional fee of $18, contact Rabbi Levi Y. Shemtov 718-549-1100 ext.13 or For people who would like to sponsor a Sunday Morning Kollel Learning in honor of someone or in memory of a loved one, contact Rabbi Levi Y. Shemtov.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sunday morning Kollel in Riverdale

State Senator Adriano Espaillat will report on his recent visit to Israel. State Senator Gustavo Rivera will give updates on current legislative initiatives. For more information, call Ben Schachter at 212-544-0173.

Thursday, January 12, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Friday, January 20 Kingsbridge

Thursday, January 12 Spuyten Duyvil

TODDLER STORY TIME 10:30 a.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street Toddlers from 18 months to 3 years old and their parents/caregivers can enjoy interactive stories, action songs, and fingerplays, and spend time with other toddlers in the neighborhood. For more information, call 718-796-1202.


BABY LAPSIT 10:30 a.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Stories, Songs, Fingerplays, Puppets for babies ages birth36 months for parents and caregivers. For more information, call 718-548-5656.


COMPOSTING WORKSHOP 11 a.m. Schervier Apartments 2975 Independence Avenue Worm Bins Made Easy: A hands-on NYC Compost Project workshop on the essentials of indoor composting with worms. Registration required; e-mail the NYC Compost Project in the Bronx at or call 718.817.8543.

Van Cortlandt

SING ALONG 1 p.m. Van Cortlandt Senior Center 3880 Sedgwick Avenue Warm up with a Mid-Winter Sing Along with pianist Marilynn Seits. For more information, call 718-549-4700.


and the Green Pastures Baptist Church Choir in tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Neshama Carlebach, acclaimed Jewish Spiritual singer, will be melding her melodies with the choir as well. For more information, call 718-796-4730.

Tuesday, January 17 Van Cortlandt

MLK DAY CELEBRATION 11:30 a.m. Van Cortlandt Senior Center 3880 Sedgwick Avenue Observe Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Day with James Cannings, world musician/composer/arranger, at 11:30 AM. Stay for a delectable lunch at 12: 15 PM followed by lively dance music. Suggested contributions are $2.00 for lunch and $2.00 for entertainment. Call the center office 718-549-4700 by Fri. Jan. 13th to reserve for lunch.


STUDY GROUP 7 p.m. Congregation Shaarei Shalom 5919 Riverdale Avenue The new year brings a new “semester” of learning at Congregation Shaarei Shalom as its Wednesday Evening Study Group begins studying the work of Maimonides. For more information, call 718-796-0305 or visit

Thursday, January 19

OBAMA CAMPAIGN KICKOFF 1 p.m. Ben Franklin Democratic Club 304 West 231st Street All supporters of President Obama who would like to volunteer are urged to attend. For further information, call the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club at 718-796-6177.

TODDLER STORY TIME 10:30 a.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street Toddlers from 18 months to 3 years old and their parents/caregivers can enjoy interactive stories, action songs, and fingerplays, and spend time with other toddlers in the neighborhood. For more information, call 718-796-1202.

AARP MEETING 12:30 p.m. Riverdale Presbyterian Church 4765 Henry Hudson Pkwy. West Riverdale Chapter #1546 AARP will meet. Entertainment by the wonderful Joe Salvatore. The community is invited to join in with refreshments. For additional information, call Manfred Segal at l-718-549-0088.


RAA ARTIST RECEPTION 1 p.m. Ethical Culture Society 4450 Fieldston Road Ethel and Leah Strenger will exhibit their paintings during January. A recpetion will be held on Jan. 15. The exhibit is open Monday through Friday from 10 to 5 and Sunday 12 – 1. Telephone 718-548-4445.


CARD PARTY 4 p.m. Riverdale Temple 4545 Independence Avenue Men and women in the community and of course your friends, are invited to come and enjoy the afternoon. Refreshments will be served, raffles will be sold and door prizes will be given out. In order that we can reserve a table for you, please RSVP by calling Debbie at 718-548-3800 ext. 1 or e-mailing

Monday, January 16 Riverdale

TRIBUTE TO MLK JR. 7 p.m. Hebrew Institute of Riverdale 3700 Henry Hudson Parkway An inspirational evening of song with Rev. Roger Hambrick

KNITTING & CROCHET 11 a.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street A get together for knitters & crocheters at all skill levels to work on a current project, learn new techniques, or even to begin a new craft. All skill levels are welcomed. Pre-registration not required. For more information, call 718-796-1202.

READING ALOUD 4:30 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Stories for children ages 5-12 years old. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Saturday, January 14


Spuyten Duyvil



Sunday, January 15

Monday, January 23

Wednesday, January 18

COLLEGE 101 4 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Learn the ins and outs of getting into college, getting the cash to pay for it, and getting the top test scores. You can also get tips on writing personal statements. This workshop will be lead by staff from Kaplan. For more information, call 718-549-1212.


TEEN ADVISORY GROUP 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Let your voice be heard in the Kingsbridge Library’s Teen Advisory Group! TAG meetings will be held on Friday afternoons from 4-5 pm. If you are a 7th -12th grade student, you are eligible to join. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

ADOPTION SUPPORT MEETING 7 p.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue An all-volunteer informational and educational parent support group for couples and singles who have adopted, and for those seeking information about adoption. For information, contact 212-304-8479 or visit

Spuyten Duyvil


BABY LAPSIT 10:30 a.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Stories, Songs, Fingerplays, Puppets. for babies birth to 36 months for parents and caregivers. For more information, call 718-548-5656.


SAT TEST SECRETS 4 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Test smart! In this 1 hour session, a Kaplan representative will guide you through test-taking strategies and cover the format of today’s standardized test. Get a study plan for success! For more information, call 718-549-1212.

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GAME ON 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Come have some fun playing the latest XBox 360 games with Kinect at the Kingsbridge Library! For ages 12-18. For more information, call 718-548-5656.


CB8 MEETING 7 p.m. 50th Police Precinct 3450 Kingsbridge Avenue Meeting of the Public Safety Committee of Community Board 8. For more information, call 718-884-3959.


MEETING 7:30 p.m. Kingsbridge Center of Israel 3115 Corlear Avenue


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New York City is losing its teachers.

More than 66,000 have either resigned or retired since Mayor Bloomberg took control of the schools. Teachers leave one of the toughest jobs in New York City for a variety of personal and professional reasons, but the most common single reason is a lack of support from supervisors and the Department of Education. Teaching is a craft that is acquired over time, and teachers desperately want to improve their skills. That is why the United Federation of Teachers led the campaign to create a better teacher evaluation system, one that put a priority on helping all teachers do their job better. The UFT’s role was critical in creating the new system, and in going to Washington, D.C. to help get federal funds for it through the Race to the Top program. Starting last spring, many of our members with expertise in evaluation worked for months on the state subcommittees designing the new system. We have been trying to work with the Bloomberg administration to iron out the final details of the new system, but the administration has refused to engage in meaningful talks about teacher and principal improvement. Instead it has focused on ensuring that administrators have unlimited power over their employees. If we agree, it will mean that supervisors’ decisions can never be properly reviewed, much less overturned. This would be true even if their negative rating of a teacher or a principal can be proven to be the result of their refusal to inappropriately change a student’s grade or to give students credit for courses they have not properly completed. Make no mistake about it. The administration has put tremendous pressure on principals to make their schools appear to be successful. But any claims of success ring hollow in the light of national tests that show very limited student progress for the system as a whole, and state measures that show that while the high school graduation rate is increasing, the number of graduates ready for college is only about one in five.

The sad truth is that Mayor Bloomberg’s “reform” agenda — raising class size across the system; closing schools and “warehousing” the neediest students; pushing art and music out of the schools to make room for more test prep; turning a deaf ear to parents’ concerns; and appointing a completely unqualified publishing executive to be Chancellor — hasn’t made our schools better. A real teacher evaluation system that helps all teachers improve while providing checks and balances is a critical step toward stopping the hemorrhaging of our teaching force and making our schools more effective. At the same time it would help ensure that teachers who cannot succeed in the classroom leave the profession. We have an open offer to the administration to continue our negotiations on this issue, or even to take it to binding arbitration. It’s time the administration sat down with teachers and principals to come up with an agenda that will actually help our children learn. Sincerely, Michael Mulgrew President United Federation of Teachers

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 12, 2012

An Open Letter to New York City Parents

Thursday, January 12, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


A new generation of students and alumni demand change at Bronx Science By MIAWLING LAM Clutching fluorescent posters and chanting rally cries, nearly 30 former and current Bronx High School of Science students staged a bold protest against the school’s administrative policies. The vocal crowd braved nearfreezing conditions and picketed outside Harris Field last Thursday to express their dissatisfaction with principal Valerie J. Reidy and the school’s unusually high teacher turnover rate. Holding signs reading “No more BS for BS” and “enough is enough,” the protestors took aim at Reidy’s authoritative leadership and the administration’s lack of respect for staff and students. Kate Doonan, a senior at Bronx Science, joined the protest because she felt classroom instruction had suffered as a result of the recent revolvingdoor policy toward staff. “They keep getting new teachers and before they can get comfortable, develop their teaching style and become a better teacher, they’re fired,” she said. “It pretty much leaves us the worst teachers, and it’s constantly new people who are learning.” Fellow senior Alexander Volkov, 17, said faculty were being forced to conform and adopt the same constructivist

teaching method—dubbed pure discovery—in which students are not supposed to read textbooks before covering topics in class. “Teachers who agree with the model are the ones who get to stay. That’s an issue because there are some really great teachers who have their own style, and they’re being stifled,” he said. Comparing the campus dynamics to a caste system, Volkov said his school, once considered one of the city’s gems, was lagging behind following years of infighting and turmoil. On the latest U.S. News & World Report’s list of America’s “Gold-Medal” high schools, Bronx Science ranked 58 out of 100. In 2008, it was in the top 20. “We used to be much better than Stuyvesant High School, but now we have an ongoing joke that Stuy is better than us,” Volkov said. “Actually, many times in the past couple of years, I’ve regretted not going to Stuy.” Since Reidy was appointed in September 2001, she has been dogged by controversy. Many teachers have resigned in response to her top-down approach, while others have been forced out. In 2005, faculty members even stood outside the school and distributed fliers criticizing her pedagogical policies.

Another school administrator has also come under fire. In 2008, 20 out of 22 math teachers filed a complaint against assistant principal Rosemarie Jahoda, alleging repeated harassment. The group also accused Reidy of denying them tenure by dishing out arbitrary “U” ratings. An independent investigator later found that the teachers were being harassed. Catherine Jung, a 2008 Bronx Science graduate, is one of five founding members of Take Back Bronx Science, the group that organized last week’s rally. She said she was compelled to act after learning that eight of the school’s 20 social studies teachers chose not to return to the school this year. “Bronx Science has been known as the standard of caliber in the New York City region and The Bronx for decades, and to see the school deteriorate is incredibly sad,” she said. Jung said the group would continue to lobby and call on Reidy to be more transparent. The school’s leaders also needed to show more respect toward students and collaborate and cooperate more with teachers, Jung said. Only if those diplomatic efforts prove futile will TBBS demand Reidy’s resignation. “You can’t say outright that

she has to go, because who will take her place? What if it’s someone worse than her? That would be terrible. We have to think rationally,” Jung said. “Having said that, you can’t

just keep ruling with an iron fist. You need some collaboration. You can’t try to implement topdown all the time.” As of press time, calls to the school were not returned.

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11 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 12, 2012

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Riverdalian Jacob Lew Continued from Page 1 political aisle about Lew’s character and intelligence. Republicans say he is a trustworthy, honest person. “No one was more prepared and more in tune with the numbers than Jack Lew,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told POLITICO in June 2011. “He was always very polite and respectful in his tone and someone who I can tell is very committed to his principles.” Local official Rep. Eliot Engel was excited for his constituent. “I think the world of Jack Lew,” Engel said in a phone interview, going on to list good trait after good trait about him. “Both as smart as a whip and as bright as can be. He’s a nice person and he interacts

well with people. The president made a good choice.” Engel also noted Lew’s ability to influence policy on Israel. “I think anyone who can whisper in the president’s ear when it comes to Israel is a positive thing,” he said. “I haven’t always agreed with the president on Israel. Hopefully Jack can weigh in.” Lew graduated from Forest Hills High School in Queens in 1972. He is a graduate of Harvard University and Georgetown Law Schools and ran the budget for New York University before managing financial branches of Citigroup. Lew, the son of a Polish immigrant father, attended New York City public schools. He began involvement in political life at the age of 12, when he volunteered for Democratic presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy’s anti-Vietnam war campaign.


JAN. 27 - 29

Fri. 7:30 PM Sat. 2:00 & 7:30 PM Sun. 2:00 PM


FEB. 3 & 4

Fri. 7:30 PM Sat. 2:00 & 7:30 PM

KIDS’ SEATS $15! SAVE $5 on Adult Tickets!

Ages 2-12. All seats $2 more day of show. Addi�onal fees may apply. No double discounts. Excludes VIP and Gold Circle seats. Limit four (4) kids’ �ckets with the purchase of one (1) adult �cket.

$5 savings only valid on Saturday 7:30 PM performances. Use code: DIGGER12. Excludes VIP, Gold Circle and kids’ seats. No double discounts. Offer expires JAN. 26, 2012.

Buy �ckets at Retail Loca�ons, Walmart, Arena Box Offices or call 1-800-745-3000. 191139

Thursday, January 12, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Competitors shown are subject to change.

© 2011 Feld Motor Sports, Inc.


Bronx students are invited to submit written pro-life essays to compete for cash prizes, according to an announcement by Barbara Meara, chair of the Bronx Right to Life Committee. The contest is open to students in seventh through twelfth grades, who attend public, parochial or private schools. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 16, 2012. Essays should be mailed to Bronx Right to Life Committee, P.O. Box 95, Bronx, NY, 10471. The essays should be 300 to 500 words in length, and double-spaced if typed. Handwritten submissions will be accepted, too. First prize is $200, with $150 for second place, and $100 for third. There are two divisions: seventh through ninth grade, and tenth through 12th grade, with separate prizes. Essays should address this question: “What effect has abortion had on your generation?” Each entry must include a cover sheet containing the student’s name, address, telephone number, grade level, date of birth, parent’s name and the word count. Essays must be the original work of the student who is submitting it, and sources for any factual material used should be cited. Contestants should not submit artwork, pictures or use plastic covers. Essays will be judged on originality, content and accuracy by judges from the National Right to Life Committee. Announcement of the winning entries will be made as soon as possible after the judging, depending on the number of entries submitted. Additional information if needed may be obtained from Mrs. Meara at 718--543-5091.

Bronx District Attorney announces new appointees

Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced today the hiring of 7 new Assistant District Attorneys. The new ADAs began a one-week training program Monday, January 9th, 2012 under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Cari E. Ferreiro, Chief of Litigation Training. The intensive program combines courtroom observation with lectures in criminal court practice. The following is a list of the new Assistants and their law schools: Alec Colquhoun, Seton Hall University School of Law; Rasheim Donaldson, Wake Forest University School of Law; James E. Hartmann, University of Notre Dame Law School; Svetlana Kolomeyer, Brooklyn Law School; Robert J. Logan II, Pace University School of Law; Sahara M. Saint-Hubert, Southern University Law Center; Megan M. Teesdale, Rutgers University School of Law, Camden.

HIR to host tribute to MLK Jr.

On Monday January 16, 2012, at 7:00pm the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale - The Bayit (3700 Henry Hudson Parkway, Bronx, NY) will host an inspirational evening of song with Reverend Roger Hambrick and the Green Pastures Baptist Church Choir in tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Neshama Carlebach, acclaimed Jewish Spiritual singer, will be melding her melodies with the choir as well. New this year, the evening will open with a powerful presentation by Civil Rights activist Ben Chaney. Mr. Chaney

will describe the fate of his brother, James Chaney, who was murdered in 1964 by members of the Ku Klux Klan, along with Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, while advocating for African American rights during Freedom Summer in Mississippi. Mr. Chaney will reflect on seeking justice for his brother’s murder and on the power of African-American/ Jewish relations. Rabbi Avi Weiss, senior Rabbi at the Hebrew Institute says: ‘More than ever, the spirit of Dr. King is needed. In a world of intolerance we desperately seek harmony and unity and a powerful sense of common mission. Partnering with the gospel choir and hearing the music of both our heritages will no doubt be powerful. This year we are honored to integrate the music with an inspiring account of ongoing civil rights activism through the eyes of Ben Chaney.’ The evening usually attracts over 350 people. The evening will conclude at 9:30pm with hot soup and bagels. For more information please contact the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale at 718-796-4730.

Toastmasters Club invites new members

Bronx Toastmasters Club of Riverdale invites new members to join in at their free meeting on December 14 at 7:00 p.m. at the Riverdale Neighborhood House, 5521 Mosholu Avenue. Wouldn’t you like to communicate effectively? Now you can! Toastmasters will show you how to listen effectively, think on your feet, and speak confidently. You will learn valuable leadership skills-all in a supportive, non-intimidating environment. Come as a guest and witness for yourself what they accomplish. They meet every second and fourth Wednesday of the month. For further information, visit their website or call 718-796-6671.

Adoption support meeting scheduled

The Adoptive Parents Committee, a non-profit, all-volunteer informational and educational parent support group for couples and singles who have adopted, and for those seeking information about adoption, will hold a support group meeting on Wednesday, January 18 at 7:00 pm at the Riverdale Y, 5625 Arlington Avenue (off 256 St.). A guest speaker, attorney Michael Goldstein, specializes in domestic adoption. There will also be representatives of the adoption agency, Forever Families Thru Adoption, available. For information, contact 212-304-8479 or visit

Einstein orchestra to perform in concert

The Albert Einstein Symphony Orchestra, under conductor/music director Stephen Moshman, will present aconcert. The program will consist of Mozart’s Divertimento in D Major for Strings, K.136; Gordon Jacob’s Divertimento in E-flat Major for Wind Octet; and Haydn’s Symphony No. 44 in E minor (‘Trauersinfonie’). The performance will be held on Sunday, Jan. 15 at 2 p.m. at Robbins Auditorium, Forchheimer Building, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue. Contributions suggested.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 12, 2012

Students invited to submit essays for Pro-Life contest

Thursday, January 12, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



Riverdale Chapter #1546 AARP will meet on Wednesday, January 18, 2012, 12:30 p.m. at the Riverdale Presbyterian Church located at 4765 Henry Hudson Parkway West. At their first meeting of the New Year they will be entertained by the wonderful Joe Salvatore. He is a saxophonist and singer with his Broadway tunes. He has performed all over the world in addition to the United States with all the leading bands. The community is invited to join in with refreshments. For additional information, call Manfred Segal at l-718549-0088.

Senator Espaillat to speak at KCI

The Kingsbridge Center of Israel (KCI) will present State Senator Adriano Espaillat, serving Riverdale, Inwood, and Washington Heights, reporting on his recent visit to Israel. He will be joined by State Senator Gustavo Rivera, serving the Kingsbridge area. Each will give his views on the current legislative session in Albany dealing with housing, health care, and more.

The event will be held on Thursday, January 19, 2012, 7:30 p.m., Kingsbridge Center of Israel, 3115 Corlear Avenue (West 231st Street). Question and answer period. Refreshments will be served. Get to meet your state senators. For more information, please call Ben Schachter - 212-544-0173.

Riv. Temple-WRJ to hold Card Party

Riverdale Temple-WRJ invites you to take a break during this hectic holiday season and join us at our Annual Card Party on Sunday, January 15th, 2012 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM at Riverdale Temple, 4545 Independence Avenue, Riverdale, NY 10471. Among the card games that can be enjoyed are bridge, gin rummy, poker, etc. as well as board games like Scrabble and mah jong. For those who wish to play mah jong or other board games, you are advised to bring your own sets. Men and women in the community and of course your friends, are invited to come and enjoy the afternoon. Refreshments will be served, raffles will be sold and door prizes will be given out. Admission for the afternoon is $12.00 in advance or $15.00 at the door. Please indi-

cate how many people will be in your party. Checks can be made payable to Riverdale Temple-WRJ and mailed to the Temple at 4545 Independence Avenue, Riverdale, NY 10471, Attention: Dorothy Kay. You can also pay on-line at: www.RiverdaleTemple. org. So call your friends and get a table or two together. Anyone who comes alone will find a partner to play with. In order that we can reserve a table for you, please RSVP by calling Debbie at 718-548-3800 ext. 1 or e-mailing

Shaarei Shalom offers class on Maimonides

The new year brings a new ‘semester’ of learning at Congregation Shaarei Shalom as its Wednesday Evening Study Group begins studying the work of Maimonides on January 18, at 7:00 p.m. Maimonides is considered by many to have been the greatest Jewish scholar and codifier of all time. Enormously influential in his own time (12th Century) his thinking and decisions continue to impact all of the branches of Judaism to this day. The text will be, A Maimonides Reader (Library of Jewish Studies) [Paperback] by Isadore Twersky, Editor. Isadore Twersky was an Orthodox rabbi and the Nathan

Littauer Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy at Harvard University. He was an internationally recognized authority on Rabbinic literature and Jewish philosophy and especially known as an expert on Maimonides. The book is easily available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon via their websites or bookstores or many other book seller outlets. As is always the case, there are no prerequisites required to participate in this class; all are welcome! This newest course in the congregation’s Wednesday evening programming will be held in the synagogueÅfs conference room at 5919 Riverdale Avenue. Participation is open to the entire community at no charge. Congregation Shaarei Shalom is a Reform Jewish synagogue. It offers a contemporary and participatory worship experience and prides itself on its inclusiveness of all members of the Riverdale community, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, race, age, or creed. It is dedicated to embracing the diversity within the Reform Jewish movement. To learn more about the congregation, this course, weekly Shabbat services, membership, its religious school, and many program offerings, please call (718) 796-0305 or e-mail: shaareishalomriverda or visit its website at www.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 12, 2012

Riverdale AARP Chapter to meet

Thursday, January 12, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Conflict of Interest at KRVCDC

It’s hard to recall a time when we weren’t critical of the Kingsbridge/ Riverdale/Van Cortlandt Development Corporation (KRVCDC). For years they sat on their hands and allowed the business community in the northwest Bronx to stagnate with their “can’t do” attitude. But now we can look back on those days of inactivity as almost the “good old days.” That is because while nothing was being accomplished, they also were not directly causing harm to our communities. But now that the KRVCDC board has been hijacked by a political clique with a questionable agenda, every action they take demands full scrutiny. Readers know of our long-time concern about the development of the parking field at West 230th Street and Broadway as a future shopping center and office complex. We have long been distressed by the slow pace of the project and the many false starts that have occurred. Now an issue, one which we felt had been resolved in the past, has reared its ugly head once again. There were those who tried to take this unique commercial space and add a housing component. This was decided to be a wrong-headed approach. Housing atop a shopping center that lies between one of the region’s most congested and polluted highways, The Major Deegan, and the ancient rumbling Broadway elevated train, would not be an asset. Nothing has changed that would mitigate those negative conditions that led to the rejection of previous plans for housing there. But yet, we see the KRVCDC pushing for housing. Now we can have an honest disagreement over this matter, but let’s start with an honest approach. It has been learned that as they have been advocating for this controversial and previously rejected approach, KRVCDC has partnered with a developer that seeks to bring housing to the site. What’s in it for KRVCDC? They aim for a lucrative contract to administer the housing that will bring in perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars into KRVCDC coffers. Full disclosure would seem to be required here. They are advocating for a position that many feel will cause grievous harm to the community, further straining transportation, educational and social service resources. All so the “development corporation” can further develop monetary resources to achieve their political ends. Why can’t they tell the truth and admit that their position is compromised by their financial stake in a proposal that would financially benefit their organization? Building housing on this site was a bad idea years ago, and it is a worse idea now that we know that the interests of the community will take a back seat to the financial interests of the politicians at the development corporation. Now that we know of this conflict of interest, we cannot remain silent and let the profiteers walk over the public interest.

In and Out in the Obama Administration

We are pleased that Riverdalian Jacob Lew has been promoted to Chief of Staff to the President of the United States. This is a welldeserved promotion for a highly regarded official. But more than local pride we are pleased that a strong and unyielding supporter of Israel will have the ear of the president. Mr. Obama’s policies in the middle east have friends of Israel, our only reliable, democratic ally in the region, uncomfortable to say the least. Perhaps Mr. Lew can help right the ship of state. As Mr. Lew moves up, we are similarly pleased that former Borough President Adolfo Carrion is finally moving out of his job as Regional Director of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Scarred by scandal, this is the second post he has left under a cloud. And this newspaper, above all others, can honestly say, “we told you so!”

P.S. 24 teachers need protection; and a free press!

To The Editor: The following letter was published in last week’s Riverdale Press. It concerns the attacks directed at you and your paper by Cliff Stanton, an executive board member of the P.S. 24 Parents Association, and his cohorts. I believe your readers will find it very interesting and informative.

I am writing in response to “Parents target PS 24’s critics,” printed on Dec. 8, which had the sub-heading, “They’re irate over anonymous leaks to newspaper.” That newspaper is the Riverdale Review, published and edited by my good friend Andy Wolf. His passion for many years has been the improvement of public education. His credentials in this field are exceptional. I happen to be extremely well qualified to comment upon this particular story based upon both my experience as an elementary school teacher for more than 29 years, from 1962 to 1991, and my political involvement not only in

regular elective politics but in school board politics, both here in District 10 (where I ran for the school board twice), and in District 12 where I taught and blew the whistle on two different principals. Most parents have no concept of how political and corrupt the school system is. It is replete with patronage and favoritism. And few people realize how much power a school principal has over individual teachers notwithstanding the UFT contract’s grievance procedure which unfortunately is stacked against the teacher. Principals are, in effect, dictators. And while some are benevolent, they still have the power to make life extremely difficult for teachers who disagree with them or who actually dare to file a grievance. The following are some common ways principals can and do exact retribution on teachers: 1) Giving them a class filled with disruptive children. 2) Giving a teacher a class on a grade level he/she is not particularly quali-

ANDREW WOLF, Editor and Publisher

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CECILIA McNALLY Office Manager MIAWLING LAM Associate Editor

STAFF: Robert Lebowitz, Brendan McHugh, Richard Reay, Paulette Schneider, Lloyd Ultan, Daniel R. Wolf

fied to teach. 3) Giving a teacher a particularly lousy cluster schedule. 4) Making it very difficult to obtain an out-of-classroom position. 5) Intentionally becoming extremely picky with your lessons plans. 6) Intentionally subjecting you to an inordinate number of observations. 7) Intentionally giving you an educationally uncalled for unsatisfactory (U) rating, which although later overturned, can cause extreme anguish and emotional pain. The methods by which the two principals referred to previously tried to exact retribution upon me were unique. The first principal actually abolished my gym cluster position (for educational reasons, naturally) and tried to punish me by giving me a sixth-grade class composed predominately of holdovers and disruptive children. This principal, who didn’t know his butt from his elbow about education or running a school, was eventually denied tenure. And I played a very active role in the process of ousting him as principal. The second principal tried to prevent me from taking my grievance as an out-of-classroom teacher to the third step by forming a new fifth-grade class (four months into the school year), removing me from my position as a Title I math teacher and installing me as the teacher of this new class. This clever, vindictive move would have made my grievContinued on Page 19

Continued from Page 18 ance moot since I would no longer be an out-of-classroom teacher. To make a long story short, I outmaneuvered him, the class was never formed and I eventually won my grievance. Shortly afterwards, I took documented proof of his violations of federal Title I regulations to the New York Daily News, which published the story. The principal retired at the end of the school year. Every principal (including Donna Connelly of PS 24) can, for six hours and 20 minutes every school day, make the life of a teacher a living hell, which Cliff Stanton and all the other members of the executive board of the PS 24 Parents’ Association very well know. That is why teachers who “leak” information to Mr. Wolf and the Riverdale Review understandably remain anonymous and do not want their names revealed. They aren’t stupid — they’re fearful! They know damn well that Ms. Connelly would make their lives miserable. And contrary to Mr. Stanton’s repeated and false assertions, these so-called “disgruntled” teachers do not number just a “few.” These teachers number “many,” as reflected by the Dept. of Education school environmental study, which gave Ms. Connelly a grade of D last year and F the

Immigration workshop at CMSV

The college’s Institute for Immigrant Concerns in Manhattan will offer a free immigration workshop this Thursday, January 12, from 6 to 9 p.m. at 4 West 43rd Street, 5th floor. The workshop will enable attendees to speak privately with an immigration attorney. To register, call Fernando at 212-421-9538. For more information about the institute, visit The School of Professional and Continuing Studies begins its Winning Wednesdays career advice workshops this week. Workshops offering professional tips on resume writing, hiring trends and interviewing skills are held on the first Wednesday of each month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Events are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required. This Wednesday, January 11, presenter Pamela Judd will address confidence and image with interactive discussions of wardrobe choices and nonverbal communication. Judd is president of Make Me Proud of You, Inc. and founder of The Confidence Project, which helps people communicate with clarity, confidence and civility in the workplace. To reserve a spot, email Christine Leake at 718-405-3269 or christine.

year before. These grades are mathematical proof that “most” of PS 24’s teachers — not just a “few” as Cliff Stanton erroneously claims have expressed deep displeasure with their principal. Now let me delve into the real reason(s) I think Mr. Stanton and his cohorts are out to punish Mr. Wolf and protect Ms. Connelly. It certainly has nothing to do with education, that’s just a subterfuge on their part. I would speculate that their motivation consists of one or more of the following: 1) Mr. Stanton and his group receive (and wish to continue to receive) favorable and preferential treatment for their children with regards to the classes into which their children are promoted and any special programs that come into being. 2) There is lax oversight of PA funds by the principal (which Mr. Stanton wishes to continue) that enables “hanky panky” in the use of such monies. There have been many cases over the years in New York City where not only were PA funds used for luncheons, dinners, outings and trips for executive board members who control the funds, but where funds were actually embezzled. 3) The actual motive has actually nothing to do with PS 24, but has everything to do with Mr. Stanton trying to put the Riverdale Review out of business because of Mr. Wolf’s many disparaging (but highly accurate) commentaries about Mr. Stanton’s buddy, the would-be Councilman Tony Cassino. To sum up: Mr. Stanton’s attacks on Mr. Wolf, the Riverdale Review, and those brave anonymous teachers of PS 24 are not credible. He speaks with a forked tongue. He is not to be believed. Alvin Gordon

Redlining the middle class

To The Editor: Many years ago, the insurance companies lobbied Albany to change the South Bronx from 161st Street to Pelham Parkway. This put everyone living in, for example, Morris Park in the South Bronx and would have created higher premiums. With the cost of living continuing to keep going up, is it possible for our lawmakers to get this taken care of? Also, one other factor, if I bring back a leased car with less mileage than was initially allowed, why doesn’t the car company pay me 20 cents for every mile that I didn’t use? This will give us back some of the integrity that has been absent in Albany. Joseph Falardo

19 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 12, 2012

P.S. 24 teachers need protection; and a free press!

Thursday, January 12, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Riverdale Review, January 12, 2012  

Weekly newspaper published in Riverdale, NY 10471.