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Volume XIX • Number 10 • March 22 - 28, 2012 •

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Espaillat will challenge Rangel for congressional seat By MIAWLING LAM State Sen. Adriano Espaillat will challenge Charlie Rangel for his seat in Congress. Espaillat, who represents a large section of Riverdale in the state senate announced his intention on Tuesday morning and is currently circulating petitions to qualify for a spot on the state’s primary ballot. Ibrahim Khan, a spokesman for Espaillat, said while they haven’t made an official decision as to when, or if, they will launch a campaign, he confirmed they were collecting signatures. “Given his strong record as a fighter for New York City’s poor and working families, Senator Espaillat has been encouraged by the community to pursue a run for Congress,” he said. The announcement has politi-

cal pundits licking their chops as it sets the stage for a dramatic dogfight over Rangel’s seat. Espaillat’s decision to run follows a week of flurried activity in which maps for the state Senate. Assembly and congressional districts were finalized and Albany legislators signed off on plans for a June 26 primary for both federal and state offices. Under the finalized congressional boundaries, which were largely drawn by federal magistrate Roanne L. Mann, The Bronx will be carved up into four districts instead of the five originally proposed by state lawmakers. Only one of the four districts will be wholly contained within The Bronx. The biggest game-changer, however, is set to be Rangel’s 15th District, which will become the

13th District. Although it will retain its Harlem base, the new district will cover all of Espaillat’s stronghold in Washingston Heights and Inwood and move up into The Bronx and cover Bedford Park, Norwood, Kingsbridge Heights, and parts of Kingsbridge and University Heights. Census data shows it will also be 55 percent Hispanic, 27 percent black and 12 percent white. As rumors swirl around about Rangel’s ill health, Espaillat’s congressional run represents a win-win proposition. Even if he loses his bid to unseat Rangel in the June primary, he could still keep his job and seek re-election in the Senate in the September primary. It also comes just days after Espaillat revealed he was forming a seven-member exploratory committee to mull over his options.

Congressman Charles Rangel

State Senator Adriano Espaillat

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said he would endorse Rangel in a potential showdown, while Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz declined to back a specific candidate just yet. The new congressional lines also keep Riverdale under Rep. Eliot Engel, who picks up a larger

portion of Westchester but loses the southern half of Rockland County. Rep. Joseph Crowley’s and Rep. Jose Serrano’s districts remain virtually unchanged, although Crowley loses parts of Co-Op City to Engel. Continued on Page 13

No housing in 230th St. development?

Construction workers began excavation for the Van Cortlandt Park ice skating rink earlier this week.

By MIAWLING LAM City officials have apparently rejected housing in favor of bigbox retail stores for the longawaited 230th Street Broadway Plaza development. Documents show a two-story shopping mall appears to have been chosen as the winning project, beating four other proposals in the process. While the Economic Development Corporation remains mum, preliminary signs suggest experienced national developer Equity One Inc. has been tapped to redevelop the 80,000-squarefoot plot of city land. According to a three-page brochure that appeared on Ripco Realty’s website and has since been taken down, Equity One had been seeking tenants to occupy just four spaces totaling 115,063 square feet at the site. The available space was to be split evenly between two floors and range from 17,957 square feet to 38,691 square feet. Under the plan, vehicular access would be made available from both West 230th Street and Verveleen Place, while pedestrians enter via a small plaza on Broadway.

Artist’s impression of the 230th St. Broadway Plaza entrance. The image, which appeared on Ripco Realty’s website, has since been taken down. Undercover parking for 129 cars was to be provided as well, offering much-needed relief for motorists accustomed to scrambling for spots on the street. The document suggested the project, to replace what is currently a 75,000-square-foot city-owned parking lot, was set for completion by spring 2014. Diagrams also showed merchants will have access to a receiving area measuring more

than 3,800 square feet on the corner of West 230th Street and the Major Deegan Expressway. EDC spokesperson, Kyle Sklerov denied Equity One’s proposal had been chosen and said, ”no decision has been made.” As of press time, calls to three Ripco Realty contacts and the Equity One’s regional office in Manhattan were not returned. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz Continued on Page 13


Thursday, March 22, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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Diaz seeks relief for heating oil conversion cost By MIAWLING LAM Member item funds should be partially used to help low-income co-ops comply with the city’s controversial heating oil conversion mandate, according to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. Under a required phase-out of the dirtiest types of heating oil, all residential buildings have to switch from No. 6 heating oil to at least No. 4—a cleaner, more expensive oil—by 2015. By 2030, buildings will be legally required to burn only No. 2 heating oil or natural gas. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and environmental activists trumpeted the landmark change and said it would clean the city’s air, but others are worried about the hefty conversion costs. Diaz said City Council representatives should be encouraged to use their annual allocation of capital funds to help cash-strapped buildings convert so residents aren’t hit with higher maintenance fees. City Council members, along with borough presidents, are the only elected officials who are still afforded member items. “I want to see the conversions, but what I don’t want is for the co-ops to be passing it onto the tenants,” he said. “There are a lot of different buildings that need to be converted. It is very expensive to do so but…I would encourage some of my colleagues and City Council members to try and dedicate some of their capital dollars to identify buildings in their communities so that we can have cleaner air but we do so without forcing people out of their houses.” Diaz delivered the remarks during a surprise appearance at last Tuesday

HHP killer sentenced to 30 years by NJ judge

By DAVID GREENE A Jersey City judge has sentenced a man to 30 years in prison for killing his girlfriend and dumping her body along the Henry Hudson Parkway. On Friday, March 16, Superior Court Judge Francis Schultz sentenced Shawn Southerland, 50, to 50 years behind bars for the murder of Christie Neely, 36, whose body was discovered in a suitcase on the southbound Henry Hudson Parkway in the Fieldston section on April 7, 2007. On April 1, Southerland was found guilty of strangling Neely in her Bayonne, New Jersey, home as her young son slept in the next room. The young woman’s body was discovered by a highway road crew removing debris from the roadway. Southerland, who represented himself during the non-jury trial, must serve the entire 30-year sentence before his release. The convicted killer must then spend an additional five years under a supervised release. Southerland, a golf caddy in Bayonne, was convicted after being identified by a store manager as the man who purchased and later returned a suitcase that contained Neely’s DNA. The killer had returned to the shop for a larger suitcase when he apparently realized her body would not fit in the smaller one he had originally purchased. Southerland disappeared after the murder and was found a year later working at a golf course in Pennsylvania under an alias. After the trial it was revealed that Southerland had ten prior convictions over the last twenty years.

night’s Community Board 8 general board meeting. He said The Bronx, through his office, invested $500,000 toward a pilot program last year where low-income buildings were provided with financial assistance to comply. The first building to benefit from the program was a 44-unit co-op at 530 East 159th Street. Diaz said he hoped to offer the funding again this year to ease the financial burden for co-op owners. According to official statistics provided by the Bloomberg administration, around 200 buildings in the 10463 ZIP code are currently burning No. 6 oil. In the 10471 ZIP code, an estimated 59 buildings burn the heaviest oil.

Association of Riverdale Cooperatives and Condominiums President Stephen Budihas has been a vocal critic of the unfunded mandate. Although he supports the end game for cleaner air, he said buildings would be slugged with a bill of up to $500,000 and pay higher upkeep fees. To ensure compliance, buildings not only have to replace or convert their boilers, but must also pay for chimney sleeves, heating pipes and costs related to street work. Councilman G. Oliver Koppell said he would be reluctant to use public funds for private purposes but said the city was looking into ways to alleviate the hefty financial conversion costs.

“I am concerned about the burden on co-ops, and the Council is looking for ways in which we may be able to help,” he said on Monday. Koppell said there was a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, March 21, to explore this very issue and that officials would look into offering landlords and co-op owners tax abatements. New York City residents are also still awaiting further details on the city’s financial assistance program. Earlier this month, Steve Caputo, a policy advisor in the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability, said landlords and co-op boards could be offered low-interest, unsecured bank loans to help them convert to low-sulfur heating fuel. At the time, he said city officials would make an announcement in the coming weeks.


By MIAWLING LAM A local massage parlor suspected of serving as a front for prostitution is apparently attempting to reopen under a new name. The Riverdale Review has learned that New Healing Touch, a massage parlor located at 4685 Manhattan College Parkway, has placed advertisements on at least two classifieds websites, trading as Green Forest Spa at the same location. An advertisement posted on backpage. com on March 11 touts the grand opening of “Green Forest Spa” and states the business offers deep-tissue, Swedish and shiatsu massages performed by a 22-yearold “nice licensed Asian masseuse.” The post also claims the facility’s table showers will “move aut your stress and pain [sic].” According to Urban Dictionary, an online reference source of slang words and phrases, a table shower is defined as a service in which a masseuse bathes a customer while they are lying on a table. “First face down then on your back so particular attention can be paid to private parts.” The backpage.com posting fails to specify a location—it simply notes it is off Exit 11 of I-87—and states it is open daily 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. However, the phone number listed is the same one used by New Healing Touch. Another advertisement on craigslist. org on March 14 plugs the grand opening of the same new massage parlor—this time, narrowing down its location to 242nd Street at Van Cortlandt Park. The posting flaunts the facility as offering

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“Licensed the Asian Bodywork” and onehour services for $60, which will reduce muscular pain and improve circulation. Again, among the listed offerings is a table shower. The phone number listed is also the same one used by New Healing Touch. The image makeover comes just two weeks after undercover NYPD investigators busted employees for soliciting sexual services. Officers arrested and charged Yingji Li, 40, with one count of prostitution during a sting operation on December 22, while Ying Al Li, 43, was collared for the same offense on February 29. It is understood the women, both Queens residents, offered to manually stimulate a client’s penis for $20. The two busts mean authorities now have legal grounds to pursue New Healing Touch’s closure. Contacted by phone last Tuesday, Jing Li, a man connected to Green Forest Spa, said the massage parlor had been open for a year under that name. He claimed the new spa was in no way related to New Healing Touch, a business he said closed down two years ago. The man also said he was the brother of Ying Al Li, whom he alleged was the owner of Green Forest Spa. He denied his sister ever offered sexual services. “She’s never doing this prostitution,” he said. “She has a therapy license. She’s been working no problems. There is something wrong. She is maybe discrimination.” When asked why the business was advertising a grand opening, Li said he did not know. The man also said the two employees Continued on Page 13

3 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, March 22, 2012

Massage parlor has two identities


Around the schools... This year’s parents association fundraising auction will be held on Saturday, March 24, from 7 to 10 p.m. in the student center at the Riverdale Country School, 5250 Fieldston Road. The evening of food, wine and fun is for adults only.

P.S. 81

Save the date—June 9—for a performance of “P.S. 81 Presents A Bronx Tale.” More than 100 students are now rehearsing for a hometown revue featuring music with a Bronx connection, including songs popularized by Billy Joel, Carly Simon, Dion and the Belmonts, Celia Cruz and others.

M.S./H.S. 141—Riverdale/ Kingsbridge Academy

The community is invited to RKA’s annual Health Fair this Thursday, March 22, from 12:20 to 2:40 p.m. in the school gym. The event, coordinated by Austin Cromartie, is part of Dr. Mehmet Oz’s HealthCorps, a proactive movement implemented in 54 schools throughout the country. HealthCorps aims to control childhood obesity by empowering students and their families to become health activists in their communities. Fair participants can take the U.S. Army fitness challenge, run an obstacle course, talk with a Montefiore Medical Center cardiologist and learn about Sahaja Meditation. Wellness food booths will include products from the Raw Ice Cream Company—featuring samples of its vegan treat made from renewable plant-based ingredients. The school is at 660 West 237th Street off Independence Avenue.

Horace Mann School

Senior Sam Bauman was among 850 students selected to compete for the National Chemistry Olympiad. Bauman will take the exam at the end of April. Junior Rachel Ha qualified as a semifinalist on the U.S. Biology Olympiad. To achieve this status, she scored in the top 10 percent of those who took an exceptionally challenging exam. She will take the semi-finalist exam in several weeks.

Manhattan College

The community is invited to the second annual Tournées French Film Festival from Wednesday, March 21, through Wednesday, March 28. An opening reception from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the lobby of Hayden Hall will kick off the event, sponsored by the school of arts in conjunction with the departments of modern languages and literatures, English, fine arts, peace studies, philosophy and sociology. This year’s theme is The Art of Communication. Screenings will begin at 6:30 p.m. in room 100 of Hayden Hall. Films include “Potiche” (translated as “trophy wife”) by François Ozon, featuring Catherine Deneuve; “A Prophet,” by Jacques Audiard, know as the French Martin Scorsese; “ Of Gods and Men,” portraying Trappist monks in Algeria, by Xavier Beauvois; “The Illusionist,” an animated film about nonverbal communication, by Sylvain Chomet; and “Certified Copy,” a romance set in Tuscany, by the Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami. Faculty on the organizing committee will introduce the

films and conduct a discussion after each showing. For more information, contact Samira Hassa at 718-862-7917 or samira. hassa@manhattan.edu. The community is welcome to attend this year’s Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center’s Toby Kirsh Memorial Lecture on Tuesday, April 3, at 4:30 p.m. in the Alumni Room at O’Malley Library. The event will feature Holocaust survivor Leon Gleicher, who escaped from a Polish ghetto and fought with the Russian partisans. The series honors Belgian Resistance member Toby Kirsh, celebrating her heroic acts as well as her activism, intellectual engagement and empathy. For more information, contact Jeff Horn at 718-862-7129 or jeff. horn@manhattan.edu.

College of Mount Saint Vincent

The ninth annual “Explore Your Opportunities—The Sky’s the Limit!” Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Conference attracted 250 seventh-grade girls from the five boroughs and Westchester last Saturday. The conference, sponsored by the Westchester branch of the American Association of University Women, provides young women with opportunities to meet and interact with positive female role models in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. The 17 hands-on workshops presenters included a zookeeper from the Bronx Zoo and a chemist from Estee Lauder, who shared the secrets of cold-cream making. This is the third year the conference was held on the CMSV campus.

Local Scholars

Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts, has announced that Carla Lide earned a Master of Education degree in psychology for studies completed in 2011. Springfield College, founded in 1885, is known as the “birthplace of basketball” and for its humanics philosophy of educating students in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others. The college offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in health sciences, human and social services, sport management and movement studies, education, business, and the arts and sciences. It also offers doctoral programs in physical education, physical therapy and counseling psychology. It is rankedin 2012 by U.S. News & World Report as among the top tier of Best Regional Universities—North North Region. More than 5,000 traditional, nontraditional and international students study at its main campus in Springfield and at its School of Human Services campuses across the country.

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P.S. 24

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Thursday, March 22, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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By MIAWLING LAM Efforts to fill the vacant assistant principal position at P.S. 24 have stalled due to two separate pending investigations involving the school’s administration. Department of Education officials posted the job vacancy in September and invited candidates to apply, but six months later, students remain without an official

assistant principal for a second year. Sources have confirmed the hiring process came to a screeching halt because of an open investigation into the school’s interim acting assistant principal, Emanuele Verdi. A spokeswoman for Richard J. Condon, Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City Public Schools,

confirmed SCI “currently has one case that is pending involving P.S. 24” but could not provide further comment as it was an open investigation. A Department of Education spokeswoman said the city’s own separate investigation, which began in June, also remained open. She, too, declined to answer any further questions relating to the case.

Delayed effects for Croton parks money By MIAWLING LAM City officials insist The Bronx is seeing the fruits of the nearly $200 million it was promised from the controversial Croton mitigation fund and estimate the last cent will be spent by 2014. Allaying the public’s fears that it is being shortchanged, the city’s parks department said the funds were being spent to beautify parks across the borough, and the last project will be completed within two years. The projected date emerged at a closed meeting between Bronx Parks Commissioner Hector Aponte and a slew of elected officials last Friday. Documents obtained by the Riverdale Review show that as of Monday, March 5, just 37 of the 62 projects that were to be funded from the mitigation account had been completed. Eight other projects are under construction, a further seven in the procurement process and another 10 in the design process. The $200 million cash injection was promised to The Bronx by the Department of Environmental Protection in 2003 in exchange for permission to build the Croton Water Filtration Plant in Van Cortlandt Park.

The mitigation fund was to bankroll the construction of new playgrounds, repairs to dilapidated ball fields and major renovations to virtually every city-run park across the borough, but the public and elected officials have long complained that projects have taken too long to complete. However, park officials disputed the claim and said each dollar was being whittled away, albeit slowly, to improve Bronx parks. According to a detailed breakdown of how funds have been spent, authorities funneled nearly $2 million to acquire the right of way for the development of the Putnam Trail and $12.6 million on the reconstruction of Van Cortlandt Park’s parade grounds. Further east in The Bronx, nearly $680,000 has been spent on stabilizing the pavilion at Orchard Beach, $778,000 on the reconstruction of the bridle trails in Pelham Bay Park and $4.8 million on new playgrounds, promenade pavement and passive spaces for the first aqueduct section from Kingsbridge Road to Merton Place. The seven-page document also states

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nearly $1.5 million has been allocated to renovate the decrepit comfort station in Van Cortlandt Park at 242nd Street and Broadway, a project that has been under construction for more than two years. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said he was glad to see exactly how the parks department has spent the nearly $200 million allocation since the city inherited the money. However, he said it was unacceptable that it has taken more than seven years from the time the memorandum of understanding was signed for the money to filter down to the grassroots level. “They said they think the last project will be completed sometime in 2014,” he said. “If that’s the case, it would have taken at least 10 years for these projects—that The Bronx was promised—to be completed. Of course, once the projects are completed, people will be very happy. But why would it take 10 years? “The Bronx has had to put up with this filtration project for a long time, and yet we haven’t been able to enjoy one of the few benefits of it, so that’s disappointing. Progress has been very slow.” Continued on Page 9

As the Riverdale Review first reported in September, Verdi is alleged to have collected thousands of airline miles after paying for school supplies with his personal American Express credit card. The school then wrote checks to reimburse him. Under department guidelines, principals must pay suppliers and service providers using funds from their school bank accounts and should use their personal debit or credit cards only in case of emergency. It is not known how long the practice has been taking place, but it is understood the extra airline miles that Verdi collected supplemented those already in his account and allowed him to redeem a free ticket to Italy last summer. At the time, three independent sources at the school confirmed the allegations. Meanwhile, the city’s probe is understood to be focused on claims principal Donna Connelly falsified financial information and signed off on fraudulent timesheets. Investigators are also believed to be looking into her alleged misuse of school funds and the possible warehousing of the assistant principal position. Critics have long suggested that Connelly left the position unfilled for two years so Verdi, her close friend and work colleague, could complete the required coursework and fill the vacancy. Three years ago, P.S. 24 had as many as two assistant principals. News of the probes surfaced last year after the Review received tips from staff at the school. The matter takes on increased urgency because principal Connelly becomes eligible to retire at maximum pension benefits in October of this year.

5 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, March 22, 2012

Investigations at P.S. 24 hinder Asst. Principal choice


Thursday, March 22, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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Manhattan College to host French Film Festival Manhattan College will sponsor the second annual Tournées French Film Festival with an opening reception on Wednesday, March 21 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the lobby of Hayden Hall. The theme of the festival this year is The Art of Communication, and all are welcome to attend the weeklong event sponsored by the school of arts in conjunction with the modern languages and literatures, English, fine arts, peace studies, philosophy and sociology departments. The festival will open with the film Potiche by François Ozon, followed by A Prophet by Jacques Audiard, Of Gods and Men by Xavier Beauvois, The Illusionist by Sylvain Chomet, and Certified Copy by Abbas Kiarostami. A full film schedule and descriptions are listed below, and all screenings will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Hayden Hall, room 100. Faculty on the organizing committee will introduce the films and conduct a discussion after each showing. The organizing committee consists of faculty from a variety of disciplines at Manhattan College: Samira Hassa, Ph.D., assistant professor of modern languages and literatures (French); Evelyn Scaramella, Ph.D., assistant professor of modern languages and literatures (Spanish); Sarah Scott, Ph.D., assistant professor of philosophy; Margaret Toth, Ph.D., assistant professor of English; and Nevart Wanger, assistant professor of modern languages

and literatures (French). Film Schedule: • Wednesday, March 21: Reception from 5:30-6:30 p.m. followed by Potiche, which translates to trophy wife by director François Ozon. Catherine Deneuve, known as the queen of French cinema, brings her comedic timing to this role as the film explores feminism on personal and political levels. • Thursday, March 22: A Prophet by director Jacques Audiard, who is sometimes referred to as the French Martin Scorsese. The film examines prison life through Tahar Rahim’s poignant portrayal of Malik. • Monday, March 26: Of Gods and Men by director Xavier Beauvois portrays a real incident from 1996 involving Trappist monks in Algeria. The film touches on the questions of faith and doubt as the monks’ story unfolds. • Tuesday, March 27: The Illusionist by director Sylvain Chomet is an animated film following Chomet’s The Triplets of Belleville (2003). Written by comic Jacques Tati, the film offers a lovely message about how people can communicate nonverbally. • Wednesday, March 28: Certified Copy by director Abbas Kiarostami, an acclaimed Iranian director, brings his first film to the West with a story that explores relationships through romance. Set in Tuscany, Certified Copy promises to make you ponder what is real and what is fake in relationships. Tournées is a program within the French American Cultural Exchange

(FACE), and the festival is made possible with the generous support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture. The Florence Gould Foundation, The Grand Marnier Foundation, Highbrow Entertainment and Centre National de la Cinématographie et de l’image animée also sponsor the FACE program. For more information, please visit http://www.facecouncil.org/tournees/ or contact Samira Hassa by phone at (718) 862-7917 or email samira. hassa@manhattan.edu.

Open House for RCT Summer Performing Arts Program

Riverdale Children’s Theatre will be holding an open house for their Summer Lights Summer Session, on Sunday March 25th from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy located at 660 West 237th Street. Summer Lights will immerse students from Grades 1-9 in the world of musical theatre and will combine professional theatre training and performing arts enrichment with classic summer fun, culminating in fully produced stage productions for the whole community to enjoy! This summer’s productions will be Legally Blonde the Musical and Disney’s The Aristocats! The program will run from July 2nd -August 10th, weekdays from 9am- 4pm and all levels of experience are welcome. Participants will experience daily classes in Tap, Jazz and Ballet, Acting and voice. Each child will be given specialized instruction, based on their age and skill level. (7th Grade Students preparing to audition for NYC Performing Arts High Schools this fall will have a targeted prep class) Summer Lights will be held on the campus of the Riverdale-Kingsbridge Academy. They have 2 spacious classrooms (with large windows and air conditioning), the Dance studio, the Music room and the Auditorium with a stage. Daily lunch and outdoor activities will be held in the adjacent park and nearby Seton Park for lunches, games and team building activities. The staff is composed of NYS certified teachers with Masters level degrees and accomplished performing arts educators, including many Broadway veterans. The young performers will also be treated to 2 Broadway field trips and weekly workshops with Broadway and Television professionals. For more information please visit their website at www.riverdaletheatre.org or call 646-436-3045

Community Cooking at the Riverdale Y

Community cooking at Riverdale Y will be held on Sunday, March 25, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The class is called Gone Fishin’. It is limited to 10 people. Class Price: $25 plus $15 food/supply fee. Want to spend a few hours meeting new people and learning to cook fresh, healthy food? Join Danielle Rehfeld for Community Cooking and be prepared to actively prep, cook and taste!From Soups and Salads to Hors D’oeuvres and Entrees, the possibilities are endless with fish. Students will work in small teams to make simple, flavorful, recipes they can easily replicate at home for themselves,

family and friends. Danielle Rehfeld is a NY based chef and writer. A Riverdale native, Danielle attended the Institute of Culinary Education where she completed her externship at Daniel and went on to work at Eleven Madison Park. The Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue. For more information call 718548-8200 ext 0.

Open mic at the Club of Riverdale

The Open Mic Night at The Club of Riverdale will once again take place on Sunday, March 25th at 8 PM. Musicians of all genres, from advanced amateurs to professionals are invited to bring their instruments and perform, and the public at large is invited to attend for a wonderful night of free entertainment. Food, beer, wine and other beverages will be available for purchase. The event will be hosted by Mark The Harper, a veteran of the NY music scene, and a long time Riverdale resident. The Club of Riverdale is located in the Century Tower at 2600 Netherland Ave. Sign-up time for musicians begins at 7:45. The event will kick off with a 40 minute set by Mark The Harper’s Acoustic Duo. No Cover, No Minimum. For more info, please email bronxharp1@aol.com.

Upcoming activities at Riverdale Temple

The following activities will be held at Riverdale Temple this coming week: Medicare/Medicaid seminar with Eliot Kaplan. Sunday, March 25th from 11:30am-12:30pm at Riverdale Temple 4545 Independence Avenue Riverdale, NY 10471 718-548-3800 ext 0 for details. High school to college informational session “Gettting Started With the College Process 101”, Sunday, March 25th, 2pm, at Riverdale Temple 4545 Independence Avenue Riverdale, NY 10471. To RSVP, or for more information: mollie. reznick@gmail.com Adult Education at Riverdale Temple. Thursday, March 29th at 7:30pm Riverdale Temple 4545 Independence Avenue Riverdale, NY 10471 March 30th, 5:30 pm, Tot Shabbat with Inbal Sharett at Riverdale Temple 4545 Independence Avenue Riverdale, NY 10471 Riverdale Temple is hosting its annual Second Night Passover Seder Saturday, March 7th, beginning promptly at 7:30pm. Open to the community! Come enjoy a kosher meal. Only $40/adult and $15/ages 512. Children under 5 are free. Reservations are necessary, so please call the temple at 718-548-3800 ext. 0 or rivtemple@aol.com for more information.

Toastmasters Club invites new members

Bronx Toastmasters Club of Riverdale invites new members to join in at their free meeting on March 28 at 7:00 p.m. at the Riverdale Neighborhood House, 5521 Mosholu Avenue. Wouldn’t you like to communicate effectively? Now you can! Toastmasters will show you how to listen effectively, think on your feet, and speak confidently. You will learn valuable leadership skills-all in a supportive, non-intimidating environment. Come as a guest and witness for yourself what they accomplish. They meet every second and fourth Wednesday of the month. For further information, visit their website http://www.bronxtoastmastersclub.org or call 718-796-6671.


7

On Tuesday, March 27 at 10:30 am, the Simon Senior Center will be having a lecture of ‘ Keeping Your Joints Healthy’. This lecture and power point presentation will be done by a clinical teams from Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville. They will discuss which foods are anti-inflammatory to help your joints stay nimble. Alone with exercise tips, and options for what to do if you can no longer live with the pain as well as managing your arthritis and joint pain. The entire community is welcome to the lecture. The Simon Senior Center is located at the Riverdale Y, 5625 Arlington Avenue. For more information contact Toby at 718-548-8200, ext 223.

ARC to hold seminar

ARC is inviting the community to its next seminar and to invite all member buildings to send representatives of their Boards of Directors to attend. As part of their paid annual membership, directors representing member cooperatives are all welcomed and encouraged to attend. All building managers are also encouraged to attend. The presentations will include: Energy $avings Techniques, Compliance with Local Law 43, NYSERDA Programs. The invited guest presenters will be: Ernesto Martinez III, Chief Engineer/ AEE; and Cameron Bard, NYSERDA. Energy saving and the concomitant financial savings it brings is an issue that is in the forefront of discussion worldwide as well as inside every cooperative and condominium board room in Riverdale. This seminar will present the critical combination of hands- on experience & know-how coupled with a discussion of legislative programs of support that should prove of significant and tangible value to all boards of directors. The seminar will be held on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 7:30 P.M. in the meeting room of St. Gabriel’s Church (on Netherland Avenue, just south of W. 235th Street; if driving, enter from 235th St.) If your building is not a paid member at this time, non-members are welcome to attend at the rate of $25.00 per person. Checks should be made out to ‘Association of Riverdale Cooperatives’ and brought with you on March 27th.

Social Security Assistance at Engel office

Representatives of the Social Security Administration will be at Congressman Eliot Engel’s Bronx office on Wednesday, March 28th to assist people with questions or problems concerning this program. This service, at 3655 Johnson Avenue, is available only by appointment, which may be made by calling Richard Fedderman of the Congressman’s office at 718 796-9700. Rep. Engel said, ‘Social Security is an issue directly affecting many people in my district. Consequently, I have these experts from the Social Security Admin-

istration come to my office on a monthly basis to help constituents with any problems they may have with the program.’ The Congressman said the Social Security website (www.ssa.gov) offers a wide array of on-line services including filing for retirement, survivors and disability benefits, change of address, replacing lost Medicare cards, and keeping up to date on Social Security matters.

Passover Model Seder at Simon Senior Center

On Wednesday, March 28 at 11:30 am, the Simon Senior Center will have their Passover Model Seder, led by Rabbi Dov Katz of the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel. The entire community is welcome to this program. The cost for this special seder is $8. Please join us for singing and good cheer. The Riverdale Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue. For more information, please call Toby at 718-548-8200, ext 223.

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Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz applauds New York Magazine for its extremely positive article highlighting the Kingsbridge community’s real estate value, excellent business establishments, and neighborhood amenities. ‘I am extraordinarily pleased that New York Magazine has recognized the desirability and positive future of Kingsbridge. I’ve been saying for a long time that so many great things are taking place in Kingsbridge and its future is bright. The fact that the River Plaza shopping center has been such a huge success and the upcoming development of the Stella D’oro site and West 230th Street and Broadway all indicate that there is much confidence in our Kingsbridge community. Substantial business investment along the Broadway corridor, which I have advocated for many years, is a huge vote of confidence in Kingsbridge’s future,’ said Assemblyman Dinowitz.

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Council Member Oliver Koppell was named ‘Legislator of the Year’ by the Multiple Sclerosis Society New York CitySouthern New York Chapter at its annual meeting on March 14, 2012, which took place during National MS Awareness Week, March 10th-18th. The New York City-Southern New York Chapter serves the 10,000 people living with MS in the five boroughs, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange and Sullivan Counties. The Annual Meeting provides an opportunity for the New York City-Southern New York Chapter to recognize supporters and volunteers for their outstanding achievements. Koppell, who is Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services, was honored for his advocacy on behalf of the disabled community and, most particularly, for his steadfast efforts, including the introduction of legislation, requiring that all future New York City yellow cabs be wheelchair accessible. ‘I am gratified to receive this honor, Koppell said, and pleased that my efforts, as well as those of the disability community, has played a part in the inclusion of wheelchair accessibility in the new state taxi legislation.

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The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lecture on ‘keeping joints healthy’


Thursday, March 22, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

8

Thursday, March 22 Riverdale

CIVILITY EVENT 11:30 a.m. Manhattan College Dante’s Den Manhattan College will host a faculty teach-in. A panel of nine professors will briefly discuss the concept of civility.

Kingsbridge

MARVELS OF MOTION 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Isaac Newton would be proud! Come explore his laws of motion with us in this abundantly engaging physics performance. Observe the power of all sorts of forces including gravity, centrifugal force, inertia and much more. Then we’ll harness the power of these forces together to create astonishing jet packs and even a rocket-propelled car! This Mad Science show is sure to please everyone and inspire more imaginative learning in all audience members! Presented by Mad Science of Westchester and Manhattan. For ages 5 and older. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Friday, March 23 Kingsbridge

BILINGUAL BIRDIES 10:30 a.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street A foreign language and live music program for children ages newborn to five years old with parent/caregiver. The bilingual musicians teach through live music, movement, puppetry and games. Each session ends with a lively bubble dance party! Children learn basic vocabulary and short phrases while playing with instruments and fun props. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Riverdale

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

Sunday, March 25 Riverdale

MEDICARE/MEDICAID SEMINAR 11:30 a.m. Riverdale Temple 4545 Independence Avenue Medicare/Medicaid seminar with Eliot Kaplan. Call 718548-3800 ext 0 for details.

Riverdale

LENTEN LECTURE 1 p.m. St. Gabriel’s Church 3250 Arlington Avenue Fr. John Knapp will speak on the topic, ‘Fathers of the Church.’ For more information, call 718-548-4471.

Riverdale

RCT OPEN HOUSE 13:30:00 Riverdale-Kingsbridge Academy 660 West 237th Street Riverdale Children’s Theatre will be holding an open house for their Summer Lights Summer Session. For more information please visit their website at www.riverdaletheatre. org or call 646-436-3045

Riverdale

COLLEGE PROCESS 101 2 p.m. Riverdale Temple 4545 Independence Avenue High school to college informational session “Gettting Started With the College Process 101”. To RSVP, or for more information: mollie.reznick@gmail.com

Riverdale

OPEN MIC 8 p.m. Century Tower 2600 Netherland Avenue Musicians of all genres, from advanced amateurs to professionals are invited to bring their instruments and perform, and the public at large is invited to attend for a wonderful night of free entertainment at The Club of Riverdale, located in the Century Tower. For more info, please email bronxharp1@aol.com.

Monday, March 26 Kingsbridge Hts.

CB8 MEETING 7:30 p.m. Kingsbridge Hts. Community Center

3101 Kingsbridge Terrace Meeting of the Housing Committee of Community Board 8. For more information, call 718-884-3959.

Tuesday, March 27 Riverdale

CB8 MEETING 3:30 p.m. Riverdale Senior Services 2600 Netherland Avenue Meeting of the Aging Committee of Community Board 8. For more information, call 718-884-3959.

Riverdale

FIERCE AND FABULOUS FASHION 4 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue West African traditions meets New York styles in this fun fashion workshop. Join Vickie Freemont as you create your own t-shirt, bag, or bracelet! All materials will be provided. For ages 12 to 18 years old. For more information, call 718549-1212.

Kingsbridge

WORD PROCESSING 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Learn the basic features of Microsoft Word 2003, a word processing program you can use to create documents. Topics include entering and editing text, saving files, and formatting. Basic mouse skills are a pre-requisite. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Riverdale

ARC SEMINAR 7:30 p.m. St. Gabriel’s Church Meeting Room Netherland Avenue ARC invites all member buildings to send building managers and representatives of their Boards of Directors to attend. The presentations will include: Energy $avings Techniques, Compliance with Local Law 43, NYSERDA Programs.

Riverdale

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, March 28

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.

Spuyten Duyvil

USING YOUR TABLET 5:30 p.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street If you need help using your new tablet, come on in. There’s more to mobile computing than web surfing. We’ll show you the works, whether you’ve got an iPad or the latest in Android hardware. For more information, call 718-796-1202.

Riverdale

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

Riverdale

WRITING CLASS 7 p.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue The Riverdale Y recently opened a Writers’ Center to foster people’s love for the written word. Class for ‘Writing a Spiritual Memoir’ on March 28. For more information and to register, please visit riverdaley.org. For those interested in the poetry workshop, please contact Sarah Stern directly at 718-432-9042 or 917-667-6528.

Riverdale

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


By MIAWLING LAM Petco and Bank of America are slated to join BJ’s Wholesale Club at Riverdale Crossing, a yet-to-be-built shopping center located at the former Stella D’oro cookie factory site. A revised brochure posted on Ripco Realty’s website last Thursday shows both businesses have filed letters of intent to occupy space at the new mall on Broadway between West 236th and West 238th streets. Ripco Realty is currently recruiting retailers to set up shop at the mall and is acting as a leasing agent for the Long Island-based owners, Metropolitan Realty Associates. According to the updated three-page flyer, Bank of America has expressed interest in occupying a 2,800-square-foot parcel of land facing the elevated subway tracks

on Broadway, while Petco wants to lease a 9,995-square-foot space farther back toward the Major Deegan Expressway. Floor plans show at least four other spaces ranging from 4,774 square feet to just over 9,998 square feet are also available. Documents show that up to 304 spaces of street-level and rooftop parking will complement the retail space. As of press time, repeated calls and emails to Ripco Realty and Petco’s San Diego corporate headquarters were not returned. Meanwhile, Bank of America spokeswoman Christina Beyer Toth declined to confirm that a letter of intent had been filed but issued a brief statement. “We are exploring many opportunities,” she said. “We are always looking at various locations to ensure we provide convenient

March Madness

banking service to our customers.” Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz believed both tenants would enhance the local retail climate. “When these kind of stores come into an area, I think they’re basically demonstrating their confidence in the area, so I think it’s positive for the community,” he said. ”I think, over time, we are going to see continuing improvements in the Kingsbridge area, partially as a result of the additional stores coming in.” As the Riverdale Review first reported last year, BJ’s Wholesale Club will anchor the 114,598-square-foot mall and occupy more than 80,000 square feet on West 237th Street. The BJ’s in Gateway Center, a few miles south in Mott Haven, is the third-most successful branch in the country, giving the wholesale club a good reason to open another store in The Bronx. The latest announcement comes just weeks after rumors circulated that Trader Joe’s and Petco would join the ranks at Riverdale Crossing. A picture uploaded on Ripco’s website then removed days later even had the Trader Joe’s logo superimposed on a mock sign alongside BJ’s Wholesale Club. At the time, sources said, the specialty grocer was simply on a “wish-list” of desired tenants and that talks were continuing. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. briefly referred to the project during his State of the Borough address last month. He said activity at the site proved that economic development dollars were flowing into The Bronx and predicted

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Croton Park

Continued from Page 5 Dinowitz was also skeptical of the 2014 deadline. “If these projects are all completed within two years, that would be good, but my own opinion is that that’s not going to happen,” he said. “I predict that when we’re in 2015, it would still be that the projects haven’t been completed.” State Sen. Gustavo Rivera was also eager for the final Croton dollar to be spent. “The Parks Commissioner was very forthcoming regarding the progress that has been made thus far and the projected timelines for the completion of all 62 parks projects,” he said. “Obviously I am anxious, just as my constituents are, while we wait for park projects and recreation centers to be completed.” The latest news comes a month after City Comptroller John Liu announced that he would audit capital spending on local parks, including The Bronx’s $200 million Croton mitigation fund. The audit was sparked after community members expressed concerns that The Bronx was being stiffed and that the city was reducing its capital allocations to the borough.

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Sign up for membership now and get APRIL FREE* Become a member and take advantage of all the Riverdale Y has to offer: Yoga, Zumba, Fitness Center, Salt Synergy Indoor Pool plus much more. Come take a tour. Call 718-548-8200, ext. 200 for more information.

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9 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, March 22, 2012

Petco and Bank of America set for Stella D’oro mall

development would spur the creation of hundreds of jobs. “This project will include several highlevel national retailers, will serve as a major traffic hub for the entire Broadway commercial corridor and create more than 400 jobs in the process.” Metropolitan Realty Associates purchased the parcel for nearly $19 million last August.


Thursday, March 22, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

10

Bloomberg has failed on the schools By MARC EPSTEIN In case you haven’t noticed, hunting public school teachers is currently the sport of choice for a passel of politicians, education philanthropists, and members of the Fourth Estate, from Maine to Hawaii. You have the sense that if wildlife preservationists don’t step in soon, the teacher may go the way of the Dodo bird. In recent weeks we have been assaulted by the cacophony of sounds emanating from the mayor’s office, the teacher’s union, and the news media, following the release of teacher rankings based on students’ performance on state English and mathematics examinations for grades 4-8 spanning the years 2007-2010. The teacher’s union unsuccessfully argued that the test results were wildly inaccurate, and releasing them could serve no useful purpose, and do much harm. Reputable testing experts confirmed those claims. The courts did not agree. Mayor Bloomberg claimed he hadn’t acted in bad faith by going back on an agreement not to release the data. The courts made him do it. The press demanded the results in their freedom of information filings, claiming the “public’s right to know” transcended other considerations. Transparency was the watchword of the day. The margin of error on the tests was as much as 53% on the English examinations and up to 35% on the math exams. Basic data collection on the numbers of children tested, class enrollment, and gender distribution were inaccurate when teachers compared the published data with their class lists. The state admitted that the tests were poorly structured measurements of student

achievement, and lacked validity. But the editorialists maintained that it was the right step in the right direction, and all things considered, should be published. Once they were published, the declared them “beyond valuable,” “beyond essential.” Perhaps sensing that Pandora’s Box was about to open, Bill Gates wrote an op-ed in the New York Times, just three days before the results were made public. Gates, arguably the single most influential advocate of the movement to grade teachers with “value added” assessments, cautioned against shaming teachers lest the results be used punitively rather than as a corrective tool for improving inadequate teachers. Throwing caution to the wind, the tabloids immediately began publishing names and pictures of the ”worst” teachers in the system, at the same time claiming that the publication of the scores was designed to help these teachers improve! They must not have read Bill Gates’ column. The blowback that followed the data dump prompted Merryl Tisch, the chancellor of the State Board of Regents, to suggest that a change in the state law might be advisable to protect the names of the teachers from public view, while still utilizing the test scores to evaluate their performance. But this may be a case of closing the barn door after the horse is out. For his part, the mayor has already indicated that he would oppose any change to the law. Now that the “furies” have been let loose, I thought it might be useful if we stepped back and viewed this contretemps through a different lens, and place education reform Continued on Page 19


By MIAWLING LAM The city will repave two badly damaged streets in Riverdale following a plea by Councilman G. Oliver Koppell. Department of Transportation officials this week announced they would place the pothole-ridden streets of Mosholu Parkway South, between Jerome Avenue and Paul Avenue, and West 227th Street, from Netherland Avenue to Arlington Avenue, on this year’s resurfacing schedule. “While not the only badly damaged roadways in the area, the two streets…

have multiple potholes, dangerous to cars and pedestrians, and I am pleased that they will be repaired,” Koppell said in a statement. “While I am gratified that the DOT is paying some attention to our needs, much more is necessary, and I intend to continue to press our case for street repair.” Koppell raised the dire need for street resurfacing in a letter to DOT Bronx Borough Commissioner Constance Moran earlier this month. He also cited the stretch of West 254th Street between Riverdale Avenue and the Metro-North station as being in desperate need of repairs. The city’s response comes less than a month after community members slammed officials for neglecting local roads, arguing they resemble a patchwork normally seen in third-world countries. Commenting on the area’s pockmarked pavements, Community Board 8 land use chairman Charles Moerdler urged residents to kick up a stink about the city’s resurfacing program. “The streets are in terrible shape,” he said at a general board meeting on Tuesday, February 14. “You’ll get a flat tire once a day from the potholes. I’m not exaggerating. The reason I make this 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.”

11 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, March 22, 2012

Repaving relief for motorists on way


Thursday, March 22, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

12


Continued from Page 1 Meanwhile, the legislature approved new Senate and Assembly district boundaries last week before Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed them into law as part of a deal that included an agreement to modify the redistricting process after the 2020 census. In the finalized Senate maps, Sen. Jeffrey Klein will snap up all of Riverdale, which is currently divided between three Senate districts, and a large swath of The Bronx. Klein, who already represents Pelham Bay and Throggs Neck, said he was also happy to snare Spuyten Duyvil and parts of Belmont. “I look forward to representing the Northwest Bronx communities of Spuyten Duyvil, Fieldston, Van Cortlandt Village, Riverdale and Kingsbridge,” he said. “These areas have similar characteristics to communities I currently represent and I look forward to working hard to

230th St. development

Continued from Page 1 was cautious about premature celebrations—EDC told him they would announce the winning proposal in April—but said he was glad to see a commercial-only plan. “It would be a tremendous benefit to our community if this turns out to be the case,” he said. “I have long advocated for commercialonly development at this site, and our community, as represented by its elected officials and community board, has spoken out strongly in favor of commercial-only development and against housing. “I look forward to word from EDC that

Massage parlor Continued from Page 3 working at the new massage parlor held the appropriate licenses and had not previously worked at New Healing Touch. Commanding officer of the 50th Precinct Captain Kevin Burke said the case has been referred to the NYPD’s Nuisance Abatement division and is currently making its way through the courts. Under a nuisance abatement order, a city judge can order a building to be boarded up if there is sufficient evidence that two counts of prostitution occurred on the premises. “It takes approximately two to three months to wind its way through the legal system, and hopefully we’ll get a padlock of that,” he said. “We’re hoping that in the future, we’ll get this place eventually shut down.” Captain Burke also acknowledged the location was a source of concern for the community. The NYPD Vice squad, which is attached to the Organized Crime Control Bureau, is charged with investigating matters relating specifically to prostitution, gambling and alcohol-related issues. State Sen. Jeffrey Klein said he was concerned that New Healing Touch may be reopening under a new name. “We’ve notified the appropriate authorities of this development, and Assemblyman Dinowitz and I are supporting the precinct’s request for a nuisance abatement of this location,” he said. “Furthermore, also we’ve introduced legislation in Albany to specifically bring a halt to this type of activity.” Under the bill introduced in 2010, state officials could revoke the operating license of a massage parlor if police can rack up three prostitution arrests.

there will be a ground-breaking in the near future for this development and look forward to shopping there in the next few years.” Dinowitz also said the large plots being offered could help attract big-box retailers, such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy or Barnes & Noble. According to their online profile, Florida-based Equity One specializes in the acquisition, asset management, development and redevelopment of shopping centers across the United States. “The majority of our shopping centers are anchored by leading supermarkets, pharmacies and large retail stores,” their profile states. “We seek to create and maintain a diverse tenant mix in order to limit our exposure to any one tenant or retail segment. “In addition, the majority of our tenants are considered necessity-based retailers, ensuring that our tenants thrive in any economic environment.” As the Riverdale Review first reported in January, EDC was choosing among five bids, ranging from a single supermarket to a 16-story mixed-use development with 200 units of housing. Two of the five submitted proposals called for housing, but Community Board 8 passed a resolution earlier this year recommending to EDC that housing be rejected due to traffic safety concerns and quality of life issues. However, local organization Kingsbridge Riverdale Van Cortlandt Development Corporation has continued to lobby for mixed-use development. In an email sent to supporters as recently as March 14, KRVCDC maintained that a mix of housing and retail remained the “best and full use of this site.” But critics speculated that KRVCDC had a conflict because they stood to potentially profit from fees to manage the housing portion of the plan. The Broadway Plaza project has long been mired in controversy. Authorities first proffered the site in 2005, but the successful bidder, Ceruzzi Holdings, spent years negotiating the sale price while locals waited for construction to start. The two parties finally agreed on a $6 million sale price in February 2011, but Ceruzzi got cold feet and was unable to close on the deal before the June deadline, forfeiting a $1 million purchase price. City officials have lauded the site as one of the last significantly sized, primarily vacant and developable sites along the Broadway retail corridor.

13 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, March 22, 2012

Redisticting

ensure that [their] voice is heard loud and clear in the halls of the Capitol.” The cosmetic changes also have Sen. Gustavo Rivera’s 33rd District, swallowing the Bronx Zoo and a small area to the east of it, while Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson’s 36th District becomes more compact and cuts off at Allerton Avenue and East Gun Hill Road. Remapped Assembly lines in The Bronx remain the same as the original proposal, with Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz adding the only two buildings in Riverdale that weren’t in his district as well as a number of schools along the Jerome Park Reservoir. Dinowitz said he was pleased with the Assembly lines but believed the Senate boundaries were inherently flawed. “My concerns about the Senate lines relate to what was done in some areas of the state,” he said. “I do believe that if the lines were drawn fairly, there would be a Democratic majority in the state, and the way the lines are drawn currently, that’s not likely to happen.”


Thursday, March 22, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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Thursday, March 22, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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As part of this year’s Bronx Week celebrations, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will be honoring Bronxites that are 100 years of age or older. If you or someone you know meet this criteria and would like to participate in this event, please contact Larcenia Walton at 718-590-6248 or lwalton@bronxbp.nyc. gov for more information.

RCS invites singers for upcoming concert

The third and final concert of the Riverdale Choral Society’s 2011-2012 concert season will focus the chorus’s talent on ‘popular’ music of 18th century Vienna during the time of Mozart and Haydn and on ‘popular’ music from 20th century America. Titled ‘Light Classics from Vienna to Broadway’ the program will feature selections by Mozart, Haydn, Gershwin, Bernstein and others. Music Director John Lettieri will begin rehearsals for the June 2, 2012 concert on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. Since 1964, the Riverdale Choral Society has been bringing joy to the community through performances of high-quality choral music. Our welcoming, diverse group of men and women rehearses weekly under professional artistic direction, singing both traditional

and adventuresome repertoire. Through live concerts and community outreach, the chorus enriches the cultural life of the greater Riverdale area. If you are an experienced sight-reader or even if you do not sight-read but have a good musical ear you can schedule an informal audition with Music Director John Lettieri by sending an e-mail to riverdalechoral@gmail.com, or calling 718-543-2219. Or you may sign up for an informal audition at our open rehearsal on Wednesday, November 30th at 7:30 PM. Choral rehearsals will be held every Wednesday from 7:30 to 9:45 PM at Christ Church Riverdale, 252 St. and Henry Hudson Parkway East, where there is street parking available and easy access to public transportation. Additional information can be obtained at the RCS web site: www.riverdalechoral.org.

Riverdale Nature Preservancy to meet

The annual meeting and panel discussion of the Riverdale Nature Preservancy will be held on Wednesday, April 4, 7:30 to 9 p.m., at the Riverdale Neighborhood House, 5521 Mosholu Avenue. This will be a dialogue between institutions and neighbors on institutional growth, creating community, preserving natural assets. Guest panelists include: Helen Morik, Vice President, Government & Community Affairs,

New York-Presbyterian Hospital (moderator); Damian McShane, former Chairman, Bronx Community 8; Paula Kaplan, Urban Planner, Bronx Borough President’s Office (retired); and Howard Waldman, Science Teacher, Green Dean, Ethical Culture Fieldston School. For more information, visit www. RiverdaleNature.org.

Chabad offers Model Matzah Bakery

With Passover approaching very soon, Chabad Lubavitch of Riverdale will offer a one of a kind “Real Model Matzah Bakery”. This Matzah Bakery is an exciting, thrilling and educational experience for all ages of children. With the children actually kneading, rolling and baking their own round, hand-made matzah, it is the best educational tool to enhance the proper observance of the wonderful holiday of Passover. Children will learn, experience and taste the true traditional meaning of this ancient custom of eating hand-made Shmurah matzah on Passover. Participants will also have a chance to take part in pressing grape juice from grapes using an Italian wine press. Free samples of the pressed grape juice will be handed out. Additionally, all children will receive their own grape juice. New for this year, there will be a whole new dimension to the Model Matzah Bakery.

Visitors will be able to grind their own wheat instead of using store bought flour, thus making the program more hand-on and exciting. Located at Chabad Lubavitch of Riverdale, 535 W. 246th St., the bakery will be open for the public on Sunday, April 25, 10:30am - 12:30pm. Tours will be given 30 minutes past the hour, at 10:30am & 11:30am. Admission is $10.00 per person. All children will receive their own hand-made Shmurah matzah to take home. Additional matzah will be available (at cost price). This year, Chabad will be able to accommodate large groups. Arrangements can be made to have the program brought to your school, group or synagogue. For more information please call Chabad Lubavitch of Riverdale: (718) 549-1100 Ext. 10

Schervier Center sponsors trip to Atlantic City

On Tuesday, March 27, 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.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, March 22, 2012

Borough President Diaz to honor Bronx centenarians


Thursday, March 22, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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Let the voters decide

Finally, after months of delays and stalling, we finally have district lines from which voters will elect members of Congress, and members of the state legislature. To say that this was delivered at the eleventh hour is an understatement. With federal deadlines looming to finalize the congressional lines, the legislature failed to draw them on time. This put the ball in the court of the judiciary, which promptly drew the lines themselves. The result is a somewhat unsatisfying hodgepodge of ethnically created districts. We have weighed in on this previously. We would much prefer to see a color-blind system that ignores race and ethnic background. With congressional districts mandated to be quite large – 700,000 residents – districts based strictly on geography would, by the nature of the more diverse residential patterns, be far more preferable. But this is not what we have gotten. The old saying is that when you live by the sword, you die by the sword. When ethnic politics becomes the end-all-and-be-all, don’t be surprised when it comes back to bite you. Gone are the days when The Bronx, home to so many diverse groups could proudly shake off ethnic stereotypes and elect a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, Jonathan Bingham, and send him off to Congress, where he served with distinction for 18 years. Each time the political establishment tried to eliminate him by redrawing his district to bring in more Irish, or more Jews, or even by drawing his house out of the district, he managed to win each new group over, not by the circumstance of his birth but by the power of his intellect. This year, the ugly ethnic race may be between Congressman Charlie Rangel, heir to the historic Harlem district once represented by Adam Clayton Powell Jr., and State Senator Adriano Espaillat, the energetic Dominican-born veteran legislator. But Harlem has changed, and the new larger district includes a wide swath of not just Upper Manhattan, but a large chunk of The Bronx as well. A majority of the new district is Latino, and it is speculated that Mr. Rangel, beset with ethical questions that resulted in his removal as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, is considered vulnerable. From the moment of his downfall as a committee chair, Mr. Rangel became a public servant whose future was behind him. He, arguably, squandered the invaluable asset of his seniority. That’s why we couldn’t be more pleased that there will be a competitive race for this seat. While Mr. Rangel’s years of experience deserve respect, the nagging feeling lingers that he is running only as a placeholder, to try and hold the seat so that another black candidate could be eased into his spot and given the advantage of incumbency. We couldn’t care less about the background of any of our public officials. The question is, can they do the job and serve the public with distinction? We suspect that Mr. Rangel may be past his expiration date on his ability to be effective. Mr. Espaillat, on the other hand, appears to us to be positioned for a long and productive career. This is not to say that he is the perfect candidate. Perhaps wrapped up in the moment of all this ethnic maneuvering, he allowed himself to fall into rhetorical quicksand speaking at a public forum the other day. But he was quick to acknowledge his overzealous verbiage and we accept his expressions of regret. The voters have the right to choose, not the backroom bosses, and this is the most attractive aspect of this race. Rangel’s years of experience and his record versus the energy of the attractive insurgent, Espaillat: A good old-fashioned election, for a change. With Congressmembers Engel, Serrano and Crowley seemingly secure, aren’t we entitled to one real election?

A bit of good news

The city seems to have wisely rejected the concept of housing mixed into the proposed 230th Street shopping plaza. If true, this thwarts the not-so-surreptitious agenda of the politically motivated Kingsbridge Riverdale Van Cortlandt Development Corporation to turn the plaza into a cash cow to fund their political program. It is time for those interested in promoting business and not politicians to emerge and finally put this Cliff Stanton/Cori Worchel/Tony Cassino Clubhouse out of business.

Loyalty to the USA, Israel or both

To The Editor: I suspect that an accusation of “dual loyalty” will be made, or contemplated, against the editor of The Riverdale Review for printing a guest editorial of the NY Sun supporting Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself against Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Maliciously, this canard is hurled against American Jews who are supportive of Israel as America’s most steadfast ally. For example, In a current political contest in New Jersey one candidate views Israel far more favorably than his competitor. For that, the former, has been labeled with the familiar antiSemitic slur, as being guilty of “dual loyalty,” or worse as Patrick Buchanan disreputably put it, an “Israel Firster,” (reminiscent of the late 19th Century Czarist fraudulent, “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”). Certainly, one can love our country and another, as well, to whom one is tied by sentimentality, tradition, religion, etc. How

often do we hear people of any number of heritages initiate an expression with “In my country - - - “ when in conversation as they refer to their country of origin? Yet, who would dream of accusing them of disloyalty or lacking in patriotism for Americat? That exposes the

The Hebrew Home replies

To The Editor: In response to a recent letter “Questioning the Hebrew Home,” we wish to set the record straight on several points raised by the writer, Madlyn W. Dickens. Ms. Dickens falsely accuses the Hebrew Home At Riverdale of spending millions of dollars on art work and beautifying its landscape while neglecting the care of its residents. To the contrary, our collection of art and artifacts is the result of donations from many private individuals. Public funds received by the Home are used solely for the medical care of our residents. We are also proud of the magnificent support we

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

anti-Semitic motivation behind scurrilous charges leveled mainly at American Jews. If I were to be charged with being more fearful of Iran’s existential threat to Israel than to the United States, that I would not deny. Iran could hurt the Continued 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

receive from those who believe in our forward-looking approach to elder care and who have helped us establish and fund a variety of stimulating social and cultural programs. She also uses unfortunate terms to refer to our residents as “tortured’ and their relatives and friends as “frustrated and agonized.” We strongly disagree and welcome all visitors to the Home to see the highest level of elder care available in the nation. We have decades of achievement and we continue to set the standard for other nursing facilities to follow. Our Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Care Abuse Prevention is being copied around the country and we recently opened a vision care center on our campus. Ms. Dickens says we are in decline. No so. We continue to move ahead and spend wisely. We are geriatric-care professionals, dedicated to our residents and to our Riverdale community. Mort Fleischner Public Affairs Spokesman The Hebrew Home At Riverdale


Continued from Page 10 in New York in its proper perspective. For the first 50 years of the 20th century much was accomplished in New York City. Schools, subways, bridges, tunnels, airports, highways, and skyscrapers, transformed the landscape. The numbers are staggering. It included over six hundred new schools, six major bridges, and four tunnels connecting New York to New Jersey and Manhattan to the outer boroughs of the city. When completed, the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero will have taken over thirteen years to plan and build since 911. The Empire State Building took little more than one year. The 2nd Avenue subway, first begun in the 1970s won’t complete its 8.5-mile construction until somewhere around 2050. It took less time to build over 600 miles of track and tunnels in the first fifty years of the 20th century. When it comes to education the differences are palpable too. Instead of building schools, the “education mayor” takes pride in closing over one hundred and twenty five schools over the past decade, with promises of more to come before he leaves office in 2013. Three hundred small schools have been located in the former buildings of the closed comprehensive high schools, many of them landmarks almost a century old. If you work in one of those building you are reminded of what they once were, and the hollowed out shells they’ve become.

Loyalty to Israel

Continued from Page 18 US, there is no question about that, but it is highly unlikely that this outlaw nation poses for us an existential threat as it does with regard to Israel. There have already been several wars waged aimed at annihilating Israel since its rebirth in 1948, a number of intifadas, and tens of thousands of missiles that mostly target civilians from the Hizbollah and Hamas terrorist forces. The bombardment has been unrelenting for several recent weeks as hundreds more rockets are being fired at Israel’s towns and cities by Hamas (now in alliance with the PLO). Also, in the planning stage, is a “Global Million People March” (invasion) into Israel. If one were to ask themselves why Israel is always expected to tolerate these assaults or respond with “restraint,” the answer is a “no-brainer;” most nations of the world are totalitarian societies that abhor democratic ones, or those among the latter a number with long histories of Jew-hatred. What I admire most about the Riverdale Review reprinting the Sun’s editorial is that it was not intimidated from doing so, as would those with harder hearts and weaker spines. Theodore Fettman

A free nation needs your help

To The Editor: A democratic Israel is being attacked daily. Rockets are being fired from Gaza and Israeli’s are forced to enter bomb shelters to protect their lives. The civilized world must condemn this madness. Israel must protect its citizens. If Iran is allowed to develop a bomb they will use it. Iran’s nuclear weapon program must be destroyed before it’s too late. Israel needs your help. Do whatever you can to help Israel survive. Abraham Schneider

to carry out rational public policies. Teachers didn’t decree that students who make no academic progress can remain in school until the age of 21. Nor did they abolish the rigorous testing and hiring practices that existed under the defunct Board of Examiners and substitute a meaningless state teacher licensing examination process. They didn’t set policy that allows felons to go from jail to school and back to jail on a revolving door basis without establishing special programs that attempt to address soaring underclass crime rates. Teachers didn’t make it all but impossible to expel a student. Teachers didn’t foolishly destroy differentiated diplomas because to offer non-college bound programs to minority students was likened to racial profiling. Teachers didn’t rip shop classes out of buildings. Teachers didn’t dumb down the tests in order to inflate graduation rates. Neither

did they invent phony “credit recovery” programs that allow students who hardly ever attended a class get credit for it by completing meaningless projects. The feigned outrage of politicians and reformers at the teachers, who have had their responsibilities increased over the past five decades, while their authority and legitimacy have been eroded in an inverse proportion, is nothing more than a macabre exercise in political nihilism. This treacherous assault on a vital public institution is little more than what Joseph Conrad described as, “Personal impulses disguised as creeds.” I predict it will come back to haunt its perpetrators. “... We but teach bloody instructions, which being taught return to plague the inventor.” -- Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Marc Epstein in a New York City school teacher.

19 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, March 22, 2012

Schools failure

You sense what Rome must have been like during its inexorable decline. Despite claims of great success, remediation rates at the city colleges belie the validity of the increased graduation rates. In addition, about two hundred charters have opened under Bloomberg’s tenure. All things considered, you’d have to say that a sclerotic city has replaced what was once the nation’s most vibrant metropolis, despite massive increases in public spending. When you place education reform in this mix, a very different picture emerges. It isn’t the great civil rights issue of the century. To call it that is an affront to those who fought, sacrificed, and even died to overturn racial segregation. It isn’t the failed performance of the city’s teachers that has led us this state of affairs. It is little more than the failure of publicly elected leaders to hire capable employees


Thursday, March 22, 2012 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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Riverdale Review, March 22, 2012