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Riverdale’s ONLY Locally Owned Newspaper!

Volume XVIII • Number 12 • February 17 - 23, 2011 •


Vets worry that memorial fix-up will skate by

Fear that mayor’s ‘Dinky Rink’ could further delay honor to fallen heroes

By BRENDAN McHUGH For over four years, a small group of war veterans has been battling the Parks Department to repair or replace 39 plaques honoring deceased war heroes. Last month, they finally received word after a long and tedious bidding process that a contractor had been selected to fix Van Cortlandt Park Memorial Grove. “We’ve been knocking our brains out trying to get them to move our tails,” said Don Tannen, vice president of the Van Cortlandt Park Memorial Grove Restoration Group. “I don’t know when the groundbreaking will take place, but hopefully it will be before spring.” Since 2006, Tannen and Herb Barret have been working to repair the grove, which honors World War I, World War II and Korean War veterans. If the contractor, VIF Corporation, can’t begin before the trees in the park come out of their winter dormancy, it is likely they will wait until next winter to avoid damaging the trees. If that is the case, the group may end up celebrating another Veteran’s Day at a crumbling grove. Memorial Grove is located near the corner of Broadway and West 246th Street. At the same time the restoration group will be celebrating Veteran’s Day this November, it is quite possible that just south

of the grove in the park, Bronxites will be ice-skating on a brand new skating rink. The Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy has been pegged to bring a seasonal rink to The Bronx this November; the project was first announced last month during Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s State of the City address. In just 11 months, the hope for the conservancy is to go through the same bidding process with the Parks Department and also work with a contractor to design and build a suitable ice-skating rink to fit atop the tennis courts next to Broadway and Manhattan College Parkway. “Maybe an ice-skating rink will be good,” Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said, “but it shouldn’t be moved to the front of the queue when there are things we’ve been waiting on for quite some time.” The funds for the rink are mostly coming from private sources, but have not been named. Another $700,000 will be supplied by the city to fix lighting and electrical infrastructure around the tennis courts. The conservancy, after an e-mail requesting information, gave out an inoperable phone number and then did not return a follow up e-mail. They will be at the February 23 Community Board 8 parks committee meeting at 7 P.M. at the

Last November, Boy Scout troop 240 planted flags in the ground for each fallen war hero honored in the still unfinished Memorial Grove in Van Cortlandt Park. Riverdale Mental Health offices at 5676 Riverdale Avenue to discuss the project. If the conservancy has a friend in the

Parks Department or the mayor’s office who will help expedite the skating rink is Continued on Page 3

Special School admissions from RKA drop by a disastrous 36%

By MIAWLING LAM Just 16 students from the Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy landed coveted seats at one of the city’s nine elite specialized high schools this year. The tiny number is the school’s worst ever performance and continues a five-year decline in the number of students receiving offers to the prestigious schools. Data released last Tuesday by M.S./H.S 141 shows only 12 students received an offer from the city’s three traditional powerhouses – Bronx High School of Science, Stuyvesant High and Brooklyn Technical High School. Eleven students received an offer to attend Bronx Science and another was granted entrance to Brooklyn Tech. No student made the cut-off score for Stuyvesant High this year, compared to three who managed to nab a spot at the uber-elite lower Manhattan school in 2010. Principal Lori O’Mara said of the 223 eighth-graders who sat for the Specialized High School Admissions Test, 16 received a total of 18 offers. “This is an eight percent acceptance rate into the specialized high schools for the 2010-11 year,” she said. “This is a 21 percent acceptance rate for the 76 students in the Honors classes.” In addition to the 12 students, two others were offered seats at High School of American Studies at Lehman College; one at High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering at City College and three at

Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. The number of specialized high school seats being offered to RKA students has been on a continual decline since 2007. Last year, 25 students scored themselves a coveted seat, compared to 33 the year before. The numbers are also a far cry from the 150 students the school sent to specialized high schools in 1992. In contrast, 70 percent of students from Riverdale’s tiny Kinneret Day School received an offer. Principal Asher Abramowitz said of the 15 students who sat for the test, 11 were successful. Three students were offered seats at each Bronx Science and High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering and five at High School of American Studies. “We are happy. It’s a good result,” Abramowitz said. “We are notorious for having a high acceptance rate and over the years, at least for the past 20 years that I’ve been watching this, we’ve always had way over half of the children get accepted into specialized schools.” Admission to eight of the nine specialized high schools are based on the results of the Specialized High School Admissions Test, a competitive exam taken by around 28,000 eighth-graders each year. Meanwhile, entrance to the ninth prestigious school, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and

Performing Arts, is judged on an audition and a review of academic records. Across the city, 5,984 eighth-graders received an offer this year. However, only 333 of these were from the Bronx. In 2010, 334 Bronxites earned a spot at the top-tiered schools, compared to 397 in 2008. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said the results were discouraging. “I am disappointed that, once again, the Bronx is lagging behind the rest of the City in specialized high school admissions,” he said. Diaz believed schools needed to invest more in their enrichment programs. “While my office is proud of the children who did get offers to these high schools, these numbers show that we need to do more to encourage our most gifted students as early as possible, and to make sure that more of our students take the specialized admission exam,” he said. “Increasing the number of gifted and talented programs in the Bronx remains a priority of my office, and I will work with the Department of Education to ensure that these programs are available to all Bronx children who qualify for them.” Students have until February 28 to accept an offer. Students who do not meet the deadline will forfeit their seat and be automatically entered into the main round of the admissions process.

Thursday, February 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


P.S. 24 correcting embarrassing shortfall in lunch money collections

By MIAWLING LAM Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Parents at P.S. 24 racked up a school lunch debt of more than $20,000 in three months after the school’s leadership team slackened off on collecting payments. New data released last week by the New York City Department of Education reveals the Spuyten Duyvil School owed $20,222 for lunches served between September and November last year. The debt, which was accumulated at an average of nearly $400 each day, was so staggering, it represented one of the highest shortfalls among the city’s 1,600 schools. Sources at the school report that the school aide who normally handles the payments has been out sick for an extended period, and the function was not assigned to another staff member. Only I.S. 145 in Jackson Heights and P.S. 276 in Canarsie were deeper in the red for that period. Overall, the city’s data shows 65 percent of schools owed a total of more than $2.5 million. Nearly half of these carried a debt of between $1,000 and $10,000. According to P.S. 24’s latest demographics snapshot report, the school has seen a spike in the number of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. In the 2010-11 academic year, the school recorded a 27.8 percent poverty rate, up from 17.5 percent three years ago. This could reflect an increase in students commuting from out of the relatively affluent P.S. 24 zone. Just last month, the school’s parents’ association notified families about the

need to pay up. “Principal Connelly has asked us to remind you that if your child eats school lunches and is not in the free lunch program, to either send in the $1.50 in an envelope with your child each day, or to please pay the school lunch bills that come home periodically in your child’s backpack,” the notice stated. “The Department of Education will bill the school for all unpaid lunches. With over 800 children in the school, this can add up quickly and severely impact the administration’s ability to carry out its educational mission.” Education department spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said since the data was released, parents at P.S. 24 have indeed reduced much of their debt. Despite four separate requests for information, she declined to divulge the school’s current outstanding balance and said only that the administration had ramped up efforts to collect money. “(They) have been working hard to reach out to parents,” she said. “P.S. 24 has recently made payments that have significantly reduced its balance.” As of press time, school principal Donna Connelly had not returned calls seeking comment. Students in New York City are charged $1.50 for a school lunch. However, threequarters of the city’s students qualify for free lunch, or a meal at a reduced price of 25 cents. A student can qualify for free or reduced-priced lunches if their household income dips below a certain level. For example, a student can receive a free

P.S. 24 principal Donna Connelly lunch if a family of four has an income of less than $28,665; for a reduced-price lunch, the threshold is $40,793. In an internal Principals’ Weekly newsletter dated February 1, Schools Chancellor Cathleen P. Black told schools that if unpaid fees weren’t collected within 15 days, funds would be deducted from their budgets. It is understood that since 2004, parents have stiffed the city out of at least $42 million in lunch money. “Outstanding balances for uncollected payments for lunch meals served in September through November will be collected on February 16,” Black said. “You should work with your network budget liaison to set aside tax levy funding in your anticipation of the adjustment to be made on February 16.”

However, after several principals voiced their disapproval, the department backed down and withdrew the deadline. As of press time, the new deadline had yet to be announced. School lunches are bankrolled by the federal government, which spent $9.8 billion nationwide on the program in the 2009 financial year. Under city rules, elementary and middle school students who come to school without a packed lunch must be fed, even if their parents are behind on payments. High schools are not mandated to feed their students, even though most do regardless. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned during his weekly radio show last Friday that lunch to high school students could soon be cut off. “It may be we get to that,” he said. “The first thing is let’s try to get the parents to pay.” Bloomberg also said he wanted to avoid calling upon debt collectors. “We want to keep this between the families and the schools, and we don’t want to use collection agencies,” he said.

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The Riverdale Review (718) 543-4206 or email to 5752 Fieldston Road Bronx, NY 10471

By BRENDAN McHUGH After years of pressure from local elected officials, a contract has been finalized to bring a shopping center to the parking lot at 230th Street and Broadway.

Mayor’s dinky rink

Continued from Page 1 unknown, but if they experience the same delays that the restoration group has, no one will be surprised. If the conservancy manages to pass through the Parks Department quickly and efficiently, maybe they can give tips to the other organizations who have historically struggled to get the city to act swiftly, even though clear constituencies supports these projects. Barret, president of the group, said he has been transferred from office to office within the Parks Department, each time after an employee gets fed up with him. What he was asking for was to resurface 24 plaques and replace 15 missing ones, along with some landscaping work. Some of the missing plaques are sitting in the basement of the building at the southern edge of the grove. Barret has said that in the past, he has asked the Parks Department whether he could install those plaques himself. The department said no. Barret and Tannen remain optimistic. “I’ve been fortunate enough to hook up with [City Councilman G. Oliver] Koppell, [Rep. Eliot] Engel’s office, and Dinowitz. People need muscle, weight, to get something done.” Koppell has allocated funds for the restoration, Dinowitz was able to get the city to install a fence around the grove, and Engel’s office calls the Parks Department often to pressure them into moving quicker.

In a meeting last week between the developer Louis Ceruzzi and the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC), hosted by various elected officials, the two were able to come to terms on a revised contract to build the facility. “I am pleased that we are finally making progress at West 230th Street and Broadway,” Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz said. “It’s been many years since I started pressing for the construction of a shopping mall at this site.” Dinowitz said he began pressing this issue over nine years ago, and when City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell was elected to office, they joined together to add extra weight. At last week’s meeting, Dinowitz and Koppell were joined by representatives from Rep. Eliot Engel and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, who have also been insistent on bringing the shopping center to Kingsbridge. “After years of delay, I am happy that the long-awaited development at West 230th Street and Broadway is moving ahead. I look forward to working with the developer, local elected officials and the New York City Economic Development Corporation in the coming months to make the responsible redevelopment of this site a reality,” Diaz said. The economic woes over the last decade, as well as the discovery of underground water immediately below the surface that altered building plans, kept a finalized contract from being agreed upon in the past. Under the new contract, Ceruzzi Development has agreed to purchase the property from the City for $6 million by June and to begin construction within 18 months. If no construction begins, Ceru-

be developed soon for a retail center, potential tenants would be able to pit the two developments against one another for the best deal. Nevertheless, local officials are hoping for progress in the area. “One thing I’ve been pressing is that we get good stores,” Dinowitz said. “I don’t want to have more 99 cent stores. Bed, Bath & Beyond and Best Buy are the types of stores I would like to see at that site.” He went on to say that “this will be a shot in the arm for the Kingsbridge neighborhood,” in terms of the economic growth for the area. “After many years of delays I am pleased that this development is finally moving ahead,” Engel said. “I look forward to working with all the parties involved to make this a great asset to the Kingsbridge neighborhood and all of the Bronx.”

A Healthy Heart Starts with You Throughout the month of February, the Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care will offer free educational lectures and screenings to check your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Protect your heart from disease, and learn how to take better care of yourself.

Upcoming Health Screenings 8:00 am – 1:00 pm

Tuesday, February 22

Upcoming Health Seminars: Monday, February 22

Montefiore Medical Group Cross County 1010 Central Park Avenue Yonkers, New York 10704

Women’s Heart Health Lecture Series Weiler Division Auditorium, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm 1825 Eastchester Road Bronx, New York 10461

Thursday, February 24

Thursday, February 24

North Division Auditorium 600 East 233rd Street Bronx, New York 10466

Pediatric Cardiology for Pediatricians North Division, Education Center Room A, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

* For best results, fast for 12 hours prior to your appointment.

Valentine’s Day at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Moses Division Food Pavilion, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm 111 East 210th Street Bronx, New York 10467 To sign up for a health screening or for more information about heart month events, please call 1-800-MD-MONTE or visit

3 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, February 17, 2011

Progress on 230th St. shopping mall

zzi forfeits the contract. He has indicated to Koppell’s office that he is actively seeking tenants to lease the space but Ceruzzi Development did not have an official comment when contacted directly. As for the parking lot that currently occupies the area, Ceruzzi said during the meeting that the lot would stay open until construction begins. Potential suitors for the new retail center include pharmacies, home improvement stores, banks, electronic stores, health clubs and clothing stores. The clothing store Kohl’s was long rumored to be a flagship store but backed out. Ceruzzi is still searching for tenants. The site is large enough to support two retailers at 50,000 square feet each. One issue that could be a problem is the Stela D’oro property, at 237th Street and Broadway. If that property were to

Thursday, February 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Around the Schools... P.S. 81

Preregistration for kindergarten is open through Friday, March 4, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Please note that these times are strictly enforced. Any child zoned for P.S. 81 may register at any point during the designated period. Parents are required to bring the following: The child to be registered; the parent’s photo ID; the child’s original birth certificate or passport; the child’s immunization records; the child’s Individual Education Program (IEP) and/or 540 Accommodation Plan (if applicable and available); and any TWO of the following proof of residence documents: a Con Edison bill , water bill or property tax bill dated within the past 60 days; an original lease agreement, deed or mortgage statement; documentation or letter on letterhead from a federal, state or local government agency including the Internal Revenue Service, City Housing Authority, Human Resources Administration, Administration for Children’s Services or an ACS subcontractor indicating the resident’s name and address, dated within the past 60 days; or official payroll documentation from an employer, such as a form submitted for tax withholding purposes or payroll receipt, dated within the past 60 days—a letter on employer’s letterhead will not be accepted. Parents who have any questions are welcome to call the school at 718-796-8965.

Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy

The school’s annual Multi-Cultural Show will take place on Saturday, March 5, at 2 p.m. The event will feature many talented RKA student performers—dancers, singers, poets and more—who represent a wide variety of cultures. Student artworks will be on display as well. The community is invited.

Horace Mann School

The school’s annual Asia Night is this Friday, February 18, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in Gross Theatre. The evening will feature skits, a fashion show, musical performances on traditional Asian instruments, choral singing, and dancing—including a professional Chinese troupe presenting a “dragon dance.” The event is organized by the East Wind West Wind Club, an affinity

group that promotes cultural connections and discussion of issues affecting Asian Americans. According to advisor Ian Rios, the club has a strong presence on campus and takes on a different character each year depending upon its leadership. “This year, there’s a very talented group,” he said.

Kinneret Day School

Students participated in a math marathon and collected more than $4,000 in donations for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. They completed a set of math problems and requested donations for each correct answer. The school’s annual math marathon has raised more than $32,000 over the past 20 years. This year’s donations will help to offset the cost of life-saving sonograms, X-rays and chemotherapy treatments at St. Jude’s, whose services are free of charge. The students will receive token gifts for their fundraising efforts.

Local Scholars

The Art Institute of New York City has announced that Eva Sanchez, a graduate of the Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy, was awarded an occupational studies degree in fashion design last December. The Art Institute of New York City, located in Lower Manhattan, is part of a system of more than 45 schools throughout North America offering post-secondary education programs that prepare students for entry-level careers in fields like graphic design, web design and interactive media, fashion design, fashion marketing and merchandising, retail management, digital filmmaking and interior design. Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, has announced that Jonathan W. Carr-Malatzky, son of Howard Malatzky and Susan Carr, has been named an Alden Scholar for the 2009-10 academic year. Carr-Malatzky, now a junior at Allegheny, is a graduate of Manhattan Hunter Science High School. Paul Smith’s College in Paul Smiths, New York, has announced that Alexander Byrne was named to the dean’s list for the fall 2010 semester. Byrne is a fisheries and wildlife sciences major in the School of Forestry and Natural Resources. Student must earn a semester GPA of at least 3.3 to qualify for the dean’s list.

P.S. 81 parent show fundraiser a hit parade Anderson and Campbell. Rob Susman did “Basin Street Blues.” Joyce Stovall sang “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” Velazquez soloed in “Wonderful.” Quite intriguing was Gerena on flute and ocarina—a tiny ceramic wind instrument used in many cultures since ancient times— accompanied by an original synthesized track produced by his techno-musical colleagues in Puerto Rico. His own “Upon the Wings of the Wind” and his arrangement of “Kadosh,” a traditional Hebrew melody he learned while in Israel, were beautifully haunting. On the classical front, violinist Jerome Bergman and pianist Ivanka Petkovic performed Saratate’s “Romanze Andaluza,” followed by Petkovic on solo piano for Debussy’s “Clare de Lune.” But the versatile duo then launched into “I Could Have Danced All Night” with Petkovic singing and Bergman on piano. Velazquez paired with Gerena for “My Cherie Amour” and “Valentine’s Day.” Then, in contrast, composer, guitarist and singer Kevin Kane presented his stirring folk ballad “Frederick Douglas—A Slave Man and Free,” backed up by April Ruffin on vocals, Nesin on guitar and Campbell on drums. The Daddy O’s, an informal collection of parents wielding guitars, drums, a trumpet, a trombone and stylish vocal chords, had some fun with rock tunes. A pickup alumni band--P.S. 81 grads now high school juniors and seniors— piled onstage for a grand finale, joining school parents and staff. “Everyone had a great time together,” Nina Velazquez observed. The PA hands over the proceeds to the school for educational programs.

HARMONY, RHYTHM AND SONG AT P.S. 81. The Daddy O’s, an informal collection of parents wielding guitars, drums, a trumpet, a trombone and stylish vocal chords, has some fun with rock tunes.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, February 17, 2011

By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER Dozens of musicians—including many who play for a living—were clearly happy to spend last Saturday night on the stage of P.S. 81’s William McGinn auditorium in “Harmony, Rhythm and Song…for Bill,” the annual parents’ association fundraiser that enlists the school’s own moms, dads and staff as performers. “Bill” is William McGinn, a firefighter who died on 9/11. “This year makes ten years since he was our curtain guy,” parent coordinator Nina Velazquez said. “He was a dedicated P.S. 81 parent. Next year it will be ten years since we renamed the auditorium for him.” The harmony, rhythm and song came through with quality, taste and variety. There were oldies and contemporary hits, show tunes, blues and a few folk originals. Bass guitarist Rich Nesin served as musical director for the event, and guitarist Russell Velazquez was emcee. Nesin and Velazquez, as well as Sarah Cion, April Ruffin, Joyce Stovall, Chris Anderson, Scott Campbell and Edwin Gerena, did solo numbers and joined ensembles along the way. Cion opened the program with “This Could Be the Start of Something Big,” accompanied by Phil Palombi. Ruffin followed with “My Funny Valentine” with Cion, Palombi and Anderson. Victoria Arnstein sang “Somewhere” with Cion. Kathleen Hart performed “Close to You” and “Top of the World.” Shauna Hicks sang “You Made Me Love You” and “Our Love Is Here to Stay” with Cion. Michael X. Martin performed “Skylark” and “My Romance” with Cion. Beverly Draper sang “Pennies from Heaven” with Ralph Waldow, Nesin,


Thursday, February 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


CSAIR presents an evening of Yiddish theatre

The Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale (CSAIR) will present Hy Wolfe in an evening of Yiddish theatre on Thursday, Feb. 17, at 7:45 p.m. Hy Wolfe, an actor, singer and director, has roots planted in the world of Yiddish. A performer who works in English and Yiddish, he will present a program featuring songs from the classic Yiddish theatre, Yiddish folk songs, and stories from the writings of the Dubner Magic, Hershele Ostroplyer, and others.

He will be accompanied by pianist Steve Sterner. This program, which is sponsored by CSAIR's Adult Education Committee, is free and open to the entire community. CSAIR is located at 475 West 250th Street at the Henry Hudson Parkway. For more information, call the synagogue office at 718-543-8400 or visit www.

Curves Riverdale adopting a platoon in Afghanistan

Curves Riverdale is adopting its second platoon. Two years ago Curves adopted a platoon in Iraq. For a year mail and packages were sent to the soldiers in the 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, and the 10th Mountain Division in support of 'Operation Iraqi Freedom.' Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Commanding, send a letter saying, 'Thank you for your service and dedication. Your time and efforts put forth to support the soldiers and officers of this battalion made a huge impact on the morale and spirits of the entire unit. The best news Curves received was that all the soldiers were home safe with their families. Curves recently received a note from SFC Michael mills, who is the Platoon Sergeant from the Department of the Army, asking if it could adopt another platoon that was now going to be deployed to Afghanistan. Naturally the answer was yes! They have been assigned a platoon

and received a list of the 30 soldiers. Curves Riverdale members are busy getting packages ready to send to the platoon. They plan on sending monthly packages and each month they will have something special for each soldier. 'We are happy to come together as a community and reach out to support our troops that are serving our country. It is such a small token of our appreciation for the huge sacrifice these soldiers are making to fight for freedom around the world,' said Stacy Liebensohn, Curves Riverdale. If any one is interested in donating items to send to the Platoon, contact Curves Riverdale, located at 3719 Riverdale Avenue, Riverdale, NY 10463, telephone 718-549-0555.

Serra Club to conduct Day of Recollection

The Serra Club of The Bronx and Westchester will hold its Annual Day of Recollection on Saturday, Feb. 19, at St. Joseph's Seminary, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The leader will be the Rev. Luke M. Sweeney, Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of New York. All are welcomed to attend. Cost per person is $20; it includes a continental breakfast as well as a buffet lunch. For information and reservations, call 718-798-7176. 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, foster and affirm the members' common Catholic faith. Luncheon meetings are held at noon at the Eastwood Manor at 3371 Eastchester Road (corner of Boston Post Road). The cost of the luncheon is $20. For more information and reservations, call 718-654-3601.

Social Security reps at Engel's office

Representatives of the Social Security Administration will be at Congressman Eliot Engel's Bronx office on Wednesday, February 23rd to help constituents with any questions and/or issues they may have concerning Social Security. The service, at the Congressman's 3655 Johnson Avenue office, is available by appointment, which may be made by calling the Congressman's office at 718-796-9700. Rep. Engel said, 'Social Security representatives have been coming to my office for many years and have helped hundreds of people. These appointments get answers for people and help them navigate the system in the convenience of their neighborhood.' The Congressman also said that the Social Security website ( offers an 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 matters.


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In honor of President's Day, come explore Van Cortlandt park as we learn about the Founding Fathers' exploits in the historic Bronx. Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (Enter the park at W. 246th St. and Broadway) on Sunday, February 20, 2011, 1 p.m. Public transportation: Take the 1 train to the 242nd Street. Walk north on Broadway. Enter the park at W.246th Street and follow the signs to the center. Take the Bx9 bus to the 242nd Street. Walk north on Broadway. Enter the park at W.246th Street and follow the signs to the center. For more information please visit www. or call 311 and ask for the Urban Park Rangers.

P.S. 81 Parents to hold fundraiser

The P.S. 81 Parents' Association is resurrecting its popular fundraiser, 'Monte Carlo Night.' The event will take place on March 19 from 7 to 11 p.m. at The Riverdale Country School, who has generously offered the use of their dining hall for the evening. Monte Carlo Night features a catered buffet dinner, live DJ and dancing, casino style gaming tables, as well as a raffle and silent auction. Tickets are $50 a person which includes dinner, two drink tickets and starter chips. Anyone interested in purchasing tickets can contact Mary Anne Cebeci at 917-566-7212 or You can also send a check directly to: P.S. 81 Fifth Grade Committee c/o the P.S. 81 Parents' Association, 5550 Riverdale Avenue, Bronx, NY 10471. Tickets will be mailed directly to you once payment is received. Tax deductible contributions would also be most appreciated and arrangements can be made by contacting Mary Anne Cebeci. Monte Carlo Night is open to the entire community and the proceeds will benefit P.s. 81's 5th Grade activities as well as the general Parents' Association funding.

Schervier sponsors Atlantic City Bus Trip

Schervier sponsors a Day Trip to Show Boat Casino, Atlantic City on Tuesday, February 22, leaving 8:55 a.m. and returning 8:30 p.m. The bus leaves from the Schervier Apartments, 2995 Independence Avenue, Riverdale, at 8:55 a.m. and returns around 8:30 p.m. There will be drop offs at 230th Street and Kingsbridge Avenue; at Knolls Crescent; 232nd Street and Henry Hudson Parkway; and last at the Schervier Apartments. People can also be picked up at Knolls Crescent at 9:00 a.m. The cost is $26 and you receive $30 back from the casino! To reserve a seat, please call Nellie Kenny at 718-543-0237. Leave your name and phone number and she will get back to you.

Church of Mediator to host flea market

On Saturday, Feb. 26, the Church of the Mediator will be hosting a flea market, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The church is located at 260 West 231st Street between Kingsbridge and Corlear Avenues. Refreshments will be sold. Proceeds will help benefit the church. For vendors interested in renting table space, the fee is $20 for one table and $35 for two tables.

Vendors can contact Larry Molatto at 347483-2489. Or by email at larry2264@gmail. com. The flea market also has a website For more information, call 718-5498660 or 347-992-4361.

Mass at St. Eugene's Church to commemorate event

The celebration will commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel for Priestly Vocations at St. Eugene's Church, 707 Tuckahoe Road,

Yonkers. Bishop Gerald T. Walsh will be the principal celebrant on Saturday, Feb. 26 at 1 p.m. A reception will follow the Mass. The chapel was established by The Serra Club of The Bronx and Westchester with the blessings of Cardinal John J. O'Connor on the grounds of St. Joseph's, the major seminary of the Archdiocese of New York, on March 2, 1998. As the result of logistics issues, the chapel was relocated to St. Eugene's Church on March 12, 2001. The Blessed Sacrament is exposed and made available for adoration Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Church's Chapel and on each First Friday of

the month, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Parish House Chapel, at 31 Massitoa Road. Although more than 6,000 visits are made each year, it is necessary to depend on 'committed' adorers who agree to be assigned one hour or more each week to insure that the Blessed Sacrament is never left unattended. The Serra Club is an International Organization whose mission is to promote vocations to the Priesthood and the Religious Life. Luncheon meetings are usually held on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the Eastwood Manor at 3371 Eastchester Road (corner of Boston Road) in the Bronx. For info, call 718-654-3601.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, February 17, 2011

Washington's troops on the hill

Thursday, February 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Thursday, February 17 Spuyten Duyvil

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


BABY STORY TIME 11:30 a.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Babies from birth to 18 months old and their parents/caregivers can enjoy great books, lively songs, and rhymes, and meet other babies in the neighborhood. For info, call 718-549-1212.


CODE BREAKER 4 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Develop your own secret code while learning how to crack other codes! Decipher messages and solve mysteries. For ages 12 to 18. For more information, call 718-549-1212.


STORYTELLING 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 280 West 231st Street Tales for the Teeny Tiny. Stories told by Getchie Argetsinger. Recommended for ages 3 to 5 years old. For info, call 718-548-5656.

Friday, February 18 Van Cortlandt

HEALTH LECTURE 11 a.m. Van Cortlandt Senior Center 3880 Sedgwick Avenue Lawrence Hospital will present a lecture on Geriatric Surgeries. For more information, call 718-549-4700.

Van Cortlandt

VAUDEVILLE-STYLE RADIO SHOW 1 p.m. Van Cortlandt Senior Center 3880 Sedgwick Avenue Featuring jokes, stories, poems, song and dance. By Action Rachet theatre (Lois Kagan Mingus, Joanie Fritz Zosike and Robert Hieger). Lunch of rosemary chicken breast and macaroni salad will be served at 12:15 pm. Show is at 1 p.m. For more information, call 7178-549-4700.


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


TEEN ADVISORY GROUP 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 280 West 231st Street TAG meetings will be held on Friday afternoons downstairs in the Reading Room. If you are a 7th -12th grade student, you are eligible to join. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Tuesday, February 22 Van Cortlandt

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


TODDLER STORY TIME 11:30 a.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Toddlers from 18 months to 3 years old and their parents/caregivers can enjoy interactive stories, action songs, and fingerplays, and spend time with other toddlers in the neighborhood. For more information, call 718-549-1212.


COMMUNITY DIALOGUE 6 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue In partnership with the Interfaith Center of New York, the

New York Public Library offers a series of moderated conversations with local spiritual leaders about belief, worship and how religious traditions shape everyday lives in New York City. For more information, call 718-549-1212.

Wednesday, February 23 Van Cortlandt

FIRE SAFETY 11 a.m. Van Cortlandt Senior Center 3880 Sedgwick Avenue NY Fire Department will give a Fire Safety Presentation. For more information, call 718-549-4700.

Van Cortlandt

ARTS & CRAFTS 3:30 p.m. Van Cortlandt Branch Library 3874 Sedgwick Avenue Make a door hanger to welcome good fortune into your home this Chinese New Year! For more information, call 718-543-5150.


CHESS 4 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Learn to play chess and develop your skills with other players in an informal setting. For more info, call 718-549-1212.

Van Cortlandt

PRINTS FROM THE SUN 4 p.m. Van Cortlandt Branch Library 3874 Sedgwick Avenue Discover the art of the cyanotype! Experiment with everyday objects to create your own artwork and fonts on light sensitive paper. Afterwards, curate your own digital show using cool new technologies. All materials provided. For more information, call 718-543-5150.

Thursday, February 24 Spuyten Duyvil

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


TEEN CAFÉ 4 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 info, call 718-549-1212.

Friday, February 25 Van Cortlandt

HEALTH LECTURE 11 a.m. Van Cortlandt Senior Center 3880 Sedgwick Avenue Lawrence Hospital will present a lecture on Diabetes. For more information, call 718-549-4700.

By BRENDAN McHUGH The state budget is sure to have negative effects on social services in the borough, but it’s the national budget that Bronxites will need to monitor more closely. The most detrimental of all the cuts on social services that President Barack Obama proposed is the cut to the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). Throughout the Bronx, $5.8 million of the discretionary funds Bronx congressmen send to community organizations will be eliminated. Throughout the nation, that figure is $16 billion; a 7.1 percent decrease from 2010. It is estimated that 5,300 Bronxites rely on the services provided by the CSBG, with services ranging from local community centers to citywide services such as the Research Foundation for CUNY. Rep. Eliot Engel, one of three congressmen who represent The Bronx, said he was troubled by the proposed budget and imagines the Republican-proposed budget will only be worse. “What really baffles me, when (Congress) met in lame duck in November, we gave more tax breaks to the super wealthy,” Engel said. “We eliminated the estate tax so wealthy people, the top onetenth of 1 percent of the country, don’t have to pay taxes. We also made sure the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthy were extended. Now, I don’t see how eliminating these grants that middle class, poor people and community organizations rely on to do very good work.” Engel also said that unless the budget improves and changes are made to allow social services to continue, his tendency would be to vote no on this budget. In a statement the congressman released

about the budget, he said these people are paying because the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy were extended, leaving a budget shortfall. They are also paying because of Republican demands that expenses be cut when any reputable economists will tell you that with the economy we have, government should spend money to bring the economy back because cutting expenses only keeps us in the hole.” One of the many services thousands of Bronxites count on is the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center. Executive director of the center, Giselle Melendez-Susca, said that if the center no longer receives CSBG funding, they will be forced to cut the teen program. “There is no other way around it,” she said. “For this community, the Kingsbridge Heights community, losing that money, which has basically put 200 teens that we have been working with that are at risk, will put them back onto the streets with absolutely no support services whatsoever.” Services that are at risk of being lost include aid for adolescent and adult literacy, GED and ESOL programs, the Fatherhood Initiative, Healthy Families, advocacy for housing issues, support services for immigrants, and social and cultural services for seniors. “So, when you talk about the kind of work that these community organizations have done for the community—anchors for the community—this just basically is going to decimate all the hard work, time and energy that we have put into creating supportive services to help create a healthy community,” Melendez-Susca said. “That’s pretty serious and it’s going to be pretty devastating in our community.”

Grab the best deal in town— dinner, dessert and a movie — all for $10

42nd Street at the Rose Family Classic Film Series Wednesday night, February 23, 2011 @ 6:30pm dinner; 7:15 movie Tickets: $10/$8 seniors and students (includes pre-film dinner, discussion, wine and dessert) Professor Jason Lucero, who is a writer and professor of filmmaking at New York University will lead a discussion before each movie.

42nd Street (1933)

42nd Street is a musical film directed by Lloyd Bacon with choreography by Busby Berkeley.The movie features Shuffle Off to Buffalo, I’m Young and Healthy, and the tour de force title song 42nd Street. Future Films include: Sweet Smell of Success (1957) Wednesday, March 2, 6:30 pm (dinner); 7:15 pm (film) A Thousand Clowns (1965) Wednesday, March 9, 6:30 pm (dinner); 7:15 pm (film)

The Out of Towners (1970) Wednesday, March 30 6:30 pm (dinner); 7:15 pm (film) Sex and the City (2008) Wednesday, April 6 6:30 pm (dinner); 7:15 pm (film)

NOTE: this film is rated “R” and is not suitable for children

5625 Arlington Avenue Bronx, NY 10471 718.548.8200

Tickets on line at

9 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, February 17, 2011

Engel assesses proposed budget cuts

Thursday, February 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Rwandan genocide survivor at Manhattan College

By JEANETTE SETTEMBRE “Destroy their houses, catch them, finish them,” shouted barbaric voices from a radio, the only link to the outside world. Imagine being trapped in a cramped, 3 by 4ft bathroom, with seven other women, in a constant fear of death by machete. This horrifying nightmare was a three month reality for Rwandan genocide survivor, Immaculee Ilibagiza. “I never surrendered to death, somehow I felt I must live,” the courageous words of Ilibagiza, living proof of a miracle. She stood, glowing, before a large crowd of MC staff, students, alumni, and local Riverdale residents at the event in Smith Auditorium on February 9th in memory of the innocent victims of the genocide. One day a college student, the next a refugee, Ilibagiza remembers waking up to her panicked brother with news that the President had been shot. The advent of this devastating genocide began with the hatred and unwillingness to civilly communicate between the Hutu and the Tutsi African tribes. “Human beings can be so cruel to each other, we don’t choose our race, our tribe,” stated Ilibagiza. Before her moving speech, there was a brief introductory video to give the audience historic background on Rwanda itself. “I was just really struck by the short

video because I would never think of Rwanda as a pretty place, and the images were very surprising, it’s crazy to think that all of this havoc struck in such a beautiful place,” comments sophomore and peace studies major, Lili Johnson. Armed with machetes, clubs, guns and grenades, Ilibagiza describes the Hutu militia mass murdering innocent civilians. The identification cards carried by Rwandan citizens specified their ethnic background, what would soon become a difference between life and death. Families were separated into different tribes initiating open warfare against each other. On the terrible April day in 1994, Ilibagiza was reluctantly obedient to comply with her parent’s plan for her own safety and survival even though it meant that they would soon be separated. Ilibagiza fled to a local pastor’s house for the next ninety-one days where she was confined to a tiny bathroom among five other female adults and two children with limited space, air, and food. Ilibagiza described her three months in hiding as treacherous, feeling both physical and mental pain, suffering from hunger. She was 115 pounds upon entering hiding and left looking like a skeleton, a mere sixty-five pounds. Doctors told her that she would forever suffer from intestinal problems, interestingly

enough however, Ilibagiza escaped unscathed without any disease or health problems. She believes that through God’s grace she has remained healthy today. Wi t h h e r h i d i n g s p o t unexposed, Ilibagiza’s faith in God grew tremendously. Holding a rosary in her hand at the podium, Ilibagiza describes how she prayed over twenty-six times a day for the rest of her time in hiding. In the summer month of July, in 1994, Ilibagiza was at last able to free herself from hiding. Although she felt relieved, she states “It was like the end of the world.” Her mother, father, and two brothers, along with her uncles, cousins, and neighbors were all dead. “I think she’s an inspiration for young people, not just for her courage, but her faith,” states Ann Marie Mauro, a resident of Riverdale. Her daughter, and Manhattan College Alumnus, Suzanne Mauro, seated beside her comments, “I had seen the movie Hotel Rwanda and it made me dawn to see an actual survivor. I found her capacity to forgive people inspiring.” Still coping with her tragic losses, Ilibagiza found a job in the United Nations, and on March 31st of 2005, she finished her very first book which was published after she encountered an author one day in New York City who was both thrilled and honored to publish her work.

Although her present day life is looking much brighter with the release of her New York Time’s best seller, Left to Tell, Ilibagiza is still very much effected by her past, “I still cry to this day,” she says. Ilibagiza lost her family, her closet friends, and for a moment, her ability to forgive, but one

thing she has yet to loose sight of is her faith that gives her the courage and determination to continue to tell her story time and time again. “If I can forgive, any one can. There is always hope.” Jeanette Settembre is Features Editor of the Manhattan College Quadrangle newspaper.

We Drive. You Win. 30 Round Trip $

Bus Fare


$15 Meal/Retail Credit Two $10 Free Bets & One $5 Free Bet

Why Drive? For Information Call: Enchanted Coach 914.423.9700 or 1.866.423.9700

Bronx & New Rochelle: Day Service (Monday, Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday) Night Service (Friday & Saturday) Riverdale & Yonkers: Day Service (7 Days a Week) New pick-up times – call for details.


Bonus packages are issued to individuals 21 years of age or older. Offer subject to change without notice.



PHOTOGRAPHY PRESENTATION 8 p.m. Westchester Community College Tech. Building Auditorium Westchester Photographic Society presents Bill McBridde on "Photographic North America's Railroads." For more information, call 914-271-5542.

Saturday, February 19 Croton-on-Hudson

ROAD WORK 10 a.m. Croton Point Nature Center Croton Point Avenue Walk the park learning the roads and watch for eagles on the Hudson. For more information 914-862-5297.

PHOTOGRAPHY PRESENTATION 8 p.m. Westchester Community College Tech. Building Auditorium Westchester Photographic Society presents The Best of WPS in the members' showcase. This will be a memorable evening of beauty and inspiration. For info, call 914-271-5542.

Saturday, February 26 Yonkers

ARTWORK SUBMISSION 9 a.m. Lenoir Preserve Dudley Street Submit artwork of Lenoir Preserve framed and ready for hanging. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more info, call 914-968-5851.


SUGARHOUSE CHAT 12 p.m. Trailside Nature Museum Ward Pound Ridge Reservation Stop by the sugarhouse anytime between noon and 2 p.m. for an informal chat with the museum staff as we turn sap into maple syrup. For more information, call 914-864-7322.

GARDENING WORKSHOP 12 p.m. Croton Point Nature Center Croton Point Avenue This is the second in a series of Saturday workshops on how to create sustainable change. Gardeners, community gardeners and urban farmers; bring lunch, chat about this year's garden plans, what works and what needs help in your community garden. If you have saved seeds please bring them to exchange. We will provide ideas, resources and dessert. For info, call 914-862-5297.

North White Plains

North White Plains

Cross River

NATURE STORY TIME 1 p.m. Cranberry Lake Preserve Old Orchard Street We have a library of great storybooks in the nature lodge that we would love to share with you and your children. Staff choices may include The Giving Tree, Gutterfish and more. For more information, call 914-428-1005.


EVENING WOODCOCK WALK 5:30 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 Marshlands Conservancy has the ideal habitat in which to hear and witness the fascinating courtship display of the "Timberdoodle" or American Woodcock. Please bring binoculars if you have them. For more information, 914-835-4466.

Sunday, February 20 Scarsdale

WINTER WALK 2 p.m. Greenburgh Nature Center 99 Dromore Road Come celebrate winter with a nature walkk with naturalist john Mancuso and see what's happening in the GNC's forest. Hot chocolate served afterwards. Members, free. Nonmembers, $6 per person. For more information, call 914-723-3470.


STARTING GARDEN SEEDS 2 p.m. Lasdon Park & Arboretum Route 35 Lasdon's horticulturist will talk about the timing and techniques for starting seeds of annuals, perennials, vegetables and herbs to ensure healthy transplants for the garden. Participants will take home seeds that they will plant during the workshop. For more information, call 914-864-7263.


TWILIGHT JOURNEY 5:30 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 It's a crepuscular travel log into the natural world that is preparing for nighttime. Please dress for the weather. For more information, call 914-835-4466.

Thursday, February 24 Scarsdale

LECTURE ON PETS 2 p.m. Greenburgh Nature Center 99 Dromore Road Join Brittany Burgio, Asst. Curator of Living Collections, for a fun, informative talk on popular pets. Before you decide on that potential pet, learn how long they live, what they eat and how to care for them properly. Stay and meet some of the animals from their collection, while Brittany answers the questions you have wanted to ask. Ages 8 and up. Included with Museum admission. For more information, call 914-723-3470.

Friday, February 25 Valhalla

HIKE THE LAKESHORE TRAIL 1 p.m. Cranberry Lake Preserve Old Orchard Street Winter is the best season for views of Cranberry Lake and the blue trail is best to do it on. We will cover about two miles while learning about the park's flora and fauna. For more information, call 914-428-1005.

Cross River

AMERICAN INDIAN SUGARING 1 p.m. Trailside Nature Museum Ward Pound Ridge Reservation Did you know that the American Indians discovered maple sugaring? Find out how they developed the process that gives us the sweet syrup we all love today. A few fireside stories will warm us up before we tap some of the trees the modern way. For more information, call 914-864-7322.


ANIMAL WORKSHOP 1 p.m. Read Sanctuary Playland Parkway When it comes to survival, what animals do is as important as their physical adaptation. This live animal workshop will give you a chance to observe animals and record your observations of their behavior. Presented by Anthony Cogswell. For more information, call 914-967-8720.


INDOOR NATURE CRAFTS 1 p.m. Lenoir Preserve Dudley Street Join Lenoir staff for some indoor nature crafts. Pre-registration is required. Refreshments will be served. For more information, call 914-968-5851.


VOLUNTEER WORK 1 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 Clearing the debris from Shady Lane. This is a volunteer work project. We will neaten up the historic driveway. Please bring work gloves. Hand tools provided. For info, call 914-835-4466.

Sunday, February 27 Mt. Kisco

CELEBRATING ALL PRESIDENTS 1 p.m. Merestead 455 Byram Lake Road Take a close-up look at the Merestead presidential letter collection and look at artwork in the collection by artists who were also presidents of various organizations. By reservation only. For more information, call 914-864-7039.


TAPPIN' THE MAPLE TREES 1 p.m. Muscoot Farm Route 100 Join us as we explain the procedures for tapping the maple trees. Weather permitting. For info, call 914-864-7282.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, February 17, 2011

Friday, February 18

Thursday, February 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



Photographers refer to the time surrounding sunset as the 'magic hour' because of the beautiful soft light that can be captured on film. Experience the difference dynamic lighting can make in your photographs. Come to the Van Cortlandt Park on Sunday, Feb. 27, at 5 p.m. Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (enter the park at W. 246th St. and Broadway). All skill levels are welcome. Bring your own camera, and a tripod is strongly recommended. Admission is free. For more information, visit gov/parks/rangers or call 311 and ask for the Urban Park Rangers.

Painting courses offered at RCC

The Riverdale Community Center at the Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy (M.S./H.S. 141) will offer a Life Drawing and Painting course on Tuesday evenings for adults. Sketch or paint professional live models in this 2 hour session focusing on aspects of light, value, form, composition, gesture, anatomy and color. All levels welcome from beginners to pros. Students supply own materials. Ten Tuesday evenings from 7:00 PM-9:00 PM. beginning

March 1st. We will also be offering an EXPRESSIVE PAINTING FROM WITHIN course - Liberate your creative expression. Using relaxation, movement exercises, meditation, guided imagery and the joy of painting to music, you will be guided by artist facilitator, Lily Lewis, through a layered painting process to access imagery from within. For both experienced and inexperienced artists. Includes all materials. Eight Tuesday evenings from 7:00-9:00 beginning March 1st. Fees are modest. For more information, please call the RCC at 718-796-4724 or visit us on the web at:

Piano and guitar classes for children and adults

The Riverdale Community Center at the Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy (M.S./ H.S. 141) will offer PIANO CLASSES on Tuesday evenings for adults and Saturday morning for children and teen/adults this spring beginning on March 1st and March 5th . Always wanted to play the piano? This is a foundation course that covers the basics of note reading, rhythm and hand position on piano or keyboard. Students will learn several short pieces in varied musical styles. Get your fingers moving in solo and ensemble playing. For the

Intermediate student who has some experience. Students will improve their skills through work in solos and duets. Course will include some basic music theory, ear training and listening to great recorded performances. Both courses are taught by Juilliard graduate. Guitar courses are offered on Saturday mornings for children or teen/adults. Learn simple chords for playing and singing. Taught by a professional musician and composer. Bring your guitar. For more information, please contact us at 718796-4724 or visit us on the web at www.

Bronx Museum of the Arts request for artist proposals

The Bronx Museum of the Arts and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced a call for visual artists to apply to the smARTpower program. smARTpower is an international exchange initiative that will send 15 American artists abroad to work with local artists and young people on the creation of community-based art projects. Building on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's vision of 'smart power diplomacy,' which embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools smARTpower will send selected artists to 15 countries, including China, Ecuador,

Egypt, Ghana, India, Kosovo, Lebanon, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Venezuela. The deadline for applications is February 28, 2011. The artists will each spend up to 45 days in a specific country and will work with local communities to create works of art that address local or global social issues, such as women's empowerment, education, health, the environment and civic engagement. This is an open competition and artists do not need to be invited to apply. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years old. Both established and emerging artists are encouraged to apply. Through smARTpower, U.S. artists will develop arts projects that focus on specific community-based interests in collaboration with local arts and community organizations. Artists are strongly encouraged to create a tangible and lasting legacy of their work, that will remain in country, through a variety of visual arts media, including sculpture, painting, photo-based work, video and installation. The selected artists will be announced in May, and the first projects will begin in summer 2011. Information and the online application are available at www.bronxmuseum. org/smARTpower/

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nature photography at Van Cortlandt Park

Thursday, February 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


More bad news at the schools The disaster that is public education in Riverdale just gets worse. And make no mistake about it. This has become a cancer that is eating away at the fabric of our lives and, in a profound way, the values of our homes. When New York Magazine calls our schools “subpar,” the data suggests they know what they are talking about. So even if your children are beyond school age, or you have opted to send your children to private or parochial school, or even if you have no children at all, you are victimized by the awful academic programs that have turned our schools into bastions of mediocrity. Savvy young families know of the failures of our schools, and they are voting with their feet– by leaving or never even giving us a second look when choosing where to live. Once our schools turned out successful applicants for specialized high schools, scores of them every year. Before the disastrous rezoning of 1992, it was not uncommon for M.S. 141 to send as many as 150 students to Bronx Science, Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech and Music and Art High Schools each year. Now we are lucky if a tenth that number qualify. And the number this year was indeed a mere 15. Ten others qualified for lesser schools recently created, but not the traditional top four. What has gone wrong? Let’s start with a math curriculum, in use in all of the schools in Riverdale, called constructivist math. This “fuzzy math” curriculum is a sure path to failure. It closes the door on high achievement, and for many closes the door on the possibility of technical careers in fields such as science and engineering. Why? Because constructivist math skimps on basic algorithms and thus doesn’t adequately prepare kids for algebra, the cornerstone of all advanced mathematics. If your child is using a text called “Everyday Math,” then your child is in trouble. Efforts to finally move away from this awful program at P.S. 24 are too little, too late. The politically compromised Parents Association is too busy attacking this newspaper for telling the truth about the problems of our schools, rather than working to correct these clear curriculum deficiencies. Take English Language Arts. This is another problem area. If your child is taking a course called “Literacy,” than he or she is being severely shortchanged. Our children are not getting the kind of challenging literature that was once the hallmark of our public schools. Teaching grammar and writing skills? Not at any acceptable level. School assigned readings often aim to lowest common denominator of skill levels, rather than challenge all children Textbooks have been downplayed or eliminated in other academic subjects. Teachers are mandated to assign student work to small groups or committees, with individual achievement downplayed. Often, they are not even allowed to use blackboards! This is the “workshop model,” an idea whose time has clearly passed, as student achievement nationwide continues to drop. At the Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy, the totally unqualified principal running things now still boasts of the results for specialized school admissions, which have dropped from even the low levels of last year. Compare the results with those at tiny Kinneret Day School, with an eighth grade not even a fifth as large as that at RKA. Nearly as many students will go on to these elite schools from Kinneret as from RKA. Congratulations to Kinneret. But while celebrating their achievement we should be mindful of the tragedy of low expectations at RKA and the young lives it is ruining. We need new dynamic principals and curriculum at RKA and in our elementary schools as well, mindful that the groundwork for admissions to specialized schools is laid as early as kindergarten. Tomorrow is too late. Imagine for a moment if we can once again send over a hundred kids to these specialized schools each year. Do you think that Riverdale would still be afflicted with empty apartments and a brain drain? Our very survival as a viable community is at stake. Here is yet another reason to question continued unfettered mayoral control of the schools. Let’s put the public back in the public schools!

Democratic politicians are at a loss for words

To The Editor: Several weeks ago (Jan. 20), you published my letter to this paper titled, “G.O.P. control of the U.S. House benefits the public.” In this letter, I made several comments, among which was the disparaging (but accurate) statement that former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (who prior to the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives was next in line after Vice President Biden to assume the presidency) was a putz — a very stupid woman, who was such a disaster as Democratic leader that 19 members of her own party voted against her. It is now approximately one month later and no Democratic member of the House has come to her defense. Not Bronx Congressmen Eliot Engel nor Jose Serrano, nor Joseph Crowley — which tells you that I was absolutely right on target. Nancy Pelosi is such an idiot that she makes the radical leftists’ favorite punching bag, Sarah Palin, look like a genius.

I ended my letter by making the provocative statement that “Political parties (Democrats, Republicans, Working Families, etc.) are corrupt organizations. Yet no local politician (and they all read this paper) has come forth to disagree with that comment. Why haven’t we heard from that ultra-Democrat, that great “reformer” Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, the head of the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club and a “macher” in the Bronx County Democratic Organization? Why hasn’t this loud-mouthed, normally loquacious and outspoken advocate of the Democratic Party responded to my letter and taken me to task? Why? Because he can’t. Because once again I’m right on target. The New York State Democratic Party is corrupt through and through. It’s an indisputable fact! The Democrat-controlled State Assembly, like a rotten fish, stinks from its head (Sheldon Silver) with a stench that permeates throughout this den of thieves, this legislative

ANDREW WOLF, Editor and Publisher

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JOEL PAL Production Manager ROBERT NILVA Marketing Director

CECILIA McNALLY Office Manager MIAWLING LAM Associate Editor

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

chamber of the criminally corrupt and those (like Assemblyman Dinowitz) who condone corruption. I, for one, can hardly wait until Gov. Cuomo starts to clean up this dysfunctional, corrupt legislature. I can’t wait until a Moreland Act Commission is appointed and these slimy bastards, these crooked politicians start going to prison. Alvin Gordon

Paws that refresh

To The Editor: “Pause” to think about your pet’s “paws.” It is extremely difficult to be a pet owner or multiple pet owner this winter with all the snow and ice that has come our way. It is hard to take the furry ones for their usual walk but when you do, remember that homeowners are applying salt and other melters to the ice that is everywhere. These chemicals are extremely harmful to your pets’ paws as they contain chemicals and harsh agents. Even those that say “pet safe” are not necessarily pet safe. Urea is one of the compounds in these ice melters (Carbonyl Diamide). Try to clear an area that is free of these chemicals where your dog can relieve himself. If you can’t and must walk through your neighborhood, please be sure to rinse your dogs’ paws when you return home. Rose Marie Puleo Milcetic

The Riverdale Community Center will be hosting an eight-week intensive Prep class on Tuesday Evenings beginning March 1st from 7 pm to 9 pm. This comprehensive course is for current 7th grade students preparing to take the 'New York City Specialized High Schools Admission Test (SHSAT)' and/or 'Test for Admissions to Catholic High Schools (TACHS)' in the fall 2011. This course will focus on test taking strategies and study tips, using sample questions from standardized testing in the content areas of Math and English. Riverdale Community Center prides itself that our preparatory classes are taught by experienced, licensed teachers who have been involved for many years in preparing students to take standardized examinations with much success. The fee for this 16-hour course is $240 (all inclusive). Class size is limited so please register early. The Riverdale Community Center will also be hosting a seven-week Art Prep course on Tuesday evenings beginning March 1st from 7 - 9 p.m. This course (for current 7th grade students) will assist the student in preparing for the art portion of the examinations for the special art high schools held in the fall 2011. Emphasis will be on portfolio preparation. The fee for this 14-hour class is $240. Class size is limited, so please register early. In-person registration will be held on Saturday, September 25 from 10 am - 12 noon or

Tuesday, September 28 from 7 pm - 8:30 pm. You may also register by phone with MasterCard, Visa or AMEX. For more information please call 718-796-4724 or visit our website at

Ballroom and belly dance classes at RCC

The Riverdale Community Center at the Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy (M.S./ H.S. 141) will offer Ballroom Dance and Belly Dancing Classes on Tuesday evenings this spring beginning on March 1st . Ballroom Dance for beginners will be held from 7:00 -8:00 PM. Learn all the steps to the most popular dances including Salsa, Swing and Tango. For the more advanced students, join us from 8:00 - 9:00 PM for a potpourri of ballroom dancing styles. Partners only (singles admitted with audition). These courses are taught by a professional dance team. Our Belly Dancing Classes from 7:00-8:00 pm are taught by professional dancer, Noora E-Shams. Learn this popular Middle Eastern dance - includes isolations, undulations, travel steps and stretching. Fees are modest. To register for any of these dance classes, or for more information, contact the Center at 718-796-4724 or visit our website at

'Intimate Voices' concert at CSAIR

Intimate Voices, a chamber music series, will present the final events of

ture a Family Program from 2 to 3 p.m. Designed for ages 6 and up, the program will present selections from the previous night's concert in a lively interactive format that will involve the audience in actively exploring the music and engage the entire family. The series, presented by CSAIR in collaboration with the Riverdale YM-YWHA, offers an opportunity for audiences to experience the immediacy and intensity of chamber music in a warm and relaxed setting. The participating musicians have performed in venues all over the United States and abroad as soloists as well as in ensembles ranging from major string quartets to the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. All events are at CSAIR. For tickets and more information, go to or call the CSAIR office at 718-543-8400.

19 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, February 17, 2011

Prep classes for specialized high school offered at RCC

its second season on Saturday evening, March 5 and Sunday afternoon, March 6 at the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale (CSAIR), 475 West 250th Street at the Henry Hudson Parkway. The program Saturday evening, March 5, includes works for string quartet and string duo by Beethoven, Mozart and Ravel played by violinists Renee Jolles and Sheila Reinhold, violist Danielle Farina and cellist James Wilson. A wine-tasting donated by Skyview Wines & Spirits will be included in the evening, and refreshments including cheeses contributed by Noah's Riverdale Kosher market will be served during intermission and at the post-concert reception with the musicians. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. for the wine-tasting and the concert will begin at 8 p.m. Sunday afternoon, March 6, will fea-

Thursday, February 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW





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Riverdale Review, February 17, 2011  

Weekly newspaper published in Riverdale, NY 10471