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Riverdale’s ONLY Locally Owned Newspaper!

Volume XIX • Number 7 • February 23 - 29, 2012 •


Riverdale streets: Like the surface of the moon By MIAWLING LAM Community members have slammed the city for neglecting the pothole-ridden streets of Riverdale, arguing local roads resemble a patchwork normally seen in third-world countries. CB8 land use chairman Charles Moerdler urged residents at last Tuesday’s general board meeting to kick up a stink about the area’s pockmarked pavements. He said locals needed to remind officials “these are the streets of The Bronx, not of Bangladesh or any other place. “These streets are in terrible shape,” Moerdler said, adding that West 254th Street toward the Riverdale Metro-North station was particularly horrendous. “You’ll get a flat tire once a day from the potholes.

I’m not exaggerating. The reason I make the point to you is the following: They’re not paying attention because they’re not getting yelled at. “We have to get them [to listen]. I jocularly refer to them as the Department of Bicycle Transportation only because if we were to advocate for a bicycle lane, then you’ll have the whole job done in 24 hours.” Moerdler said the high proportion of privately owned streets in Riverdale also compounded the issue. City crews do not repair the privately owned streets of Fieldston, even though all motorists drive on them. Potholes form when snow and rain seep into cracks in the road, then expand as temperatures drop and water freezes. Chunks of asphalt are then dislodged when vehicles drive over the spot.

Last year’s particularly harsh winter and near-record snowfall meant hundreds of potholes formed on many of the neighborhood’s streets. Many still remain filled potholes. CB8 board member Michael Heller said although the board submitted a lengthy list of resurfacing requests, city crews repaired a total of only eight lane miles across the entire board last year. This was comparable to the length of roads repaved in other community boards in the city. “It’s just the entire resurfacing program is a tiny fraction of what’s necessary, so every year the streets get worse and inferior,” he said. “The city’s resurfacing program is a farce. That’s the basic problem.” As of press time, the Department of Transportation did not respond to repeated calls and emails.

Diaz speech to highlight impressive gains in boro’s economic picture By MIAWLING LAM Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is expected to highlight The Bronx’s dramatic rejuvenation at his annual State of the Borough address later this week. Right on the heels of the announcement that online grocer FreshDirect will relocate to the South Bronx by 2015, it can be revealed Diaz will tout his administration’s economic-development prowess and job-creation credentials. “We have executed a holistic vision for the current and future development of our borough, one focused on intelligent investments that make sense not only for individual neighborhoods, but for the entire borough,” Diaz plans to say, according to a draft of the speech obtained by the Riverdale Review. “Through comprehensive planning and community collaboration, we are reshaping The Bronx and advancing a strong agenda for its future.” Within the past year, The Bronx has lured an array of multimillion-dollar companies to set up shop or relocate in its backyard. Just this month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced FreshDirect would build a new 500,000- square-foot state-of-the-art building at the Harlem River Yards. The decision was hailed as a major victory for the borough as New Jersey made a pitch to tempt the grocer with $100 million worth of tax breaks. And in November, Smith Electric, an all-electric truck manufacturer, revealed it would move its facilities from Missouri to Port Morris, creating more than 100 green jobs for locals. The current request for proposals for the Kingsbridge Armory, the $270 million expansion of Bay Plaza shopping center in Eastchester—the first such construction

in the city in nearly 40 years—and the redevelopment of the former Stella D’oro cookie factory in the northwest Bronx are also expected to fuel the borough’s revitalization. Those projects are real signs that The

Bronx is moving forward, Diaz will suggest. “We have changed the way business is done in The Bronx, and it shows,” he will say. “Major companies are making their way to our borders to take advantage of

our able workers. In the past three years, we have seen unprecedented interest in The Bronx and a major influx of private development dollars into our borough.” Mayor Michael Bloomberg even acContinued on Page 2

Councilman G. Oliver Koppell visited P.S. 24 last Friday during Respect For All Week to discuss the harmful effects of bullying and the importance of resolving disputes peacefully. During his visit, he spoke with students about the “random acts of kindness” posted on bulletin boards throughout the school, and sat in on a fourth-grade class during a conflict resolution lesson. The Department of Education designated February 13th–17th as Respect For All Week promote harmony and cooperation and discourage bullying and harassment.

Thursday, February 23, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Residents accuse Hebrew Home of noise code violations By MIAWLING LAM The Hebrew Home at Riverdale allegedly violates noise ordinances and routinely breaches the city’s quiet hours, according to nearby residents. Neighbors claim the nursing home’s air-conditioning units emit a loud, continuous rumbling noise and that their houses tremble when nightly delivery and dumpster trucks perform their functions. Dr. Eugene Zappi, who resides on Palisade Avenue, broached his concerns at last Tuesday’s Community Board 8 general board meeting and said his quality of life has been severely affected. The dermatologist, who has lived in the area for 15 years, said he has put up with the noise pollution for the past three years but was now fed up with the “untenable noise source situation.” He said noise levels were in clear breach of the legal decibel limit and added that he wrote to the Hebrew Home late last month urging them to undergo mitigation. As of press time, the Hebrew Home had yet to respond to Dr. Zappi’s letter. The nursing home declined to provide a comment. “Inside the house, I routinely measure above the 45 decibels legal limit, which makes us unable to open our windows,” he said. “In my garden, I measure up to 70 decibels of noise, which makes the garden unusable for my family in the summer.” Comparatively, 50 decibels is the equivalent of moderate rainfall, 60 decibels is a clothes dryer, and 70 decibels is busy traffic or a vacuum cleaner. Dr. Zappi also said nightly delivery trucks and dumpster collections were flouting local laws mandating quiet hours. Under those stipulations, only ambient sounds should be heard between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Diaz’s speech Continued from Page 1 knowledged the dramatic transformation of the South Bronx from an impoverished, underserved area to a vibrant network of neighborhoods during his State of the City speech last month. “This area was once so burned out and abandoned that it was compared to Dresden after World War II,” he said. “Today, the South Bronx is a poster child for urban revitalization.” As part of his ambitious plans for The Bronx, Bloomberg said nearly $90 million would be funneled into the Hunts Point produce market and that key thoroughfares would be rezoned to allow for more private-sector investment and economic development possibilities. Education is expected to form another central pillar of Diaz’s speech. Having hosted the borough’s inaugural education summit in October, Diaz will announce that the full report from the talkfest will be released next week. The document will not only map out a strategy to raise student achievement and lift The Bronx’s educational standing, but it will also outline the changes necessary to better serve students across the five boroughs. Diaz will deliver his third-ever State of the Borough speech at Harry S. Truman High School on Thursday, February 23. Official proceedings will kick off at 11:30 a.m.

The resident said he has planted 10 evergreen trees—a row of hemlocks and a half-dozen pine trees—in order to dampen the sound, but to no avail. “The noise from 16-wheeler trucks with air brakes pulling in and throttling out of the entrance at night reverberates and makes my house tremble,” Dr. Zappi said. “My wife and I have had to move out of the master bedroom facing the street and move to a smaller bedroom in the back of the house because of the noise.” Department of Environmental Protection officers have been called three times but have conducted readings on only one occasion. During their site inspection, authorities recorded noise levels above

the 45-decibel legal limit but failed to issue a summons. Dr. Zappi said news of the Hebrew Home’s recent acquisition of the adjacent 14-acre plot, sold to them by the Passionist Fathers of Riverdale, spurred him to come forward with his complaints. According to Daniel Reingold, the home’s president and CEO, authorities are looking into establishing a meditation center, an underground garage and a consolidated entrance in the new space. “I want the neighbors and the community to be aware of what the implications are of an enlarged noise-pollution footprint in terms of the quality of life and property values,” Dr. Zappi said. CB8 environment committee chair

Rosemary Ginty was reluctant to act on the grumbles and said it was prudent to wait until the Hebrew Home responds. “I think we should let this sit for a bit,” she said. “It’s my hope that there will be a response, and if not, we’ll figure out something to do to move forward.” Meanwhile, CB8 land use chairman Charles Moerdler last week revealed the nursing home was in no rush to push forward with its expansion plans. “As of last Friday [February 10], they have not yet even hired an architect to start laying out where they are or where they’re going,” he said. “I think we are quite a bit away in terms of time before anything substantive happens there.”

Wayward dog owner could be criminally liable resulting from the bite and be ordered to pay a fine. The fine varies according to whether the injury was caused to a person or animal, the seriousness of that injury and whether the dog was previously deemed to be a dangerous dog. The latest development comes less than a month after a city administrative judge ordered McNamara to correct her dogs’ behavior. However, according to Andrew Sandler of Councilman G. Oliver Koppell’s office, the wayward owner has failed to adhere to the ruling. “She had to take them in for an evaluation, muzzle, put up a fence and do a lot of things. She hasn’t complied with...all of those things,” he said last week. Contrary to previous reports, he said, the judge didn’t order McNamara to surrender the pack, but that threat could now be a possibility. “Now, I think the city is in a position to take them away, but the actual ruling of the judge didn’t say they had to be taken away automatically,” Sandler said. At a city hearing last year, scores of Riverdale residents testified that McNamara’s dogs attacked them, their neighbors and their own dogs. At one point, police were even forced to shoot a dog with a tranquilizer after the pack broke loose and began “rampaging” through the nearby streets and yards. The first known complaint about McNamara’s dogs surfaced on December

30, 2009, after Pagan Ezequiel said a white German shepherd attacked him outside the house. The New York City Department of Health last year ordered McNamara to submit her large dogs for evaluation, enroll them in training and leash and muzzle them in public. The pet owner was also instructed to obtain licenses for each of her canines, provide proof of immunization and secure the animals by April 2011, but she complied only partially—she took only two of the dogs to one obedience class. As of press time, McNamara could not be reached for comment.

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The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, February 23, 2012

By MIAWLING LAM The recalcitrant Riverdale resident whose dogs have terrorized locals for more than two years could be slapped with criminal and civil charges. State Senator Jeffrey Klein said Philomena McNamara could be subject to legal proceedings under a newly discovered state law. In a recent letter to the state attorney general’s office, Klein said McNamara’s half-dozen German shepherds and Siberian huskies have repeatedly chased, bitten and attacked residents along Riverdale Avenue, raising safety concerns. “The neighbor has had a history of allowing her canines into the outdoors unsecured, which has led to at least three instances of [people] being attacked,” he wrote. “Eventually, neighbors have had to take matters in their own hands to secure her back yard so that the dogs will not break free onto the public streets. “After some review, my staff has discovered Agriculture & Markets Law, Section 121, which stipulates that the state could have some authority here to find the owner of these unsecured pets to be criminally and civilly liable.” Under the aforementioned law, dog owners can be convicted of a misdemeanor if they negligently permit their pet to bite a person and if the injury is serious. The owner can also be held liable for any medical and veterinary costs


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Around the schools... Kinneret Day School

Kindergarteners marched with raised American flags and sang patriotic songs in their “Salute to America” show, featuring heroes from Abraham Lincoln (portrayed by Jonah Sandow) to Babe Ruth (Niv Levy). Parents and grandparents saw Abraham Lincoln declare freedom to all slaves, Rosa Parks (Ellie Feldman) get arrested and freed, and Neil Armstrong (Baer Cheslow) blast off to the moon. The performers worked under the guidance of their teacher, Dorit Niven. The school participated in the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Matha-Thon and raised thousands of dollars for the hospital. The K-8 supplementary Math-a-Thon program is the nation’s largest education-based fundraiser. St. Jude has developed protocols to bring survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20 percent to more than 80 percent. The Memphis, Tennessee, facility was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas.

Horace Mann School

The community is invited to attend the Robert Buzzell Memorial Basketball Games in Manhattan College’s Draddy Gymnasium this Saturday evening, February 25. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the New York March of Dimes. The girls’ competition begins at 6 p.m., and the boys start at 7:45 p.m. The tournament is named for an HM student stricken with polio in 1950. Librarian Rachael Myers is now a member of the Young Adult Library Association’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee. The committee recommends books it considers both high-quality literature and appealing reading for teens. The school’s Spirit Squad won a gold medal in the hip-hop category for their performance of “Fuego” at this month’s Starbound competition in Paramus, New Jersey. The wrestling team has earned its sixth consecutive win in the New York State Private Schools Wrestling Championship. Senior Juston Gilston and junior Matthew Russo qualified in their weight classes for the national-level competitions under the guidance of wrestling team coach Gregg Quilty. Seventh-graders this month will engage in a realistic simulation of immigrants’ passage from their native lands to Ellis Island. Each student will assume an immigrant’s identity and undergo examinations for admission to the United States.

Manhattan College

The community is invited to a screening of the documentary “A Century of Black Cinema” followed by a presentation by retired New York City crime photographer and film collector Walter Taylor this Thursday, February 23, at noon in Smith Auditorium. Attendees who participate in a trivia challenge will have a chance to win movie posters. The college’s diversity committee is hosting the event to commemorate Black History Month. A reading and book signing by acclaimed author Junot Díaz will launch the English department’s Major Author Reading Series on Wednesday, February 29, at 5 p.m. in Hayden Hall, room 100.

Díaz, the first Latino writer in the M.A.R.S. program, is the author of “Drown” and “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.” He won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and other literary accolades. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, African Voices, Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize XXII and The O’Henry Prize Stories. He is currently fiction editor at the Boston Review and a professor of writing at MIT. All M.A.R.S. events are open to the public.

College of Mount Saint Vincent

“Network and Volunteer Your Way to the Top” will be the topic at the next School of Professional and Continuing Studies Winning Wednesday session on Wednesday, March 7, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The presenter will be Christine Leake, assistant director of graduate and SPCS admissions and creator of the series. Winning Wednesday events, all free and open to the public, offer professional advice on such topics as resume writing, hiring trends, interview skills and positioning for the ideal job. To reserve a spot, email Christine Leake at 718-405-3269 or christine.leake@

Local Scholars

SUNY Cortland has announced that Brian Cook, a sophomore majoring in speech and language disabilities, and Edward O’Connor, a junior majoring in business economics, were named to the dean’s list for the fall 2011 semester. To achieve this distinction, students must earn a GPA of at least 3.3 while completing at least 12 credit hours of classes. Cortland, a college of the State University of New York founded in 1868, enrolls more than 7,300 students in its 61 undergraduate and 33 graduate academic majors. It houses the largest undergraduate teacher education program in the Northeast and was ranked for five consecutive years by Kiplinger’s as one of the Top 100 Best Value Colleges and Universities in the United States. Fairleigh Dickenson University’s Metropolitan Campus, located in Teaneck and Hackensack, New Jersey, has announced that for the fall 2011 semester, Samuel Smith was named to the honors list and that Christine Taylor was named to the dean’s list. To qualify, students must complete four courses while maintaining a GPA of at least 3.5 for the honors list and 3.2 for the dean’s list. FDU, New Jersey’s largest private university, enrolls more than 8,000 undergraduates and more than 3,000 graduate students. It offers an internationally recognized core curriculum and a wide variety of innovative programs in education, nursing, psychology, business, computer science, visual arts and public administration.

MAR. 2 & 3 Fri. 7:30 PM � Sat. 7:30 PM


Buy tickets at Retail Locations, IZOD Center Box Office or call 1-800-745-3000


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Thursday, February 23, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



By MIAWLING LAM Members of the nominating committee will no longer be allowed to run for office now that a series of ballot rule changes was approved by Community Board 8. The tinkering of by-laws comes seven months after an election controversy erupted, leading to a heated debate over the ethics of the five-member nominating committee. Under the changes, “a member of the nominating committee may not be nominated by the committee for a position of officer.” With respect to committee chairpersons, “a member of the nominating committee under consideration for a committee chair shall recuse himself or herself on discussion and vote for that decision,” the amendment states. The change also stipulates that in the event of a tie in the nominating committee, both candidates shall be presented to the board. Board members voted 25 to 1 to approve the by-laws at last Tuesday’s general board meeting. There were three abstentions. CB8 chair Robert Fanuzzi said the changes, which are effective immediately, represented a huge change in the way the board operates. “I’m really glad we had this clarified,” he said after the motion carried. “People have waited for this clarification, and it will give us guidelines that will set elections on a very clear and transparent path.”

The guidelines were developed after Maria Khury, a member of the five-person nominating committee, endorsed herself for the position of vice-chair during the board elections last spring. She was eventually elected unopposed. Under the by-laws at the time, Khury did not break any rules, but a number of board members believed she should have either resigned from the nominating committee or abstained from voting for that particular position. At the time, several board members were concerned about how Khury’s actions would affect the board’s reputation. “In my view, what they have done discredits this board and discredits the individuals involved,” CB8 land use chairman Charles Moerdler was quoted as saying in June. “This is a pure, unequivocal breach of the decency standards and the credibility of this board.” CB8 law, rules and ethics committee chair Irving Ladimer said the three resolutions were designed to achieve transparency. He stressed that the change was merely a guideline and was “intended to be taken in a spirit of flexibility. “Its purpose…is essentially to make a better management organization for this board,” he told members. “To make this a more manageable, more efficient and more democratic organization.” The law, rules and ethics committee was charged with clearing up the confusion and has been developing language for the by-law amendments since fall.

State official presents budget at Riverdale Senior Center By MIAWLING LAM The safety of Indian Point, homecare services for Riverdale seniors and pedestrian access to the Hudson River emerged as the key constituent concerns last week during a state budget presentation. As part of an unprecedented outreach initiative, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been sending cabinet members to all 150 Assembly districts to present his proposed 2012-13 budget and reform plan. The train made its latest stop in Riverdale last Wednesday when New York Power Authority President and CEO Gil Quiniones visited the Riverdale Senior Center. Outlining this year’s budget, Quiniones said the deficit would be reduced from $10 billion to $2 billion without gimmicks—state assets will not be sold, and no new taxes or fees will be imposed. “We need a total change in our thinking. A total paradigm shift,” he said, “What the governor had said…is that to make government work better for the people, we must re-evaluate the functions of government across agencies.” Under Cuomo’s proposed budget, funding for education and Medicaid will increase 4 percent, spending for SUNY/ CUNY will rise 2.2 percent, and there will be a 2 percent self-imposed cap in government spending. Job creation and economic development will also be stimulated through the creation of private/public partnerships. “This budget and reform plan is a proeconomic growth strategy based on fiscal discipline, real reform and entrepreneurial

or re-imagination of government that will lead us to a new New York,” Quiniones said. Although state functions were highlighted during the hourlong presentation, the three dozen guests raised hyperlocal issues during a question-and-answer session. One senior complained about the high costs of homecare and urged state officials to offer relief. “Please don’t cut essential funding which would help seniors remain in their own homes,” she said. “To end up in a nursing home, these people will cost the state much more money than if there was some way that they could get some help to stay independent and in their own homes.” Meanwhile, another elderly woman said she wanted to see public access to the Hudson River and then raised safety concerns surrounding Indian Point. Cuomo has previously stated he is determined to shutter the nuclear power plant as soon as possible. “The governor wants and wishes that Indian Point will not be re-licensed,” Quiniones said, adding that the facility’s licenses expire in 2013 and 2015. “It is located too close to population density and it is a safety issue, but at the same time, the governor has been clear and said that if and when we close Indian Point, we must have adequate replacement electrical capacity so that the lights won’t go out.” Quiniones vowed to take all of the seniors’ concerns back to Cuomo’s office.

5 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, February 23, 2012

Community Board changes election rules

Thursday, February 23, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


David Kincaid to perform at Lovinger Theatre

Recognized as both musician and historian, David Kincaid presents a compelling combination of the songs and history of the Irish in the American Civil War. Years of research, recording and performing experience have been translated into two critically acclaimed albums; ‘The Irish Volunteer’ and ‘The Irish-American’s Song,’ collections of authentic Irish songs of both the Union and the Confederacy. Having performed at a variety of Irish/Celtic festivals, historical sites and folk music venues across the US, as well as European tours, David’s music has also been used in several documentary films, and he was engaged as a consultant and performer in the recent Hollywood Civil War film release ‘Gods and Generals.’ David Kincaid (lead vocals, octave mandolin), performs in period clothing, presenting an engaging, all-ages program appealing to both history buff and the Irish/Celtic music fan alike. David Kincaid will be appearing at Lehman College on February 29, 2012 at 11 a.m. in the Lovinger Theatre. Free.

Manhattan College to host history of Black Film Event

The Manhattan College diversity committee will host a history of black film event on Thursday, Feb. 23 in the Smith Auditorium to commemorate Black History Month. The event will take place at

12 p.m. and will feature the documentary A Century of Black Cinema, along with a presentation by retired New York City crime photographer and film collector Walter Taylor. A Century of Black Cinema chronicles black film from its early history to modern works. In conjunction with the documentary, Taylor will bring rare films from his personal collection to display and discuss. Those in attendance will also have the chance to participate in a trivia challenge hosted by the members of the diversity committee, and movie posters will be given away as prizes. ‘Movies bring people joy and they are something that everyone can relate to,’ said Vicki Cowan, director of human resources at Manhattan College and a member of the diversity committee. ‘Hopefully people will go back and look up some of the historical movies that are discussed at the event.’ The public is welcome to attend the College’s history of black film event on Feb. 23. Manhattan College is located at West 242nd Street near Broadway. For directions to the campus, visit

Recycle your Purim costumes

Esther’s Closet: Sunday, February 26, 12:30 - 2:00 pm. Recycle your Purim costumes -- and purchase others for a song (most will be $5)! Bring your used costumes to the Riverdale Y, 5625 Arlington Avenue (leave them at the front desk)

from now until February 24. Then come to the Y in Sunday, February 26 from 12:30 - 2 and purchase a costume for this year for as little as $5 (some a bit higher if they are spectacular!) A great way to save $, clean out your closet, and have some pre-Purim fun!

City Island Theater Group to hold auditions

City Island Theater Group will hold auditions for their upcoming production of ‘Proof’ by David Auburn, directed by Nina Gabriele-Cuva. CITG is seeking 2 women and 2 men for various roles. Auditions will be held on Friday, February 24th @ 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 25 @ 2:30 p.m. at Grace Hall, 116 City Island Avenue. Performance dates are: April 27 (Fri), 28 (Sat), May 3 (Thurs), 4 (Fri), 5(Sat) @ 8:00 p.m. & April 29 (Sun) @ 3:00 p.m. For more info email: auditions@cityis

Upcoming activites at Marble Hill Senior Center

The following programs are scheduled at the Marble Hill Senior Center in the upcoming week: On Friday, February 24, at 1 p.m., keyboard player Fernando Caruso will perform songs of Dean Martin for listening and dancing. The Center’s February birthday party will follow at 2 p.m. All programs are free and open to those aged 60 and older. The Marble Hill Senior Center is located at 5365 Broadway between West 228th and West 230th Streets. A hot lunch is offered at noon Monday through Friday for adults aged 60 and older. For more information call 718-562-8551.

Riverdale Y offers workshop on healthy body

The Y will host a free workshop on Saturday night, February 25, to help mothers and teens regarding their healthy body images and eating disorders. The workshop will concentrate on how important it is for mothers to model a healthy image for their own developing daughters. The program will be in the format of a group discussion led by Aviva Braun, LCSW who is a psychotherapist based in Riverdale who specializes in this field. The workshop will be from 8 pm til 9:30 pm. For more information regarding this workshop, please contact Lisa Bruskin at 718-548-8200 ext 241. The Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue.

In-person registration for RCC fall courses

The Riverdale Community Center at the Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy (David A. Stein M.S./H.S. 141) has announced the opening of its fall Adult and Youth Education semester, which will begin Saturday, March 3rd and Tuesday, March 6th. Courses in everything from the Arts and Computers (Digital Photography, Life Drawing & Painting, Piano, Guitar, Computers - Word & Excel) to Exercise and Health (Yoga, Tai Chi Chuan, Zumba) to Languages and Leisure Activities are being offered.

Courses are open to adults and seniors on Tuesday evenings. Seniors receive a special 20% discount on course fees. On Saturday mornings, classes are held for children, teens and adults. Children’s classes include Cooking, Basketball, Tennis, Piano, Guitar, Gymnastics, Puppetry and much more. Remedial reading, math skills and test preparation classes are also available for children and teens. In-person registration is scheduled for Saturday morning, Feb. 25th , from 10:00 a.m. to 12 Noon and Tuesday evening, Feb. 28th from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. To register over the phone with Visa, MasterCard or AMEX, or to request a free brochure, call the Center at 718-796-4724 or visit our website at

St. Gabriel’s alumni reunion planned

Former students of St. Gabriel’s School are invited to take a trip down memory lane and reconnect with classmates, teachers and coaches at the first-ever alumni reunion. The event, which is open to the graduating classes of 1945-2004, will be held at the school’s gymnasium on Saturday March 10 from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. The school is located at 590 West 235th Street in Kingsbridge. Current students will also conduct tours of the school. Admission is $35 at the door on the night and includes hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer, sangria, soda and live entertainment. For more information, please call 718-548-0444 or contact the school at

Riverdale hosts open mic night

The Club of Riverdale will present a free acoustic Mic Night & Jam on Sunday, February 26th hosted by Mark The Harper, a singer/songwriter who is a veteran of the New York music scene and a long-time Riverdale resident. Musicians of all genres and levels-from advanced amateurs to professionals-are invited to bring their instruments and perform, while the public is invited to attend for a wonderful night of free entertainment. Food, beer, wine and other beverages will be available for purchase. The Club of Riverdale is located in the Century Tower at 2600 Netherland Ave. Sign-up time for musicians begins at 7:45 p.m., with performances beginning at 8 p.m. The event will run until 11 p.m. For more info, please email

Toastmasters Club invites new members

Bronx Toastmasters Club of Riverdale invites new members to join us at our free meeting on February 29th at 7:00 pm 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 skillsall in a supportive, non-intimidating environment. Come as a guest and witness for yourself what we accomplish. We meet every second and fourth Wednesday of the month. For further information, reach us at our website or call 718-796-6671.

BAE concert features Valerie Capers

The Bronx Arts Ensemble presents the inimitable jazz pianist Valerie Capers and her quartet for one night only February 25 at 8 pm at the Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture, 4450 Fieldston Road in the Bronx. The program will include classics by Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, George Gershwin and others. Performers will also include Alan Givens, flute and sax; Mark Marino, guitar; John Robinson, bass and Earl Williams. Tickets are $20; $15 for seniors and students and include refreshments. For tickets and information, visit or call 718.601.7399.

Talk on Harlem Renaissance at Woodlawn Cemetery

On February 26 in celebration of Black History Month, author A’Lelia Bundles will speak at Woodlawn Cemetery about her forthcoming book Joy Goddess: A’Lelia Walker and the Harlem Renaissance. A’Lelia Walker, the daughter of the first African American millionaire Madam C.J. Walker, hosted some of the most memorable soirees of the Harlem Renaissance at her salon, The Dark Tower. There she welcomed Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, CVV, Florence Mills, Bert Williams, Paul Poiret and other celebrities, musicians, actors, artists and writers of the era. Bundles’ talk will give fascinating insight into A’Lelia Walkers role in founding the hair care line that made her mother famous and her patronage of the arts, as well as her glamorous lifestyle and renowned parties. Tickets for the 1:00pm talk at Woodlawn’s Memorial Chapel are $15 for the general public and $10 for students and seniors. For more information, please call: 718-920-1470. Woodlawn’s grounds are open 365 days a year from 8:30am-5:00pm and are free to the public.

Edie Lutnik talk to benefit Riverdale Senior Services

On September 11th, 658 men and women at Cantor Fitzgerald found themselves trapped together in One World Trade Center. None would make it out alive. Among them was Edith (Edie) Lutnick’s brother Gary, whom she had raised when their parents died at an early age. This is the story of the victims, the families and how they came together bonded by a tragic fate. But the story doesn’t end there. In the aftermath of the attacks, Edie answered the call from her other brother, Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard Lutnick, to create a fund for the firm’s families who had lost loved ones. Over the past decade Edie and Howard have found themselves in a fight to not just give aid and comfort to the larger Cantor family, but also to honor the memory of countless victims. What they weren’t expecting was to find a barrage of issues in their way from political jockeying to class biases. This is the powerful, sometimes infuriating and ultimately heartrending story of the mission to fulfill an important legacy, and give meaning to the lives of the victims of 9/11. Hosted at a private Riverdale home on Thursday, March 1, at 7 p.m.

Tax deductible tickets for each of these events are $125 per person. All proceeds go to benefit the Riverdale Senior Center. For further information and reservations, call Riverdale Senior Services, (718) 8845900. Space is limited. Reservations are required. A stimulating evening is guaranteed.

26, starting at 4 p.m. Enjoy wine, snacks, and dinner and celebrate Queen Vashti - the original ‘women’s libber’ - and the ladies of her harem: Miranda the belly dancer, Jeannette the maker of gorgeous masks, Amy the henna painter, Grace the masseuse, and Ann demonstrating eye, lip, and skin care tips. Special guest appearance by Lisa Kogen, Education Director, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism. Cost: $36 per person. Reservations required. To register, call the CSAIR offices

azz J

Vashti’s Banquet at CSAIR

CSAIR Sisterhood invites mothers, daughters, and women of all ages to share a taste of the sisterhood of ancient Persia at Vashti’s Banquet on Sunday, February

Healthy Eating Healthy Bodies Event

HEALTHY EATING HEALTHY BODIES EVENT - Sunday morning, February 26, 9:30am-12:00pm. Want to learn more about what we put into our bodies and how to take care of them? Partake in an informative session with integrative pediatric neurologist and Hazon food lecturer Dr. Maya Shetreat-Klein and prepare healthy snacks with nutritionist Nava Billet. Tween yoga and child care available. Hebrew Institute of Riverdale Lower Level - 3700 Henry Hudson Parkway, Bronx. For more info., contact



7 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, February 23, 2012

at 718-543-8400 or go to and follow the link on the homepage to sign up online. CSAIR is located at 475 West 250th Street.

Thursday, February 23, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Thursday, February 23

Monday, February 27

OPEN COMPUTER LAB 11 a.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Do you want to learn how to open a new e-mail account? Do you need help opening or sending attachments? Do you want to practice your typing skills or need assistance in applying to a job online? Come to the Riverdale Library and get assistance on the computers. Practice your new skills at your own pace. Ask questions and learn from doing. For more information, call 718-549-1212.

READING ALOUD 10:30 a.m. Van Cortlandt Branch Library 3874 Sedgwick Avenue Pre-schoolers from 3 to 5 years old and their parents/caregivers can enjoy new and classic picture books, action songs and meet other pre-schoolers in the neighborhood. For more information, call 718-543-5150.



HISTORY OF BLACK FILM 12 p.m. Manhattan College Smith Auditorium A history of black film event to commemorate Black History Month. The event will feature the documentary A Century of Black Cinema, along with a presentation by retired New York City crime photographer and film collector Walter Taylor. The public is welcome to attend.


CINEMA THURSDAY 2 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Screening of the movie, The Adjustment Bureau, featuring Matt Damon & Emily Blunt. For info, call 718-549-1212.

Friday, February 24 Kingsbridge

OPEN COMPUTER LAB 10 a.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Are you having trouble with your email? Don’t know how to cut and paste? Curious about Facebook? Bring your technology questions and get one on one assistance! Space is limited, registration is required. Please sign up by phone or in person. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Marble Hill

SENIORS ACTIVITY 1 p.m. Marble Hill Senior Center 5365 Broadway Keyboard player Fernando Caruso will perform songs of Dean Martin for listening and Dancing. For adults aged 60 and older. For more information, call 718-562-8551.

Saturday, February 25 Kingsbridge

DRAMATIC READING 2 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street In honor of the Charles Dickens bicentennial, the Friends of Dickens New York will present a medley of staged dramatic readings from the great author’s works. The readings, tailored to the tastes of children and adults, will include selections from The Pickwick Papers, Great Expectations, The Old Curiosity Shop and David Copperfield. For more info, call 718-548-5656.


BAE CONCERT 8 p.m. Ethical Culture Society 4450 Fieldston Road The Bronx Arts Ensemble presents the inimitable jazz pianist Valerie Capers and her quartet. The program will include classics by Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, George Gershwin and others. For tickets and information, visit bronxartsensemble. org or call 718.601.7399.

Sunday, February 26 Riverdale

NUTRITION LECTURE 9:30 a.m. Hebrew Institute of Riverdale 3700 Henry Hudson Parkway Want to learn more about what we put into our bodies and how to take care of them? Partake in an informative session with integrative pediatric neurologist and Hazon food lecturer Dr. Maya Shetreat-Klein and prepare healthy snacks with nutritionist Nava Billet. For more info., contact


VASHTI’S BANQUET 4 p.m. Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel 475 West 250th Street CSAIR Sisterhood invites mothers, daughters, and women of all ages to share a taste of the sisterhood of ancient Persia. Cost: $36 per person. For more information, call 718-543-8400 or visit

Van Cortlandt

Spuyten Duyvil

BOOK CLUB FOR ADULT READERS 11 a.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street Each participant briefly describes & shares thoughts about a book recently read-either fiction or non-fiction. Discussions & recommendations are the happy result of this sharing. For more information, call 718-796-1202.

Spuyten Duyvil

FINANCIAL AID 101 4 p.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street Spend an hour and learn the ins and outs of financial aid. A Kaplan representative will guide you through the terminology, the deadlines, and the different types of awards. For all ages. For more information, call 718-796-1202.


STORYTELLING 5 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street PJ Night. Stories, crafts, and refreshments will be served. For more information, call 718-548-5656.


CB8 PUBLIC FORUM 7:30 p.m. Manhattanville Health Care Center 311 West 231st Street Community Board 8 will sponsor a public forum and discussion on Heating Fuel Conversion. For info, call 718-884-3959.

Tuesday, February 28 Van Cortlandt

AFTERNOON STORYTIME 3 p.m. Van Cortlandt Branch Library 3874 Sedgwick Avenue Children between the ages of 3 and 6 are invited to our branch for Afternoon Storytime. For more info, call 718-543-5150.


CB8 MEETING 7:30 p.m. Community Board 8 5676 Riverdale Avenue Meeting of the Education Committee of Community Board 8. For more information, call 718-884-3959.

Wednesday, February 29 Bedford Park

DAVID KINCAID CONCERT 11 a.m. Lehman College Lovinger Theatre David Kincaid (lead vocals, octave mandolin), performs in period clothing, presenting an engaging, all-ages program appealing to both history buff and the Irish/Celtic music fan alike. Admission is free.

Van Cortlandt

WINTER ARTS & CRAFTS 3:30 p.m. Van Cortlandt Branch Library 3874 Sedgwick Avenue Come to the Library this Winter and participate in arts & crafts projects. Parental supervision is required for children 5 years and under. For more information, call 718-543-5150.


TEEN MOVIES 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Come join us for this monthly program in which we’ll be showing great feature films selected by our Teen Advisory Group! For more information, call 718-548-5656.


TOASTMASTERS CLUB MEETING 7 p.m. Riverdale Neighborhood House 5521 Mosholu Avenue Bronx Toastmasters Club of Riverdale invites new members to join us at our free meeting. For further info, visit their website or call 718-796-6671.

By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER A priest, a rabbi and a Muslim scholar drew a crowd of more than thirty parishioners to the lace-curtained rectory meeting room at St. Margaret of Cortona to hear a discussion entitled “God of Our Fathers—A Look at Our Roots.” It happened to be World Interfaith Harmony Week, an observance for the first week in February proposed by Jordan’s King Abdullah II at the U.N. General Assembly in 2010. Emcee Bob Stauf, St. Margaret’s adult education committee chair, said he was excited by the large turnout. He asked those assembled what drew them there. Some of the nuns, choir members, parish clergy, university professors and other educators expressed an active interest in interfaith issues, while others were simply curious about how the dialog would unfold. Interfaith commonality was the main motif, with panelists embracing their shared ancestry as descendants of the patriarch Abraham. The Christian ancestor, Father Charles Szivos, is a weekend associate at St. Margaret’s and teacher of homiletics at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers. Now a director of spiritual formation at the seminary, he enjoys “the opportunity to walk on the journey with future priests,” exploring “how the Holy Spirit is leading them.” “We devote nearly two years to the study of the Hebrew scriptures,” he said. “Where are our origins? Where did our Christian faith come from? During our years in the seminary, there’s a class in ecumenism, looking at not so much what

divides us but what it is that unites us.” Future priests, as part of their training, learn to “appreciate other religions while going deeper in our own,” he explained. The Muslim ancestor, Dr. Naseer Alomari, is principal of the Andalusia School, a pre-kindergarten through twelfth-grade Muslim private school in Yonkers. He left his native of Jordan in 1990, settled in New York, earned a doctorate in language and literacy, and became a college professor in 2001. He explained that in the Muslim world, there is no religious hierarchy, no equivalent of a pope. “Some people say that this is one of the problems in Islam today—that the authority is not there.” He deplored the stereotyping of Muslims based on the actions of the “very insignificant minority” captured in American news broadcasts. “My neighbors are Christians,” he said. “They care about me, I care about them. I teach my children respect. I want them to embrace a value system that helps them to become honest, hard-working human beings.” Alomari said he’s read the Bible very carefully. “What I take from all religions is goodness, and there’s a whole lot of goodness in the world,” he said. “Is there a religion that says ‘don’t respect your father’? Give me one of the three major religions that says ‘disrespect your friends.’ Impossible. We have so much in common. We have that foundation between all religions.” The Jewish ancestor, Rabbi Stephen Franklin, was a Navy chaplain before his 24-year tenure at Riverdale Temple. He was

president of the Interfaith Clergy Council of Riverdale and now teaches at the Academy for Jewish Religion, a rabbinical and cantorial school housed on the College of Mount Saint Vincent campus. “I’ve been listening very carefully, and I don’t have that much new to add because we do share so very much,” Franklin said. “We represent three different faiths where God is absolutely unique as the highest of the high,” and while the bond between Judaism and Christianity is widely known, “many people don’t realize that Judaism’s relationship with Islam is one of great respect.” “We both share the same fathers, starting with Abraham,” he said. “We tell the same stories—from a slightly different perspective but with the same characters. The ancestors of Jesus were the same as those of the Jews of his day. I’m shocked sometimes when I meet Christians who don’t know that Jesus was Jewish.” On the subject of “fathers,” the rabbi mentioned the trend of gender sensitivity in approaching the liturgy. “Today we’re a little uncomfortable with ‘fathers,’” he said. “We want to include the mothers.” He pointed out that the language in prayer books is under continual revision “for the sake of inclusiveness” and that “we no longer in the liberal synagogue refer to God as ‘Him.’” Rabbi Franklin also shared with the St. Margaret parishioners his position on intra-faith differences in “how one reads the scriptures.” He stressed his own similarity to “liberal” Muslim and Christian colleagues and

dissimilarity to “fundamentalist” Jewish colleagues. “I felt a connection with you when you said you recognized the passages in the Qur’an that are troublesome,” he said to Alomari. “You moved beyond it and teach humanistic values that sometimes clash with what you read in scripture. I find the same thing in the Torah—in the entire Hebrew cannon—that I cannot accept. “But I am a liberal in religion,” he continued. “We do not look upon scripture as directly the word of God. This is the difference between a liberal in religion and a fundamentalist in religion…. Liberals feel that sometimes scripture makes mistakes, and sometimes the rift between liberals in religion and fundamentalists in religion is far more serious than the differences between the religions themselves.” “There are many things that bring us together,” the rabbi concluded. “I can only believe with all my heart and soul that the God of our fathers and mothers is very pleased.”

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9 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, February 23, 2012

Interfaith panel at St. Margaret’s Church discuss shared heritage

Thursday, February 23, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


School woes in Cleveland, Ohio could soon be our own By DIANE RAVITCH I recently went to Cleveland to speak to their City Club, where civic leaders gather every Friday to hear from people in different fields. I wanted to talk with educators as well, so I spoke to the Cleveland Teachers Union on the evening of Feb. 2, and to district administrators on Feb. 3, before addressing the City Club.�� After I spoke to the teachers, one came up and introduced herself as a 4th grade teacher. She said: “Thank you for giving me hope. I wish I could give some to my students. They have no hope for the future.” That was the saddest thing I heard on my visit. ��Cleveland has a level of urban decay that is alarming. Yet its municipal leaders have decided that their chief problem is bad teachers. Surely, I thought, the teachers didn’t cause the flight of employers from the city, the collapse of its manufacturing base, and the massive loss of home mortgages. ��But sure enough, Cleveland—and the state of Ohio—plans to attack its economic woes by creating more charter schools and supplying merit pay to teachers able to raise test scores. The leaders want to make it easier to fire teachers and to remove seniority. That’s the mayor’s plan to reform education in Cleveland. Mayor Frank Jackson, like Governor John Kasich, thinks that school choice is the remedy for the education woes of Cleveland and Ohio. So, of course, they both want more charters. Cleveland has had mayoral control since 1995, so if mayoral control was the answer to urban woes, it should have happened here. It hasn’t. Cleveland is one of the poorest, most racially segregated, and lowest-performing districts in the

nation. Ohio has made a big bet on charter schools. It has an aggressive and entrepreneurial charter sector. About 100,000 of the state’s 1.8 million students are enrolled in charter schools, but charter enrollment is far higher in the state’s “Big 8” urban districts. The average public school teacher in Cleveland is paid about $66,000, while the average charter school teacher in that city receives about $33,000 a year. That’s a big cost saving for the city and state. Most charters are non-union, and teachers have no job protections or employment rights. It appears that charters have a business plan in which they keep costs low by teacher turnover, low levels of experience, and low salaries.�� As in other states, charters in Ohio get no better academic results on average than regular public schools. ��The biggest charter chain in Ohio is White Hat Management, a for-profit corporation run by Akron businessman David Brennan. Brennan and his family have contributed millions of dollars to Republican candidates over the past decade. White Hat manages 46 charter schools, both online and free-standing, most in Ohio. State law gives the corporation power to hire and fire board members as well as staff members. Board members in 10 White Hat schools sued the management company to find out where the money was going; management has received hundreds of millions of dollars in public funding, and the boards said they didn’t know where the money was spent. State law gives the corporation ownership of everything purchased with

taxpayer dollars. Just last week, an Ohio court ruled that White Hat must open its books to individual charter boards, if they request to see them. But at the same time, the company is under no obligation to reveal its spending of public funds to public officials. This really illustrates the essence of privatization. A public entity must open its books to public scrutiny. The legislature could fix this, but it is hard to imagine that it would get tough with one of the state’s major Republican contributors. There’s nothing special about the performance of this particular charter chain. According to information compiled by NPR in Ohio, “No Ohio White Hat school earned higher than the equivalent of a “C” on the state report cards. Most are in academic watch or emergency.” In the company’s view, the state grades are unimportant; all that matters is that parents are making a choice. Yet there you have it. The leaders of one

of the most economically depressed and racially segregated cities in the nation have decided that the answer to its problems is to fire teachers, close public schools, and expand the number of charters. �� They aren’t thinking about the children. They are thinking about how to cut costs. They will keep hiring private firms to run schools. The private firms will fire those expensive teachers who earn a living wage and hire newcomers willing to work long hours for $30,000 a year. Some of the private firms will replace teachers with virtual academies, so those expensive buildings can be shuttered while children sit at a computer, with one teacher monitoring 50-100 or more screens. The “teachers” may not be certified, may be hourly workers with no benefits, may turn over with frequency. All that cuts costs, too.�� There’s lots in these plans to give hope to political allies of the electeds. But not much to give hope to the children.

Sinfonietta to perform theatrical work

For the first time at their concerts, the Sinfonietta of Riverdale will collaborate with actors to present the Faustian play ‘The Soldier’s Tale’ by Igor Stravinsky. The performance will be held on Sunday, March 4, 2:30 p.m., at the Riverdale Temple, 4545 Independence Avenue. Tickets: Standard $35; Senior $25; Riverdale Temple Member $25; Student $15. Purchase tickets at www. For phone inquiries call: 917-689-1211. With raucous and sly jazzy musical numbers (such as Tango, Waltz and Ragtime), it tells the story of a Soldier who

engages in a duel of wits with The Devil, loses to him at a game of cards, and battles over the fate of his precious violin. Also on the program by Stravinsky is his Concerto in E-flat ‘Dumbarton Oaks,’ inspired by the Brandenburg Concerti of Bach. In another first for the Sinfonietta, it will present a world premiere performance of ‘All Jazzed Up!,’ music by California-based composer, Byron Adams, on April 29. Exquisitely well-crafted, the lovely ‘Serenade’ for nine instruments hearkens back to musical traditions from the time of Dvorak, with a fresh and beguilingly personal voice.

By MIAWLING LAM New York’s primary election day for federal and state offices could be moved to June 26, under a bill proposed by Albany legislators. The bill, which was quietly introduced last Friday, would push the state primary up from September, in keeping with federal law. Officials estimate the move will save local governments $50 million in a bumper election year and eliminate the possibility of holding three separate primaries in 2012. The state’s presidential primary is already scheduled for April 24; the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives primary for June 26; the state legislative primary in September and the general election in November. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz threw his support behind the plan to combine two primaries, arguing it will encourage voter turnout. “We can’t underestimate the role that elections play in allowing Bronx voters an opportunity to be heard,” he said in a statement. “It is only practical to hold the state primary on the same day as the federal primary, allowing for stronger and more cohesive voter participation. “In addition, this legislation would also eliminate a scheduled primary on September 11, a day when many New Yorkers feel there shouldn’t be a primary.” Under the proposal, candidates vying for an Assembly seat would need to

obtain just 375 designating signatures, down from the current quota of 500. Similarly, Senate candidates would have their number of required signatures slashed from 1,000 to 750. The modified calendar will also set the filing deadline for petitions to April 16. Dinowitz said the cost-savings was common sense. Local governments usually pick up the tab of holding primaries. “It simply doesn’t make sense for local taxpayers to pay an extra $50 million to hold three primary elections and one general election in the same year,” he said. “We should be holding both state and federal primaries on the same day. This legislation is a smart, common-sense solution.” Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Gary Sharpe declared the fourth Tuesday in June as the primary for congressional races so the state could comply with a law governing timely access to military and overseas ballots. The federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act requires states to hold primaries no later than 44 days prior to the general election to accommodate citizens serving overseas in the military and others living abroad. Elections for state offices are not subject to the same requirements. The Assembly elections committee will discuss and examine the proposal further this week.

11 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, February 23, 2012

Plans afoot for June Primary

Polar Bears migrate north for Orchard Beach swim

By DAVID GREENE More than two dozen members of the Coney Island-based Polar Bears Club traveled north for a post-Valentine’s Day plunge into the chilly waters of Orchard Beach on Saturday, February 18. Despite the air temperature of slightly over the freezing point, members arrived wearing bathrobes, sandals and summer shorts—an ensemble topped off with

winter hats with ear muffs. Tom McGann, a member of the Coney Island Polar Bears for the past 20 years, was unfazed by the temperature. “The weather is the warmest it’s been since I’ve been a Polar Bear,” he said. Recalling a visit to Orchard Beach a decade ago, McGann, who goes by the nickname “Iceman,” added, “There were chunks of ice floating around in the water.”

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After jumping in up to her waist, Helmi Hunin of Park Slope quickly exited the water. Hunin claimed, “The water was great, but my feet were getting numb. Now I’m going to sunbathe for a bit. It’s warmer out here.” Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. provided the Bears with a trolley, which ferried members to The Bronx from Times Square. Assemblyman Michael Benedetto was also on hand to provide moral support, telling members, “Polar bears would not even go BL195740into the water today, it’s just too warm.” Damlbite, a photographer who NEWARK/E.Kate RUTHERFORD/UNIONDALE regularly shoots the Polar Bears during TRADE AD their swims, was asked whether she ever goes swimming herself. She replied, “You mean in the water? Oh, no, I never have, sorry,” and began to laugh. “They beg me to go in, but I never have.”


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Four bandits sought in postal robbery By DAVID GREENE The United States Postal Inspection Service, the police arm of the U.S. Postal Service, has released a surveillance photo of two of the four individuals wanted in connection with the robbery of a letter carrier near Fort Independence Park in Kingsbridge Heights. According to a flyer released by the service, the four male suspects robbed the letter carrier while he was delivering mail to 3404 Giles Place at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, January 30. The flyer describes the assailants as four males in their late teens, possibly of Hispanic descent. Two of the four individuals were wearing dark hooded jackets, one wearing dark-colored jeans, the other wearing light-colored sweat-pants. Investigators at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service could not immediately say whether the robbery is related to a string of similar crimes across the borough that took place at the same time last year. The suspects in those incidents were all between the ages of 18 and 22, and the group of thugs brandished a firearm. During those three robberies, which occurred between December 2010 and February

2011, the bandits also made off with the mail carrier’s key, which opens building front doors and mailboxes. The United States Postal Inspection Service pays up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone robbing a U.S. mail handler. Anyone with information on the identities of those involved are asked to call 212-330-2400. All calls remain confidential.

“MAGICAL” “WONDROUS” “AMAZING” And that’s just the ticket price.


Kids ages 2-12. Limit four (4) kids’ tickets with purchase of one full-priced adult ticket. Valid on select performances only. See for details. Excludes VIP, VIP Gold and ����������������SM seats. No double discounts. Additional fees may apply.

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For full show schedules and to buy tickets go to ������������, Retail Locations, Arena Box Offices or call �������������� ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Additional fees may apply.


Thursday, February 23, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Come one hour early to meet our animals and performers at the �������������������������� with your ticket!


Wednesday, February 29

WINTER WILDLIFE WONDERS 2 p.m. Greenburgh Nature Center 99 Dromore Road Join a naturalist in a hands-on approach in exploring how animals survive the winter’s harsh weather. Visit with live animals and discover the adaptations upon which the animals rely to survive and thrive! Members-$4, Non-members-$8. For more information, call 914-723-3470.

CIVIL WAR LECTURE 1 p.m. St. Paul’s Church 897 S. Columbus Avenue A presentation about the connections of St. Paul’s Church N.H.S. to the Civil War, helping to mark the 150th anniversary of the conflict of 1861-65. For more information, contact David Osborn at 914-667-4116.



ITALIAN CINEMA 6:30 p.m. Westchester Italian Cultural Center One Generoso Pope Place Featuring the film Ossessione (1932) Directed by Luchino Visconti. In Italian with English subtitles, 140 minutes. Registration is required. Members - $10, Non-Members - $20. Enjoy some of the best productions of Italian cinema. Refreshments are offered prior to the screening. For more information, call 914-771-8700.

Saturday, February 25 Scarsdale

WINTER WILDLIFE WONDERS 2 p.m. Greenburgh Nature Center 99 Dromore Road Join a naturalist in a hands-on approach in exploring how animals survive the winter’s harsh weather. Visit with live animals and discover the adaptations upon which the animals rely to survive and thrive! Members-$4, Non-members-$8. For more information, call 914-723-3470.


GRUMO FESTIVAL CONCERT 4 p.m. Westchester Italian Cultural Center One Generoso Pope Place The repertoire spans the works of Mozart, Paganini, Brahms, Nino Rota and others, performed by distinguished musicians, alumni and international guests. The concert is organized in collaboration with the United Pugliesi Federation and director and composer Davide Zannoni. A reception with the artists and dignitaries from the Town of Grumo Appula will follow. For more information, call 914-771-8700.


HISTORY LECTURE 7 p.m. Beczak Environmental Education Center 35 Alexander Street Curious about the role the Hudson River played in the Underground Railroad? Learn about this little known aspect of local African American history at “River to Freedom! The Hudson River’s Role in the Underground Railroad”, a presentation with Cordell Reaves, NYS Office of Parks, Recreations and Historic Preservation. Reaves shares pictures and stories of former slaves who used the Hudson River to escape as well as everyday people in the Hudson Valley who assisted others in gaining their freedom. Fugitives from the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, Pennsylvania – as well as from the South – traveled through the lower New York State in big numbers. But how did they do it? Reaves, an expert on the Underground Railroad, has worked for the past 10 years with historic sites across New York State to help them interpret and preserve this part of history. Most recently, he has been working on increasing tourism to New York using the story of the Underground Railroad. For more information, call 914-377-1900 x13

White Plains

NEW URBAN JAZZ 8 p.m. Arts Westchester 31 Mamaroneck Avenue Vaneese Thomas is one of the great voices of our time and soul sister of the first rank. Daughter of R&B pioneer Rufus Thomas, Vaneese has brought her virtuoso vocal styling to hundreds of recordings. She will perform with her full band. For more information, contact Tom VanBuren at

Tuesday, February 28 Bronxville

MUSIC 1:30 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Reisinger Concert Hall The Manhattan String Quartet is well known for their interpretation of 20th century classics, and are critically acclaimed as one of America’s leading ensembles; a national treasure possessing thrilling virtuosity.

Mt. Vernon


LECTURE 2 p.m. Westchester Italian Cultural Center One Generoso Pope Place Intimate Conversations. Italy Before and at the Beginning of its Involvement in the First World War. First in a series of three captivating lectures presented by Gaetano V. Cavallaro R.Ph.,M.D. Registration is required. The program is offered at no charge. Donations are welcome. For more information, call 914-771-8700.

Thursday, March 1 Yonkers

DR. SEUSS BIRTHDAY PARTY 4 p.m. Riverfront Library One Larkin Center Come to play games and hear Dr. Seuss stories in the Community Room on the second floor. The Dr. Seuss Birthday Party is for children ages 3-7. This is a FREE event. Call the Children’s Department at (914) 337-1500 ext. 428 for more information.


LECTURE 6 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Slonim Living Room A talk by Critic John Simon. Based partly on his book ‘Paradigms Lost,’ and his language column for Esquire Magazine, this talk concerns current abuses of the English language, where they come from, and how they could conceivably be diminished. For more information, please call (914) 395-2412.

Sunday, March 4 Scarsdale

WINTER WALK 2 p.m. Greenburgh Nature Center 99 Dromore Road Nature in winter offers so much to the careful observer! Come celebrate winter with a nature walk with naturalist John Mancuso. Explore what’s happening in the winter world of the Nature Center’s forest. Hot chocolate served afterwards. Included with Museum admission – FREE for Members! For more information, call 914-723-3470.

Tuesday, March 6 Yonkers

PICTURE BOOK TIME 10:30 a.m. Riverfront Library One Larking Center Come to the Riverfront Library on Tuesdays at 10:30 with your 3_ to 5 year old for stories, songs and finger plays. You can also meet Tog, Jasper, or Golda. Picture Book Time will run each Tuesday at 10:30 am through May 8th. This is a FREE event. Call the Children’s Department at (914) 337-1500 ext. 427 for more information.

Wednesday, March 7 Yonkers

MOTHER GOOSE TIME 10:30 a.m. Riverfront Library One Larkin Center Come to the Yonkers Riverfront Library every Wednesday morning at 10:30 with your 1_ to 3_ year old for stories, songs and finger plays. Mother Goose Time will run each Wednesday at 10:30 am through May 9th. This is a FREE event. Call the Children’s Department at (914) 337-1500 ext. 427 for more information.


SILLY SYMPHONY & MEGILLAH READING 5:45 p.m. Shaarei Tikvah 46 Fox Meadow Road An evening of merriment and satire. There will be a magic show at 5:45 pm and Megillah reading at 6:30. Everyone is encouraged to come in costume and participate in the gala costume parade. The Silly Symphony, conducted by Cantor Gerald Cohen, is a band of talented homegrown musicians of all ages who merrily accompany the traditional reading. For more information, call 914-472-2013, ext. 300.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday, February 23

Thursday, February 23, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



Auditions for the Rising Stars production of 42nd Street show will be held on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm and Monday, Feb. 27 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. A song and dance combination will be taught. Please arrive at the beginning of your selected day to go over music. Check out our website at Riverdalerisingstars. com for alist fo songs that you can prepare for the audition. Rising Stars is open to teenagers from ages 12- 18 and participation is by audition only. The Riverdale Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue. For more information please call Ben Becher at 718-548-8200, ext. 208.

Public forum on heating fuel conversion

Community Board 8 will sponsor a public forum and discussion on Heating Fuel Conversion. The forum will be held on Monday, February 27, 7:30 p.m., at Manhattanville Health Care Center, 311 West 231st Street (between Irwin and Tibbett Avenues). The panel of speakers include: Thomas C. Durham, Chair, Housing Committee, Moderator; Steve Caputo, Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability; Cameron H . Bard, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

(NYSERDA); and Robert Carrano, Co-op Board President of 3875 Waldo Avenue. For more information, visit gov/bronxcb8 or call 718-884-3959.

Schervier Center sponsors trip to Atlantic City

On Tuesday, February 28, 2012 Schervier Home will sponsor a Day trip to SHOWBOAT CASINO at Atlantic City. Cost is $28.00 per seat, with casino cash back of $30.00. The bus picks up from Schervier Apartments at 2995 Independence Avenue, Riverdale @ 8:55am and Knolls Crescent @ 9:00am. Returns at 8:30pm with drop offs at 230thst. & Kingsbridge Ave.; 232ndst. & Henry Hudson Parkway; Knolls Crescent and Schervier Apartments. For reservations please call NELLIE KENNY @ 718-543-0237.

Seniors discussion on great movies

The Simon Senior Center at the Riverdale Y is having a discussion on Tues. Feb.28 at 10:30 am on The Greats of Acting And The Movies You Enjoyed When You were Young, To the Ones You Have Seen Lately. This discussion will be led by Leora Garritano- LMSW. The discussion is open to the public and is free. Immediately following, a nutritious luncheon will be served. The suggested lunch donation is

$2.25. For further information please call 718-548-8200 ext 223 or 224.

Weight Loss & Wellness Center has new website

Local doctor and owner of the NY Weight Loss & Wellness Centers, is delighted to announce the launch of his new website, To celebrate the launch with the residents of the community, he is providing a completely FREE Body Fat Assessment at his Riverdale office, located at 3626 Bailey Avenue Bronx, NY10463 and his Canarsie office, location at 1713-19 Ralph Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11236. The new website features an online store, blog, and once you have registered for one of their medical weight loss programs you get access to Dr. François’ private weight loss forum plus daily motivational emails and a monthly wellness newsletter.

Riv. Y sweet deals in February

Riverdale Y announces the following sweet deals in February: Camp: Sign up for summer camp by Feb 29 and get up to $225 off entire camp season, $25 off per week, per child. During February, every Tuesday and Thursday, the Riverdale Y camps will be holding an info-session on all our camps. Come meet the directors of each camp from 6-7 in the lobby. They will answer all your

questions and give you advice on which camp is best for your child. Please note that there will be no information session during school vacation week from Feb. 20-Feb. 24. For more information regarding any of our camps, please call Roxanne Parets at 718-548-8200 ext. 229 Membership: Sign up by February 29 for Y Membership and get up to $150 off your annual membership. Total discount depends on type of membership.

Scholarships for gifted young musicians

Gifted young musicians, ages 8 through 15 may be eligible to apply for scholarship awards of several hundred dollars. To be eligible, students must live or study in Riverdale and study privately and/or be involved in a school music program. These annual awards are made possible through the David Froehlich Endowment Fund. Administered through the Rhoda Grundman Music School of the Riverdale YM-YWHA, this fund is designed to support and encourage young musicians at elementary to advanced levels to continue to enjoy their music studies. To apply, a student must be recommended by a music teacher and applications may only be submitted by music teachers. The application deadline is May 14, 2012. To request an application package or for more information call Allen Sher, Riverdale Y at 718-548-8200 ext. 256.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, February 23, 2012

Auditions for new production of Rising Stars

Thursday, February 23, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Gerrymandering? Be careful what you wish for Fifty years ago, The Bronx was home to four Congressional districts, neatly carved into identifiable quadrants: one district covered the northwest Bronx, another the southwest, one in the northeast and one in the southeastern portion of the borough. These districts averaged about 375,000 people, about half the number that you would find in a Congressional district today. Of course, the same 435 representatives covered a nation that was smaller, and New York State’s share of the national pie was a lot bigger, the biggest in the nation. The Bronx was perhaps the most powerful political entity in the country, and probably got a little bit larger share of representation. This was before the days of a court decision that mandated a strict one-man/one vote policy, so districts were often disproportionately constituted with fewer residents (more power per voter) or more folks and somewhat less political clout. Back then, all four Bronx representatives to Congress were white. Despite the status of the borough as an overwhelmingly Jewish stronghold then, only one of the four, Jacob Gilbert of the 22nd District in the southeast Bronx, was a Jew. Two men of Irish extraction, Charles A. Buckley and James Healey, represented the two districts in the west Bronx. These districts were largely Jewish, but for many years the levers of the Democratic Party machinery here were held by Irishmen. Buckley was also the Democratic Party leader, having succeeded the legendary Edward J. Flynn, an intimate of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who at one time led the national Democratic Party as well. The Bronx had clout. An Italian-American, Paul Fino, held sway over the northeast Bronx’s 24th District. The remarkable thing about Fino, who passed away recently, was that he was a Republican. Yes, part of The Bronx had a Republican representing them in Washington. In fact, the borough had a vigorous Republican Party, which routinely elected legislators and judges. In 1961, the Borough of the Bronx actually elected a Republican, Joseph Periconi, as Borough President, although with the help of the now-defunct Liberal Party. In terms of the national share of population, New York has since slipped quite a bit. The aforementioned court ruling on district size and the racial representation mandates of the Voting Rights Act has warped the redistricting process in new ways. No longer can a borough be neatly divided more or less along neighborhood lines. There are those who are calling for non-partisan redistricting as if it were some sort of panacea. But such redistricting would then only take into account race and ethnicity. A sample of that type of outlook was the lines drawn by Common Cause, which saw little other than race in proposing their districts. We reject this notion. Rigging districts to insure the election of people of one background or another, is still nothing more than denying voters the chance to elect someone of their own choosing, not the Balkanized dream slates of the social engineers. There is a flip side to this, as Democrats have learned, but are too wedded to racial pandering to try and correct. When you isolate groups who tend to vote Democratic in segregated districts, you also create largely white districts where the G.O.P. often wins. There are some who believe that this is why Republicans now control the House of Representatives. If we would let a color-blind apolitical computer draw the lines, whose only mandate would be draw compact and contiguous districts respecting neighborhood and geographic lines and nothing more, we could sign onto such an endeavor. But gerrymandering for race instead of incumbency is un-American and just as bad as the political product we get now. We, for example, would be loathe to sacrifice Bronx Congressmen Jose Serrano and Eliot Engel, with more than a half century of seniority between them and the influence that brings, for any of the current “impartial” schemes. Someday we will elect state legislators and the representatives we send to Washington and City Hall purely for the content of their character, not the color of their skin. But until that day, we’d rather not sacrifice our awful system for an even more dangerous one where election results are determined by the accident of birth, not the achievements of life.

Co-ops need relief from ‘unfunded mandate’ To The Editor: We are very pleased to see that Community Board 8 has recognized the urgent need to bring to light the vast inequity imposed by the financial issues associated with the city’s mandated conversion of heating systems away from number 6 fuel by holding a public forum on February 27. While nearly everyone supports the concept of using cleaner fuels, very few have come forward to closely examine the actual cost of conversion to gas or to dual fuel (as may be desired by individual boards of directors) that will be borne entirely and uniquely by co-op shareholders -- without any tax relief, funding support or economic relief of any sort. The cost of conversion by individual buildings will be enormous and enormously unjust for co-op shareholders. We recently saw a price tag imposed by Con Edison of $580,000,00 for one building to run a gas line to its location to enable the conversion

to gas heat. We have heard of prices near $100,000.00 for the relining of a chimney which was

Questioning the Hebrew Home

To The Editor: I am outraged, once again, about the spending of millions of dollars by The Hebrew Home on everything but direct patient care. My father died there in April 2007 because of a lack of trained caregivers and the lack of a particular piece of equipment specifically needed to prevent a horrifying, gaping necrotic wound in his heel from becoming a systemic infection. He suffered miserably for the last year and a half of his life because of a geometrically progressing series of failures by the Home, contributing to this injury, which went undetected for some time. He never should have died when he did, despite being 92 years old. He had absolutely no organic disease. The excuse was, and remains, that there isn’t enough trained

ANDREW WOLF, Editor and Publisher

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

JOEL PAL Production Manager ROBERT NILVA Marketing Director

required to accommodate the increased heat produced by burnContinued on Page 19

CECILIA McNALLY Office Manager MIAWLING LAM Associate Editor

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

staff, or staff at all. I would many times arrive there between 6-7:30 p.m. to find my father agonizing in his wheelchair, left alone in a hallway, begging to be put to bed. Everyone was on their dinner break except for one aide who I heard say to a co-workers, “If they fall, they fall. I’m only one person.” Such callousness is inexcusable. Endowments made to this facility would be far better spent in providing enough skilled nurses and aides rather than more artwork and new plantings on their vast landscape. While these amenities are very lovely, many of the tortured residents, their frustrated and agonized relatives and friends would prefer to know their loved ones were safe and secure and receiving the best medical care that money can buy. The bragging rights for this facility expired many years ago. A neighbor of mine has a parent currently living there and she has shared with me the continuing decline of the Hebrew Home. If this is the best in the nation, God help those in the worst, or even the mediocre. Madlyn W. Dickens

By LAURAN O’NEILL Manhattan College Student On February 16th, MC was honored with a certificate from Fair Trade USA. This makes it the first college in New York City to receive Fair Trade status. According to, Fair Trade‘s mission is to ensure farmers and workers have fair prices and wages, safe work conditions, adequate tools, training and resources to help a community thrive. According to the MC website, the school is dedicated to helping the fair trade mission by carrying their products at the campus dining halls, restaurants, cafes and the bookstore. Nevertheless, the topic of Fair Trade has recently become a very controversial one. Although the organization claims to work towards helping the world become a better place, many believe it is just a

Co-ops need relief

Continued from Page 18

ing natural gas. And, of course there is no guarantee, nor even any way of predicting that cleaner fuels will be more economical in the future, as more and more local buildings shift away from heavy oil, the market may adversely shift, raising the price of clean fuels. The Association of Riverdale Cooperatives and Condominiums has been bringing the issue and pertinent information to its member buildings for several years, even when the concept was in its formative stage, in the hope that neighborhood boards of directors would, en masse, embrace the concept of conversion before they were forced by imposed deadlines to do so. ARC has been in regular conference with Con Edison in an attempt to have the utility recognize Riverdale as a single cluster, or even several component clusters of customers and thus allow for “group pricing” when new gas lines need to be provided. For the past two years, ARC has brought the issue of the need for financial support to cooperators directly to each of our local representatives, at every level of government -- to little avail. Historically, whenever hugely expensive fiats are imposed by government, such as the city’s Local Law 43, there has been support offered to individuals, in the form of rebates, stipends, tax relief, etc. to relieve the excessive and inequitable burdens that such mandates demand. ARC continues to recognize this issue as the most important to directly impact the neighborhood and each individual shareholder in its many co-operatives, and recently designated the fuel conversion issue as its primary focus and appointed Mr. David Gellman, one of its directors to spearhead the matter. ARC, with Mr. Gellman on point, will be meeting again soon with senior officials at Con Edison to underscore the gravity and extent of the cost of bringing gas lines to Riverdale by sharing information that ARC has accumulated regarding the number of units, fuel consumption and energy requirements of most of the buildings in the neighborhood. Any support that the Community Board and our local representatives can offer to ease the economic pain of conversion will be most welcome. Our residents support the concept of cleaner burning fuels and need financial relief that is fair and just in the process. Stephen J. Budihas, President Association of Riverdale Cooperatives & Condominiums

gimmick or marketing strategy to make more money. Fair Trade products are usually more expensive than normal ones and sometimes seem of poorer quality. The fair trade industry controls the pricing of a number of goods (i.e. coffee). This could end up hurting the market, because when they implement a minimum price, the coffee market is not able to follow a natural course. There is also speculation that some companies market themselves as if they are fair trade to charge more money when actually selling a cheaper product. Of course, the fair trade commission helps those farmers under its name, but what about the other farmers? They cannot possibly take care of every farmer in the

world, and once everyone starts using fair trade, those not included in the movement could become lost and impoverished. In order to be qualified for “fair trade”, a farm may not be more than 12 acres in size and cannot employ any full time workers. If they aren’t employing full time workers, they are not guaranteeing job stability for those living in the area, which is of little benefit to a community. Many Manhattan College students remain skeptical of the fair trade movement. “I don’t understand why we are paying more for these products instead of giving money to local markets. We should let things take their natural course,” one International Studies major explained. “I honestly think this is

just another trend, posing as a charity, to make people feel better about themselves, but really not doing the good they say they are,” MC student Andrew Hanifin stated. Although the theory behind Fair Trade is a good one, is it really effective? How can we be sure these impoverished farmers benefit from the organization? Is it taking work away from farmers who need it more? These are all questions we should take into consideration before deciding to support the movement. It’s undeniable that the school has good intentions to be socially aware, and this may seem like a step in the right direction, but are the jacked up prices really worth it?

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19 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, February 23, 2012

Manhattan College Fair Trade Program: Is it worth it?

Thursday, February 23, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Riverdale Review, February 23, 2012  

Weekly newspaper published in Riverdale, NY 10471