Downtown Ramsey Fall 2018

Page 1



BACK TO SCHOOL Profiles of a Ramsey Grad

JUSTIN LEONARD RAISED on Basketball LIVIN’ in Ramsey

Actor, Director & Instructor

GEOFFREY CANTOR Creativity is Happiness FALL 2018

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FALL2018 #19 THE

Lady Rams Return

p. 22

+ Justin Leonard p. 10 Geoffrey Cantor p. 46 06



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Print. Online.

social. Video.

We’re More Than Just Your Hometown Magazine. We’re a unique publication that reaches across many media platforms. At a time of unparalleled media perspectives, we’re on top of it. We’re on top of all of it.


our website


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twitter @DowntownRamsey

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youtube View our business spotlight videos at our website, or at on the Downtown Ramsey Magazine page

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Albert Stampone Managing Editor Lauren DePaul Schreiber 4 Sales Director Jen Socci Senior Writer Dr. Matthew J. Murphy 4 Contributing Writers Molly Becher, Betsy Sabatini Coyne, Danielle Fowler, Katie Checkley Greulich, Anne Roswell Director of Photography Kat Yannalfo Contributing Photographer Amy Ledlow E-mail All contents © 2018 by The Stampone Publishing Company, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any part of this publication without permission is strictly prohibited. While every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that all information was accurate as of the publication date, The Stampone Publishing Company, LLC, and its employees, agents, clients and distributors shall not be liable for any damages arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this publication, or from omissions to this publication. The next issue of Downtown Ramsey magazine will be published in November.



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& THAT THIS Around Our Town

Big Game Player A lifelong love of basketball put Justin Leonard on the path to entrepreneurship and success.


FALL 2018


Lauren DePaul Schreiber

Kat Yannalfo



Around Our Town

h HE’S ON A mission to fill every gym and outdoor court around the world with people playing the sport he loves. In fact, Justin Leonard has spent his entire career searching for ways to share his love of basketball with others. The founder of Game Seven, a marketing company for brands that target the basketball consumer, Justin loves Ramsey almost as much as he loves hoops! DOWNTOWN RAMSEY: Did you always know that you wanted to pursue a career involving the game? JUSTIN: I was in the business program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), and while I was there I had internships on Wall Street. I thought that was what I would like to do one day. After a few of those, I realized it wasn’t for me and that I was destined for something else. After college, I dove right into the world of basketball. I worked for a company called Hoop Group. They run basketball camps and tournaments all around the country. My first summer after college, I was 12

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Justin with his sons Damian (left) and Julien in New York City.

Around Our Town

running camps with players from the Nets and Knicks like Kerry Kittles and Stephon Marbury, which was really pretty great. I knew I didn’t want to run camps my whole life, but I did know I always wanted to be in the world of basketball. I knew that if I was around the game it would take me where I wanted to go. After that, I worked at a place called Basketball City. They run youth basketball programs around New York City. While I was there, I met some really great people and a few of us decided to start a magazine called Bounce in 2002. What was Bounce all about? Bounce was really the first of its kind. It was a playground basketball magazine. It was dedicated to what we knew about the world of basketball—but all below the NBA. It was all about grassroots New York City basketball— summer tournaments and leagues. At the time, street ball was just getting to be big. Did you know anything about magazine publishing? No! [Laughs] I just dove in head first and learned the 14

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publishing world from the ground up. We started off with the traditional model of advertisers and subscribers, but switched from that to a way that worked better for us. We brought Bounce to the iconic basketball locations around the country like Rucker Park in Harlem, Dyckman Playground in Washington Heights and Venice Beach in L.A. We took the magazine and brought it to the basketball player. That’s impressive. What happened next? After a few years, I went to work for a magazine called Dime—a dime is an assist in basketball. Dime was a lifestyle basketball magazine. It centered around the NBA, but its content was focused on everything off the court. We shot players in their houses or with their cars, not in their uniforms. Dime wound up acquiring Bounce, so I published both magazines for a few years. During this time, we did a lot of consulting work for big advertising agencies and they would tap us for our insights into the world of basketball—both in the market and with the basketball consumer. I realized that there was

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Around Our Town

On the roof of the Game Seven Marketing headquarters in Brooklyn.


Justin enjoys a little downtime on the set of LeBron James’ HBO barbershop talk show, The Shop. Also pictured is a guy who looks an awful lot like LeBron (right), and LeBron’s business partner Paul Rivera.


the approach to the work the same. Our goal is to always have the best ideas and concepts out there, but to always remain authentic to the work we’re doing. We took our original formula that we used in the world of basketball and scaled it for other sports. We have a very broad range of services.

really a void in the marketspace for an authentic marketing company that can create a concept and also bring a great idea to market. I transitioned from the publishing world into the agency world that I still live in today. How did you fill that void? In 2010, I founded Game Seven Marketing with my younger brother, Matt. Our headquarters are in Brooklyn. We also have offices in Culver City, Calif., and Portland, Ore. Our production warehouse is in Midland Park. Today, we have around 50 fulltime employees across all those locations. We specialize in sports culture. Given our roots in basketball in New York City, we’re the foremost experts in that area. When we first started, none of us had any “traditional” agency experience, but we knew the market, the consumer and the product better than anyone. So you learned as you went along? Even to this day, as we branch out beyond basketball, we keep 16

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Who are your clients? For the last eight years we’ve done all the events for NBA All-Star Weekend. Our biggest clients are Nike, Brand Jordan, Beats by Dre and Foot Locker. We also work with a lot of pro athletes like LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant. It must be fun to work with so many famous athletes. Do you have a favorite NBA team? Unfortunately, my favorite team is the New York Knicks, so I’m kind of on sabbatical now because they’ve been so atrocious for such a long time! [Laughs] I’m a big LeBron fan. Is there anything new going on now at Game Seven that you can share with us? We’ve created our own brand lab where we’re putting a big focus on creating and owning some of our own intellectual property. Raised and Go Hoop Day are two things that fall within that area.

50% Off First Haircut or Color Service! Runway Blowout Lounge is now under new ownership. The new owners are Jason Morvan and Vincent Manzella, cousins who come from a long line of hairdressers. Jason and Vincent have over 40 years of experience in the hair industry, combined. Jason owns Hair Dynamics Salon in Fort Lee and Vincent owns Vincent Van Zandt Salon in Franklin Lakes. In January, they teamed up to buy Runway Blowout Lounge and transformed it into a full service salon. They now offer every hair and makeup service to fit a client’s needs!

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Around Our Town


FALL 2018

What is Raised? Raised began as an art show that I curated in February 2015 when NBA All-Star Weekend came to New York City. It was an outdoor art gallery paying tribute to basketball. The title of the show was “Raised” and its tagline was “Born in Springfield but Raised in New York.” While basketball was invented and has its roots in Springfield, Mass., New York City has had a tremendous influence on the sport as we know it today. What inspired you to do that? The show was borne out of some of the frustration I was feeling about where I was during that time. As an agency, Game Seven has an idea and creates a concept. But we’re in the service industry, so at the end of the day our clients dictate what happens and what doesn’t happen. I’ve been doing this for a really long time and I have a million and one ideas. This show was the first time that I wanted to do this on my own and not have to answer to anyone on it. It was a true form of expression for me. And it evolved into a clothing line? Foot Locker approached me about taking the concept and DNA of Raised and turning it into a clothing brand, so we did. We’re on our fourth collection now. Foot Locker is our exclusive partner. The clothing is available online and in some retail stores in New York City and L.A., and it will continue to expand to other markets as we grow. We’re responsible for overall creative, concepting, design and manufacturing. That must be very satisfying. I love it. I’ve had three or four different clothing lines over the years. Obviously, it’s highly focused on basketball. It’s really about taking all of my experience and adding little bits and pieces to it,

and having total creative control over it. For me, that’s really fun and exciting. Our next Raised collection will drop in October. And what’s Go Hoop Day? It’s a day to celebrate basketball. We did it on June 23, and going forward it will be held on the fourth Saturday of every June. My partner and co-founder is Chris Paul, the point guard of the Houston Rockets. We’d been planning this for over two years. Go Hoop Day originated as part of a proposal we pitched to a potential client. When I stepped back from it, I realized how big this could be. I knew that I wanted to go forward with it. In my opinion, basketball is really becoming the global sport of choice. When we surveyed the landscape, we realized that a day to celebrate the game didn’t exist. It’s a huge landscape, but it doesn’t have its own day. Our vision was to create one day where everyone who loves the game goes out and plays it. Our goal is to fill every gym and court around the world. Whether playing pickup with your friends or shooting around in your driveway, Go Hoop Day is about celebrating the sport we all love. We also partnered with Spalding to give away 5,000 basketballs! What brought you to Ramsey? I grew up not far from here in Dumont. I went to high school at Don Bosco and played basketball for them. I knew I liked Ramsey from my days at Don Bosco. When my wife Vanessa and I were looking at towns in which to raise our boys Julien, 12, and Damian, 9, we focused on Ramsey because of its school system and the fact that it had a great downtown area. When the Realtor showed us our house in 2012, there was a dad playing basketball with his son in the driveway right next door, so that pretty much sold me. [Laughs] f WWW.STAMPONEPUBLISHING.COM


Around Our Town


Jim Grasso with Mike Cirilli, Ramsey High School Class of 2016, on Signing Day two years ago when Mike signed his letter of intent to play college baseball.

James J. Grasso Ramsey High School’s beloved and respected athletic director. 1964-2018


ELEBRATING THE CHAMPIONSHIPS, but also the defeats. He was here for the good and bad times, never failing to make a funny remark or two in between. Our athletic director, Jim Grasso, was one of the most influential people I met during my four years at Ramsey High School. After playing soccer and golf for Ramsey, I learned that Mr. Grasso followed every single sport down to the exact score, even golf. He was a man of great knowledge and experience, and was certainly not afraid to tell you all about it when you stepped into his office. I attended many board of education meetings as the Student Congress President, where I would read from a script about upcoming events. But I always ended up talking mostly about sports. Mr. Grasso would email me the report


FALL 2018


Caylie Landau Ramsey High School Class of 2018

every Tuesday and it would be the longest “little blurb” you have ever seen. He loved to brag about our athletic accomplishments more than anything. Mr. Grasso created #GoRams, our new hashtag that expresses the sincere pride of Ramsey. We’re going to miss Jim Grasso more than we can express. He has left an indelible mark on so many lives. His legacy will carry on forever within our athletic successes, our hallways at Ramsey High School, and in many other ways. Ramsey will not be the same without Jim Grasso’s love for sports and the students. He will always be our #1 fan. f

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Around Our Town

Ready Position It’s back to the court for the Ramsey High School Girls Varsity Volleyball team! 22

FALL 2018

THIS UP AND coming program has arrived! Last year, the Lady Rams volleyball team qualified for, and advanced in, the State and County tournaments for the first time in over a decade. This year,

behind the leadership of captains Deirdre Corrigan, Emma Eide and Jacqueline Kalksma, the team expects and demands more. Eileen Cronin, Kylie Featherstone, Aislin Fine, Peyton Oliver

@ladyramsvb #TeamGrasso

and Sasha Penn will execute an explosive offense. Ava Krenicki and Lauren Slovikowsky will keep the digs coming on defense. Maggie Bickerstaffe, Erica Grzybek, Emma Hali and Audrey Schlamp

round out this year’s impressive squad. Don’t miss the exciting Oct. 4 home game, at 7 p.m., when the Lady Rams look to compete for the League title for the first time since way back in 1996! f


Erica Grzybek, Emma Hali, Kylie Featherstone, Audrey Schlamp, Emma Eide, Aislin Fine, Jacqueline Kalksma, Peyton Oliver, Deirdre Corrigan, Ava Krenicki, Eileen Cronin, Maggie Bickerstaffe, Sasha Penn & Lauren Slovikowsky WWW.STAMPONEPUBLISHING.COM


"Putting Ramsey First" Choose Experience and Accomplishment !



A desirable community doesn’t just happen. Ramsey is a great community with a unique small-town feel. Preserving Ramsey’s strong sense of community is a never-ending responsibility for its leaders. The importance of electing Ramsey’s finest to lead the town cannot be overstated. Every day, their decisions shape the community and its future. Effective leaders have a sincere desire to serve in the best interests of their town, not themselves.

Re-Elect Mayor Deirdre Dillon Councilman Bill Jones Councilman Peter Kilman

We Will Continue… ! ! !

To maintain Ramsey’s unique sense of community. To listen to all of our residents and treat them with respect and dignity. To manage tax dollars effectively, while maximizing value and controlling spending.

To that end, we remain committed to "Putting Ramsey First"

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7 Expert Opinions

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FALL 2018

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Franklin 07446 500 North Fr anklin Turnpike, Turnpike, Suite Suite 104, Ramsey, Ramsey, NJ 0 7446 201-474-4011 20 1-474-4011 | Advisory Services offered through Kolinsky Wealth Management, LLC. an independent Registered Investment Advisor dvisor,, Securities offered through American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPCKolinsky Wealth Management, LLC. is not affiliated with American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc., Insurance Products offered through Kolinsky Financial Group, Inc. This material is for informational purposes only. Neither American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc., Kolinsky Wealth Management, LLC, nor its Representatives provide tax, legal or accounting advice. Please consult your own tax, legal or accounting professional before making any decisions.

7 Expert Opinions

Brought to You By


Excel Physical Therapy


700 C Lake Street 3 Ramsey 3 3 201-962-7454

READY, SET, TRI! WELCOME BACK, TRIATHELES! Hopefully, you’ve progressed into midseason form by now. But with all the training and racing, there’s a chance you’re experiencing some discomfort. Here’s a look at a few common complaints among local triathletes and our advice on how to remedy them.

To schedule an appointment at Excel’s Ramsey location, please call 201-962-7454, or you can visit for more information.



Q. My low back hurts when I openwater swim, but it doesn’t seem to bother me when I’m in the pool. Is this normal? A. It can be. When swimming in the pool, you frequently change your body position each time you reach the wall. Whether you’re pushing off the wall strongly or not—or flip turning or not— you draw your knees up towards your chest, introducing moments of flexion to your spine. When swimming in open water, this position change is lacking. Maintaining your horizontal swim posture typically causes the low back to extend regardless of wearing a wetsuit. During longer swims, soreness or tightness may become more noticeable. To help alleviate discomfort, do a simple stretch, even while in the water. During your rest break, while vertical or floating on your back, bring your knees into your chest and hold for a few seconds. Repeat until the tension eases in your low back. Permanent solutions to manage or prevent these symptoms include basic core stability exercises like planks, side planks, Pilates exercises, as well as stretching of the piriformis and hip flexors.

Q. It’s not cold out, but my foot goes numb as I ride my bike. Is this normal? A. No. There could be a number of reasons for foot numbness, but one common culprit is footwear. Sometimes adjusting your cleat position can make the difference. Excess pressure placed in an incorrect or tender area of your foot can cause numbness or tingling. Bike shoes are designed to be form fitting and snug, but a shoe that is too snug can produce tingling via a pseudo-tourniquet effect. Tingling in the foot can also be caused by other conditions, so it’s important to consult your doctor or your physical therapist if symptoms persist for more than a month, or they intensify. Q. I started doing track workouts to improve my speed, but now my hips are bothering me. Is this normal? A. It depends. There are a few reasons why this may be happening. Are you new to track workouts? Are you constantly running in the same direction? Are you over-striding? Have you previously done speed work? If you answered yes to any of these, that could be a precursor to hip or lower extremity discomfort. The track is great, but there’s an adjustment period when doing something new. Spend adequate time actively warming up and begin with shorter distance sprints such as straightaways. Don’t stretch your tight, cold muscles before your workout. There’s always the possibility of a muscular imbalance or inflexibility, which may need to be addressed if symptoms persist. f


Make this the healthiest season yet! As a company founded by 2 Ironman triathletes, EXCEL’s therapists understand the unique biomechanical considerations of triathletes and the sacrifices they make throughout a season. We appreciate their unwavering dedication and make it our mission to keep them training and competing, with consideration of both the short and long-term implications of any injury. Let our therapists KEEP YOU MOVING FORWARD


Fort Lee / Oakland / Hackensack / Waldwick W / Cresskill / Rutherford Tappan / Hoboken / Ramsey / Summit / Westfield Montvale / Mahwah / Old Ta

2018 edition



amy ledlow

30 f Downtown Ramsey f fall


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201.474.2181 f 119 East Main Street, Ramsey INSTAGRAM & FACEBOOK

IF YOU CAN believe it, it has already been one year since Board & Brush opened on Main Street! It’s hard to imagine a time before all of the beautiful and homemade signs that can be created at Ramsey’s DIY wood sign workshop began adorning countless rooms inside Ramsey’s homes. “Our first year in Ramsey has been amazing,” says owner Robin Hering (pictured above, seated, center). “We’re fortunate to have the loyal support of Ramsey and the surrounding communities. We’re also thankful for the local businesses who have brought their employees to B|b for team builders and customer appreciation events. Our guests often use local restaurants and markets for snacks and catering during work32

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shops. We love the vibrancy of this community and the symbiotic relationship we have with other local industries here. Main Street has given us great visibility. It’s wonderful to be right in the middle of the action during events like Ramsey Day and holiday parades. It has really been a great year.” Things at Board & Brush are about to get even better as Robin has big things planned for her second year in business. “We’re very excited about year two!” she says. “We will continue to give back by hosting one fundraiser a month, where we give 20% of the proceeds of a workshop to a 501c charity of the host’s choice. I feel it’s very important to give back to the community, which is why we also hosted a complimentary work-

shop for local foster parents this summer. We plan to make that a yearly tradition. We’re also excited to announce the opening of our second Board & Brush studio this fall in Rutherford!” Fall is a busy time of year, but it’s the perfect time to unleash your inner artist at Board & Brush. “We’re gearing up for our busiest season, as folks start thinking about Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations. We’ll be releasing a lot of new holiday designs on Oct. 1! These will be announced on our Facebook and Instagram pages.” What are you waiting for? Sign up today for a class. Pick your project workshop, or schedule your group reservation at f

Real instruction, no pressure

Flipper’s Fall Programming Flipper’s Gymnastics is now enrolling for Fall! Enroll for an 8-week session, half year, or the full school year! 69 Orchard Street, Ramsey 201-327-FLIP

Session Dates

September 17 - November 17, 21 November 19 - January 26 February 4 - April 2 April 6 - June 15

WE OFFER THE FOLLOWING TYPES OF CLASSES Beginner: Ages 5-7, 8-10 & 11-15 Intermediate: Ages 6-9, 8-10 & 11-15 Advanced: Ages 9 & Up Boys-Only Classes 3 Adult Classes Trampoline & Tumbling Classes (No bars, beam, or vault)

Join Us Sept. 15 to Celebrate

National Gymnastics Day! The day’s schedule includes...

Free Trials (1st-time customers only) Gym Tots (ages 18-24 months, adult participation required) – 9:00-9:30 Tiny Tumblers (ages 2-3½, adult participation required) – 9:30-10:00 Little Rockers (age 3½-4) – 10:00-10:45 3 Beginner Ages 5-7 – 10:00-11:00 Rockin’ Rollers (ages 4-5) – 10:45-11:30 3 Beginner Ages 8-10 – 11:00-12:00 Beginner Ages 11-15 – 11:30-12:30 ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED

Training Day!

Also on Sept. 15

(Open Workout/Play) 1:30-3:30

Come and work on your favorite skills! Each station is monitored by Flipper’s staff; participants are free to move around the stations as they choose. Cost is $25 for Flipper’s members, $30 for non-members. Call to reserve your spot!

Flipper’s Gymnastics is founded on the philosophy that you don’t have to compete to enjoy gymnastics. Real Instruction, No Pressure!

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Adam Sroczynski (EBiz Technologies), Suzanne Jahn (Jahn Real Estate), Jodi Reyes (Unity Bank), Jason Kolinsky (Kolinsky Wealth Management), Wendi Seelin (Star Tickets), Louise Van Osten (LVO Management Consulting), Marjorie Brower (Liberty Mutual), Michele Grimstad (Terrie O’Connor Realtors), Kat Yannalfo (Photography By SKY) & Derek Ralston (NCM Capital Management). FROM LEFT:


RAMSEY IS A wonderful town for all that it offers its residents—a superior school system, well-maintained parks and recreational fields, engaging activities for seniors, fine restaurants; the list goes on and on. At the same time, it’s also true that Ramsey represents an excellent opportunity for all businesses. The town’s convenient vicinity to major transportation and New York City, its highly-regarded Main Street shopping destination, and its favorable demographics and consumer base all make it a highly-desirable town in which to conduct business. The Ramsey Chamber of Commerce (RCC) was created to bring these two groups together, thereby connecting commerce and community. With approximately 150 affiliates, the RCC is a strong platform for all business owners—both small and large—to organize their voice, support local causes and sponsor annual events and fundraisers. Many of the benefits of becoming an RCC member revolve around networking and interacting with other local business owners and leaders in the community. For example, the RCC will help “launch” a new business with a formal grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony. This isn’t only for brick and mortar businesses in town, however; the chamber will also help coordinate grand openings for those compa34

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nies without a physical Ramsey location. These ceremonies will include invited guests of that business, as well as members of the RCC’s board, the borough council and, when possible, the town’s mayor. Once established as an RCC member, a Ramsey business also will benefit from greater brand exposure through RCC’s website and other promotions throughout the year such as blast emails, and posts on Facebook and other social media sites. Through its membership in the InterChamber Consortium, RCC members are also able to participate in various networking events held by other chambers in northern New Jersey. The RCC encourages participation in many community events such as Ramsey Day and the annual restaurant event, Taste of Ramsey. The Ramsey Chamber of Commerce is always looking for new members, as well as for those individuals who are interested in furthering the bond between the community and Ramsey businesses. If you’re interested in becoming a member, please reach out to f

Lenny DiTomaso

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Family of Ramsey’s Matt Watters, who appeared in Downtown Ramsey last year.




DANEEN AUGELLO GOT her first camera on her fifth birthday. “I guess you could say that was the start of something,” she admits. Well, it was the start of an obsession with documenting life and preserving memories for Daneen, who took photography classes at Ramsey High School before majoring in photography in college. “My creative philosophy for my portraits is to capture the true essence of the person I’m working with,” she says. “Even seven-day-old newborns have their own personality already, and I love to see and show that. I like to be still, quiet; to be a witness, waiting for the right moment.” Daneen believes that the right moment can tell the entire story when it comes to photography. She believes we connect with people through photographs in ways we can’t with words. “My ultimate goal is to create an image that truly resonates with others,” she says. “I want it to tell a real story, and to reflect what it is to be human. I want it to both show and create a connection.” Daneen specializes in newborn, lifestyle, child, baby, family and maternity photography in Bergen County, and surrounding areas. “I truly believe that you must like your photographer and share good energy in order to create beautiful photographs together,” she says. “I strive to create photographs that reveal the true essence of a person in that specific moment. 36

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201.739.6674 f INSTAGRAM @daneenaugello I believe a photograph shows everything in its realest form. You can’t lie to it, you can’t fake it. I also believe the act of creating photographs with people is incredibly intimate on multiple levels. For this reason, I need to connect with the person I’m working with in a real way. That connection, for me, is found through and obtained with energy.” Daneen says there is so much she

loves about what she does, including creating beautiful imagery, but what she loves the most is knowing that the captured moments that she helps create will be a part of a family forever. “The fact that a person in their twenties will have a full collection of images of what they looked like when they were 10 days old is amazing,” she says. “I love that I can be a storyteller of someone’s real life.” f 201.962.9755

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69 Orchard Street, Ramsey 201.327.FLIP INSTAGRAM


FLIPPER’S GYMNASTICS WAS founded on the philosophy that you don’t have to compete in order to enjoy gymnastics. Open for a year now, Flipper’s provides instruction using a skills-progression methodology, which teaches technique in the proper order. This, in turn, allows the body to adapt and strengthen, which reduces the risk of injury. Owner Debby Bassin (above) has been a gymnast for over 30 years, and has a great love for the sport. She created this space based on her experience. “I started dancing at age two, but didn’t start gymnastics until 12,” she says. “I was recruited for the high school varsity team in eighth grade based on my physical ability, having had no prior gymnastics training. I practiced gymnastics throughout college and even afterwards while living and working in Manhattan. After my husband and I moved to Mahwah and had children, I was officially a “stay-at-home mom,” but I worked part-time at a few different gymnastics-based jobs. I taught gymnastics and dance at The Little Gym and I ran the gymnastics program at Blue Rill Day Camp for eight years.” Debby was always motivated to go out on her own using 38

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Photo/Amy Ledlow



the gymnastics philosophy she developed over the years. It’s because of that personal philosophy that Debby is still able to spend time on the mat today. “I truly believe that I’m still able to tumble at my age because I didn’t wear out my body with competition,” she says. “Gymnastics is a sport that traditionally belongs to the young. But if you push too hard and overwork your body, you’ll incur injury after injury until your body says stop. I teach that gymnastics is good exercise, but also fun. You can make your body strong and learn new skills without overdoing it and hurting yourself longterm. I don’t want ours to be a gym that discourages those without natural ability, or focuses on a competitive team. There is no competition at Flipper’s. I progress each student at their own level and my goal is to see them leave here happy and having learned something new each week. Flipper’s is unique in this field in the fact there is no team. As a parent myself, I want children to leave here feeling valued and proud of what they’ve accomplished. We appeal to those who prefer a less stressful approach. Our motto is real instruction, no pressure!” f


RICHARD MUTI, DR. CAROLYN JOHNSON AND JASON FARRAR are proud to be in The Best of Ramsey issue. As the Mayoral and Ramsey Borough Council candidates, we are ready to work hard every day to make sure the future is bright for Ramsey. We love our: • Classic Main Street shopping and restaurants • Blue-ribbon schools • Wonderful town pool • Top-notch farmers’ market • Fantastic volunteer-run youth recreational sports leagues • Active senior community We’re running for one simple reason—we want to ensure that every hard-earned dollar you spend in taxes is maximized to make your life and our town better. This can only be done if there is reasonable, balanced debate on every issue in the council chambers—debate that represents every voice in Ramsey. With the current one-party government in Ramsey, this is just not happening. It’s time to change that equation to one that works better for everyone. Richard Muti has a history of service to our town and county. As our mayor from 2003–2006, and as a school board member from 2009–2015, Richard negotiated hard to control those budgets, so that we all enjoyed maximum services for the best price possible. Dr. Carolyn Johnson and Jason Farrar also have long histories of volunteering with many important organizations in Ramsey, and both have been small business owners in town. We know the value of hard work and how to watch every penny to make sure our money is used wisely. For full bios of the candidates,


best of






take the time to visit our website: Ramsey is the best, but we must strive to be even better. We have one of the only true Main Street destinations in northern Bergen County. We have to strengthen that asset. When businesses thrive, it lessens the burden on residential property owners. We can do both: support our seniors and our students.

We can make local government more transparent for everyone. We saved our movie theater. When we put our minds to it, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish. We help each other through storms, personal tragedies and hardships of every kind. That’s the true character of our hometown; that is our strength. We can do this together, and we ask for your vote on Nov. 6. f THE BEST OF RAMSEY


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Owner Vincent Manzell, Holly, Kylie, Caitlin, Amanda, Rob & owner Jason Morvan.



70 E. Main Street, Ramsey f 201.818.8901 INSTAGRAM @runwayblowoutlounge f FACEBOOK @runwayblowoutlounge


FALL 2018


RUNWAY BLOWOUT LOUNGE is where style meets luxury right here in Ramsey. Known for creating one-of-akind looks that fit each individual’s lifestyle and need, Runway has been a welcome addition to Main Street. When new owners Jason Morvan and Vincent Manzell took over the salon in January, they were very excited to bring their new ideas to Ramsey. With over 40 years of work in the hair industry, their combined experiences transformed the salon into a place of endless possibilities. “Main Street is such a great area for us to be in,” says Jason. “We’ve picked up a lot of new buzz since Vincent and I took over. We’re now a full service salon. We’re located in the heart of Ramsey, so it’s easy for people to come

here and have all of their needs met. We absolutely love the smalltown community and all that Ramsey has to offer.” Vincent, Jason and the entire Runway staff believe in featuring a fun, friendly atmosphere where all clients are treated to the same hair care services as a runway model or an A-list celebrity. Runway is a relaxed and comfortable place where all clients can be treated like a star for the day. In addition to all forms of hair care—including color, highlights, and keratin treatments—Runway offers makeup services. Next time you’re planning a night out on the town, or if you just want to pamper yourself, 70 East Main Street is your first stop. “At Runway, we provide a creative artistic style and attention to detail that crafts a tailored hair experience for each individual client,” says Vincent. This fall, Runway Blowout Lounge will continue to honor a very special offer—50% off to all new clients on their first haircut or color service. But that’s not all. “October is a very important month to us because it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month,” says Jason. “We will be offering pink hair extensions in October, and all of the proceeds will go to breast cancer foundations.” Stop in today for a consultation and you’ll soon feel ready to walk the runway! f

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29 Church Street, 2C 201.574.4997 INSTAGRAM/FACEBOOK

@learningloungeramsey PARENTS AND TEACHERS in Ramsey are helping their eager learners start the new school year the right way with lots of instruction, support and encouragement. The staff at Ramsey’s brand new Learning Lounge is all for that. And they want to help as well. An after-school center designed to help K-12 students and families, Learning Lounge was created and designed by local teachers and residents Jeff Grey, Jon Harvey, Victoria Balzano and Brandon Bovino. They’re people who know the school systems, the teachers, the expectations, the struggles and the needs of the local community. Jeff grew up in Upper Saddle River and is a former USR middle school math teacher and wrestling/baseball coach. He is a private tutor and an international tutor in New Zealand. Victoria grew up in Allendale and graduated from North Highlands and Montclair State University. She has coached middle school girls basketball. Brandon graduated from Northern Highlands and Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania. Jon currently teaches enrichment and STEM at Cavallini Middle School in Saddle River. He is also a private tutor. “With our experience,” says Jeff, “we know there is a huge need in the local area to help students who 42

FALL 2018



Jonathan Harvey, Brandon Bovino and Jeff Grey. Not pictured is Victoria Balzano.


are stressed for a variety of reasons. They might be struggling in school, too busy with sports, disinterested in school, have a fixed mindset, aren’t confident enough, etc. Well, there’s good news. We’re here to help!” Learning Lounge is much more than a typical learning center. They have an inside expertise of the local community. They know what students truly need in order to be successful in this area. They know the expectations and how stressful school can be on both students and parents. That’s why they offer unique services that promote independent learning skill sets. “Creating a learning environment that is stress-free and comfortable will empower students to learn more,” says Jeff. “Learning Lounge focuses on individuality. This is an educational site where students are the curriculum and there is zero time crunch. We take the stress off of students and parents with our convenient set-up. Our mission is to produce self-directed, learning skill sets that help students learn in all environments. We guide students to success rather than feed them answers. We want to be a part of our local community’s effort to educate our teens in the best way possible to create measurable short-term results and future success. Our enthusiastic mentors will serve every level learner in their content specialty. Our mission is to equip students with the skills to propel them forward to a happier, healthier and higher education!” f

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YouthSong’s Triple Threat Theater campers with actor Joseph Barbara (Broadway: A Bronx Tale, Grease, Jersey Boys)



Owner & Director Toni Bilotti Cecere OPPOSITE:

IF YOUR CHILD loves to perform, how do you find the right place for him or her to study? Sometimes, this process can be daunting, with many available options. What constitutes a “good fit?” You might seek out a place with the following qualities: 3

Where there is an understanding that no two students are alike. 3 Where students are looked at in a holistic way— developmentally, emotionally and socially. 3 Where there is an assessment of how a student best learns. 3 A student-centric approach to study that sets up success. 3 Small class size to optimize instruction and teachers get to know what makes each student “tick.” 3 Where teachers instill a love of music and teach that the power of music can make a real difference in the world. This place is YouthSong, quality music education through skill, knowledge and performance-based programs. Available in both private and group settings, 44

FALL 2018

YouthSong students employing Improv!

YouthSong teaches and celebrates performing for students at all levels, at any age, and in all styles. Borne to fill a need for complete, scientifically-based and dynamic training programs that would give performers a competitive edge across styles, YouthSong has been educating performers for over three decades. Course offerings include private lessons, classes and workshops, summer camps and intensives, industry connections, head shot days, and so much more. This year, YouthSong will form a new improv troupe that will host regular performances for friends and family, and in the community as well. Whether your child aspires to be on Broadway, or they see themselves as a pop star; whether they’re part of a community choir or they just want to play an instrument—or they’re just interested in pure selfenjoyment—youngsters will realize their potential, uniqueness, and artistry through the YouthSong experience. YouthSong creates results!

YOUTHSONG PROVIDES THE highest standards and produces excellent results. They’re proud to offer all of the following in one place: 3

Unparalleled dedication and belief in what they do.


Highly-credentialed instructors. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, these instructors use a “customized” approach that hones in on a student’s strengths—musical and otherwise—and builds from there.

3 Complete training in one place. Triple-threat training includes

singing, dance for musical theater, acting, summer intensives, and workshops in all aspects of theater. Students work on healthy technique, repertoire building and performance practice. YouthSong provides state-of-the-art equipment and expert piano accompaniment. 3

YouthSong is full time! “We’re not performers looking for something to do in-between gigs, or working on our own careers while trying to help you with yours,” says Toni. “We know the demands of this highly-competitive industry and we do whatever it takes to help students ‘win.’ ”

3 Connection to the industry and informed career advice. YouthSong connects students to casting calls, auditions, agent showcases and other opportunities. Special YouthSong programs include head-shot day, college prep, masterclasses, seminars with top industry professionals, and much more.




YouthSong changes the trajectory of students’ lives! This year alone, after encouraging and preparing students to submit arts supplements, several received substantial college scholarships. Two students received “full rides” to Northwestern and Villanova!


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Active community presence. Ramsey residents themselves, Toni and Gary Cecere have served the Ramsey community for nearly three decades. YouthSong singers performed at Ramsey Day. The first DARE Idol winner was a YouthSong student. Our singers have sung for major Ramsey events, including 9/11 tributes and July 4th celebrations, at Bergen County’s 350th Anniversary Gala and at Lord & Taylor’s Fashion Show.


Quantifiable track record. Many YouthSong students have had roles on Broadway, in commercials, on TV shows, and in print; some are rock stars; others are successful opera singers. YouthSong students win principal roles in their school musicals; dozens have gotten into top universities; all have exceeded their goals.


Comfortable, safe and convenient location. YouthSong is in residence at Don Bosco Prep and Academy of Saint Paul. f DOWNTOWN RAMSEY


Hcaanitl or! ,

actor, director and instructor geoffrey canto r has rubbed elbows with so me of the bigge st stars around. [h ello, george clooney and jos h brolin!] mayb e you’ve rubbed g eoffrey’s elbow s right here in r amsey!

Interview By Lauren DePaul Schreiber Photography by Kat Yannalfo / Fall 2018 Downtown Ramsey magazine / Page 47


TIME MACHINE. Or, shall we say, a play adapted from the h.g. wells novel the time machine. during the summer of 1973, while at summer camp in Maine, geoffrey cantor decided to write and direct his first play instead of partaking in a mandatory rainy day rest period. not a bad way to begin an exciting career dedicated to performing, is it?!)

And that continued through college? Until I got to college, I thought it would be a hobby. That all changed when I did West Side Story at Amherst. I played Action, and following a performance I received a handwritten letter from Len Berkman, the head of the Smith Drama Department at the time. In it, Len described my acting in terms that were unlike 48

FALL 2018 SUMMER 2017

----------------------------------anything anyone had ever said to me. He saw my commitment to the inner life of Action, and told me that when I was on stage, he couldn’t help but watch me. That was a really big moment. It was then that I decided to declare my major, and consider seriously pursuing acting as a career. I have told him since that I blame him entirely. [Laughs]


DOWNTOWN RAMSEY: Tell us all about that summer camp experience when you realized you might be on to something as a performer. GEOFFREY: It was my first role, and it was the lead in a staged version of The Time Machine. I was seven, and not only did I star in it, but I wrote it, directed it and produced it! Does that count? I don’t know if I knew I wanted to be an actor then as much as I knew I loved to act. I was also singing in choirs at school. I think my first real taste was when I was asked by Pascack Hills High School to join the chorus of Most Happy Fella as a townie. I was in 5th grade at the time and it was like being on Broadway to me.

You’ve played many characters over the years in both film and TV. Do you have a favorite? My favorite role is the one I’m playing right now. Whatever I’m currently working on, wherever my focus is, that is my favorite role. But when I look back, there are some standouts. I loved the role of Matt in Talley’s Folly, which was a stage role. I enjoyed


Tell us more about him. Ellison, like most of the characters I’ve played in the past few years, is a man of integrity. He’s a thoughtful, brash, no-nonsense guy with a job to do. He manages this pretty well, all things considered. He is also the perfect window through which the audience can view the superhero world. His reactions are precisely those that the viewer might have. He doesn’t know the secrets, but rather makes the best decisions he can based on the combination of the knowledge he has and his life experience. Now that I’ve completed the third season of Daredevil, and one season of The Punisher, I’m “in the middle of him” in the way that I’ve never experienced before. It’s an honor to get to be his voice, and have my voice come through so clearly. What’s your favorite thing about being an actor? It fully involves me on every level—emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually. There is nothing else that does that. And when you fully engage in the process, you learn empathy, you gain perspective and you discover things. You discover yourself, really, as you experience what you wouldn’t experience otherwise. We’ve got three words for you—the Coen brothers! You were in their 2016 film Hail, Caesar!, which starred George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson and Jonah Hill. What the heck was that like? The best part may be the fact that I was in a Coen brothers movie! [Laughs] Joel and Ethan are two of the smartest movie makers out there, and just to be in the room with them, even during an audition, is thrilling. Hail, Caesar! was my third time being seen by them. When did you audition for them previously? I first auditioned for the lead in their 2009 film, A Serious Man. I got a call back for a supporting role. I then


--------------------------------------------------playing Bernard in The Kill Point on Spike TV back in 2007. It offered a great opportunity to play a character with an arc over an eight-episode series. Raoul in One Last Thing was kinda fun—you’ll have to look that up! [Laughs] And Frank in the upcoming Netflix series Maniac, while in some ways was quite like other roles I’ve played, has some moments that are quite special. Of course, Ellison in Daredevil and The Punisher on Netflix is a wonderful role, and the first that I’ve been able to craft over a number of seasons. He is perhaps my favorite right now.

auditioned for a one-act that was part of a trio of plays in New York. They’re extremely supportive—like a two-person audience. They clearly enjoy watching actors say their words. While filming Hail, Caesar!, I remember one moment when we were working on the office scene with Josh Brolin. They direct in tandem, which was a very new experience for me, and they couldn’t agree on this one word in a line of dialogue. So they asked my opinion—the sort of tie-breaker vote. Talk about nerve-wracking! I was very diplomatic—read nervous—and said we could try it both ways, and they could pick which one they liked in the edit. Other fun facts about that movie: Josh Brolin drove me home after my first day. He had his own car on set and a house in Santa Monica. I was staying at the home of a director friend of mine, Steven Shill, so when I heard where he was headed, I asked for a lift. We chatted the whole way home. I also met Jonah Hill on that shoot, and had the good fortune to be paired up with him on Maniac, which is coming out on Netflix sometime this year. What’s Jonah like? He’s come a long way since Superbad. He’s really great to work with; he’s extremely collaborative. He always has so many projects going on at once, but he is incredibly focused and has a great understanding for what the directors are trying to achieve in each scene. All of my scenes in Maniac are with him. One day, we had on the same sneakers and it made me feel very hip since I’m old enough to be his uncle. [Laughs] And Emma Stone is in it, too. She is exactly how you would expect her to be—very effusive and warm, and always ready to give you a big hug. Where can we see you this fall? Daredevil and Maniac both hit Netflix in the autumn. If you can’t wait, and feel that you need to see me in something sooner, you can head over to IMDb. It lists everything I’ve done, and you can see most of them on Amazon. I finished a short film in June and worked on another over the summer. I was also just cast in a play, my first since 2014, called My Parsifal Conductor, a Wagnerian comedy by EmmyWWW.STAMPONEPUBLISHING.COM


You’re hired! But wait. Can we see a resume? I’ll try to get one to you as soon as possible. But I can get you a teaching or directing resume when I get home. Yes, it’s true. I’m also a teacher and director. These aspects of my creative life began at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. I attended the National Theater Institute in the autumn of 1982. One of my teachers, Michael Posnick, who would become head of the drama department at Manhattanville College, was teaching one of the acting classes, and over lunch one day, asked me how long I’d wanted to be a director. I was actually insulted—my young-man-actor-ego was on full display! [Laughs] But he saw something in me and the way I presented my work in class, and recognized that it reflected a broader vision of the work. He then recommended me for a job at the National Youth Theater Institute that summer. I was a counselor and acting teacher, and I realized that I had both a knack for and a love of teaching and directing. Flash forward a few years, and I began coaching privately, mostly professional working actors, and directing occasionally. Michael was right. As I am a full-time actor, my students appreciate the fact that I work, and that I can directly relate to their experiences. Tell us your Ramsey story. My wife Cat and I came to Ramsey 14 years ago. We’d been living in Chestnut Ridge, but my sister was here with her three kids. We would visit a lot; we really liked the town. We enjoyed Ramsey Day, the fireworks and all the restaurants. We bought a house on the street where they lived, and the rest, as they say, is history. 52

FALL 2018

----------------------------------What do you like about living in Ramsey? We’re great friends with my sister and her family, so that’s a real plus. I really love the ease of the town. We’ve got everything we need; great restaurants like Gao, Tawara, Ronnie G’s, Bobcat’s Texas BBQ, Brady’s and, of course, Café Panache. There’s a train, a Starbucks with a dry cleaner next door, Steve’s Market, nice neighbors and our own movie theater. I’ve even gotten used to the commute! [Laughs]


award winning playwight Allan Leicht, directed by Robert Kaflin and produced by the award-winning Directors Company. The first preview is Sept. 25; the opening is scheduled for Oct. 10 at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater, West Side YMCA, in Manhattan. Other than that, I’ll do what most actors do when they aren’t in something—look for work! Maybe I could write for Downtown Ramsey magazine. I have a computer! [Laughs]

What’s your favorite thing to do in town? One of my favorite things to do— besides eating—is hosting the Ramsey Wind Symphony in Finch Park before the fireworks on the 4th of July. Ramsey is so fortunate to have its own wind symphony, and the town does a wonderful job every year. The park is full, the fireworks are awesome and the music is great. This year, my band, Bobby and the Israelites, played before the wind symphony. I’m the singer. It was our first time playing out in my hometown and it made the day even more fun for me than usual. Have you ever thought about giving up on acting? No. I’ve never thought of giving it up. It’s not a job in the traditional sense. It’s a vocation. My brain is hard-wired that way. I look at everything through a creative lens. I’m not sure which came first. And more than any accolade, it’s the process that I love. I think it’s why I enjoy other creative pursuits as much as I do. f



acting fully involves me on every level— emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually. There is nothing else that does that.”




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e l l e i n a D


CRAIG Championing Social Causes & Creating Programs That Inspire Young People

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Lauren DePaul Schreiber



RAMSEY NATIVE Danielle Craig is on a mission to help shape young minds and to empower girls all around the world. A college professor of women’s studies, Danielle endeavors to influence a younger generation with positive messages through the unique programs that she offers. 58

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What drew you to women’s studies? Women’s studies is a field that examines the way we grow up experiencing gender, race, class and other social categories as they relate to systems of oppression. Furthermore, this work seeks social


DOWNTOWN RAMSEY: You’ve been an adjunct professor at three area schools—Ramapo College, William Paterson University and Fairleigh Dickinson University. Tell us about your women’s studies courses. DANIELLE: My favorite course is a one-of-a-kind course offered as a freshman seminar at Ramapo College. It’s called Women in Social Media. My students and I discuss major topics of global gender inequality revolving around body image, human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual harassment and politics—just to name a few. My students blog about these issues for homework, which I think is one of the coolest homework assignments a student could ask for.

justice, equality and empowerment for all groups of people who have been considered inferior physically, emotionally, socially, psychologically or spiritually. My pursuit of justice and compassion for humanity began as a child when I was a Girl Scout in Troop 738 in Ramsey, and an organization volunteer with disabled children. Championing social causes and having a childhood dream of teaching came full circle for me when I became an adjunct professor of women’s studies. You also design empowerment programs for young people. What sparked this idea for you? I was inspired to build empowerment programs for children and teens from my college courses. Body image, for example, was something I struggled with as a high-schooler. I didn’t have an outlet where I could discuss how I felt. My body image, which was strongly connected to self-identity at that age, was unfortunately built on idealized, Photoshopped images of women in magazines, billboards and movies. Today, kids have WWW.STAMPONEPUBLISHING.COM


Tell us more about it. I designed Girl Power: Compassionate Leadership for Girls to teach girls that they can be leaders and that they should lift one another up instead of competing against one another. I also wanted to address the gender stereotypes that boys deal with because they’re given significantly less attention, which is an injustice to boys. Boys need to know that they can and should have positive male role models in their lives that are strong, sensitive, empathetic, giving and kind, too. To serve boys in the community, I developed Be Your Own Superhero: A Boys’ Empowerment Program. My programs have great value not just because of their content, but because, to my understanding, these topics are not addressed in academic curriculum at school. All programs integrate guided discussion where children can process their experiences and thoughts with peers, and activities like art projects or acting skits. My programs serve elementary school students beginning with 2nd-graders, as well as middle school, high school, and college students. Are there any new programs you’re working on now that you’re especially excited about? Yes! I’m excited to announce a new girls’ program entitled Sheroes Through History: Role Models of Female Empowerment. I based this program off of a fantastic new children’s book called Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls. The other great news is that I’m developing a new boys’ empowerment program entitled The Villains of DC Comics: How The Bad Guys Teach Us Morality. A little boy who took my superhero program in the Ramsey Public Library three years ago asked me with eyes as wide as saucers if I had a workshop on the “bad guys.” I told him I thought it was a great idea and I would think about it. I hope to return to the Ramsey Library with this new program. 60

FALL 2017


the added bombardment of social media accounts where girls compete with over-sexualized selfies, and seeing advertising while they wait to view a YouTube video. These visuals are very powerful and suggestive to growing girls, and boys. By the time my students get to me in college, they likely have already formed some negative self-beliefs about their bodies or otherwise that I may or may not have much influence on changing. I thought it would be timely to reach children with positives messages while they’re still developing. And so, Girl Empowered Body Image was born.

That’s great! I’m constantly evolving my programs to mirror contemporary issues and trends that arise for youth, and thinking of new ideas that will interest kids and inspire them to learn important life lessons. You grew up in Ramsey and now live next door in Mahwah. Tell us your Ramsey story. I was a Ramsey resident for 30 years. It was a wonderful place to grow up. I have many fond memories of the Ramsey Theatre, the Ramsey Pool and Main Street. I will always have nostalgia for my home; I’ll remember my neighborhood with its little park, quiet streets and kind neighbors, and the stretch of woods in my back yard. If you look back at your time in the Ramsey schools, were there any teachers who steered you towards the path that you’re on? The first piece of literature I read about the female experience was Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour in Ms. Cicorria’s sophomore English class at Ramsey High School. I was so fascinated by this story set in the late 1800s about a woman feeling free after the news of her husband’s death. It made me question why she would feel relief instead of despair. It was the first introduction to this concept of people feeling trapped and oppressed because of who they were. I also have to credit Ms. Larson, my English teacher in my senior year, who told me I was a natural teacher and gifted writer. What are your goals for the future? I’d like to expand my programs into more schools, non-profits, organizations, companies, and hospitals to reach diverse populations of children. What is your greatest hope for girls growing up in today’s world? My greatest vision for girls growing up in all corners of the world in 2018 and beyond is to feel empowered, worthy, confident, capable, smart, strong and equal. f

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Our magazines provide interesting, informative, fun and positive coverage of everything that our readers care about including family life, town pride, the business community, our great schools, health and wellness, real estate, history, sports, plus much more. Our unique publications enjoy a large, loyal and enthusiastic readership. Combine that with the fact that they reach across many media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, and you’ve got a recipe for advertising success. never broke them, and my parents never ever had to remind me to wear them. When I was in 3rd grade, we moved and I had to start at a new school halfway through the year. On the first day in my new class, I overheard someone call me “four eyes”

you could find me dressed in head-to-toe flannel and my beloved Dr. Martens. Massachusetts preppiness merged with cold weather gear in my college closet, which was packed with LL Bean heavy wool sweaters, Holy Cross sweatshirts and duck boots. Life in the city was a mixed

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Know & Tell

Postcards To you BY Danielle


Rallying Around a Small Town


RIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. A school play. Relay for Life. Swim meets at the Ramsey Pool. Ramsey Day. Name an event that looks to draw a crowd in this town and you can bet your bottom dollar Ramsey students, their families, their teachers, and their friends, will arrive in full force. The first time I realized this notion of a Ramsey community was as a freshman in attendance at the 2009 Ramsey Football State Championship game against River Dell. It was a school night, but that didn’t matter to Ramsey fans young and old as they filled MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford to cheer on the Rams. Four years later, I would appreciate this even more as I noted more fans at regular season Ramsey football games than at my own university’s games. The next time I embraced this Ramsey support system was at the wake of a classmate’s father. The line stretched long and far out the door, and looped around the corner. Familiar faces, whether it be friends, classmates, parents, or other community members, were among those waiting to honor a prominent member of our community. Then came Relay for Life in 2013. It was my senior year and our committee was determined to make former Ramsey High School Principal Rich Lio the “million dollar man.” Since Ramsey Relay’s inception, Mr. Lio had been a part of


FALL 2018

fundraising efforts totaling close to $1 million for the American Cancer Society. One week prior to our big event, we had received the call that Mr. Lio had passed away after his long, brave battle with cancer. Our high school had never been more packed with people; all of them there to walk in honor of one of Ramsey’s most influential and respected leaders. Now, with the loss of our fearless athletic director, Jim Grasso, we have seen Team Grasso and the #RamTough community pull together more than ever. Through Team Grasso wristbands, fundraiser events, and jerseys adorned with extra Team Grasso pizzazz, our community came together to support Mr. Grasso, as well as each other, through another very difficult journey.

These moments never really escape your memory. Perhaps in their truest form, you just consider them a part of the Ramsey way, a part of the incredible tradition this town breeds. However, when you move away—when you leave Ramsey for another town, or a bigger city—you realize this kind of thing has shaped your character. You learned how to care for one another in Ramsey. You learned how to extend a lending hand. You learned how to rally around common ground in Ramsey. You learned how to support others outside your immediate realm of knowledge. You learned how to beam with pride for the place in which you grew up. Wherever life takes you, never lose that Ramsey charm. You’re all the better because of it. f


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Know & Tell

Preparing Our Students for a World of Change Continously striving to define the essential components of learning. BY

Dr. Matthew J. Murphy, Ed. D. Ramsey Superintendent of Schools



RAND NEW BACKPACKS, a full schedule of games, new outfits. Yes, fall is in the air and we couldn’t be happier! The beginning of every school year is notably marked by energy and eagerness. I join the esteemed Ramsey School District staff in welcoming more than 2,700 students back to our classrooms for the 2018-19 school year. We closed the books on 2017-18 by finalizing the highly-anticipated Profile of a Ramsey Graduate. This is the evolution of A Ramsey Student Will, and it follows a nationwide campaign to define the essential components of an education clearly. Beyond course requirements, test scores and other measurements that can be boiled down to bland numbers, our personalized Profile of a Ramsey Graduate addresses the ways students should be prepared for a world that will demand change again and again. A community survey helped build this shared vision based on Ramsey values and Ramsey priorities. The profile includes expected academic mastery in the arts, humanities, STEM and world languages. It also includes broad topics that cross academic disciplines such as adaptability (persisting when obstacles arise), collaboration (respectfully working with others toward

66 FALL 2018

a common goal), and critical thinking (using relevant information and effective reasoning to solve a problem). We have high standards for our graduates, and meeting them will require not just work by students, but guidance from the staff and support from the community. As fall gives way to winter, Ramsey voters will be asked to consider a $41.3 million borrowing plan that looks toward the current and future needs of our students. The bond referendum on Dec. 11 will seek funding for renovations that would impact every student, starting with security upgrades along the lines of Ramsey High School’s entrance vestibule. It also includes window replacements, roofing repairs, lighting upgrades and other improvements designed to protect the community’s investment in its school buildings. The proposal recognizes that even the best teachers and most determined students can’t overcome facilities that limit learning. At Smith Middle School, science rooms suffer from space, flexibility and equipment shortfalls that make it difficult for teachers to meet current national standards. At Smith and the high school, lauded co-curricular activities such as athletics and the music program face such space constraints that they can’t adequately serve the growing number of interested students. The high school’s media center is woefully outdated, but renovations could turn it into the school’s activity epicenter. A referendum committee of citizens and educators reviewed the entire district with two goals in mind: protect the community’s investment in its infrastructure, and in its student body. Both of these goals are tied to stable property values that benefit our entire community. Please look for opportunities to learn about the bond referendum between now and the Dec. 11 vote. With community support, we look forward to another year of achieving excellence one student at a time. f

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Maureen Weis Weir timonia e... Sales Associate SOLD ~ Sold Price:


SOLD ~ Sold Price: $315,000

RELY give an excellent rating. But Sean far exceeds all expectations. Here is the litany of things that made him a 5 star rating: HIGH e knows Weis the home buying industry lik e trust level - He never pu*licensed shed. AlwasayKristine s respondT.inGrieco g to my direction. Knowledge - *licensed He is a proas! H Maureen LD d00Price: $315,000SOLD ~ Sold Price: $315,000 ,000SOLD ~ Sold PSO rice ,0S 0ol fo: r~u5Ss. ERVICE - he is the epitome ody else. He navigated us through every single p of the process. He had the a5n0sw ers or got them of the customer service. Here again, ove d beyond! Went to inspections, was present when contractors needed to get into t he house, o was hi quality to work with attends the closing. NETWORK - His network is VAST! For every home need we had he had someone - meaning they worked fast, were e ctive, and their prices were always reason le to at I anticipated. They too went ove and ELY bgeivyeoannd.eSxc ll's entteR nagn.dgBu exc eidti snagall.reBu eto xptpeScnetati n. s. H eexp foth gasehre th dlieetany imlloaifn5th ra nt gem :H EtiLY ith vetoSse aenahenexcfar nt ew ra an far exc etidvisseath nas.yinsH inegsth thetian ast dIeGH imHaum 5 star othfaem .hTe g star m xt ephs. ble -rating: HIGH eaeIn aram weollrks th o tcoh Pr oaecre -llH elitany weactati s aolw eaaidts m y eolinkh"eo.mHeebeudyuin t leveH l -eH veart psuelf sh edot.rth Alw dpieu nhgshato yrv diaare KnndPa oinwtigledg e- hy- eH icsatiayospnro !dH nfo owresm-theHeaen hid osm bua!ynH in dqu ustr w sesti th trus lev eblua-tyH esdam . se A lw stirohenspo daiere ntioem wkeledg a epst ro oegthkienro cagteinddustry lik e haesngere w ns oerenespo gevoe.nrH nyct's ea. rt. eto nt m lw h. aK reolse vn edrayw gtele iStoElim elsem .H e nroauvgighaote uosedtyphro orfotake th ss. ers r ngoH ottebth ReVI th reu RneVI CE hech is the epitome nudt th ugehpth ero veecti reym sien,Hgreelechopagdnith visi oefnagthnth esw patro hueaym dath aunlls.sw em rs osreC gvoE ith- su hSoE Bo tto e, w e th cueg.sshHaeen agsnaw idllpiunsgth to zi Icdeooss. nfo derse re custo . oHf eeth enyeo orenodan!geWe uese ctibo s,now sthpare eto neatin wspe heanrl tragwu cato neseeth dtero dwuto getchtoiisntra to rshonM eyd,eodthto et in to t he house, aeinlse ,ntIto ovoienuspe rosv,eetrv etyno dre !aWe nntsS ctiecyoonntos, n hgehn er gfam ily am mer ser rv m protcchtoeess. inivceestm net aacgsuasto ainh,m ouese heircde.ibsH w ld dtrus m F idsrs epre iismsi nn etotw iosrth VAeR SvT! oerinsenvnye!ry rkwD w the closim neg. NeErTWO hrk omies VA neeSdT! weFhoar devheeryhahdom soemneeoendewe hoaw quPe aliete ty to waoory m on& eM a.sith two tte eHchlo go. .oNrk ETWO d ahsehhiad so 18a) lity to work with (h3i/20qu sah avnedRsuKsthe-d W eKry-FpH reeaiso toere aalw ate veo,rke and fast, theirwperirceees wecrtievaelw e da.nThe d y too went ove and eaning they worked fast, t Iaayns tirecaipso , aanydsth r pnricelse w n d. lThe e toy toaot w - meawneirnegethecytiw I eanntticipoavte d. Sean's team andbethyose ithaanre toopsenohtc oaw ctiith vea-reHto ew ysoaahcetiavde o- fHmeew . Te ngaymseath TeH lliunm g bmlee -the next steps. Hum ble ndh . eSewaonrks 's tew am d th e hw. oPr rks p ansoatclw h.aPr as llailw heean deoxtf m s great self worth bHuet n o.aH haw s oarth serv an hervaalnwt's ayhsehaart. d ti mtieefo the rfoqu esti ncoathteedr question". H e educated ho asegre t seelf bu t t's noheegaort. . HPa e ti hean s ta-se Pa ntr-m he alnwdays st haadntiom rm e oan"d. H estedau s envoetrybudyaya.nBo oughout the procemsse ath nd ineg ptorotake maes, w reiclloinggnito zintake g thatht eI ti do t bcuoygnainzidnse ll m holimnees, ewvieth rysu dacyh. Bottom li ne, with such row ugahs owuitllth cess th anedtiw mne,ore g llthhaot m I deo d setto r investment as a ahomuse,rth is neonton w,otuhld monree th an ISw eaonuld Fatrus rleytto gureidth e amneSth e ythorothuegrhfam thisily process. My other family inevrestm ase aelse houI se eretrus is tno else mo earo n uFgahrltehyistopro guciedss. e mM ers have used himmtoeo. W ) te & Mary D. (3/2018) Pete & Mary D. (3/2018Pe rth nyto ! o. Worth every penny! ersoh avevuesry edpheinm

917-572-5042 Re vie w rom C e.timon .. Retimon vie w ia rom 201-805-2164 ia e..C . 201-934-0600 O 201-934-0600 O

D ~ Sold Price: $610,000SOLD ~ Sold PSO LD SO LD rice : $~ 61S0ol ,0d00Price: $510,000SOLD ~ Sold P rice : $~51S0ol ,0d00Price:


45 East Main Street Ramsey, NJ 07446



Only in Ramsey

I Love This Town! When you bleed blue and gold, people know where you’re from. BY

Nakul Chadha


T’S HARD TO imagine that just two months ago I stood upon that grand podium outside Ramsey High School, valedictating to all of you; however, my journey to get there didn’t just begin a few days or months before the big day. In fact, my journey began the first time I set foot in Ramsey, back in 2010. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this random town would eventually become my home. Although a seemingly small town, I quickly realized that each square mile of Ramsey is filled with enormous ideas, personalities and friendships. Starting at Dater School, I developed close relationships with not only classmates, but teachers who showed me how the elements I had grown to love about Ramsey were all reflections of the caring people within the community. The same rang true through my high school career: Ramsey became less like a small town and more like a big family. Ramsey’s teachers taught us important life lessons alongside economics, calculus and English. Classes became fun bonding activities. But don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a total nerd; just like any other student, I liked to have fun, whether it be at football games or the movie theater, always sharing those moments with the community.


FALL 2018

Being Ramsey’s 2018 valedictorian was an incredible honor, and thinking back to graduation day, it still feels surreal. It gives me an immense amount of gratification to be able to make not only my family proud, but also my community. With such supportive classmates and encouraging teachers, writing a speech about them was almost effortless. One of my happiest moments was representing the student body in my valedictorian address, although words cannot capture the feeling as I shared that experience with our town. As you read this, the next exciting chapter of my life—attending the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering— will have already begun. I

plan on studying computer science, focusing specifically on artificial intelligence. I’m excited to explore my interests in a new part of the country, making new friends and celebrating with enthusiastic football game crowds. Despite the many excellent opportunities ahead of me, I can’t help but look nostalgically on my time in Ramsey. Although I will never again attend a Ramsey leadership camp, or eat lunch in the upper gym with my friends, I will never forget the wonderful memories we created together. It has been a privilege to live and work alongside so many of you and I look forward to the way we will all shape the future together. f

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