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Riverdale’s ONLY Locally Owned Newspaper!

Volume XIX • Number 2 • January 19 - 25, 2012 •

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Board nixes ‘conflicted’ housing plan By BRENDAN McHUGH Bronx Community Board 8 has passed a resolution demanding that housing not be included in plans for development on West 230th Street. After hearing arguments both for and against housing, the board overwhelmingly decided to oppose housing—the same decision they came to in 2005 when the project first came to the community for review. Board members who have been in contact with the city’s Economic Development Corporation say the city is reviewing five proposals and that three of them include plans for some form of housing. Some cautioned against limiting the number of proposals to consider, but most board members believed the site could not adequately support housing. While the board’s vote will have some sway with the city, EDC can still choose a proposal that includes housing. A decision is expected sometime in early February. EDC will not discuss details about the proposals. A small four-person committee of the board made recommendations to EDC late last year opting not to exclude housing but to stress commercial retail as the main component of the development. Most members of the full board decided to exclude housing and created the resolution to do so. Sitting between the famously congested Major Deegan Expressway and a statistically dangerous stretch of Broadway, the pollution, noise and traffic wouldn’t be good homes for families, board members and local legislators said at the January 10 meeting in the Riverdale Presbyterian Church. The Kingsbridge Riverdale Van Cortlandt Development Corporation believes otherwise. They believe the reason the project failed the first time around was because housing wasn’t included and that to limit proposals would be to repeat history. However, KRVCDC initially failed to disclose their financial involvement with one of the hopeful developers, an omission that troubled the community board, which saw a dangerous conflict of interest. “I don’t get why they won’t just say it right away. It’s only hurting their point,” one board member said after the meeting. When pressed, KRVCDC said they are bound by “privacy agreements” not to discuss the specifics of the project. They also wouldn’t disclose whether they stand to profit from the project.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell both refuted the claim that eliminating housing was the reason the project initially failed. Ceruzzi Holdings was prepared to begin developing the land into a shopping center but pulled out of the project before a shovel ever hit the ground. To

say they failed because housing wasn’t included is unfair and inaccurate, the legislators said. Stipulations that the four-person committee made before this resolution include preventing access for loading and unloading on 230th Street, focusing pedestrian access on Broadway, and having the devel-

oper pay for a traffic study around 230th Street to examine the impact of a new development. The committee also asked that the public, mostly merchants and local shoppers, continue to have access to the existing parking lot until construction begins and that the developer use Bronx job programs and hire locally.

Mayoral candidate Stringer stresses his local ties

By BRENDAN McHUGH Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer toured the Riverdale Y last week on his second trip to the neighborhood in less than a month. Following in the footsteps of other 2013 prospective mayoral candidates, Stringer schmoozed with the seniors at the Riverdale Y during their Friday lunch on January 13 with Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has toured the facilities with City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell, and City Comptroller John Liu has followed Dinowitz through the Y.

But Stringer, a suspected candidate for mayor, has a special connection to the area that his opponents do not: His mother is a Kappock Street resident. Stringer showed off pictures of his fiveweek-old baby, Maxwell, and talked to the seniors about saving critical services in the upcoming budget. “There is a real vitality in the area, especially among the seniors in this community,” Stringer said. “We need to mobilize seniors to prevent budget cuts to vital services.” He quickly won over the crowd, aided by the introduction of Dinowitz, a prominent figure in Riverdale’s senior

community. The assemblyman told the crowd of around 100 that Stringer, a former Assembly colleague, was “a leader on so many issues” while in the state Legislature. Dinowitz said after the luncheon that he was not endorsing the borough president for mayor and that he just “wants people to see what we have going on in our district.” Stringer told the crowd, all seniors, that they are the “backbone of the city” and deserve to enjoy the fruits of their labor without having their services destroyed through budget cuts. Continued on Page 5


Thursday, January 19, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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Faux ‘living wage’ bill wins Quinn’s support By BRENDAN McHUGH After multiple compromises, one last watering down of the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act has finally allowed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to support a “living wage.” Quinn, the second-to-last major barricade in passing the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act, announced her support of a new living wage bill on Friday. The last barricade is Mayor Bloomberg, who still does not support the bill and may decide to veto any bill that comes out of the Council. However, with Quinn’s support, the City Council should be able to garner the 34 votes needed to override the mayor’s veto. “There is nothing more important for government right now than the work of creating and retaining the best jobs we can,” Quinn said in prepared remarks delivered Friday at City Hall. However, the most recent compromise will mean the bill affects only 400 to 500 people, a figure that many observers ageee is a defeat of the concept. But not to City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell, the bill’s main sponsor who said, “at least it’s a start.” “It’s a good first step,” he said. “It establishes a very important principle. But it doesn’t go as far as I would have liked.” He said the next step would be getting the city’s Economic Development Corporation to start incorporating a living wage into all their deals, not just the ones that meet the living wage threshold. He also said that in the future, with a mayor with a more favorable stance on a living wage, the bill could see improvements. Quinn was one of the last prospective mayoral candidates to support the bill, and that was only after it was diluted. Manufacturers and businesses with less than $5 million in annual revenue and businesses receiving less than $1 million in subsidies would not be affected by the legislation. The compromise excludes employees of commercial tenants in subsidized developments, like retail workers, who had in many ways been the main focus of the bill’s advocates. The living wage debate sparked when the City Council demanded that the future retail workers in the Kingsbridge Armory shopping mall be paid a living wage. Because of that demand, the developer backed off the project. In the news conference at City Hall, Quinn said she would introduce legislation next month. She said the Council would create a fund of $3 million to $10 million in its capital budget to sweeten incentives for developers who agreed to apply the living-wage requirement to tenants. She said projects already in motion, including negotiations to lure the online grocer Fresh Direct to The Bronx, would be excluded from the living-wage requirement. Critics of Fresh Direct have said it pays low wages and obstructs its workers’ efforts to organize, but instituting a living wage would hinder efforts to discourage them from moving to New Jersey. “I am extremely happy that we have reached an agreement on the ‘Fair Wages for New Yorkers’ Act and that this important bill will finally see a vote in the City Council,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., a key living wage proponent. “The deal we have reached today creates the strongest living wage legislation in the nation, one that will demand that direct recipients of significant taxpayer subsidies do better by their employees.” Diaz had City Council members Koppell and Annabel Palma introduce the

bill on his behalf. “This bill will ensure that taxpayer subsidies are used to improve the quality of life of New Yorkers. Today’s announcement is a victory for the people of this city, and I look forward to this legislation becoming law,” Diaz said. Palma not only applauded the compromise, but also noted that there is now a fight for a minimum wage increase at the state level and that it should elevate to the federal level. “This hard-wrought agreement will help a number of New Yorkers secure jobs that pay a living wage, and I am grateful for the support of my colleagues and all of those who have been vocal advocates of this bill,” Palma said.

Council Speaker Christine Quinn is all smiles but despite the high flying rhetoric, the new “living wage” bill is a shadow of its sponsors’ initial intent.


By BRENDAN McHUGH A new attempt at developing the Kingsbridge Armory is underway. More than two years since The Related Companies backed out of creating a shopping mall due to a living wage dispute and almost a year after Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s task force presented a handful of other ways the armory could be used, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced in his State of the City address last week that the city will be accepting requests for proposals. “We’re also launching a new effort to bring jobs to the most talked-about empty building in The Bronx: The Kingsbridge Armory,” he said at the January 12 speech at Morris High School in Morrisania. “We’ve heard from a variety of interested parties, including those who want to develop it into recreational space. And we’re hopeful that the Kingsbridge Armory, vacant for some 15 years, will soon be transformed into a place that benefits the community and employs community members.” RFPs are due March 22. The request is comparable to the one issued in 2006, except in a few instances. The developer does not have to buy the building—they have the option of leasing it. In addition, the project can now encompass a wider range of uses, excluding housing. Two public schools are no longer planned for the building. “We’ve shown that there are a number of different entities and industries that are interested in developing the armory,” Diaz said in an interview with NY1 last week. “We can do so in a way that the usage is right, where the community can benefit

and enjoy this majestic building.” The reason Related backed away from the deal was because the City Council demanded not only that they pay employees a “living wage”—$10 per hour with benefits or $11.50 without—but also that the retail stores in the armory pay their employees a living wage.. The City Council appears close to passing a living wage bill that will require developers who receive significant city subsidies pay a living wage, though it won’t affect any companies, such as retailers, that don’t receive direct subsidies. Diaz, the leading proponent of the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act, said he hopes developers still offer to pay a living wage, regardless of the subsidies they receive. “If you were somebody that was putting in a proposal, given the history here, would you put in a proposal without living wage?” he asked. “I don’t know if that would be the smartest thing.” The RFP says it will give preference to developers offering a living wage, but it is not a requirement. City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell, one of the main sponsors of the living wage bill, vowed to support only projects that include a living wage. “I am very pleased that a new request for proposals will be issued for redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory. However, living wage jobs should be part of any proposal that relies on substantial taxpayer-funded subsidies and it should not be permitted to proceed without such a guarantee,” he said. “As sponsor of the Fair Wage for New Yorkers Act and as a Bronx Council mem-

ber, I will not support any redevelopment proposal for the Armory that comes to Council for approval which requires taxpayer subsidies that does not have a living wage guarantee,” he said. Ideas developed by the task force for the armory include a sports arena for a minor league hockey rink, a mega-church and a film studio. The city said they have received unsolicited interest from various companies wanting to develop the armory. Diaz said his decision to pursue the armory project was not political but focused on the best for Bronxites. Living Wage NYC released a joint statement with the Retail, Wholesale

and Department Store Workers Union, two organizations that strongly support a living wage, about the armory announcement. “This shows that the Kingsbridge Armory can be redeveloped in another way than what was proposed in 2009. At the same time, we continue to work toward passage of the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act [the living wage bill], legislation that would create living wage jobs for future subsidized economic development projects, and deal with the issue on a citywide basis rather than project by project. We feel that reviving the Kingsbridge Armory and supporting the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act go together.”

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3 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 19, 2012

Deal between Diaz and Bloomberg puts Kingsbridge Armory back on track


Thursday, January 19, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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Around the schools... P.S. 24

Parents of children born in 2007 are invited to submit preliminary applications for kindergarten placement in the 2012/2013 school year. Applications will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. according to the following alphabetical scheme: Parents of children whose last names begin with A through E should appear any day through Friday, January 20. For last names beginning with F through K, the dates are Monday, January 23, through Friday, January 27. For last names beginning with L through Q, the dates are Monday, January 30, through Friday, February 3. For last names beginning with R through Z, the dates are Monday, February 6, through Friday, February 10. For information on eligibility documents or other registration matters, call the school at 718-796-8845 and ask for Florence Byrne at extension 1062 or Linda Hickey at extension 1120. Parents are alerted to a free Special Camp Fair presented by Resources for Children with Special Needs on Saturday, January 28, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Church of St. Paul the Apostle, Columbus Avenue between West 59th and West 60th streets. Experts from more than 60 summer programs will be on hand.

P.S. 81

Preregistration for kindergarten will continue through Friday, March 2, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. each day. For information regarding which documents to bring, contact the school at 718-796-8965.

Horace Mann School

Clair Segal has joined the staff at Katz Library to assist students with technologybased projects and to assist faculty with technological presentations and curricula for students using electronic communications. She will begin by launching the library’s new website, making books available electronically to students and updating remote access. Part of this Tuesday was spent honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Assignments emailed to students last Thursday included a family project based on a quote from Dr. King’s 1956 address at an NAACP convention. King’s statement posed a number of questions, and students were challenged to prepare responses and discuss them during homeroom period. Middle Division students will post their responses on paper cut-outs in the shape of their feet.

College of Mount Saint Vincent

Elodia Mercier, Mount Mentor and class of ’84 alumna, will be honored by the NAACP in March for her work in devising the Shhh Initiative (Silent Hospitals Help Healing) at Montefiore Medical Center and for her mentorship of Mount and Hostos Community College students. Mercier is associate clinical director of nursing at Montefiore Medical Center. She began her career as a nursing attendant at Montefiore and became a staff nurse in 1984. In 2004, she was promoted to manager. During her tenure as a manager, she initiated the Shhh Initiative, a program to reduce noise in the hospital environment and create an atmosphere that promotes healing. The program has been recognized worldwide and has received grant funding from the

Balm Foundation. Mercier continues to invest in noise reduction measures to help maintain a quiet healing hospital culture. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, a Master of Science in health administration from Iona College and a post-master’s certificate from Pace University. She is certified in gerontology from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and is a member of the New York State Nurses Association, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, the New York Organization of Nurse Executives, and the American Nurses Association. She participates in the Mount’s Mentorship Program, launched in 2009 to strengthen the connection between academic study and professional life.

Local Scholars

Andrew Elazar “Eli” Lief, an SAR High School graduate, has been included on the dean’s list for his first semester at SUNY’s Binghamton University. Lief achieved a GPA of 3.8 during his first semester there. Binghamton University, ranked among the nation’s best values in public colleges by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, had an incoming class this year with an average high school GPA of 94 and an average SAT score of 1931 in math, verbal and writing. Nearly 15,000 students are enrolled this year. Pace University has announced that the following juniors have declared majors this fall: At the New York campus, both Alyse Gagnon and Lisbet Ulloa will major in environmental studies; Massiel Marte will major in applied psychology and human relations. At the Pleasantville campus, Christina Kendzor will major in public accounting; Gentrit Dedushi will major in information systems; Erica Shibrick will major in finance. Pace is recognized for professionally-oriented programs in business, law, arts and sciences, information technology, education, and nursing, with a core curriculum based in the liberal arts. Pace enrolls nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. Business Week ranked Pace among the top 50 colleges and universities in the U.S. in 2008 for graduates with the highest earning potential.


By BRENDAN McHUGH Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, leading the local charge to re-elect the president of the United States, has been selected by the Obama for President Campaign as a candidate for delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Dinowitz, who has been selected five times before, would be the only Bronxite representing the 17th Congressional District. The assemblyman, elected as a Ted Kennedy delegate in 1980, was one of

Possible mayoral candidate visits

Continued from Page 1 “Every time I see him, I think he’s truly for the people,” Riverdale resident Roberta Singer said. Singer lived across the street from the Stringers more than 35 years ago in Washington Heights. “I remember him very well,” she said. Stringer came to Riverdale on December 21 to speak at the Chabad of Riverdale’s Chanukah menorah lighting ceremony at the bell tower, where he joined students from P.S. 24 and local Jewish leaders. As he was lifted in a crane to light the 30-foot-high menorah, he told the crowd that right after his wife gave birth she asked what he’d be doing in The Bronx. “I told her I was only lighting a menorah,” he said. “If only she could see me now!” He quickly got back on track, playing to the crowd: “It’s great to be in Riverdale—a wonderful, vibrant Jewish community.”

the youngest delegates at the convention, held in New York City. He was a Bill Clinton delegate in 1996, an Al Gore delegate in 2000, a John Kerry delegate in 2004 and a Hillary Clinton delegate in 2008. Both President Obama and the DNC delegate candidates are running in the April 24 New York presidential primary. It would appear that they are unopposed. The 17th CD elects eight convention delegates. Other candidates on the slate include state AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento, state Senator Ruth HassellThompson and several local legislators and party officials from Westchester and Rockland counties. The convention is Labor Day weekend in Charlotte, N.C. Delegates attend the convention and typically vote the way their district would vote. Because Obama is the incumbent and is unopposed, he’s already garnered the unofficial victory. When there are multiple Democratic candidates, as there were in 2008, delegates help determine the nomination by choosing from a set of candidates. “I am excited and honored to again serve as a National Convention Delegate for the Democratic Party,” Dinowitz said in a release. “President Obama has an incredible record of accomplishment over the past three years. He saved the American auto industry and probably prevented a depression. He kept his promise and ended the war in Iraq. He got Osama Bin Laden. He ended Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” He made those points in a speech for the Benjamin Franklin Reform Demo-

cratic Club and the Northwest Bronx for Change on Saturday at the kickoff party to re-elect Obama. Local activists joined together before heading off to petition for the president. “The more you watch the Republican debates, the harder you’ll work to re-elect Obama,” Dinowitz told the crowd in the Ben Franklin clubhouse, at 304 West 231st Street. City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell also took time to rally the two dozen in attendance with some GOP criticism. “The fact is, I have never heard that type of nonsense and destructive rhetoric from the Republican Party,” he said, noting that while former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is a moderate by today’s standards, he

would have been an extremist in the 1970s and ‘80s. “There’s no sensitivity to diversity,” he added about the Republican campaigns, claiming an “undercurrent of racism.” Pablo Ruiz, the regional director for New York and Long Island for Obama’s Organizing for America campaign, was at the kickoff party to praise the work of the grassroot activists and urge them to do whatever it takes to help. “We want to make sure our base is energized,” he said, hoping to generate enough excitement to encourage people to take trips to Pennsylvania—a key swing state come November—rather than spend their time campaigning in New York, a state he said Democrats are guaranteed to win.

5 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 19, 2012

Small crowd reflects lack of enthusiasm for Obama reelection bid


Thursday, January 19, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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RCT to present ‘Annie’

Leapin’ Lizards! America’s most beloved musical, ANNIE, is in the Bronx! Giving Bronxites a chance to experience this classic musical about never giving up hope. Starring a cast of over 60 Bronx, Manhattan and Westchester youth this timeless musical also features Sean Ruane, Antonia Barba and David Winter in the roles of Warbucks, Grace and FDR, with Shira Schleifer as Annie and McDuff as Sandy! This production will also feature the Celia Cruz High School Broadway Orchestra. The original Broadway production of ANNIE with Book by Thomas Meehan, Music by Charles Strouse and Lyrics by Martin Charnin, won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Book and Score. It ran for 2,377 performances, and has subsequently been produced all over the world. The original production is one of the top 20 longest running shows in Broadway history . Favorite songs include, ‘It’s the Hard-Knock Life,’ ‘Easy Street,’ ‘N.Y.C.’ and the ever optimistic ‘Tomorrow’. ‘We are so excited to bring ANNIE to the Bronx’ Says RCT Artistic Director Becky Lillie Woods ‘With our incredibly talented cast of kids and adults, live orchestration provided by the Celia Cruz High School Broadway Orchestra and boasting one of Broadway’s most memorable scores. you can bet your bottom dollar that ANNIE will bring a smile to your face’ Show dates are Saturday, January 21st

at 8 pm and Sunday, January 22nd at 2pm and 6pm Saturday, January 28th at 8pm and Sunday, January 29th 2pm and 6pm. All shows are at the Lovinger Theatre-Lehman College 250 Bedford Park Blvd West Bronx NY 10463. Tickets are $15 online at www. Riverdaletheatre.org or $16 at the door.

BCA offers series of free writing workshops

The Bronx Writers Center (BWC), a program of the Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA), kicks off 2012 with a series of writing workshops and a staged reading of a work in progress. Admission is free and all are welcome. On Friday, January 20th, the Bronx Writers Center and Barnes & Noble present a free writing workshop at Barnes & Noble Bay Plaza (290 Baychester Avenue in the Co-op City section of the Bronx), from 7:00-9:00pm. ‘Resolved to Write: Transforming Your Dreams into Goals’ is one of a series of free workshops for aspiring writers held every third Friday of the month at Barnes & Noble Bay Plaza. Have you been writing your novel or screenplay in secret, stealing away time from your work, family and friends? Now is the time to commit to your project and to break through to that place where inspiration meets motivation. The workshop includes hands-on writing exercises, discussion of structure, story-telling and voice, and a

Q&A with the instructor Maria Romano, Director of the Bronx Writers Center. Bring a notebook, a pen and your creative ideas! Reserve your seat at http://bronxwriters1202012.eventbrite.com. On Saturday, January 21st & 28th, the Bronx Writers Center presents ‘Poetry with Sarah Stern’, a free two-part poetry writing workshop at Hostos Community College (450 Grand Concourse at 149th Street in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx), from 11:00am-12:30pm. Do you think in metaphor and rhyme? Do you scribble verse in a notebook when no one is watching? Do you yearn to meet other poets and find support for your poetry habit? Is 2012 the year that you will make your writing dreams into goals? Emerging and beginning poets are encouraged to attend this two-part writing workshop led by an award-winning poet. Sarah Stern, four-time winner of BCA’s BRIO award, published poet and journalist, will lead the small group in discussion and writing exercises that will inspire and motivate. Participants should bring a notebook and pencils. Seating is limited. Reservations are required at http://bronxwriters12112. eventbrite.com. On Monday, January 23rd, the Bronx Writers Center presents BRIO winner Linda Manning in a free Staged Reading of her play, ‘Bite the Apple,’ at An Beal Bocht Café (445 West 238th Street), home of The Poor Mouth Theatre Company, at 7:30pm. ‘Bite the Apple’ picks up with Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and Gretel twenty years

after the fairy tales have ended as they navigate the modern world and approach middle age. For reservations or info email lindasmanning@gmail.com. This event is not recommended for children. On Thursday, January 26th & February 9th, the Bronx Writers Center and the Hutchinson Metro Center present free writing workshops in the Conference Room near the Hutch Metro Cafe (1200 Waters Place, between Eastchester Road & Westchester Avenue), from 12:30-1:00pm. Both sessions are led by Bronx Writers Center Director Maria Romano. Ms. Romano is an award-winning writer, a teacher and a veteran of the publishing industry. On January 26th, ‘Resolved to Write in 2012’ is a free hands-on writing session for all writers (even the secret writers) who are ready to work on a memoir, novel, poetry, screenplay or even a blog. This quick session will give you a few tools to inspire, invigorate and motivate you to tell your story. Bring pen and paper. Space is limited. Reserve a seat at http://bronxwriters1262012.eventbrite.com.

JASA Senior Center announces activities

Upcoming cultural and recreational events at JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center in January 2012: We are offering a trip to Empire City casino on Wed. Jan. 25th. For information and reservations, please contact Maritza Silva at 718-549-4700. Lucy Degidon, artist, will instruct Jewelry Making on Fri. Jan. 6th at 1:00 PM. She will present an art history talk about the renowned Columbian sculptor Botero on Fri. Jan. 27th at 1:00 PM. Sunday, January 29th - Variety Show featuring the Hilarious Comedy Talents of Steven Scott - as seen on tv, and stages from Broadway to the Las Vegas strip. Musical Entertainment by Ari Leshans, Kosher Chinese buffet lunch catered by Ginger Grill of Riverdale, Chinese Auction with fantastic raffle items! Price $40 per person, reservations required. Call 718-884-6105 (Chinese Auction opens at 11am, free admission). Van Cortlandt Jewish Center, 3880 Sedgwick Ave., Bronx. Sunday, January 29th, 11am to 12 noon: Chinese Auction - great raffle prizes, buy chances to win only those items you like. Bids are in increments of $1, $2, $5 and $10. Winners need not be present to win, only to bid! Free admission. For more information, call 718-884-6105. Howard Newman will make you laugh in Jokexercise on Mon. Jan. 30th at 11:15 AM. Seniors age 60+ may register for free. We provide a nutritious kosher lunch daily. For more information, please call the center office at 718-549-4700.


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Riverdale resident and artist of the month Michael Mendel is exhibiting 20 of his works at Gallery 18, Riverdale Y, 5625 Arlington Avenue throughout the month of January. Mendel, born in Berlin, Germany in 1934, fled the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler in 1938. A graduate of City College of New York (‘56), Mendel made art and design his career. He created hundreds of record album cover designs for artists like Tony Bennett, Gladys Knight, NY Philharmonic and soundtrack LPs for ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Serpico.’ As watercolorist his work has been labeled as ‘representational.’ For more information on the exhibit, call 718-548-8200 or visit www.riverdaley.org.

Countdown signals installed at Koppell’s behest

The Department of Transportation has installed countdown signals at the busy intersection of 236th Street and Riverdale Avenue at the request of Council Member Oliver Koppell. Constituents complained to Koppell about the insufficient time allotted to pedestrians to cross this street, creating a safety problem for people, particularly seniors and the disabled. In addition to the display of the walking signal, the countdown signals display the number of seconds left for pedestrians to cross, making it much easier for them to navigate the intersection before the light turns. The countdown signals also help motorists because they alleviate the problem

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 19, 2012

Michael Mendel art exhibit at Riverdale Y

of pedestrians crossing in front of a moving car as a result of their being unable to gauge the amount of time needed to cross safely. ‘I believe the installation of countdown signals at this intersection will be of great benefit and I am grateful to DOT for responding to our need for increased safety at this busy location,’ Koppell said.

“Forum” by the Riverdale Rising Stars

The Award-Winning Riverdale Rising Stars open their 2011-12 season with A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum at the Riverdale Y. With book by Larry Gelbart & Burt Shevelove and music by Stephen Sondheim, Broadway’s greatest farce is light, fast-paced, witty, irreverent and one of the funniest musicals ever written. There are two remaining performances; the closing on Sunday, January 22 at 3PM and on Saturday, January 21 a very Special Benefit Performance of FORUM featuring original Rising Stars, all audience favorites. Join our alumni as they reunite on the stage where they spent most of their adolescent years together. Our guest artists include: Greg Kanter, Ben Becher, Emily Walton, Anthony Malchar, Danny Mejia, Jake Levy, Allison Kline, Deborah Sacks, Fania Leyvi, Emily Parson, Kristen Mahony, Katleen Lozada, Podokshik, Janine Elliot, Chris Rodriguez, Robert Zilinyi, Elia Rangel, Max Frampolsky, Jessie Fried, Eric Dinowitz, Drew Lewis, Merry Scholl, Sam Yaggy, Danny Berger. The Riverdale Y is locatead t 5625 Arlington Avenue (off 256 Street). Tickets are available online at www.riverdaley.org.

At Montefiore, inspiration starts with our patients. And stops at nothing. Montefiore is more than a proud Bronx hospital. Our nationally renowned Centers of Excellence and our partnership with Albert Einstein College of Medicine are bringing the world to our door. Our outcomes are outperforming national averages, and our patient satisfaction scores are among the highest in the New York City area. We are recognized for delivering world-class treatment, and will never compromise our heritage of providing strong, compassionate care to the people of our communities.

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Thursday, January 19 Riverdale

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

Kingsbridge

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

Kingsbridge

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

Kingsbridge

MEETING 7:30 p.m. Kingsbridge Center of Israel 3115 Corlear Avenue State Senator Adriano Espaillat will report on his recent visit to Israel. State Senator Gustavo Rivera will give updates on current legislative initiatives. For more information, call Ben Schachter at 212-544-0173.

Friday, January 20 Riverdale

FUN FRIDAY 3:30 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue XBOX Kinect, Wii and Board games of all types and all skill levels. For more information, call 718-549-1212.

Kingsbridge

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 21 Riverdale

THEATRE 8 p.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue The Award-Winning Riverdale Rising Stars will perform A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum. Tickets are available online at www.riverdaley.org.

Sunday, January 22 Riverdale

THEATRE 3 p.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue The Award-Winning Riverdale Rising Stars will perform A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum. Tickets are available online at www.riverdaley.org.

Monday, January 23 Van Cortlandt

WII TIME 4 p.m. Van Cortlandt Branch Library 3874 Sedgwick Avenue Join us @ the Van Cortlandt Library for afternoons of fun and games. (Bowling, Baseball, Tennis). 12yrs and older. For more information, call 718-543-5150.

Kingsbridge

KNITTING & CROCHET 5 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Gather with other knitters and crocheters and perhaps pickup a few tips and tricks as you work on your own creations! For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Riverdale

STAGED READING 7:30 p.m. An Beal Bocht Cafe

445 West 238th Street The Bronx Writers Center presents BRIO winner Linda Manning in a free Staged Reading of her play, ‘Bite the Apple.’ This event is not recommended for children. For more information, call 718-931-9500 or visit www.bronxarts.org.

Riverdale

CB8 MEETING 7:30 P.M. COMMUNITY BOARD 8 5676 Riverdale Avenue Meeting of the Housing Committee of Community Board No. 8. For more information, call 718-884-3959.

Tuesday, January 24 Van Cortlandt

PRESCHOOL STORY TIME 10:30 a.m. Van Cortlandt Branch Library 3874 Sedgwick Avenue Preschoolers from 3 to 5 years old and their parents/caregivers can enjoy new and classic picture books, action songs, meet other preschoolers in the neighborhood and stay after the story time for Arts & Crafts. For more information, call 718-543-5150.

Kingsbridge

CB8 MEETING 3:30 p.m. Kittay House 2550 Webb Avenue Meeting of the Aging Committee of Community Board 8. For more information, call 718-884-3959.

Kingsbridge

TALES WITH NZINGA 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Interested in playing the role of Camel? Of taking a journey across the desert? Nzinga will take you there! Experience master storyteller Willie Teacher’s tales, woven with interactive elements, call and response, and opportunities for participants to take on active roles in the stories. Based on folklore from Anansi the Spider, these tales teach the importance of stories and inspire reading and writing. Presented by Urban Stages for children ages 4 to 10 years old. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Riverdale

TEEN CAFÉ 4:30 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Come hang out with your friends in a cool, casual environment. Bring snacks to enjoy while you listen to the radio & chat with your friends. Use laptops to do your homework, watch videos, play games & more. For more information, call 718-549-1212.

Wednesday, January 25 Riverdale

TODDLER DANCE PARTY 11:30 a.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Toddlers and their caregivers are invited to the Riverdale Branch to get their groove on. We will Hokey Pokey and Have an actively good time. Shakers and dance scarves will be provided. Parents and caregivers are expected to participate. For more information, call 549-1212.

NASSAU COLISEUM

JAN. 27 - 29

CB8 MEETING 1 p.m. Community Board 8 5676 Riverdale Avenue Meeting of the Youth Committee of Community Board 8. For more information, call 718-884-3959.

FEB. 3 & 4

Riverdale

HOMEWORK HELP 3:30 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Have your homework questions answered in a quiet study environment. All students in grades 1st through 5th are welcome. For more information, call 718-549-1212.

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

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Riverdale

TOASTMASTERS CLUB MEETING 7 p.m. Riverdale Neighborhood House 5521 Mosholu Avenue Bronx Toastmasters Club of Riverdale invites new members to join in at their free meeting. You will learn valuable leadership skills-all in a supportive, non-intimidating environment. Come as a guest and witness for yourself what they accomplish. For further information, visit their website http://www.bronxtoastmastersclub.org or call 718-796-6671.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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Competitors shown are subject to change.

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The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 19, 2012


Riverdale Children’s Theater taps Celia Cruz HS orchestra By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER It’s “tech week” for the Riverdale Children’s Theatre, and the 62 cast members are learning a different take on all those hit tunes as they prepare for this Saturday’s opening night of “Annie”: They’ll be accompanied by a live orchestra comprised of handpicked instrumentalists from the Celia Cruz High School of Music. The collaboration will be a brand-new experience for everyone involved. When RCT executive director Derek Woods saw the potential synergy—the troupe performs in Lehman’s Lovinger Theatre, housed in the building used by Celia Cruz for its music program—“the impresario in me came out,” he said. “It’s just like The Bronx. There’s so much here if you take the time to look.” Celia Cruz music department chair Penelope Smetters-Jacono found the “Annie” score appropriate for some of the school’s accomplished players. She formed a new school ensemble, the 24-member Broadway Orchestra. The joint venture’s first run-through went smoothly last Sunday under the leadership of RCT’s musical director Eric Johnston and artistic director Becky Lillie-Woods. The instrumentalists and actors already knew their parts, so when LillieWoods stopped the music and said “Can we try that again?” the actors knew just where to begin, and when Johnston said “give me a sforzando and don’t make it pretty” or “everybody crescendo through measure 40, then we’re tacet,” the seasoned players knew just what he meant. Cast as Annie is Shira Schleifer, an eighth-grader at SAR. The “Little Mermaid” and “Wizard of Oz” veteran said this is her favorite role. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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is portrayed by David Winter, dad of cast member Hannah Winter and executive director of the Riverdale Jewish Center. For the sake of this production, he agreed to shave off his beard for the first time in 13 years. Grown-ups cast as FDR Cabinet members include Mike Padden and Jan Rostal, who said RCT has given their son, cast member Tommy Padden, “a love of music and theater, and it’s certainly given him the acting bug.” Dr. William Rodriguez, principal and founder of Celia Cruz, thinks the pairing has benefits beyond the stage experience. “It is always a good thing when schools reach out into the community to volunteer, work, collaborate and serve,” he said.”It is important for students to know the needs of their communities and for schools to nurture and model good citizenship. I am very happy and excited to know that our music students have joined hands with the Riverdale Children’s Theatre for a production that will benefit everyone in the community. I look forward to the show and for many more collaborations.” To show their appreciation for the high school’s participation, RCT will contribute toward the cost of sending Celia Cruz ensembles to this year’s All-American Music Festival at Disney World next month. Performances of “Annie” are at the Lovinger Theatre, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, on Saturday, January 21, at 8 p.m.; Sunday, January 22, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.; and Sunday, January 29, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 online through Riverdaletheatre.org or $16 at the door.

Riverdale Children’s Theatre rehearses with Celia Cruz High School orchestra.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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Riverdale Rising Stars stage homecoming benefit By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER A funny thing happened after Riverdale Y theater manager Ben Becher imagined a benefit performance of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” with a cast of the original Riverdale Rising Stars: The idea panned out. A group of Rising Stars alumni, including many who performed the comedy themselves in 2004, will reunite onstage during the show’s current run this Saturday, January 21, at 8:30 p.m. Becher shared the vision with Riverdale Y artistic director Laurie Walton. “I made the comment, half jokingly, remembering how fun a show it was to do,” he said. “Laurie then mentioned the idea to Greg Kanter, another alum who is still very much involved in RRS. Greg took the idea and ran with it. He and Emily [Walton] began to hunt down the alumni one by one, and here we are.” Becher, Kanter and Rising Stars veteran Emily Walton organized the benefit event “with tons of help from everyone in the RRS community.” They were able to assemble 20 alumni, now “bankers, teachers, fashion designers, actors, students, directors, waitresses,” according to Becher—himself a professional actor—who are all “dropping whatever it

is we’re doing to come together” for this performance. “Just look at how many people are taking a break from their ‘adult’ lives to put together a single performance,” noted Eric Dinowitz, a special ed teacher at Bronx Theatre High School and part of the benefit cast. “Riverdale Rising Stars was a turning point in my life that helped shape me into a young adult,” he said. “Rare it is to find a program that fulfills you

Before holding first class, new charter school seeks to expand enrollment By MIAWLING LAM The Tech International Charter School, scheduled to open in Kingsbridge this fall, wants to accept up to 132 sixthgraders—50 percent more than originally proposed. State education officials confirmed the bolstered number as school authorities revealed they received fewer than 30 applications in the first nine days of enrollment. At a board meeting on Tuesday, January 10, TI co-founder and executive director Steve Bergen said the school had received 27 applications from prospective students. “If we don’t hit 150, 200, by March 1, then we really have to go into emergency mode because we have to have the numbers,” he said. “Not everybody who is in the lottery will even want to go to this school.” When contacted for an updated figure earlier this week, Bergen changed tack and said rolling enrollment numbers would now be kept strictly confidential. “We’ve got a number and we’re happy with that at the moment,” he said. Although the enrollment increase has yet to be formally approved, it is the strongest indication to date of the middle school’s bold ambitions. In its initial charter application to the State University of New York—the agency that granted the school its permit—school officials stated they would enroll only 88 sixth-graders in the first year. However, SUNY Charter Schools Institute spokeswoman Cynthia Proctor said the TI board now wants to increase that number and has plans to boost its student intake in subsequent years. The school, which will take over the 10story, mixed-use building at 3120 Corlear Avenue, has previously said it wants to expand its charter for fall 2013 and evolve into a grade 6 through 12 school. “The board seeks to increase the

school’s enrollment from 88 students…to 132 students in grade 6 in 2012-13 and from 267 students…to 334 students in grades 6 to 8 in 2016-17,” Proctor said. She added that a public hearing, scheduled for Thursday, January 19, would allow members of the public to voice their opinions on the proposed changes before state officials vote on the motion. “The Institute anticipates that it will make a decision on the revision request in time to present it to the SUNY Trustees’ Education Committee when they next meet, January 24 and 25,” she said. Authorities need to approve any changes before they come into effect. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz believed it was premature for officials to think about expanding and said it would be prudent for the school to wait at least a year. “The issue on Thursday is not if the school should exist,” he said. “The issue is if they should expand by 50 percent before they’ve even opened. “I would like the school to be a success but before they are allowed to expand, it would be helpful to know it had a good track record.” As TI’s launch date draws closer, further details are beginning to emerge about the school’s curriculum, core values, academic themes and guiding pedagogy. Principal Adjowah K. Scott said while TI’s curriculum will be technology-centric—students will have their own laptops and e-readers—the primary focus would be on academic progress. Scott, who previously worked at The Children’s Storefront, a pre-K through eighth-grade independent school in Harlem, also said faculty will draw upon a range of pedagogical approaches to deliver content. “Specifically, we will be doing a lot of hands-on and a lot of communicating about what it is that you’re doing, as well Continued on Page 19

artistically and fosters lifelong friendships with amazing people. We know that by supporting it, we’re actually supporting teens grow as individuals and as contributors to their community.” Jake Levy will be flying in from Los Angeles. “I’ve been working in television for nearly two years—True Blood, Glee, NCIS, Big Time Rush. RRS was what made me the actor I am today,” he said. “I loved the direction we took and can’t be more proud of the younger kids who have taken over since we all left.” Max Frampolsky will travel from Connecticut, where he works for a hedge fund. “Nothing I do at all relates to theater, but it’s fun to get back together with people you knew when you were growing up and to do something like this,” he said. “It was a huge part of my life growing up,

and I’ll do whatever I can do to help the program, now and in the future.” One person who’s unable to drop everything is Laurie Walton, now performing in a brief run of “The Dixie Swim Club” in Indianapolis. “The Rising Stars hold a very special place in my heart, and the thought of missing anything with them is difficult,” she said. “I will have to settle for the DVD, though I hope to Skype the beginning since I don’t go onstage until 8:20 each night!” Benefit performance tickets are $25. Tickets for the final performance of “Forum”—by the current Rising Stars—on Sunday, January 22, at 3 p.m. are $18 online through riverdaley.org. At the door, they’re $20 or $12 for students and seniors.

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In a letter to Adrian Benepe, Commissioner, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, Council Member Oliver Koppell expressed his deepconcerns that NYC taxpayers are not receiving the benefits they should from the Riverdale Equestrian Center in Van Cortlandt Park, where 43 stalls are housing horses that compete in the Canadian Olympics for free. Koppell said, ‘There are very few affordable amenities offered to the public at the Riverdale Equestrian Center, especially when compared to the other stable concessions in NYC parkland.’ Koppell also expressed his concern about the concessionaire’s owing the city $100,000 from uncollected fees. He did not believe that repaying taxpayers by making $100,000 in improvements to the Center was acceptable considering how little the taxpayers benefit from the facility. Koppell urged the Commissioner to collect the fees owed and to exact a commitment from the concessionaire to provide affordable amenities such as pony rides and trail rides as a condition of continuing his contract. Koppell said, ‘The cachet of having Canadian Olympic horses housed at the Riverdale Equestrian Center does not mitigate the fact that the public is deriving little benefit from the large amount of space the Equestrian Center is occupying in Van Cortlandt Park. I urge you,’ he continued, ‘to demand that the concessionaire provide the public with affordable services commensurate with the amount of parkland the Center is occupying.’

New Classes for seniors at the Riverdale YM-YWHA

The Simon Senior located at the Riverdale YM-YWHA is pleased to announce new classes that are being offered for seniors during the week on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. New offerings include Computers at Beginner and Intermediate Levels, Mah Jongg, an Indoor Walking Club and Ballroom Dancing. For more information about days and times for these events please call Vicki at the Y at 718-548-8200x224. Wonderful Wednesdays at the Riverdale YM-YWHA: Start the New Year right and come to the Simon Senior Center located at the Riverdale YM-YWHA @ 5625 Arlington Ave. Starting February 1st the SSC is offering a brand new Indoor Walking class with Sandy @ 10am and Meditation with Morris @11:30am. There is no charge for these classes but all participants aged 60 and over must register to join. Join us for a hot delicious kosher nutritious lunch afterwards. Suggested lunch donation is $2.25. For more information and registration please contact Vicki at the Y at 718-548-8200x224.

Riv. Rising Stars announces new program

The Riverdale Rising Stars announces a new program for children, teens and adults. RPAC, Riverdale Rising Stars Performing Arts Conservatory explores the world of theater, in a supportive and engaging environment, learning with top NYC professionals in fields of theater, stage

combat, playwriting, set design and more. Students of all levels of acting ability, who want to be introduced to drama or theatre studies will be able to experience a professional atmosphere with with professional artists. This conservatory is truly open to anyone interested in the theater! Registration will open Monday January 23 on line at RiverdaleRisingStars.com. Register now as spots will fill up fast. RPAC courses begins March 12th, 2012 at the Riverdale Y at 5625 Arlington Avenue. For more information contact Ben Becher at BBecher@RiverdaleY.org or RiverdaleRisingStars.com

Kathleen Keefe to address Serra Club meeting

Kathleen Keefe, author, lecturer, and founding director of ‘Peace Through Divine Mercy,’ will be the guest speaker at the January 25th luncheon meeting of the Serra Club of The Bronx and Westchester. Her topic will be ‘Restoring Faith in the Holy Priesthood.’ The Serra Club is an international organization, whose mission is to foster and promote vocations to the ordained priesthood and vowed religious life, and through this ministry, fosters and affirms the members’ common Catholic faith. Luncheon meetings are held at noon at the Eastwood Manor at 3371 Eastchester Road (corner of Boston Post Road) in the Bronx. The cost of the luncheon is $20. Call 718-654-3601 for additional information and reservations.

Seniors shape up at Riverdale YM-YWHA

Stir up a recipe for health at the Simon Senior Center of the Riverdale Y. A pinch of Pilates, a drop of posture practice, core muscle strengthening, a handful of stretches, and some weights thrown in, gently - those are the ingredients for an exercise program beneficial to all ages. This class includes seated and standing exercises. With a focus on strengthening the brain as well as the body, unexpected challenges will leave your mind feeling pleasantly stirred up. The entire community is welcome to join in every Monday and Thursday mornings from 10:30am to 11:30am starting in January. Wear something bright and comfortable! Instructor: Helen Weiss Pincus. Prior registration not required. Free and the entire community is welcome to join the classes. For further information please call the Riverdale Y @ 718-5488200x223/224. The Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue.

‘Hamlet” shown at Center Stage Playhouse

Last showing of ‘Hamlet’ at Center Stage Playhouse Friday January 20 at 8 pm. Don’t miss the tale of murder, scandalous marriage and forbidden love. Plus, there are guns and a sword fight on stage! Get Your Tickets Today For more information about the show or venue, visit our website at www.centerstageplayhouse.org

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 19, 2012

Koppell demands amenities at equestrian center


Thursday, January 19, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 19, 2012


Thursday, January 19, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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Bronx Toastmasters Club of Riverdale invites new members to join in at their free meeting on January 25 at 7:00 p.m. at the Riverdale Neighborhood House, 5521 Mosholu Avenue. Wouldn’t you like to communicate effectively? Now you can! Toastmasters will show you how to listen effectively, think on your feet, and speak confidently. You will learn valuable leadership skills-all in a supportive, non-intimidating environment. Come as a guest and witness for yourself what they accomplish. They meet every second and fourth Wednesday of the month. For further information, visit their website http://www.bronxtoastmastersclub.org or call 718-796-6671.

Mount St. Ursula speech center begins registration

Are you unhappy with your child’s progress in school? Is he/she having trouble with speech, language or reading? Are you worried about your preschooler’s speech? Is he/she hard to understand? Is she or he talking as much as other children of the same age? The Mount St. Ursula Speech Center, located at 2885 Marion Avenue, is a non-

sectarian, nonprofit organization that has provided speech, language and literacy services to children in the Bronx community for over 50 years. They see children ranging in age from 2 to 16 years, and provide therapy individually and in small groups. They are currently accepting children for the spring speech, language and reading programs. For more information, call 718584-7679 or email msuspeech@aol.com.

Social Security Assistance at Engel office

Representatives of the Social Security Administration will be at Congressman Eliot Engel’s Bronx office on Wednesday, January 25 to assist people with any questions about or issues that may have with this program. This service, at 3655 Johnson Avenue, is available only by appointment, which may be made by calling Richard Fedderman of Rep. Engel’s office at 718 796-9700. Rep. Engel said, ‘Social Security is a vital program that affects many people in my district. Consequently, I have the experts from the Social Security Administration come to my office every month to help constituents with the program.’ The Congressman also directed people to the Social Security website (www.ssa.

gov) which offers a wide array of on-line services including filing for retirement, survivors and disability benefits, change of address, replacing lost Medicare cards, and keeping up to date on Social Security benefits and other information.

Ethical business practices examined in Riverdale

The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) will present the new course, Money Matters: Jewish Business Ethics, a six-session series that is accredited for 9 CLE ethics credits and will commence during the week of November 6. Rabbi Yitzchok Dubov of Chabad Lubavitch of Riverdale will conduct the six course sessions from 7:30-9:00 pm on Tuesdays, January 24 - February 28 at The Riverdale YM-YWHA. “The recent failures in the financial industry have drastically changed the way we think about business,” explains Rabbi Levi Y. Shemtov, spiritual leader of Chabad Lubavitch of Riverdale and Director of the JLI Riverdale Chapter. ‘At JLI, we deeply believe that business should be a force for good, and that’s why we’re presenting students with timeless Talmudic insights into real-world ethical dilemmas.’ Spanning a wide range of intriguing subjects, Money Matters discusses the

personal ethics of bankruptcy and freeloading, asking questions such as: After purchasing a ticket for a ball game, can you move to an unoccupied, higher-priced seat? If you ever have the money are you morally obliged to repay discharged debt? Questions regarding topics in social ethics such as living wages, insider trading, CEO compensation and collective bargaining are also addressed. “Markets need morals, and morals are not made by markets. They are made by schools, the media, customs, traditions, religious leaders, moral role models and the influence of people,” said the British Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, “Jewish ethics has a long past and a massive resource of wisdom. That is why courses such as JLI’s Money Matters: Jewish Business Ethics are so important.” Like all JLI programs, Money Matters is designed to appeal to people at all levels of Jewish knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning. All JLI courses are open to the public, and attendees need not be affiliated with a particular synagogue, temple, or other house of worship. Chabad of Riverdale has secured a sponsor who will assist in funding anyone who needs a scholarship to attend this event. Please call 718-549-1100 x 10 or visit www. myJLI.com for more information or to register for this exciting course.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 19, 2012

Toastmasters Club invites new members


Thursday, January 19, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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Finally, Leadership at Borough Hall

This has been a very good week for Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. Having shouldered the blame, unfairly in our view, for the defeat of Mayor Bloomberg’s Kingsbridge Armory shopping mall, we now see that burden lifted. Mr. Diaz was instrumental in forging a new deal with the mayor that will result in new proposals, better proposals, less destructive proposals. To his credit, Mayor Bloomberg has agreed to collaborate with Bronx officials. One of the borough president’s initial failings was to allow the discussion of the so-called “living wage” bill to consume the very real issue of unfair government-subsidized competition to existing businesses, a major objection to the initial Armory Mall project. Mr. Diaz pointed out that every dollar spent in the proposed Armory Mall would have come from the hides of merchants along Fordham Road. This makes sense. The lion’s share of shoppers on Fordham Road travel there by public transportation. Ride one stop to the north on the subway, or a few minutes more or less by bus, and you can leave behind inclement weather and dangerous crosswalks and shop at a snazzy new climate controlled indoor mall. What did the mayor think was going to happen to Fordham merchants? By agreement, the new proposals will not be hampered by the living wage discussion, which Mr. Diaz stated would be resolved in the City Council. No sooner had the Armory proposal been revived that it was announced that a “compromise” was hammered out in the Council on the living wage legislation. While the deal seemed to let everyone claim victory, the truth is that the living wage mandate is dead. And just in the nick of time. As the Armory project is resuscitated, another huge project waits in the wings, and that is the relocation of the Fresh Direct warehouse and distribution center that has now outgrown its Long Island City home. The city is locked in a struggle with New Jersey over the possibly 3000 jobs that the facility brings with it. These jobs, in the world of job creation, are among the most valuable. They require relatively low skills, perfect for pulling persons who would otherwise be mired in persistent unemployment into the economic mainstream. Exactly the kind of folks who need our help the most. Had the living wage bill been passed as initially proposed, you could have kissed these jobs goodbye. It is one thing to demand that retailers who are part of a national chain pay a “living” wage to their sales help and managers: in most cases they already do. But the kind of lower level unskilled jobs found at Fresh Direct are much more likely to pay lower wages. Rather than submit to inflated mandated labor costs in The Bronx, it is more than likely that the owners of Fresh Direct would have come to the conclusion that they and the State of New Jersey would be “perfect together.” By putting the Armory back on track, sans the distraction of the “living wage” issue, and putting us in play for the thousands of jobs that will likely come from Fresh Direct, the Borough President and, yes, the mayor, had a very good week indeed. In fact it is hard to think of so much good work accomplished during all of the seven-and-a-half year tenure of Mr. Diaz’s predecessor, the possibly corrupt, thoroughly discredited, and soon to be unemployed Adolfo Carrion. Compare this to what we have seen from Mr. Diaz in these seven short days. Maybe there is hope for a real economic turnaround for The Bronx after all. It begins with inspired leadership, finally in place at Borough Hall.

KRVC Development Scam

Kudos to Community Board 8 for overwhelmingly rejecting the ill-advised plans to mix housing and commercial development at the site of the West 230th Street and Broadway parking field. This is a hare-brained concept that was rejected years ago. The Kingsbridge/Riverdale/Van Cortlandt Development Corporation, in a blatant attempt to line their own pockets, was quietly pushing this, never disclosing their own conflict as the presumed recipient of lucrative management contracts. This is a conflict that can and must be avoided.

Health department calls last drinks at Winners Bar By MIAWLING LAM A popular Riverdale drinking hole has been shuttered by the city’s Department of Health after failing a health inspection. Winners Restaurant and Lounge Sports Bar lost their battle to stay open after health officials found 40 code violations during a routine inspection on Friday, December 16. Sanitary violations identified include staff not properly washing, rinsing and sanitizing kitchen surfaces; the kitchen serving raw, cooked or prepared food that was adulterated or contaminated; and improperly storing sanitized equipment or utensils. Officials also nabbed the kitchen’s supervisor of food operations for failing to hold a food protection certificate. Commanding officer of the 50th Precinct Captain Kevin Burke revealed news of the closure at last Thursday’s Community Council meeting. Even if health authorities hadn’t acted, Burke said, both the precinct and the New York State Liquor Authority were ready to pounce on the facility, located at 6697 Broadway, in response to community complaints.

“If they weren’t shut down by the health department, they were going to be shut down by the SLA because of licensing issues,” he said. According to the liquor authority, Winners Sports Bar’s liquor license expired last year on November 30 and has yet to be renewed. Winners Bar, also known as Serenity Lounge, has a checkered history and has been slapped with six summonses for signage violations alone. Just last month, the College of Mount Saint Vincent took the unusual step of joining Community Board 8 and the 50th Precinct in objecting to the liquor license renewal. CMSV officials claimed staff at Winners contravened their operating license by engaging in irresponsible conduct, serving underage patrons and pushing drinkers to the point of intoxication. Residents also complained that once the bar closed, rowdy students disturbed the peace, created noise disturbances and caused vandalism on their way back to campus. In a letter dated December 7, CMSV president Charles L. Flynn

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pleaded for the SLA to deny the renewal because the bar’s owners had violated their liquor license. “Winners/Serenity has been a recurring source of problems for the local community and the College of Mount Saint Vincent,” he wrote. “For the good of the Riverdale community, as well as the safety of the residents and the safety of students themselves, the College requests that the renewal be denied.”

Countdown clock on traffic signal By MIAWLING LAM It was only a matter of time before the city’s street-crossing countdown clocks migrated north. The Department of Transportation last week took the rare step of installing an LED traffic light countdown timer at the intersection of West 236th Street and Riverdale Avenue. The signal, the first to be erected in Riverdale, is set to benefit pedestrians in the hightraffic area usually teeming with children, seniors and disabled community members. Councilman G. Oliver Koppell, who lobbied for the signal, said it was also a win for motorists, as pedestrians would be less likely to cross the street if they know they won’t cross safely in time. “I believe the installation of countdown signals at this intersection will be of great benefit, and I am grateful to DOT for responding to our need for increased safety at this busy location,” he said in a statement.


Curves celebrates 10 years in Riverdale

The Curves workout burns up to 500 calories in one 30-minute workout, something Liebensohn and Niesen said were the key to their extended success. “Women don’t have time to spend two hours in the gym,” Liebensohn explained. Curves members are able to track weight loss, plan their meals and learn about different health issues, “like why you crave chocolates,” Liebensohn added. She compared Curves’ message to a three-legged stool. “Diet, exercise and motivation” are the key aspects of the women-only workout. Dr. Hope Langers, a physician, said the relaxed, testosterone-free atmosphere is an important feature for many of the women. “I like that it’s women only,” she said, adding that she joined in 2002 because she wanted to exercise on a more regular basis but didn’t want the stress of committing to a particular schedule. The Curves workout is a fixed 30 minutes, but because of the setup, women do the workout on their own and not with a class. “It’s pretty straightforward,” said Langers, who became pregnant right after she joined and was able to do the workout through her pregnancy. “It’d be foolish of me not to come,” said Helen Goldman, a Curves member who lives around the block. “It’s just a joy to be here.” She noted the camaraderie among the women. Curves is the largest international fitness franchise, with nearly 10,000 locations worldwide.

Before opening, school seeks to expand

Continued from Page 12 as traditional methods,” she said. “There will be some memorization and rote. But the idea is that children have to practice and apply what they have learned, so there will be plenty of time for reflection.” School leaders said that the Core Knowledge curriculum, developed by E.D. Hirsch, Jr. would provide the basis for the school’s academic program. However, this puzzled those familiar with the program, who asserted that it is designed to begin in kindergarten, not sixth grade. Professional development of teachers will come from a book, Doug Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion. School hours will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and class sizes will be capped at 22. To achieve their desired student-teacher ratio of 12:1, officials will also hire 11

teachers, of whom at least 80 percent will be “highly certified.” TI is currently accepting applications and will continue to do so until Friday, April 6. Admissions will be done through a lottery process, with the draw being held at 9 a.m. on April 13. Pupils who reside within District 10, which encompasses a large swath of the northwest Bronx including Riverdale, Fordham and University Heights, will be given priority. TI officials also plan to ramp up their local recruiting efforts by placing information notices in children’s backpacks and posting fliers in libraries, coffee shops and other public spaces. Following a visit to P.S. 24 in December, school representatives are scheduled to present their plans to P.S. 81 parents early next month.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 19, 2012

By BRENDAN McHUGH Over the past ten years, Riverdale Avenue has gone through a roller-coaster ride. Very few stores weathered the recession and survived, but some have. Curves, the women’s fitness franchise at 3719 Riverdale Avenue, celebrated its ten-year anniversary earlier this month by honoring ten members who have remained with the club for the entire decade. “We’re very fortunate,” said Joan Niesen, a Curves employee. “It’s a community of women who help each other.” On January 10, the store held an all-day celebration, culminating in a ceremony to honor the first ten members who joined Curves back in 2002. “We’ve been honored and blessed for knowing you for the last ten years,” Niesen told the women, who each received tokens of appreciation from Curves. Marilyn Copilelo, the first member to join on January 7, 2002, said the ceremony meant a lot to her. When asked why she joined in the first place, she said she was just “trying to find something to do.” Niesen said the reason for the business’s success was simple. “It’s a necessity for women to stay healthy and strong,” she said, pointing out that taking care of one’s body isn’t a luxury in today’s world. “If women don’t take care of themselves, they can’t take care of their families,” Curves owner Stacy Liebensohn said.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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Riverdale Review, January 19, 2012  

Weekly newspaper published in Riverdale, NY 10471