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Riverdale’s ONLY Locally Owned Newspaper!

Volume XX • Number 1 • January 3-9, 2013 •


PS 24 in violation of state law and city regulations By TESS McRAE P.S. 24 principal Donna Connelly allegedly violated both the state’s open meeting law and the school chancellor’s regulations when a reporter was asked to leave last month’s school leadership team meeting. The school leadership team, made up of parents, school administrators and faculty, meets monthly with the primary goal, according to the chancellor’s regulations, of developing the school’s Comprehensive Educational Plan and ensuring it is aligned with the school-based budget. Another Riverdale Review reporter was present at previous SLT meetings after presenting sections of the chancellor’s regulations to prove that the public was allowed to observe proceedings. However, during the December 18 meeting, Connelly and P.S. 24 interim acting assistant principal Emanuele “Manny” Verdi would not allow the media to stay. Just as the meeting was set to begin, Connelly asked to speak with the reporter outside for a moment. No other members were invited to join. “I spoke with the network head and they said press is absolutely not allowed in these meetings,” Connelly told the reporter in the hallway. The reporter responded by reminding Connelly and Verdi,

who had also joined the conversation, of the chancellor’s regulations, previously presented by another reporter. “I don’t remember anyone coming to a meeting and showing me documentation, and I didn’t ask you to leave the last meeting because I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to,” Connelly said. As of press time, P.S. 24 network team leader Robert Cohen had not returned more than a dozen phone calls and voicemails. Network leaders are considered mentors or advisors for their cluster of principals. They serve at the pleasure of the individual principals who can leave the network, removing income from that network if they go elsewhere. They cannot make decisions. Until recently, it was assumed that SLT meetings were closed to the public because P.S. 24’s bylaws do not explicitly state that they are open. However, official chancellor’s regulations state: “Notice of SLT meetings must be provided in a form consistent with the open meetings law.” P.S. 24 posts the date and time of SLT meetings on their school website but does not provide a location of the meeting. “My feeling is that they are supposed to be open upon request and that they aren’t just walk-in meetings,” SLT president Michael Bruckner said. “Dr. Connelly made a statement at the start of the

meeting that she had checked policy and because it was a decision-making meeting. I assumed she was right, but I think it’s appropriate to request what channel has to be followed. It does need to be clearer.” The New York open meetings law, in effect since 1977, is formatted to promote transparency and encourage public participation in government. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” said Robert Freeman, director of the Committee on Open Government. “The court of public opinion is significant, so when people are exposed to these types of meetings, good things will keep happening or bad things will stop happening.” But DOE spokesman David Pena even assumed the meetings were closed. “Those meetings are not open to the public,” he said initially. “I’ll check, but I was always under the impression that they are closed meetings.” Several hours later, Pena responded that the meetings are in fact open and subject to the open meetings law. “Generally, these meetings are open to the public except if an executive session is being held,” he wrote. The calling of an executive session rather than an open meeting is considered justified if the agenda Continued on Page 14

New technology allows commuters to track subway arrival times By MIAWLING LAM Local straphangers can track the arrival times of all trains on the No. 1 subway line, thanks to a new smartphone application released by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. MTA officials unveiled the much-anticipated MTA Subway Time app during a press conference last Friday. Under the free app, riders can access the real-time subway arrival times at 156 stations on seven of the city’s 24 routes—the No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 lines, as well as the 42nd Street shuttle. The program is an extension of the agency’s popular countdown clocks—a state-of-the-art signal system installed at a cost of more than $228 million over 11 years. Outgoing MTA chairman Joseph Lhota, who resigned from his post to run for mayor in this year’s citywide elections, said the app was a major win for riders. “This would have been unthinkable a generation ago, but now it’s a reality,” he said. “The days of rushing to a subway station only to find yourself waiting motionless in a state of uncertainty are coming to an end. “Now, you can know from the comfort of your home or office whether to hasten to the station or grab a cup of coffee as part of a leisurely walk.” MTA Subway Time will ini-

tially be available only on iPhones and iPads and in a desktop version online. However, officials said they would provide a live stream of arrival-time data in the hope that private developers produce similar apps to accommodate those with non-Apple devices. Community Board 8 traffic and transportation committee chair Daniel Padernacht said the changes would be “welcomed by the community and should make the commute for residents much more convenient.” Of the seven lines covered by the MTA Subway Time app, five travel through The Bronx. MTA board member and longtime Riverdale resident Charles Moerdler said he and fellow board member Fernando Ferrer have been lobbying for improvements to mass transit in The Bronx. “I think it is generally assumed that with two Bronx—indeed, Riverdale—residents on the board, and with neither of us being shy, The Bronx will no longer permit itself to be treated as second-class citizens,” he said. “With the added support of (other board members), I think we can move forward in the near future with Bronx projects, such as the four East Bronx railroad stations that Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has targeted as a high priority. We have certainly been outspoken on these and other Bronx issues and will continue that stance.”

MTA officials said arrival times for stations along the L line, which operates from Brooklyn to Manhattan, would be added to the app in six to 12 months. Arrival times at stations on the No. 7 route will most likely be available by 2016. However, it is not known when the rest of the subway network will be added to the program, as most lettered lines first need to upgrade their signal technology—a costly exercise.

Despite the limited availability, Gene Russianoff from the Straphangers Campaign, a riders’ advocacy group, welcomed the program. “I think it’s fantastic, exactly the kind of information riders want, and it will get them to use subways more often,” he said. MTA Subway Time comes a month after officials flicked the switch on a similar program for all 54 local and express bus routes in The Bronx. Like its subway counterpart,

the Bus Time program allows commuters to access bus arrival information and meet their bus— instead of waiting for it—by using their smartphone or computer. Straphangers can also view a map showing exactly where buses are along a particular route. The Bronx was the second borough to receive the Bus Time program. Officials aim to have real-time location details for all citywide bus routes by the end of 2013.

RELIEF FINALLY IN SIGHT: Contractors were spotted putting the finishing touches on the district headquarters and comfort station in Van Cortlandt Park on Wednesday morning. The single-story building has been under renovation since late 2009.

Thursday, January 3, 2013 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Commander of 50th Precinct receives promotion By MIAWLING LAM If history is any indication, Kevin Burke’s days as commanding officer at the 50th Precinct may be numbered and he could soon be transferred to another post. Burke, a 15-year veteran with the NYPD, was promoted from captain to deputy inspector during a ceremony at police headquarters on December 21. Deputy Inspector Burke said he was pleasantly surprised when he received news of the promotion. He has been at the helm of the 50th Precinct since June 1, 2011. “The police commissioner’s chief of staff called me on Wednesday and informed me that I would be promoted that Friday,” he said. “I was essentially told that I was doing a good job and this was the result. We joked that this was an early Christmas present.” Over the years, whenever commanding officers at the five-oh get promoted to deputy inspector, it’s only a matter of time before they are assigned elsewhere. Burke’s predecessor, deputy inspector Brandon del Pozo, was transferred to the West Village’s 6th Precinct just five months after he was promoted. He had been stationed at the 50th for a total of 19 months. RIVER PLAZA: Nearly 400 parking spaces at River Plaza, the busy shopping mall at West 225th Street, could be permanently removed so a new storage facility can be built. According to a source familiar with the plans, the mall’s co-owners—Kingsbridge Associates and Target—are considering slashing the number of on-site parking spaces by 57 percent, from 665 to just 284 spaces. It is understood the mall’s owners want to replace a large swath of the parking lot with a 136,000-square-foot storage facility to be used exclusively by Target.

“The five-oh is what they call a make-big precinct,” auxiliary coordinator Brain Jacovides said at last month’s Community Board 8 public safety committee meeting. “You come here as a captain and you usually leave as a deputy inspector. I’ve been here for almost 14 years now, and every single captain that we’ve had gets promoted out of this place.” However, Burke insists officials at Police Plaza haven’t indicated they plan to move him. “There are no immediate plans to transfer me to another assignment. I am grateful for my time here and look forward to continuing working in the 50th Precinct.” Burke earned his chops by responding to 911 calls for two years with his then-partner and fellow rookie del Pozo at Brooklyn’s 67th Precinct. Following that stint, he worked undercover for six months before moving to the East Village’s 9th Precinct and then became a lieutenant in midtown’s 17th Precinct. He was transferred to internal affairs and was more recently the captain and executive officer at the 26th, 28th, 32nd and then the 33rd precinct in Washington Heights before he was moved to The Bronx. The parking lot at River Plaza, discreetly tucked away on the roof, is often empty because the majority of shoppers arrive by mass transit. Data collected by Philip Habib and Associates, a traffic consulting company, reveals up to two-thirds of Target’s customers travel to the store by train or bus. Before the changes can be carried out, Kingsbridge Associates and Target are required to submit an application with the city’s Department of Planning requesting a zoning change. The Target at West 225th Street holds the reputation of being the most successful branch in the entire nation.

By MIAWLING LAM Riverdale resident Ari Hoffnung is set to play a larger role in the city’s financial affairs following his promotion to deputy comptroller for budget. City Comptroller John C. Liu announced that Hoffnung, 39, would assume oversight of the comptroller’s Bureau of Fiscal and Budget Studies as of January 1.

Hoffnung replaces Simcha Felder, the Brooklyn Democratic state senator-elect who ruffled feathers last month after he decided to caucus with the Republican conference. Under his enhanced role, Hoffnung will oversee the publication of a wide range of fiscal reports on the city’s economy and budgetary outlook.

Man charged over cold case murder By MIAWLING LAM A 60-year-old Westchester man has been indicted for the 1993 murder of a prostitute whose body was found in North Riverdale. Lucius Crawford of Mount Vernon was indicted by a Bronx grand jury on a seconddegree murder charge on December 18. According to the indictment, Crawford acted with intent and caused the death of Nella West, 38, by “blunt force trauma and sharp injuries to the head, face and abdomen.” According to police, West’s body was discovered by a cab driver near 5815 Liebig Avenue in Riverdale just after 3 a.m. on October 20, 1993. Investigators believe she was murdered in Yonkers and that her body was dumped in The Bronx. West, who was a known prostitute, suffered multiple stab wounds to the head, face and torso, a broken eye socket and a crushed skull during the brutal attack. The homicide case remained unsolved for nearly two decades until this March, when 50th Precinct Detective Chris Boerke and Malcolm Reiman from the Bronx Homicide Squad ran biological evidence through the current DNA database. “Investigators were able to develop a profile from forensic evidence retrieved from

vaginal swabs taken from the deceased,” according to the indictment issued by Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson. “The profile was uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System and was found to be a match to Crawford.” The indictment came two weeks after the Westchester man admitted to killing West. Bronx police originally showed up at his apartment on December 4 wanting to question him over the cold case. Crawford was not at home at the time, but police made a gruesome discovery—the body of another dead woman lay in his bed. Police said Tanya Simmons, 41, had been stabbed nine times in the chest. Crawford was arrested three hours later and has since been charged with her murder as well. In an interview last month, commanding officer of the 50th Precinct Deputy Inspector Kevin Burke said Crawford has a history of violence toward women dating back to the 1970s. Crawford was imprisoned from 1977 to 1991 for stabbing and wounding five women in South Carolina. He also served time in prison between 1995 and 2008 for stabbing a Westchester woman. Crawford is currently being held without bail. He is scheduled to appear before Bronx Supreme Court on Thursday, February 14.

due to term limit rules. Community Board 8 member Andrew Cohen and Van Cortlandt Village resident Cliff Stanton have already officially declared their intentions. Hoffnung first ran for the City Council seat in 2005 but lost to Koppell by a 3to-1 margin. He planned to run for a second time in 2009 when Koppell was due to vacate the seat but bowed out before the primary after term limits were extended, allowing Koppell to run one last time. The former Wall Street executive, who remains registered with the city’s Campaign Finance Board, has not raised any money in four years but still boasts a healthy war chest totaling more than $72,000. Hoffnung, who lives in Riverdale with his wife and two children, holds an MBA in Finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a bachelor’s degree from Queens College.

3 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hoffnung lands bigger role in comptroller’s office

He will continue to serve as the deputy comptroller of public affairs—a role he was promoted to in December 2009. Liu spokesman Mike Loughran said anointing Hoffnung as Felder’s replacement simply made sense. “Prior to being named deputy comptroller for public affairs, he served as assistant comptroller for budget, so this is a seamless transition,” he said. Meanwhile, Hoffnung was quick to stress that the promotion would not influence his decision over whether to jump into the hotly anticipated City Council District 11 race. “My expanded role does not impact my thinking about 2013,” he said earlier this week. As the Riverdale Review reported last month, Hoffnung confirmed he was mulling a run for Councilman G. Oliver Koppell’s seat in this year’s citywide elections. Koppell is currently serving his third and final term and must vacate the office

Thursday, January 3, 2013 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Around the schools... Horace Mann School

Three celebrated Paralympians from the London 2012 Games will participate in a Paralympic School Day disability awareness program in the Middle Division next Thursday, January 10. The day’s events integrate Paralympic ideals and values with educational activities to create awareness and understanding of disabilities and disability sport. One goal of the program is to provide meaningful, personal contact between students and Paralympians, creating dialogue about inclusion and providing a realistic and holistic portrayal of disability sport. Victoria Arlen, Treyvon Jenifer and Kari Miller will lead presentations and activity stations during the event. Victoria Arlen brought home a gold medal and three silver medals in swimming from the London 2012 Games. Treyvon Jenifer is a bronze medalist in wheelchair basketball and a two-time collegiate all-American. Kari Miller is a two-time silver medalist in sitting volleyball, having played in both the London and Beijing Games. Nicky Nieves, U.S. sitting volleyball team member and former Queens College volleyball star, will also join the group. Each of these athletes has an inspiring story to share. The Paralympic School Day program provides a platform for knowledge acquisition, adapted sport practice, and attitude change. Activities will include: (1)Empowerment and Social Support in Sport: AnAthlete’s Story—Students will participate in an assembly led by two Paralympic athletes (Trey Jenifer and Victoria Arlen) to appreciate the athletes’ abilities, gain respect for their achievements and learn about their lives and experiences. (2)Sport as a Human Right: The Paralympic Games—Students will get to know a Paralympic athlete (Victoria Arlen) in a small group setting and learn about adapted equipment, classifications and the thrill of the Paralympic Games. (3)Respect for Sporting Achievement: Sitting Volleyball and Wheelchair Basketball—Students will practice sitting volleyball skills taught by two Paralympic athletes (Kari Miller and Nicky Nieves) and work in small groupds to achieve team goals. Students will also practice wheelchair basketball skills, taught by a Paralympic athlete (Trey Jenifer), focusing on rule modifications, dribbling, passing, shooting, and teamwork. (4)Respect and Acceptance of Individual Differences: Discussions about Inclusion—Students will take part in small group reflection discussions led by Patricia Zuroski and Markell Parker from the school’s office of diversity. Discussions will challenge the idealized notion of “normal” against which people with disabilities are often compared. Students will identify common assumptions and will test these assumptions, focusing on the impact their assumptions and beliefs have on others.

College of Mount Saint Vincent

The college has been awarded a $100,000 grant from The Hearst Foundation to help renovate, modernize, and expand its science facilities. This grant will also help meet a 2:1 challenge grant of $500,000 from the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation. Renovation of the science hall, which opened in 1954, is halfway through a four-phase $10 million allocation. Technology has revolutionized the study and practice of the natural sciences, and the renovations already completed

and those planned for Phases III and IV are designed to meet current industry standards. The Hearst Foundation’s award will support the third phase of the project. New laboratories will create an environment that integrates the latest simulation and web-based technologies with inquiry-based methods to keep students engaged and competitive. “The College of Mount Saint Vincent is deeply grateful to The Hearst Foundation for this generous award,” college president Charles L. Flynn said. “It will help ensure the high quality of our nationally recognized programs in the sciences, and it illustrates the foundation’s remarkable commitment to creating outstanding educational opportunities at colleges and universities across the nation. The college is proud to be among the institutions that benefit from the foundation’s support.” This is the college’s third Hearst Foundation award—two previous awards endowed a scholarship for students from underrepresented populations.

Email education news to: or mail to: Riverdale Review 5752 Fieldston Road Bronx, NY 10471

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By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER Community Board 8 member Irving Ladimer, a lifelong expert on the interface of law and bioethics and a relentless activist for seniors, has decided to break into show business. Ladimer, pushing 97, thought it would be a good idea to celebrate the 225th birthday of the U.S. Constitution. So he wrote a brief comedic play named “We the People.” He assembled a cast of Riverdale Senior Services denizens, directed the action, played the role of narrator and staged a lively production at the RSS center in The Century last month. Snappy dialogue and contemporary insights kept the crowd enthralled.

When first lady Dolley Madison becomes alarmed by the sound of gunshots, her husband proclaims, “I knew I shouldn’t have introduced that Second Amendment!” When patriots suggests the purchase of a Manhattan site to be named in honor of President Madison and used as a venue for public events, the concept of “Madison Square Garden” is born. In the final act, set in the future, people express concern about the placement of an additional star on the American flag for the newest state: Mars. Ladimer’s program notes provide historical highlights on the play’s characters and the events they allude to—plus the entire fourstanza Francis Scott Key poem that begins

with the words of our national anthem. The cast featured RSS members Robert Ackerson as George Washington, Marvin Goodman as Benjamin Franklin, Norman Kane as James Madison, Mary Kostides as Dolley Madison, Dr. George Kaufman as Alexander Hamilton, Myra Kaufman as a guest, Victor Chmielmicki as an imaginary character in the future, Alvin Shatkin as sound effects and stage manager and Betty Haddad on piano for “The Star Spangled Banner.” Local musician Harvey Bien played the role of Francis Scott Key and provided clarinet accompaniment—a solo rendition of “Hello, Dolly” for Mrs. Madison’s stage entrance. RSS social work intern Angela Katrichis portrayed a future president, notably female. RSS program coordinator Stephanie Rice worked closely with the playwright and was authorized to handle the video. Ladimer has been a mover and shaker in Riverdale since 1955. At a 95th birthday roast held at the Conservative Synagogue

Adath Israel of Riverdale, community leader Ari Hoffnung called him a brilliant man with a sense of humor who “brings people together in a very unique way.” Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz observed that he “knows a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff.” Dinowitz worked with the insistent Ladimer for the accessible pedestrian signal at the crosswalk on Netherland Avenue and Kappock Street after community members heading toward Riverdale Senior Center complained of difficulty seeing the traffic signal there. The first of its kind to be installed in The Bronx, the signal emits audible cues for pedestrians who need to cross the busy street. Another tangible benefit for the elderly resulted from Ladimer’s research on nutrition and dementia with Schervier Nursing Care Center. When a study found that residents who’d been intubated gained better nourishment when spoon-fed by trained employees, Ladimer persuaded the Oneida flatware company to provide the facility with appropriate utensils.

Corlear Avenue gets more signage By MIAWLING LAM City officials will install additional alternate-side parking signs on Corlear Avenue after several residents lodged complaints about insufficient signage in the area. The east side of Corlear Avenue between West 230th and 231st streets is cleaned every Wednesday between 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., but just one sign located on the south end of the block details the alternate-side parking regulations for the entire block. As a result, according to Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, motorists have been unfairly ticketed for parking their cars in the area.

Chabad of Riverdale’s

Summer 2013 is now open for registration! YOUR CHILDREN WILL ENJOY:

Exciting day trips Tennis Gymnastics Zumba Karate Rollerblading Ceramics Swimming/swimming instruction Drumming Food Decorating Woodworking Safari Animal Workshop and much more! Register your child (with a deposit) before January 7, 2013, and enjoy an

$125 off

early-bird special of your camp tuition!

Visit our website to register online, download the registration form, or you can pick up a registration form from our camp office.

For more information, call our office at 718-549-1100 Ext. 10.

“The lack of alternate-side parking signs has led to dozens of motorists receiving summonses,” he said. “It was kind of a stupid thing. They had one sign at one end of a very long block.” Compounding the confusion, he said, are multiple signs on the west side of the street indicating that street cleanings for that side are on Tuesdays. After Dinowitz reached out to Department of Transportation officials, they agreed to install additional signs in the area. Authorities have committed to completing the installation by the end of next month.

5 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 3, 2013

Local resident Irving Ladimer produces patriotic play

Thursday, January 3, 2013 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Bronx Tinnitus support group to meet

Tinnitus is an annoying noise or ringing in the ear that is heard without an external sound. Anyone suffering from this condition or those interested in learning about tinnitus are invited to attend a free support group. The group meets on the first Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Church of the Mediator, located at 260 West 231st Street, off Kingsbridge Avenue. Their next session will be held on Thursday, January 3 and will last about an hour. The church’s entrance is by the Bx1, Bx7, Bx10 and Bx20 bus stop. For more information, please contact Dr. K. Nabinet on 718410-2301 or 917-797-9065 or via email

Rotarians to meet at Greentree Restaurant

The Rotary Club of Riverdale, a community service organization committed to the betterment of the Riverdale/Kingsbridge areas, will meet on Thursday, January 3 at 6:45 pm at Greentree Restaurant, 5693 Riverdale Avenue at 259th Street for its regular dinner meeting. Comprising business and professional persons who provide humanitarian service while encouraging high ethical standards and respect for all vocations, Rotarians develop friendships as a basis for voluntary humanitarian service projects in such areas as literacy, support of the aged and at-risk youth, maintenance of a clean environment, community improvement and promoting international friendship. Notable speakers address the club on a variety of local, state and national issues. The public is invited to learn more about the Riverdale Club and the work of Rotary International. Cost of the dinner is $28. For further information, please call 914 319-0002.

Riverdale Y’s Gallery 18 to feature Andrei Marcu

Gallery 18 at the Riverdale YM-YWHA will host Dr. Andrei Marcu as the artist of the month. Dr. Marcu was born in Bucharest, Romania becoming a medical student at the age of 16, practicing medicine for 10 years and then immigrating to the United States. Since a teenager, he has had a passion for photography and inspite of the scarcity of photographic equipment under the communist government, he succeed in acquiring a Voigtlander 35mm camera and built a darkroom with an enlarger.

In the US, he graduated as a photographer after taking a complete course of photography at NYU. He has participated with other photographic exhibits throughout the US. There will be a reception on Sunday, January 6 from 1:00pm-2:30pm. His photos will be exhibited at the Y for the entire month of January. The entire community is invited to the reception and to the gallery. The Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue.

Brandeis Group to hear concert violinist

The Riverdale Chapter of The Brandeis National Committee cordially invites its members and their friends to its meeting on Wednesday, January 16, 2013, at 12:30P.M. in The Riverdale Temple, West 246 Street and Independence Avenue. The program will be a most memorable musicale presented by the celebrated concert violinist, David Podles. Please make advance reservations by sending check for $12.00, payable to B.N.C., to Cecile Horwich, 5800 Arlington Avenue-10W, Riverdale, N.Y. 10471, before January 9th. Fee at the door will be $15.00. New members will be the Chapter’s honored guests. Bagels and light refreshments will be served and a boutique, “Handicrafts by Shari White” will be displayed for sale.

Photo Exhibition on the Upper West Side

The Professionals Liaison Project whose directors Craig Dixon and Elena Shtoyunda focus on promotion of various forms of cross-cultural cooperation is preparing a new cultural event. This is a showcase of works by the exceptional portrait photographer Olga Guzhevnikova from Russia. Born and living in Moscow Olga graduated from the Academy of Photography and for the last five years she has been doing professional studio photography. In particular she has concentrated on pictures of families and children. ‘I am doing that because of my love and devotion to children. Children’s faces constantly impress and inspire me’ she says. She uses various handmade accessories such as hats made as flowers, fruit, butterflies - all to tell a little story of a child, his or her face, look and mood. Her articles and photographs are being published in various magazines, calendars and other printed material. Her works may be found in medical centers, children’s clubs, offices and stores in

many countries. The Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew on the Upper West Side (86th St. between Bdway & West End Ave) is hosting the exhibition which will be on view in the Parlor Room there starting January 3rd. To see other project activities, visit

Rotary Club to sponsor reading hour

Youngsters 2-12 years old are invited to participate in the Reading Program on Saturday, January 5, at the Kingsbridge Library, 291 West 231st Street, from 1 to 1:45 p.m. Readers will be grouped by skill level and encouraged to read, helped with pronunciation and word understanding, and for those without reading skills, interpret pictures. There is no charge for participation. The Rotary Club of Riverdale is part of Rotary International and sponsors the library reading project as a local community service. Adult volunteers who are interested in participating are asked to contact Karen Pesce, Secretary: (718) 549-4469.

Camp Gan Israel - early bird special

Camp Gan Israel Summer 2013 - June 28-August 5 - is now open for registration. Your children will enjoy an amazing summer experience like no other. Our daily schedule includes an exciting mix of trips, tennis, gymnastics, Zumba, karate, drumming, roller-blading, swimming/swimming

instruction, food decorating, ceramics, wood working, safari animal workshop, and much more. Camp Gan Israel has two divisions: Mini Gan Izzy Division for children ages 3-4 years old and Junior Gan Izzy for children ages 5-10 years old. Register your child (with a deposit) before January 7, 2013, and enjoy an early-bird special of $125 off your camp tuition. Visit our website www. to register online, download the registration form, or you can pick up a registration form from our office. The counselors and staff at Camp Gan Israel are eager to greet your children with many new and exciting programs planned for this year. For more information about Camp Gan Israel, call Chabad of Riverdale at 718-549-1100 Ext. 10.

CSAIR presents ‘Extraordinary Woman’ Dr. Ruth

Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale (CSAIR) will present a screening of ‘Extraordinary Women: Dr. Ruth Westheimer’ on Wednesday evening, January 9, at 7:45 p.m. Produced by the British Broadcasting Company, the series ‘Extraordinary Women’ has profiled 12 unique women, including Indira Gandhi, Grace Kelly, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Amelia Earhart and, now, Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Dr. Ruth will be on hand to discuss her remarkable life and will offer brief remarks and answer questions following the screening. For more information on this program - which is free and open to all - as well as other adult education opportunities at CSAIR, call the synagogue office at 718-543-8400. CSAIR is located at 475 West 250th Street at the Henry Hudson Parkway.


Thursday, January 3 Kingsbridge

WRITER’S CIRCLE 1 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Are you an aspiring writer? Join our writer’s group to share your work and get feedback from other members. All types of writing are welcome, whether it’s fiction, memoir, poetry, or other! For more information, call 718-548-5656.


TINNITUS SUPPORT GROUP 6 p.m. Church of the Mediator 260 West 231st Street The Bronx chapter of the American Tinnitus Association will meet. Anyone suffering from this condition or just interested may attend to learn about tinnitus. For more information, call Dr. K. Nabinet at 718-410-2301.


ROTARY CLUB MEETING 6:45 p.m. Greentree Restaurant 5693 Riverdale Avenue The Rotary Club of Riverdale will meet for its regular dinner meeting. The public is invited to learn more about the Riverdale Club and the work of Rotary International. Cost of the dinner is $28. For further information, call 914-319-0002.

Friday, January 4 Kingsbridge

STAY WELL EXERCISE 10 a.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Stay Well volunteers certified by the NYC’s Department for the Aging will lead participants in a well-balanced series of exercises for seniors of all ability levels. Please wear loose comfortable clothing. Exercise equipment will be provided. Those participating in the exercises must sign an activity release form. For more information, call 718-548-5656.


FUN SCIENCE 3:30 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Children are welcome to come to the Riverdale Branch and learn more about the scientific process. They will conduct experiments and have fun while learning how the world around them operates. For ages 5 to 12 years. 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.

Saturday, January 5 Kingsbridge

MOVIE 1 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Come watch some classic movies, old favorites, and new releases on the little silver screen. This month we will be showing Vertigo, starring James Stewart and Kim Novak. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Sunday, January 6 Riverdale

WINTER FILMS SERIES 10:30 a.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue The Riverdale Y’s Alana Llama Winter Films Series for Children will present Snow Buddies. The movie is free to the entire community. For more information call 718-548-8200, ext. 200.


ARTISTS GALLERY 1 p.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue Gallery 18 at the Riverdale YM-YWHA will host Dr. Andrei Marcu as the artist of the month. There will be a reception on January 6. His photos will be exhibited at the Y for the entire month of January. For more information, call 718-548-8200.

Monday, January 7 Spuyten Duyvil

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. Registration not required. For more information, call 718-796-1202.


RETRO GAMES 2 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street It’s back to the good old days: join your friends and roll the dice instead of clicking a mouse! Come by for some old fashioned board game fun. We’ve got scrabble, chess, checkers, and more! For more information, call 718-548-5656.


READING ALOUD 4 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue A librarian will share favorite picture books, providing children with the wonder of books and the joy of reading. For ages 3 to 12 years. For more information, call 718-549-1212.


MS EXCEL 2003 FOR BEGINNERS 5:30 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Learn the basics of working with spreadsheets using Microsoft Excel 2003. Topics include entering data and formulas, moving and copying data, formatting & print previewing worksheets. Space is limited, registration is required. Please sign up by phone or in person, 718-548-5656.


CB8 MEETING 7:30 p.m. Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel 475 West 250th Street Meeting of the Land Use Committee of Community Board 8. For more information, call 718-884-3959.

Tuesday, January 8 Riverdale

e-READER HELP 11 a.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Learn how to download free e-books from the New York Public Library. Get help on using your iPad, Kindle or other e-reader. First come, first served. Tuesdays @ 11:00 a.m. (some exceptions, please check the online calendar or branch calendar) Wednesdays between 2 and 4 p.m. by appointment only. Please call Lynda at 718-549-1212 to make an appointment.




SCRABBLE 2 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue If words work you up and crossword puzzles keep you going, come to Riverdale and share your passion with friends every Tuesday afternoon for a lively game of Scrabble. Pre-registration required. For more information, call 718-549-1212.


CB8 BOARD MEETING 7:30 p.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue Board Meeting of Community Board 8. For more information, call 718-884-3959.

Wednesday, January 9 Riverdale


Around here, there’s really only one heating oil provider that you need to know. With automatic delivery, the latest in energy-efficient equipment, installation, service, repairs — plus pricing and payment plans to help you save — all from one renowned, local company. It’s Petro.



OPEN COMPUTER LAB 11 a.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Attention new computer users: Do you want to learn how to open a FREE e-mail account? Do you need help in mastering the computer mouse or learning how to find information on the Web? Come to the Riverdale Library and get assistance on the computers. Practice your new skills at your own pace. Ask questions and learn from doing. For info, call 718-549-1212. TODDLER STORY TIME 11 a.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Stories, songs, fingerplays, puppets, flannelboard stories for babies and toddlers ages 18-36 months for parents and caregivers. For more information, call 718-548-5656. CB8 MEETING 7:30 p.m. Community Board 8 5676 Riverdale Avenue Meeting of the Health, Hospitals & Social Services Committee of Community Board 8. For more information, call 718-884-3959.


DOCUMENTARY SCREENING 7:45 p.m. Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel 475 West 250th Street CSAIR will present a screening of “Extraordinary Women: Dr. Ruth Westheimer.” Dr. Ruth will be on hand to discuss her remarkable life and will offer brief remarks and answer questions following the screening. For more info, call 718-543-8400.



The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 3, 2013



Schervier launches ‘Come Mend With Your Friend”


By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER Caring for Fluffy and Fido may help in the healing process, research has found. Starting this month, Schervier Nursing Care Center will harness the power of pets with its Come Mend with Your Friend program, offering on-site room and board for pets whose companion humans are undergoing

short-term rehabilitation at the facility. Schervier has been given a $58,400 two-year grant from the Amie’s Place Foundation to create a pet-friendly temporary home on its Independence Avenue campus. The animals will be cared for by a veterinary technician, who will ensure that the beloved beasts are themselves in

good health and are properly vaccinated before they take up residence. Rehab clients will be able to visit their pets, and activities like opening a can of cat food—a challenge for someone who’s broken a wrist-may be incorporated into therapy routines. “We’re currently doing some renovations to a room that’s not in a patientcare area,” said Gregory Poole-Dayan, administrator of clinical services. “It’s a very large room and we’re creating partitions, so we’ll have cats on one side and dogs on the other and an area for patients to interact with their pets.” Poole-Dayan anticipates the program will start out with a pair of dogs and a pair of cats—who will be furnished with cat “condos.” The program will be provided at no cost to the participants. The grant will fund personnel to oversee health and daily care for the pets, and the facility will pick up the tab for supplies like food and litter. “The real advantage that the research

has shown is that people mend faster when their animals are with them and they’re not thinking, ‘Oh, my God, I need to get home—who’s going to feed the cat?’” said Poole-Dayan, who anticipates high demand from rehab candidates who would decline needed services because there’s no one to care for their furry companions. “We hope that ‘we will build this, and they will come.’” Poole-Dayan plans to engage Schervier’s “large, active, vibrant volunteer department” in some of the logistics, like providing patient access to the pet room. “People and pets have a special bond, but for vulnerable elders, their pet is a life-saver,” said Dr. Paulette Sansone, grant writer for Schervier. “Their pet not only provides unconditional love but also companionship, a sense of purpose and a will to survive. They lower blood pressure, reduce pain, anxiety, isolation and despair, and help patients heal faster. There is no question that this program will be of benefit to our patients.” Schervier is the first facility of its kind to implement this type of program.

City extends deadline on sulfur limit for heating oil


By TESS McRAE The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has extended a temporary waiver of the .15 percent sulfur limit set for No. 4 heating oil, giving New Yorkers until January 18 to make the switch to cleaner oil. DEP reported that the destruction caused by superstorm Sandy has left fuel oil producers and distributors in a bind as they struggle to meet the new city requirements. The decision comes almost two weeks after New York state signed a similar executive order, suspending low-sulfur requirements for No. 2 oil. It was ruled that in order to ensure that New Yorkers have heat in their homes, the clean-oil transition would have

Kids' Tickets $15!

Kids ages 2-12. Limit of six (6) kids’ tickets per purchase of one (1) full-price adult ticket. Good for all performances. Excludes VIP Dining, Rinkside and Gold Circle seats. No double discounts. Additional fees may apply.

JAN. 2 - 6 JAN. 10 - 13 JAN. 17 - 21 JAN. 23 - 27 214368

Thursday, January 3, 2013 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Buy tickets at, Retail Locations, Arena Box Offices or call 1-800-745-3000

to be put on hold for a while. To further aid recovering building owners, DEP has initiated new emergency boiler work permit guidelines. “The new guidelines allow temporary work permits to repair or replace damaged boilers to be issued by providing DEP with basic information about the work being completed,” the agency said in a statement earlier this week. The new guidelines allow work to begin immediately, short-cutting a standard process that can involve waiting weeks or sometimes months for approvals. “This emergency procedure can shave up to two weeks off of the application process,” DEP stated.


Thursday, January 3 Mt. Vernon

LATIN JAZZ GUITARS 7 p.m. St. Paul’s Church 897 S. Columbus Avenue Ricardo Gautreau Duo, Guitars, with Doug Munro, featuring Latin music, with originals and covers from Ellington to Santana. For more info, contact David Osborn at 914-667-4116.

Saturday, January 5 Tuckahoe

ITALIAN FOLKTALE 10:30 a.m. Westchester Italian Cultural Center One Generoso Pope Place Musical retelling of the folk tale of La Befana, featuring Mariuccia Romano of the Coro d’Italia, Italian Singing and Dancing Ensemble. La Befana is an Italian Christmas tradition that has its origins in the 13th century legend of “ La Befana.” Befana is a benevolent old woman who delivers gifts to children on January 5th, the eve of the Epiphany. Sing, dance and enjoy a wonderful afternoon with your children. The program will conclude with a holiday reception and gifts from la Befana. A program for all ages! No adults may participate without children. Children under age 5 must be accompanied by a parent. Must register in advance and prepay. Members $20, Non-Members $30. For more information, call 914-771-8700.

Kick off the New Year with a hearty hike in the frosty air. We’ll hike up Teatown Hill for a view across the river and circle Teatown Lake looking for winter wildlife. On our return, we’ll toast the new year with a hot drink. Please note this program is for adults only. Free for members; $5pp for nonmembers. Programs fill quickly so registration is strongly recommended. Call 914-762-2912 x110 to reserve.

Sunday, January 6 White Plains

INDOOR FARMERS MARKET 10 a.m. Westchester County Center 198 Central Park Avenue All products are grown and produced by local farmers and vendors. Free Admission. Parking $5. For info, call 914-995-4050.

BIONEERS CONFERENCE 7 p.m. Greenburgh Nature Center 99 Dromore Road The Bioneers Conference is a “gathering of scientific and social innovators who have demonstrated visionary and practical models for restoring the Earth and communities.” Nikki Coddington shares conference highlights and shows portions of keynote presentations by speakers such as Paul Hawken and Bill McKibben. Discuss possibilities for applying some of the ideas locally. Program presented in partnership with the Sierra Club Lower Hudson Group; designed for adults and high school students. FREE. For more infor, call 718-723-3470.

Saturday, January 12 Ossining

OPOSSUM DEBUT! 1 p.m. Teatown Lake Reservation 1600 Spring Valley Road We’ll wake her up for a snack, and chat about opossums and how they cope with winter weather. Free for members; $5pp for nonmembers. Programs fill quickly so registration is strongly recommended. Call 914-762-2912 x110 to reserve.

Mt. Vernon

ANIMAL ADVENTURES 1 p.m. Teatown Lake Reservation 1600 Spring Valley Road Meet a few of Teatown’s ambassador animals in this program featuring owls. Please note this program is for families with children ages 4 and over. Free for members; $5pp for nonmembers. Programs fill quickly so registration is strongly recommended. Call 914-762-2912 x110 to reserve.

SHAKESPEARE IN THE CHURCH 1:30 p.m. St. Paul’s Church 897 S. Columbus Avenue A Midsummer’s Night Dream. At 1:30 PM, enjoy a performance by the Red Monkey Theatre Group of William Shakespeare’s popular comedy about events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens to Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Also view the site’s feature exhibition, “A Clash of Cultures: Anne Hutchinson’s Brief Life near St. Paul’s Church.” For more information, contact David Osborn at 914-667-4116

Tuesday, January 8

Sunday, January 13

MEET THE ANIMALS 11 a.m. Greenburgh Nature Center 99 Dromore Road Come for an hour of fun as a naturalist shows off some of our favorite animals. For children ages 5 to 12 and their adult companions. Members $5, Non-Members $8. For more information, call 914-723-3470.

COED VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT 7 p.m. Westchester County Center 198 Central Park Avenue Coed Volleyball Tournament on January 8 & 9, 2013 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Rally scoring for all games. Fee: $195 per team. For more information, call 914-328-1542.

NATURE’S CLUES 10 a.m. Teatown Lake Reservation 1600 Spring Valley Road What clues can be found in nature? What signs do animals leave behind to find? Join in as we scout the trails looking for tracks and traces that are nature’s clues. Free for members; $5pp for nonmembers. Programs fill quickly so registration is strongly recommended. Call 914-762-2912 x110 to reserve.


Mt. Vernon


FIRST HIKE OF THE YEAR 1:30 p.m. Teatown Lake Reservation 1600 Spring Valley Road


White Plains

Wednesday, January 9 ALEXANDER HAMILTON 1 p.m. St. Paul’s Church 897 S. Columbus Avenue



WINTERTIME PUPPET SHOW 11 a.m. Greenburgh Nature Center 99 Dromore Road

Come watch Puppeteer Jill Liflander and her creative sidekicks at the Nature Center! Participants dance with Jilly and her silly, fluffy puppets, play instruments and hear stories. Recommended age: 11AM show ages 4 and under; 1PM show ages 4-7. Space is limited and shows usually sell out. Preregister online. Members $7, Non-Members $10. For more information, call 914-723-3470.


PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA 3 p.m. Saunders High School 183 Palmer Road Come join the Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra on January 13, 2013 for our second concert of our Gala 50th Anniversary Season. The program will feature Andy Lin playing Hoffmeister’s Viola Concerto, Mendelssohn’s Fingal’s Cave Overture, Brahms Second Symphony and as a special treat, Engraft composed by Jeeyoung Kim, a concerto for Erhu and strings. For more information, call 914 631-6674.

Tuesday, January 15 White Plains

WESTCHESTER CHORAL REHEARSAL 7 p.m. Music Conservatory of Westchester 216 Central Avenue Westchester Choral Society, conducted by Frank Nemhauser, announces Spring Tuesday rehearsals beginning January 15. New singers are welcome for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in March and Gershwin/Porter in June. Those interested are invited to rehearse with the group before scheduling a singerfriendly audition. For more information, call 914-285 9026 or email

Friday, January 18 White Plains

SHAKESPEARE 8 p.m. Rochambeau School 228 Fisher Avenue Fort Hill Players will present a performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ For more information, visit www. or call 914-946-5143.

Saturday, January 19 Scarsdale

BOWLS FOR HUNGER PROJECT 10 a.m. Greenburgh Nature Center 99 Dromore Road Nature Center in partnership with United Way and Clay Art Center – Participate in the Volunteer Center of United Way’s Martin Luther King Day of Service, a county-wide day of community service. Volunteers (ages 8 and up) come to the Center to create ceramic bowls with artists from the Clay Art Center. The bowls are given to local organizations who feed the hungry. Enrollment limited to 24 volunteers and pre-registration is required online at FREE. For more information, call 914-723-3470l.

9 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 3, 2013

A presentation about the public career and life of Alexander Hamilton, founding father, political philosopher, first Secretry of the Treasury and Colonel in the Continental army. For more information, contact David Osborn at 914-667-4116.

Thursday, January 3, 2013 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW 10


The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW 12


The Riverdale Y’s Alana Llama Winter Films Series for Children will present Snow Buddies on Sunday January 6 at 10:30am. This film is 87 minutes long. The movie is free to the entire community. Your young child can enjoy G -rated favorites on the Y’s huge high-def screen in a comfortable, child-friendly environment. Make plans to meet friends on cold winter Sunday mornings for a movie, free popcorn, and a hug from Alana Llama herself! The Riverdale Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue. For more information call 718-548-8200, ext. 200.

BRIO information session for writers

The Bronx Council on the Arts’ (BCA) Bronx Writers Center (BWC), in collaboration with BCA’s BRIO award, presents a Bronx Recognizes its Own (BRIO) Award Information Session for Writers on Monday, January 7, 2013, 6:30-8:00pm, at the future home of the Bronx Council on the Arts, 2700 E Tremont Avenue (corner of St. Raymond Avenue), Bronx, NY 10461, in the Westchester Square section of the Bronx. BWC has designed this free, two-hour, hands-on session to help artists applying for the 2013 BRIO award in literary categories (screenwriting, playwriting, fiction, non-fiction, illustrated text, poetry) understand the application requirements and process and to make an appointment for an application review. A 6:30pm half-

hour of speed writing -- a short writing and networking exercise -- will begin the evening hosted by Maria T. Romano, Director of the Bronx Writers Center and BRIO winner. A question and answer session will follow. Admission is free and all are welcome. Reserve your seat at http:// Maria Romano holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Yale University and a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the New School. She is a creative writing teacher at Fordham University’s Science and Technology Entry Program for middle and high school students and a volunteer at the nationally recognized non-profit, Girls Write Now. Ms. Romano has also worked as an Academic Director for Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions and as a Sales and Production Manager at Avon Books (now part of Harper Collins). A Bronx-bred, award-winning writer of short stories and essays, she is currently working on a novel. The Bronx Writers Center’s 2013 workshop series, In Progress, is posted on BCA’s website at For additional information on this workshop or other BWC events, call 718-931-9500 x21, e-mail, or visit the Bronx Writers Center’s web pages at The Bronx Writers Center supports and develops the appetite for writing and reading in the Bronx. The BWC searches for and promotes new voices and audiences and engages the community in literary and literacy programs. Bronx Recognizes Its Own (BRIO),

established in 1989, provides direct support to individual Bronx artists who create musical, literary, media, visual and performing works of art. BRIO is a competitive awards program celebrating twenty-three years of awards for creative excellence. For more information about BRIO, visit Bronx Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years as a private, non-profit membership organization, is the official cultural agency of Bronx County. Recognized nationally as a leading arts service organization in providing cultural services and arts programs, BCA serves a multicultural constituency of almost 1.4 million residents. BCA provides an array of services to 5,000 artists and more than 250 arts and community-based organizations.

Schervier donates toys to local families

Bon Secours New York Health System, Schervier Nursing Care Center, in the Riverdale section of The Bronx, collected more than 200 toys this holiday season through its successful annual Giving Tree, to benefit the children at St. Margaret Mary School in the South Bronx, continuing to provide ‘good help to those in need.’ Toys were donated by Schervier’s generous staff members, residents and their families, volunteers and friends, all to spread joy to local families in the South Bronx, one of the neediest areas in the United States. On Wednesday, December 19, 2012, more than 200 holiday-wrapped gifts were delivered to St. Margaret Mary

School’s principal, Sister Ann Veronica Bivona, for distribution to all the children, ranging from ages three to six. ‘Each year, our facility has a large Christmas tree displayed in the lobby, which we call the Giving Tree, and at the start of the holiday season, the tree fills up with red bows, each signifying a child we will be supporting,’ said Paulette Sansone, Grant Writer at Schervier. ‘As our most successful Giving Tree to date, we are extremely pleased that our efforts continue to brighten the holidays of so many children.’ In addition to providing toys for the children, Schervier Nursing Care Center provided local families with gift cards to a local supermarket, to supplement their holiday meals. ‘Providing good help to those is need is the foundation of Schervier,’ said Gregory Poole-Dayan, Administrator at Schervier. ‘As the holiday season is a time for giving, we are fortunate to have such compassionate and generous support from our staff, residents and families, and to be able to provide local children a more joyful holiday.’ Schervier has helped to support families of St. Margaret Mary School for the past 17 years providing more than 2,700 children with gifts and many families with meals during the holiday season. For more information on Schervier’s annual Giving Tree, or to learn more about Schervier Nursing Care Center and the services it provides, visit http://www. or its Facebook page at

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 3, 2013

Alana Llama Winter Films Series

Thursday, January 3, 2013 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Fix the mess at City Hall and P.S. 24

The next municipal election, scheduled for later this year, will surely define a new direction for the city to head in. Please do not delude yourselves that we are somehow better off after twelve years of Mayor Bloomberg. The one clear triumph has been that the crime rate continues at low levels. The murder rate is certainly down, the one statistical area in city government that is difficult to fudge. But other crimes are up. Ascribing the increase in other crimes to the proliferation of Apple iPhones, iPads, iPods, etc. as some in city government are prone to do, is simply passing the buck. And the calls by some candidates to modify the Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policies are open invitations to a return to the policies and high crime rates of the pre-Giuliani era. It is easy to forget how bad things were, when in some neighborhoods mothers put their children to sleep in bathtubs to protect them from the crossfire of feuding drug lords. When a good day was when it was only the radio in your car that was stolen rather than the car itself. And the ultimate sacrifice in civil rights was not the inconvenience of a police stop, but the carnage that the city’s high murder rate imposed disproportionately on our minority communities. So in any candidate for mayor, we must look for a person who is not going to backtrack on the safety issue. Beyond that, things are not quite so rosy in Bloomberg’s New York. Hurricane Sandy has proven just how fragile the city’s infrastructure is. Boasts that our economy is thriving when a few more tourists come to town just don’t cut it. Not when small businesses are being taxed and over-regulated to death. Not when the city seeks to overcome wild spending by placing more “red-light cameras” at intersections and boosting enforcement of the Draconian parking penalties. Our schools have now hit a new low point. An insane debate over evaluating teachers by using the children’s scores on tests repeatedly shown to be inaccurate and open to manipulation has demonstrated just how bankrupt the Bloomberg “reforms” have left us. Rather than use tests to diagnose and inform the education of children, they are now used to demonize teachers and punish schools. Not surprisingly, mindless test prep and outright cheating has replaced the tough job of educating students. Making things worse is a new generation of under-qualified inexperience school leaders, coming from the city’s “Leadership Academy,” a program that expects those who haven’t yet mastered the difficult art of teaching to critique those who accept this complex job and the struggles it always will bring. We need a mayor unafraid to toss away the wasted years of Bloomberg’s stewardship of the schools with a sense of respect for the city, its students and our teachers. Not unrelated to this is the importance of open government, and the democratic process. Bloomberg simply doesn’t believe in democracy and the idea that decisions that impact on all of us should come from open debate and vigorous discussion. The days of unilaterally imposed traffic changes, such as the insane traffic patterns the mayor imposed on Times and Herald Squares, the proliferation of dangerous, unwanted and largely unused bicycle lanes, must come to an end. We saw this here in The Bronx when a privately owned and managed ice skating rink was placed on public land in Van Cortlandt Park without any real public review or discussion. The mayor declared it would be done and it was. Perhaps this project would have met with more success and acceptance had the public been included in the discussion from the get-go. Deliberations of critical public issues in secret has been a hallmark of the Bloomberg era. That’s simply the way he likes it. Twice in the past month, this newspaper has been illegally barred from public meetings. Everyone should take this very seriously. In both instances our right to report on meetings is absolute and protected by law. That right now has been acknowledged by Community Board 8, which had illegally tried to close its executive meetings from view, and has now backed down. Our right to report on school leadership team meetings, similarly protected by the New York State Open Meetings Law also has been upheld, reversing the disgraceful attempt by P.S. 24 Principal Donna Connelly to illegally close those meetings. Perhaps a more open policy, had it been in place last spring, might have prevented the secret decimation of the schools respected music program, partially saved only after public outrage. Allowing the disinfecting power of sunlight to return to our public business may well turn out to be the most significant issue in an election on which so much hinges. Stay tuned.

Debate erupts over whether media should mention race in reports of crime

To The Editor: I am writing in regard to an item on page 5 of your December 20th issue headlined, “Dog walker slashed on Palisade Avenue.” What’s troubling about the article is that the race of the victim is not mentioned while that of the attackers is. To what purpose? If this were a hate crime, shouldn’t you have mentioned that the victim was not black? The minimal description of the attackers — black and (appearing to be) in their early 20s — would fit hundreds of men

Open meetings law To The Editor: Re: Riverdale Review Reporter tossed out of public meeting. When my journalism hero, David Halberstam, addressed the graduating class of Columbia’s Journalism School in the Spring of 2005, he told the aspiring reporters to “never let them intimidate you.” If an office sponsored by taxpayer dollars wants to conduct the people’s business in secret, it is our job to shine a bright light into that space to reveal what they may be trying to hide. Gene Roman

walking in the Riverdale area. In other words, it’s too little to be of much help in catching the perpetrators. The only purpose it serves is to alarm members of our community and to increase those tensions which may already exist between the races. Please revisit your editorial policy as it relates to racial identification to assure that it serves our community in a positive and purposeful way. Dr. E.B. Kelly The editor replies: The incident would be no less alarming if the attackers had been white rather than black. The only reason to report on the race of the attackers is to assist

PS 24 tosses media out of SLT meeting Continued from Page 1 includes disclosure of facts on these eight areas: matters of public safety, the identity of an informer or law enforcement agent, information relating to a current or future investigation of a criminal offense, discussions of litigation, collective negotiations, otherwise private information of a person or corporation, the preparation or grading of examinations, and the sale or

ANDREW WOLF, Editor and Publisher

Note our new address: 5752 Fieldston Road Bronx, New York 10471 (718) 543-5200 FAX: (718) 543-4206

JOEL PAL Production Manager ROBERT NILVA Marketing Director

the police in apprehending them. Regardless of whether there are, as Dr. Kelly says, “hundreds of men walking in the Riverdale area” who fit the description the precinct provided, it would be remiss to omit that physical description of two men leaving a crime scene at 6 a.m. on Palisade and Kappock. The victim is already known, so there is no reason to report on his race. There is insufficient information thus far to determine the motive, if any, for this crime, so there is no point in speculating whether it’s hate-based. The entire neighborhood, black and white together, would rather see the perpetrators caught than allowed to roam free for the sake of political correctness.

CECILIA McNALLY Office Manager MIAWLING LAM Associate Editor

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

lease of real property. The Review attempted to get a comment from either Connelly or Verdi but neither returned the nearly a dozen phone calls or voicemails left with their office. Bruckner said that he believed the press’s removal was just a misunderstanding. “I don’t think this is against the Review or anything,” Bruckner said. “We’ve had people attend our meeting before, so this wasn’t a standing policy or anything. No one from the DOE could be reached for comment about the alleged violation. But Freeman said there are options. “If all else fails, there’s an initiation of judicial proceedings. If the court agrees, they award attorney fees,” he said. “The court (also) has the authority to make the board take training.”

Pols scramble to give light to holiday tree

communities. And we have a lot of hope here and we have a great community.” Cohen estimated the efforts cost $300 but said it was a small price to pay to put smiles on the faces of hundreds of children and people who pass the tree on a daily basis. “The fact that it has lights on it is what makes it a Christmas tree,” he said. Just two candidates have officially announced their intentions to run for Koppell’s seat in the 2013 citywide elections—Cohen and Van Cortlandt Village resident Cliff Stanton. Koppell is currently serving his third and final term and must vacate the office due to term limit rules.

15 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 3, 2013

By MIAWLING LAM Riverdale ended up getting a miracle on 239th Street, and it came just in time for Christmas. Community Board 8 aging committee chair and City Council candidate Andrew Cohen arranged for 250 feet of festive lights to be strung over the neighborhood’s cherished public Christmas tree. The towering Fraser fir, which stands in Bell Tower Park alongside the iconic memorial bell tower at Riverdale Avenue and West 239th Street, was initially supposed to remain bare this year. As the Riverdale Review first reported, city officials scrubbed the annual lighting display due to budgetary constraints and the devastation caused by superstorm Sandy. “The parks department always provided the lighting, but because of the storm, they were understaffed and they just couldn’t do it,” Andrew Sandler of Councilman G. Oliver Koppell’s office said. “All their personnel was so focused on tree removal, they weren’t devoting any time to tree lightings.” But thanks to generous donations from Cohen, Rita Pochter Lowe of Exec-YouVan and Chabad Lubavitch of Riverdale, the tree was illuminated on December 20—five days before Christmas. “This needed to be done,” Cohen said, just moments after flicking the switch to light the tree. “Despite Sandy and everything that Christmas entails, it’s been a very rough couple of weeks, couple of months. But I think that there’s something about this season and the holidays that brings people together and speaks to hope of

Thursday, January 3, 2013 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW 16

Riverdale Review, January 3, 2013  

Weekly newspaper published in Riverdale, NY 10471

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