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Riverdale’s ONLY Locally Owned Newspaper!

Volume XVIII • Number 18 • April 7 - 13, 2011 •


State prepares to pull plug on ‘wacky’ charter school By MIAWLING LAM Cashflow issues and a series of unapproved curriculum and schedule changes could spell the end of a sevenmonth-old Kingsbridge charter school. The New York State Education Department slapped a probation order on the Kingsbridge Innovative Design Charter School last Thursday and threatened to shut it down due to financial and educational mismanagement. Documents reveal the elementary school, located in an old office space on 295 West 231st Street, has struggled to balance its books since opening its doors – 10 days behind schedule – on September 17. According to the probation order, obtained by the Riverdale Review, authorities express concern about the school’s perilous financial state. “The Department’s review indicates that there are a lack of basic financial systems and controls at the school and serious deficiencies in the documentation of expenditures,” it states. “This situation is fiscally unsound and a material and substantial violation of the school’s charter.” State officials also took aim at the school for operat-

ing without a principal since January 4, paying staff and other agencies late and failing to purchase the necessary curriculum and instructional materials for students. The school, which has 150 students, is now on probation until at least May 17 and has been given a 16-point remedial action plan. It must clean up its act and provide enough documentary evidence to satisfy the state by April 29 or face having its charter revoked. KIDS Fonder and Executive Director Julio Cotto said the school has begun to rectify the situation. He said five teachers, five operational staff, and an administrator were laid off in recent weeks to shore up finances. Cotto also revealed he took a voluntary pay cut a couple of months ago and will take another as the school pares down its budget. “Fourteen of the 16 points had already been in motion before that letter was even given,” he said. “The Board actually started its own internal turnaround plan going back to January. The Board, on their own, has already been self-correcting and self-assessing.”

Cotto said on-the-fly decisions made by a former administrator and two former Board members hurt the school. He declined to identify the individuals by name but said the effects of their decisions – such as unapproved curriculum and schedule changes – were still surfacing. “We had an issue where we had some individuals on the Board and in the administration that were making ad-hoc changes,” he said. “The effect of those changes ran deeper than I think anybody realized. Even up until last week, I was still uncovering ad-hoc changes that were being made.” There are currently more than 100 charter schools in New York City. Charter schools are publicly funded schools but operate separately from the district. It is rare for a charter school to be placed on probation so early in its infancy, and even more rare to be threatened with closure. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said he wasn’t surprised the school was being threatened with closure, given its troubled origins. Continued on Page 10

Skate rink RFP raises concerns

By BRENDAN McHUGH The request for proposals for a temporary ice-skating rink in Van Cortlandt Park has been issued by the Department of Parks and Recreation, and many of the same concerns the community has had still remain. While the RFP lists some important information—the length of the season (Oct. 15 to March 30), the available space (two handball courts and four tennis courts near Broadway and 242nd Street), and the type of ice (real, not synthetic)—the plan fails to address significant concerns Community Board 8 has vocalized. Because the parks department is asking for multiple proposals, the RFP does not have much specificity within it, which will allow for interested parties to create their own ideas. This includes the hours of operation, the fees and rates, and maintenance and security of the area. Numerical values have been given to some aspects. There must be at least three portable restrooms and no more than three mobile food units or one temporary food service facility. The RFP asks for proposals to be creative with their food choices and go beyond the typical hot dogs and pretzels. While it does show the fees from other skating rinks in the City, it does not restrain the concessionaire from proposing rates more similar to Midtown ManhatContinued on Page 11

P.S. 81 students celebrate Spirit Day by holding hands and forming a peace sign in the schoolyard. Music teacher Beverly Draper sang ‘All We Are Saying is Give Peace a Chance.’

Thursday, April 7, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Neighbors discuss MC student center By BRENDAN McHUGH Waldo Avenue residents hope a new Manhattan College building will lead to a new Manhattan College attitude. During a presentation at Monday’s land use meeting of Community Board 8, college president Dr. Brennan O’Donnell and vice president for facilities management Robert Mahan continually referred to a master plan for the future of the campus, saying the college wants to be more hospitable to the neighborhood. The new building, which will be built as-of-right, is a four story student center that will encompass a fitness center, dining halls, meeting rooms, offices, and a bookstore and Starbucks, both which will be open to the community. The building, dubbed the Raymond W. Kelly Student Center, will be in the parking lot on the corner of Waldo Avenue and Manhattan College Parkway. O’Donnell said the new center “is a place we can educate [students] better, and a place the neighborhood will find to be an asset.” But to Waldo Avenue residents, Manhattan College should have been working on their neighborly image years ago. Angela Gotonis, a Waldo resident, said the block between Manhattan College and 238th Street is not just part of Waldo Avenue, but also part of the Manhattan College campus. Over the years, college students have vandalized buildings and harassed local residents. A new building, she’s afraid, may only worsen the problem. Most of the neighbors have safety concerns. A new building will only bring more students off the campus and onto Waldo Avenue. Richard Satterlee, vice president of student life, has a different idea. “This building is part of the solution to drinking.” By engaging students and giving them better space to work out, study, and participate in clubs and games, Satterlee believes students will be spend less time drinking and causing problems. O’Donnell said he has been working with residents of 3875 Waldo Avenue to address concerns neighbors have with the building, but residents further down the road want to be involved in a conversation about not only the new building, but also other concerns and problems they have. The hours of operation are not yet set, but it will not be a 24-hour facility. Mahan suspects the fitness center will operate until midnight or 1 a.m., the closing time of the fitness center currently on campus. Other amenities, like the Starbucks and meeting rooms, will most likely close earlier. The building itself will have two entrances—one at the corner of Waldo Avenue and Manhattan College Parkway, and another at the corner of 240th Street and Irwin Avenue. The only automobile access will be at 240th Street, where the dumpsters and loading dock will be. This area will be unseen from Waldo Avenue, as an 18-foot retaining wall blocks the view. One Waldo Avenue resident fears that students will gather outside the northern entrance late at night, and asked for some measure to be taken to ensure the noise is kept to a minimum. While the college said they do not have a security plan in

place for the new building, some level of security will be present in and around the building. The eastern wall of the building, facing the subway station and Gaelic Park, will be mostly glass. The Waldo Avenue wall will be mostly brick with a few small windows. The height of the building from Waldo Avenue is three stories. The parking garage the campus recently built on Broadway was built with the notion that one day this student center will take the place of the 130-space parking lot. The garage will be able to hold all cars displaced from the lot. The college says the building will be environmentally friendly with a green roof and solar panels to service part of the building’s electricity needs.




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By MIAWLING LAM Riverdale should not have to ride the coattails of Manhattan to reinvent itself and fashion a new image, according to a slew of local officials. Elected authorities have spoken out against a Bronx condo seller who is billing its Riverdale location as NoMa, short for North of Manhattan. The Solaria Riverdale project, located at 640 West 237th Street, started using the acronym late last month in its advertising material to help prospective buyers pinpoint the area on a map. However, many believe it is a des-

perate attempt by the 20-story luxury development to lure interested parties into thinking they will be Manhattanites. Councilman Oliver Koppell said the realtors were drawing on the appeal of living downtown but said it was unnecessary. “I think they want people to believe that they’re living in Manhattan,” he said. “In many ways, I think a lot of Riverdale residents consider themselves living in Manhattan. “Living in Riverdale makes you sound special and I don’t think we need a new nickname.” Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz agreed and said he “resented” the fact that Riverdale was being viewed as an appendage to Manhattan. “Riverdale is its own wonderful community right here in the Bronx,” he said, “and it doesn’t have to be referred to Manhattan to make it more attractive.” Dinowitz also suggested the NoMa reference was being used to justify the astronomical price tags that are attached to the units. One-bedroom units are advertised for $900,000, while five-bedroom apartments retail for $2 million. Previous attempts to move unsold units failed. “Perhaps they feel they have a better shot at selling the apartments at the prices they like if people have the mindset that it’s just another piece of

Manhattan,” he said. “But you know what? We’re not. We’re in the mainland of the United States of America and I think we are a lot nicer than Manhattan.” Bronx Borough Historian Lloyd Ultan quashed suggestions that Riverdale was having an identity crisis and went further by predicting that the new marketing efforts were futile. “I think Riverdale has more of a cachet than NoMa,” he said. “From its very beginnings, Riverdale has been a place for people of wealth to live. It was designed that way and it has a great suburban-sounding name

whereas NoMa could just as easily refer to Yonkers.” State Senator Adriano Espaillat said he preferred the traditional name, while Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. weighed into the debate and labeled the ploy insulting. “Not only is the ‘North of Manhattan’ rebranding insulting to all the residents that are proud to call both Riverdale and the Bronx their home, it is unnecessary,” he said. “The Riverdale community has a tremendous amount to offer prospective residents and does not and should not require re-branding to draw interest.”

3 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 7, 2011

Riverdale’s elected officials agree: There’s no time for NoMa

Thursday, April 7, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW � ���������������������������������������������������


Around the schools... Saint Gabriel School

The school is proud to announce that its eighth-grade team came in at second place in the Twenty-seventh Mount Saint Michael Academy Academic Olympics on Saturday, March 19. Seven of the participants won individual subject medals as well as the team honor. The students were Yanni Anastasiou; Jenna Baker, who also won first place in mathematics; Katie Castro, who also won second place in computers; Michael Dunnion, who also won third place in English; Courtney Esteves; Ryan Habib; Peter Hasslund, who also won second place in science; Ngozi Okonkwo, who also won first place in religion; Alessandra Palmisano; Nicole Porco, who also won first place in Science; Bhaavya Sinha, who also won second place in social studies; and Nicholas Tuma.

Horace Mann School

On Tuesday, the parent support group hosted Michael McDermott, principal of Scarsdale Middle School, who addressed the group on the subject of bullying. His talk was entitled “How to Develop Empathy within a School Community.” Upper Division students and faculty all read the same book in preparation for the Book Day Event on Thursday, April 7, from 8:35 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. in various sites on the campus. Classes were suspended for the day, but students were required to attend any of the more than 30 workshops and activities scheduled for the event.

Manhattan College

For the second year, business students teamed up with the University Neighborhood Housing Program, Fordham Bedford Children’s Services (UNHP/FBCS) and Ariva, Inc. to offer free tax preparation services at the Refuge House in Fordham Bedford as part of the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. “The VITA program has provided a great opportunity for students to help those who are less fortunate, while also offering a valuable experience in the tax field,” said Evan Wheeler, a junior accounting major at Manhattan. West Bronx residents pay the highest percentage of income taxes on rent of any borough in the city, while Bronx median household income has barely increased since 2000—the free tax assistance helps qualified Bronx residents complete basic tax forms and save

money. The program also assists those who are disputing the fees and interest rate associated with the refund anticipation loan. UNHP/FBCS first launched the free income tax program in 2008, and in 2010, started solely depending on VITA volunteers such as Manhattan student volunteers to run the program. The VITA program offers free tax services around the country to qualified families who have a household income of no more than $55,000. In preparation for this year’s tax season, Manhattan students attended training and certification classes in January and February, and 25 students passed the VITA certification exam in time to assist local residents with their tax returns. Last year’s Manhattan students helped 842 clients with tax return forms, resulting in a total refund of $1,079,758—an average of $1,783 per return. The VITA program at the Refuge House runs through April 19 and takes appointments every other Wednesday from 2 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

P.S. 24

The school is seeking a parent—one with a child receiving special education services—to become a parent member of the NY State Education Department of Special Education. He or she would guide other parents through the process of IEP/CPSE/CSE meetings. A stipend is provided for parent members who attend these meetings. Training for the job of parent member is available on April 14 at the Jewish Child Care Association, 5555 Bergan Avenue. For more information, contact Florence Byrne at 718-796-8845, extension 1062.

P.S. 81

Rehearsals for this year’s “kids’ show” have begun. A record number of students—171—are participating in the production, entitled “P.S. 81 Goes To... The Beach.” Tuesday was school spirit day. Everyone wore tie-dyed shirts made under the direction of school guidance counselor Laurie Flanagan. The shirts were light blue and yellow—the school colors. Students gathered in the schoolyard, held hands and formed a giant peace sign as music teacher Beverly Draper sang the classic Beatles refrain, “All we are saying is give peace a chance.”


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By BRENDAN McHUGH More than a decade ago, fires burned through a good chunk of Johnson Avenue. Shops were lost. Many thought the small retail area would never recover. Charles Moerdler wasn’t going to let that happen. A self proclaimed heavy handed member of the community board, he and then City Councilwoman June Eisland used up every favor they had in the Department of Buildings to expedite the revival of Johnson Avenue. Moerdler said he would not allow an area essential to the community’s survival die off. For most of the new millennium, Johnson Avenue was thriving. But recently, the commercial area has fallen on hard times. Landlord Friedland Properties has been accused of driving out Johnson Avenue favorites such as Josepina’s, among others, because of an unwillingness to negotiate on rent. Also, leaving stores vacant for months, even years, has left certain areas on the block looking disconcerting and abandoned.

Moerdler counted six empty storefronts on Johnson Avenue this past Monday. That number was almost seven when 35-year-old restaurant Blue Bay was nearly kicked out by Friedland after falling behind on payments after a rent increase. A handful of stores simply moved from one block to the next, finding savior on Riverdale Avenue. “When Blue Bay had problems, and the Corner Café ran to Riverdale Avenue,” Moerdler said, “people in the community really got a little angry.” “We don’t know why our community has to lose a main street,” Robert Fanuzzi, vice chairman of Community Board 8, said. Moerdler decided it was time to save Johnson Avenue again. He has recently threatened to rezone Johnson Avenue, which would prevent Friedland from building any high-rise apartment buildings. While the landlord has never alluded to that, Moerdler thought it was best to

Battle rages over Cannon Place By BRENDAN McHUGH Residents have been trying to shoot cannon balls through a developer’s proposal for an 11-story, mixed-income building on Cannon Place. Major concerns for the Fort Independence Property Owners Association are the access to the parking lot, the cost to the taxpayers, and the new look it will create to the neighborhood, among others. And while Jackson Development Group Ltd. came to Monday’s land use committee meeting of Community Board 8 to listen to residents, they were met with doubts. When the artistic image of the building was shown to the audience, FIPOA president Kristin Hart muttered, “Oh my gosh,” and sunk her head into her hands. Throughout the meeting, members of the audience scoffed at the notion that the developer will take any concerns the community has into consideration. The biggest concern residents have is the proposed parking entrance to the building, which will sit between Fort Independence Avenue and Cannon Place. Residents say putting a 122-car parking lot on Cannon Place would be dangerous to the fragile state of traffic in the area. The one-way road is already difficult for ambulances, fire trucks, and garbage trucks to pass through. And with a nursing home across the street, a bigger increase in traffic could mean ambulances will not

be able to access the home in emergency situations. Manuel Herrera, a principal with MJM Construction Services LLC, said when they looked at the site, it was economically feasible to put the entrance to the garage on Cannon Place. Because of a large amount of rock at the base of Fort Independence Avenue, they would have to dig through the rock to access parking from that street. By May 2, the tentative date of the next land use committee meeting, the group says they will come back with a more thorough study of the putting the access to the garage off of Fort Independence. Marvin H. Meltzer, the architect who designed the original proposal with Meltzer Mandl Architects, promised the community that they would look into the change. “We will solve this,” he said A member of the audience mumbled, “No you won’t.” While this project, which would start in December, does not need community board approval, they are asking for tax-free bonds from the City Housing Development Corporation, so they will have to go before the HDC board, of which land use chairman Charles Moerdler is on. Moerdler said he has no doubts the group will examine the issues raised, but wanted Jackson Development to know that Community Board 8 has always been committed to preserving the community.

take preemptive measures. Because of that, Friedland sent an attorney on their behalf to Monday’s land use committee meeting of Community Board 8. Attorney Will Sandler told the committee that his clients have always been men of very few words, but they are willing to listen to the community’s thoughts. Moerdler instructed Sandler to tell the Friedland family that they would like to, at the very least, hear what the plan is for Johnson Avenue and why certain stores have remained vacant for so long. “We’d like to have a discussion and dialogue with Friedland,” said Maria Khury, chair of the economic development committee. Steve Catechis, Blue Bay’s co-owner,

is pleased with this attempt to listen by his landlord. “It’s definitely a good start,” he said. “If we know more of what they’re doing, we can all work better together as a community.” After weeks of negotiation and pressure by local elected officials and community, Friedland negotiated a new lease for Blue Bay. That same pressure may have caused a change in heart by the distant landlords. Recently, a sign for a new Mexican restaurant, Metate, appeared in one of the vacant stores, where M&M Kosher Bakery left to move in with Cafeccino Bakery on 231st Street. Friedland owns over 100 properties on the east coast, and over 30 on Johnson Avenue.

5 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 7, 2011

Community puts heat on ‘greedy’ Johnson Ave. landlord

Thursday, April 7, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Annual Women's Seder scheduled at Riv. Temple

The Riverdale Temple, Women of Reform Judaism, will celebrate the role of women in the Exodus from Egypt with its all women's pre-Passover seder on Thursday, April 7th at 7:30 p.m. in the Temple social hall, 4545 Independence Ave., at West 246th Street. Last year over 90 women of various denominations and generations attended the event. Each participant reads from a Haggadah compiled by the first Women of Reform Judaism women's seder committee. Rabbi Judith Lewis will lead the group in song and prayer. Women from the community and their friends are invited. This special seder has gained in popularity as many communities proclaim the importance of Jewish women in preserving their biblical heritage. The chairwoman of the yearly event is Carolyn Baron. This year her committee members are: Susan Birnbaum, Enid Black, Shelly Clark, Marcia Federman, Carole Feinberg, Sylvia Gottlieb WRJ co-Presidents Elaine Katz and Helen Krim, Dorothy Kay, Rita Lowe, Audrey Ott, Riverdale Temple President, Rachel Radna, Selma Stone, Kay Samalin and Judy Zucker. The cost is $36.00 per woman, $12.50 per child under 12 for a delicious Kosher meal. Reservations are required by April 4th. For more information, call the Temple

at 718-548-3800, extension 1, or bring checks to Riverdale Temple, 4545 Independence Ave., Bronx, NY 10471. Payment may be made on line with a credit card on our web site:

Tinnitus support group to meet

Tinnitus sufferers are invited to attend a free tinnitus support group which will meet on Thursday April 7, at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held in the conference room of the Church of the Mediator on 260 West 231st Street in Kingsbridge. All members of the public are welcome. For more information, please call 718-548-6832.

Spring lecture series at St. Margaret of Cortona

Saint Margaret of Cortona Parish Adult Education Committee of the parish council will sponsor a Spring lecture series devoted to a four-week faith formation course on the Most Holy Eucharist commending on Tuesday, March 22, with other dates as Tuesday, March 29 (7:30 p.m.); Thursday, April 7 (at 8 p.m.); and Tuesday, April 12 (7:30 p.m.). The program will be facilitated by Steve Kanzanjian, MA, M.Div., STB, Vice President of Mission with Schervier Nursing Care Center, Bon Secours New York Health System. The program will take place in the

Saint Margaret of Cortona school library (handicapped accessible) located at 452 West 260th Street, and will feature a power point presentation, handouts and small and large group discussions. Meetings will address the doctrine, reality, importance, scripture and tradition of the Eucharist. The aim of the lectures will be to offer growth in the knowledge of the Catholic faith for Catholics and non-Catholics. For further information, contact Bob Stauf, Chairman of the Adult Education Committee at 914-476-2284.

Riverdale AARP Chapter to meet

The Riverdale Chapter 1546 AARP will meet on Wednesday, April 13 at 12:30 p.m. at the Riverdale Presbyterian Church at 4765 Henry Hudson Parkway West. At this informative meeting they will be entertained by the famous Jacques Bos, with his powerful voice singing show tunes and movie hits. The community is invited to attend. Refreshments will be served. For more information call Manfred Segal at 718-549-0088.

Bronx residents offered free trees

MillionTreesNYC - a public-private partnership between New York Restoration Project (NYRP) and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation through which one million new trees will be planted and cared for across NYC's five boroughs by 2017 - wants New Yorkers to be aware of the upcoming opportunities in their neighborhood to pick up a free tree this spring. Trees provide invaluable benefits to new York City and its residents - they provide shade to cool our neighborhoods during hot summer months, clean our air and water, increase our property values and encourage neighborhood revitalization. We need thousands of New Yorkers to help plant, protect and preserve our city's great and growing urban forest so we'll enjoy all of the health, environmental and economic benefits trees provide. MillionTreesNYC Giveaway Trees are available throughout the Bronx and citywide. New York City residents can attend any of the below tree giveaways and pick up one free tree per household. Simple tree planting and care instructions come with each tree - residents just need a place to plant, a shovel and access to

water. Note that trees can be planted on private properties such as front and back yards, community gardens and faith-based centers throughout New York City with permission of the property owner. Trees must be planted in the ground, rather than in a planter or a container, and all MillionTreesNYC trees must be planted within the five boroughs of New York City. Spring 2011 MillionTreesNYC Tree Giveaway schedules are: Sunday, April 10, 9-11 a.m. at 249th St. and Independence Avenue. 200 trees. Sunday, April 10, 12-2 p.m. at First Lutheran Church of Throggs Neck, Baisley Ave. and Hollywood Avenue. 200 trees. Sunday, May 15, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., on Broadway and Mosholu Avenue. 150 trees. For more information, visit

Lehman Woodwind Quintet to give free concert

The Lehman College Woodwind Quintet will give a free concert on Sunday, April 10, at 2 p.m. in the Music Building's Recital Hall. Entitled 'Light Breeze for a Sunday Afternoon,' the performance is free and open to the public. No tickets are required. Directed by Lehman Music Professor and oboist Alan Hollander, the ensemble includes flutist Denise Lozano, french horn player Jacqueline Adams, clarinetist Dorothy Duncan and bassoonist Ernest Schefflein. Joining them will be guest pianist Suna Chung of Lehman's piano faculty, who will perform selections for wind quintet and piano by Poulenc, Roussel and Wilder. The program will feature the premiere of Prof. Hollander's arrangement of Donizetti's 'Sonatine for Solo Oboe' and 'Wind Quartet,' with Prof. Hollander performing the solo. Lehman College is located at Goulden Avenue and Bedford Park Boulevard West. For more information on the concert, contact the Lehman Music Department at 718-960-8247 or email music.

Flea market at Schervier Apartments

The Schervier Apartments, located at 2995 Independence Avenue, will hold their annual flea market on Wednesday, April 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Shop around for kitchenware, odds and ends, clothes, accessories, small furniture and a lot more. Refreshments will be sold. Donations for the flea market will be accepted until Tuesday, April 12 at 4 p.m. For more information, call 718548-5232.


The Metropolitan Opera will transmit live via satellite its production of Rossini's 'Le Comte Ory' on Saturday, April 9, at 1 p.m. in Lehman College's Lovinger Theatre. All broadcasts in the series are free to college students as well as high school students, parents and teachers. Tickets may be reserved by calling the Lehman College Box Office at 718-960-8025. For more information, visit This presentation is part of the Met's 2010-2011 Live in HD series, which aims to introduce new audiences to opera through new technology. The event is hosted by Lehman Stages and the Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music.

Brian Skinner art exhibit at Ethical Society

Newly-minted Riverdale resident and member of the Riverdale Art Association, Brian Skinner, will be having a solo art exhibit at the Riverdale Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture during the months of April and May. An artist's opening reception will be held on Sunday, April 10, from 4 to 6 p.m. in RYSEC's gallery space at 4450 Fieldston Road. Though he began his career in the fine arts in the traditional media of oilon-canvas and watercolor, Brian now

works exclusively in digital media. Recent explorations include cliché verre, a technique of etching and painting on glass photographic plates, in which he first dabbled over 40 years ago. His work is then rendered on either watercolor papers or canvas by a fine arts printing studio in Manhattan. New York film and art critic Mary Ellen Will has called his work 'rich and mesmerizing.' For more information on Skinner's exhibit, call the Ethical Society at 718548-4445 or visit them online at www. To see more of Brian Skinner's artwork, go to The Riverdale Art Association meets at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of every month at the Riverdale Atria. The community is invited to attend the meetings which are free of charge. Artists and those interested in art are invited to become members of the Riverdale Art Association. Visit www.

Robert Kramer to give poetry reading

An Beal Bocht Cafe will continue its poetry reading series on Wednesday, April 13 at 8:30 p.m. with a reading by Riverdale resident Robert Kramer. Kramer is a widely published poet, playwright, literary critic, and translator of European literature. He was formerly

director of the New York Poets Cooperative and is currently a professor of art history at Manhattan College. The featured reading will be followed by an open reading. An Beal Bocht Cafe is located at 445 West 238th Street, between Waldo and Greystone Avenues.

Jill Lepore to discuss 'The Tea Party and the Constitution'

Jill Lepore, Ph.D., David Woods Kemper '41 Professor of American History and chair of the history and literature program at Harvard University, will speak at Manhattan College on Monday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Smith Auditorium. Presented by the College's Robert J. Christen Program in Early American History and Culture, the event is free and open to the public. Lepore will discuss 'The Tea Party and the Constitution' as the speaker for the annual series. A staff writer for The New Yorker, she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for 'New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan.' She won the Bancroft Prize for 'The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity.' A member of the executive board of the Society of American Historians, she is a distinguished lecturer of the Organization of American Historians and serves

on numerous boards and committees. Next year she will be a guest curator at the Old State House Museum in Boston and a visiting scholar of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Lepore is cofounder of the magazine 'Common-place.' A prolific author, she is currently working on the three books: a biography of Jane Mecom, Benjamin Franklin's sister; a series of essays about how historians write; and a history of American ideas about life and death. For more information about the April 11 lecture, contact George Kirsch, professor of history, at 718-862-7127 or email

Riverdale Hadassah to meet at Atria

The Bronx Chapter of Hadassah will meet on Tuesday, April 12, 1:30 p.m., in The Atria Library, 3718 Henry Hudson Parkway. Guest speaker will be Perri Goldstein, Assistant Regional Director of the AntiDefamation League. Goldstein will discuss most current problems facing the world. Everyday ADL is at the forefront of the most crucial issues affecting Jewish communities here in the U.S. and around the globe. Everyone is invited; refreshments will be served.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 7, 2011

Live from Met broadcast in Lehman College

Thursday, April 7, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Thursday, April 7

Tuesday, April 12

TEEN CAFÉ 4 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Come hang out with your friends in a cool, casual environment. Bring snacks to enjoy while you listen to the radio & chat with your friends. Use laptops to do your homework, watch videos, play games, & more! For info, call 718-549-5656.

HADASSAH MEETING 1:30 p.m. Atria of Riverdale 3718 Henry Hudson Parkway Meeting of the Bronx Chapter of Hadassah. Guest speaker is Perri Goldstein, Assistant Regional Director of the AntiDefamation League.



TINNITUS SUPPORT GROUP 6 p.m. Church of the Mediator 260 West 231st Street Tinnitus sufferers are invited to attend a free tinnitus support group. All members of the public are welcome. For more information, please call 718-548-6832.


ANNUAL WOMEN'S SEDER 7:30 p.m. Riverdale Temple 4545 Independence Avenue The Riverdale Temple, Women of Reform Judaism, will celebrate the role of women in the Exodus from Egypt with its twelfth all women’s pre-Passover seder. For info, call 718-548-3800.


CB8 MEETING 7:30 p.m. Country Bank 583 West 235th Street Meeting of the Economic Development Committee of Community Board 8. For more information, call 718-884-3959.


FAITH FORMATION LECTURE 8 p.m. Saint Margaret of Cortona 452 West 260th Street A Spring lecture series devoted to faith formation course on the Most Holy Eucharist. Facilitated by Steve Kanzanjian. For more information, contact Bob Stauf at 914-476-2284.

Friday, April 8 Spuyten Duyvil

FAR OUT PHYSICS 3 p.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street Discover how electricity moves along wires by watching a demonstration of a clock that runs on potatoes! Participants make their own milk carton radio that really works! Presented by the Children's Museum of Manhattan. For ages 6 to 11 years old. Preregistration is required. (Limit to 25 children). For more information, call 718-796-1202.

Saturday, April 9 Riverdale

LEARNING SERVICE 9:30 a.m. Hebrew Institute of Riverdale 3700 Henry Hudson Parkway Shabbat Metzora. Rabba Sara Hurwitz will lead the prayer service which follows a traditional prayer structure while delving deeper into key prayers. For more info, call 718-796-4730.

Sunday, April 10 Riverdale

OPENING RECEPTION 4 p.m. Ethical Culture Society 4450 Fieldston Road Opening reception of the solo art exhibit of Brian Skinner, which will be on view during April and May. For more information, call 718-548-4445.

Monday, April 11 Kingsbridge

BLOCKBUSTER BOOKS 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 280 West 231st Street Make it a blockbuster summer with the library! Create a book trailer using music and more. Write a script, shoot the film, and edit it all together. Materials will be provided. For ages 12 to 18. For more information, call 718-548-5656.


DISCUSSION ON HISTORY 7:30 p.m. Manhattan College Smith Auditorium Jill Lepore, Ph.D., professor of American history at Harvard University, will discuss "The Tea Party and the Constitution." The event is free and open to the public. For more infomration, contact George Kirsch at 718-862-7127.



POETRY WORKSHOP 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 280 West 231st Street Wendy Windstorm has accidentally blown all the poetry out of Poetsville! Help solve this problem by traveling with Wendy on a quest filled with songs and movements. Along the way, poetic puppet creatures will use songs to teach key elements of poetry. A closing writing workshop will encourage children to write poems of their own! For ages 6 to 10 years old. For more information, call 718-548-5656.


THEATRE 5:30 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Love & Marriage: From the Shtetl to Second Avenue. A unique theatrical presentation based on Sholom Aleichem's "Mendel, the Matchmaker" performed by solo dramatic artist Judith Goldsmith. Come see this bittersweet romance set in the glory years of the Yiddish theater. For more information, call 718-549-1212.


FAITH FORMATION LECTURE 7:30 p.m. Saint Margaret of Cortona 452 West 260th Street A Spring lecture series devoted to faith formation course on the Most Holy Eucharist. Facilitated by Steve Kanzanjian. For more information, contact Bob Stauf at 914-476-2284.

Wednesday, April 13 Riverdale

FLEA MARKET 10 a.m. Schervier Apartments 2995 Independence Avenue Shop around for kitchenware, odds and ends, clothes, accessories, etc. For more information, call 718-548-5232.

Spuyten Duyvil

LECTURE ON ARTHRITIS 11 a.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street Are Your Aches and Pains a Symptom of Arthritis? If so..What Kind and What are You Doing About it? In this talk sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation of New York City discussion of all the latest techniques and medical advances to alleviate this malady will be presented. Valuable handouts including the 2010 Drug and Supplement Guides will also be available. For more information, call 718-796-1202.


AARP MEETING 12:30 p.m. Riverdale Presbyterian Church 4765 Henry Hudson Parkway West Meeting of the Riverdale Chapter 1546 AARP. Entertain will be Jacques Bas. For more information, contact Manfred Segal at 718-548-0088.


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


TOASTMASTERS MEETING 7:30 p.m. Riverdale Neighborhood House 5521 Mosholu Avenue Bronx Toastmasters Club of Riverdale invites new members at their free meeting. For more information, call 718-796-6671 or visit


POETRY READING 8:30 p.m. An Beal Bocht Cafe 445 West 238th Street Riverdale resident Robert Kramer will read from his works. Followed by an open reading. For info, call 718-884-7127.

By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER The Riverdale Jewish Community Relations Council holds its annual loxand-bagels event to recognize outstanding service on the part of individuals, groups or institutions and to offer a forum where local elected officials can brief constituents on what they’ve been up to. Last Sunday morning at the council’s 27th Legislative and Awards Breakfast, an upbeat crowd packed into the Riverdale Y’s multipurpose room to cheer the honorees—an impassioned college professor, a hometown Jewish weekly, a successful synagogue president and an impressive group of teens committed to fitness and fundraising. Jonathan Mark Congressman Eliot Engel presented the Michael Schreck Community Builder Award to the New York Jewish Week, a print and of Israel.” He pointed out that the Palesonline paper that provides news and insight tinians are refusing to negotiate without on Jewish concerns with a focus on metro the precondition that “Israel stop building New York. It earned a Casey Medal from the what they call settlements and what we call Journalism Center on Children and Families neighborhoods.” He’s concerned about the for editor and publisher Gary Rosenblatt’s South American countries’ recognition of June 2000 exposé on sexual abuse by an “Palestine, quote unquote,” in the absence of Orthodox school principal and an esteemed any direct talks between the PA and Israel. organization’s attempt to suppress the pub“Believe me, I’m not shy,” Engel said. “I licity. The piece dealt a blow, leading to an make my voice known, even with the president arrest and resignations and to harsh criticism of the United States, face to face, certainly when from the affected community. Rosenblatt it comes to Israel and the Middle East.” visited the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale to Mark, also not shy, is incisive and discuss how he had grappled with the deci- intrepid in handling the bias issue in his sion, from a Jewish perspective, of whether Media Watch column. to publish the story at all. “This honor is all the sweeter for beThere to represent the Jewish Week ing in the name of Mike Schreck, who was Riverdalian Jonathan Mark, an astute made working for and being part of the columnist, no-holds-barred blogger and Jewish community more fun that anyone associate editor since 1988. thought they had the right to have,” Mark Before handing Mark the plaque, Engel said in accepting the award. �������������������������������������������������������� commented on how the media here is He alluded to his friendship with Andrew biased against “the tiny beleaguered state Continued on Page 12

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9 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 7, 2011

RJCRC Annual Legislative Breakfast a lively event

Thursday, April 7, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


State prepares to close ‘wacky’ charter school Continued from Page 1 “I was very skeptical of this school from the very beginning,” he said. “The school was created with virtually no public input, it was sited right in our neighborhood with absolutely no public input and I thought their mission statement was the most ludicrous, ridiculous thing I had ever heard of.” Dinowitz also took aim at both the state and city education departments for their failure to address the real issues. He said he was now worried about the students who are currently enrolled at the school. “This is just another example of the Department of Education being so anxious to site new schools that they do it in a very haphazard fashion,” he said. “The victims are the children. I want them to get the best possible education and I’m concerned about what’s going to happen to them.” Councilman Oliver Koppell had not been briefed on the issue when contacted Monday but said he would examine the situation in the coming days. He did, however, question the need for charter schools in the community. “I am very happy with our public schools in the area,” he said. “I think our public schools are doing a really exemplary job so I’m not sold on the need for a charter school in this area.” Despite the intense scrutiny and the school’s alleged failure to adhere to its charter, scores of parents who were picking their children up last Friday were adamant it is the best in their neighborhood. A KIDS parent and Community Council Treasurer Lynette Roberts said she was satisfied with the school.

She also believed it was former teachers and disgruntled parents who were lodging the complaints. “The children are learning,” she said. “We have art, we have music, we have handiwork, we have live animals in our school and we have a full-time parks ranger. “We’ve done multiple things in our school to help our children’s intellect broaden and it’s just a shame to see that because people aren’t getting what they feel they should have, either in a work environment or in an educational institution, that they would want to tear that down.” Riverdale parent Marisa Guerrero also expressed the same sentiments. She pulled her seven-year-old daughter Genesis out of P.S. 24 and enrolled her into KIDS because of their innovative curriculum. “There is a plethora of schools in Riverdale that I can send her to but I choose to send her here,” she said. First-grader Genesis also said she was happy, despite the recent staff changes. “I got a new teacher because my teacher got laid off,” she said. “My other teacher got laid off and I have a new teacher. I like them both.” With a slew of fresh faces on the Board and in classrooms, Cotto said he was hopeful the school would emerge from the turmoil stronger and flourish. “We’re positive,” he said. “We’ve faced a lot of challenges but we’re fast learners and we’ll learn from it, we’ll grow and move forward.” State officials will review the school again next month.

Continued from Page 1 tan rather than the outer boroughs. The admission rates range from $5 in Queens to $15 in Central Park. Community Board 8 parks committee chairman Bob Bender called the proposal “bare bones,” and will need to wait and see what the concessionaires propose. His biggest concern was that there was no mention of the maintenance and security of the path between the skating rink and the golf course parking lot. The RFP states the concessionaire will be responsible for snow removal and trash cleanup within 50 feet of the proposed rink, but makes no mention of the rest of the distance to the parking lot. Interested parties will be able to take a tour of the site Thursday, April 28 at 11 a.m. Charles Kloth, director of concessions, said the community board is welcome to attend. “Sometimes things come out at the site meeting where somebody will look at the physical space and come up with something that we hadn’t thought about,” he said at the March parks committee meeting. “We would issue addendum to the RFP based on things that might come out of the site tour.” The parks committee sent a letter to the City last month asking for some profit from the rink to come back to Van Cortlandt Park for park maintenance. No mention of this was in the RFP. The concessionaire will have to pay a fee to the City, but that fee goes into a citywide fund. Community Board 8 parks committee asked for funding for 10 projects in the 2012 budget proposals, some in Van Cort-

landt Park, and all were denied because of a lack of funding. The funding for this project is coming indirectly from the 34th Street Partnership. The Partnership—a business improvement district in Manhattan—received $500,000 for an advertising campaign by Mini Cooper. “Of that money, the Partnership kept half and the other half gave out to parks department,” according to Joe Carella, spokesman for the Partnership. A recent New York Post article indicated that many of the storeowners were furious at the handout, saying the BID shouldn’t be giving away money outside the district. The connection between the Partnership and Van Cortlandt Park is through Dan Biederman. He is the chair of the Partnership and the Bryant Park Corporation and also a member of the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy. Bryant Park is home to a public skating rink; skate rentals there are $13 but admission is free due to a sponsorship by Citibank. The RFP says proposals that show a commitment to cooperate with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy will be viewed favorably. No mention was made about working with Community Board 8 or the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park. Final proposals for the rink are due Monday, May 16. Interested parties can call the Parks Department to obtain a copy of the RFP. Once a concessionaire is chosen, the plan will undergo public review during the Franchise and Concessions Review Committee, where the plan will be voted on.

11 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 7, 2011

Skate rink RFP raises concerns

Thursday, April 7, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



Continued from Page 9 Zucker—in whose memory another of the day’s awards is named. “When I last spoke to Andrew, he was 27 years old with 21 days to live. He’d just started working as an attorney on the 85th floor of the World Trade Center, where he had a spectacular view of the end of the world.” On September 16, 2001, Mark received an email at the Jewish Week seeking information on Zucker. “Five days later, he was still being written up in the present tense, and as far as I’m concerned, Andrew and Mike Schreck are in the present tense still. Andy and Mike were about community, and it’s great to be at this breakfast with people who are building and protecting this community, an honor to share this room with some of the people who actually built this neighborhood when they were young….I’ve never seen a neighborhood with better people, better conversation, greater tenderness, than this little piece of land between Spuyten Duyvil and the Yonkers line. “Some of my boyhood models for a Jewish newspaper were a group of men and women in the Warsaw Ghetto who called themselves ‘Oneg Shabbos,’” he continued. “They documented everything from the persecution—even the candy wrappers printed in Yiddish. They collected memories. They collected stories about each other, stories about who we are and what we have seen and loved. They took all they had and put it into tin cans—metal milk cans—and left it in the rubble. Some milk cans from Oneg Shabbos were found after the war. Some will only be found at the end of days. “That’s what we do at the Jewish Week—we collect the story of community,

the story of who we are and what we have seen and loved. Instead of putting the news into milk cans, we put it into your mailbox. Somebody asked me what I cover, and all I could say is, on a good day, I cover you.” RJCRC honorary chair Ari Hoffnung introduced city comptroller John Liu, a Bronx Science grad. The first Asian-American elected for a legislative office in New York City, Liu has linked the Asian and Jewish communities and is outspoken on the issues of anti-Semitism and racism. He supports economic ties between New York City and Israel—under his leadership, the city pension fund system gained a substantial number of Israel bonds and investments in Israeli companies. “He works tirelessly to ensure that the city does not waste one dime of taxpayer money,” Hoffnung said. Liu’s “all-time favorite” example of potential waste several weeks ago was a DOE request for a $20 million project to hire consultants for recruiting new teachers at the same time they were set to lay off several thousand teachers still holding their chalk. Congressman Anthony Weiner spoke of his work to combat anti-Semitism and hatred of all kinds--including a study showing that textbooks in Saudi Arabian schools continue to preach hatred toward Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims. He pointed out that in last Friday’s Washington Post, Richard Goldstone, who incited worldwide condemnation of Israel for his claim that the government targeted civilians during Operation Cast Lead, had retracted his charge. “Do you think for a moment the United Nations will go back and have a big commission report to officially retract the Goldstone report? They will not,” Weiner predicted. Councilman G. Oliver Koppell presented the Martin Rollins Interfaith



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Brotherhood Award to Dr. Jeff Horn, the outgoing head of Holocaust Resource Center at Manhattan College and chairman of the history department there. “To teach the Holocaust and genocide, to try and engage the community, is a daunting task,” Horn admitted. “My classes focus on hatred, on killing, and especially the ideas and policies that led to them along with the action, inactions, and reactions of the perpetrators. But what makes it possible for me to tame my rage at humans’ inhumanity to humans is that I teach about death in hope of preserving life.” “I grew up with the slogan ‘never again,’ he continued. “I believe that the Holocaust is a unique event, and my students learn that perspective every time I teach the Shoah, which is every semester. But after Cambodia, after East Timor, after Rwanda, and Bosnia and Darfur, the dream of ‘never again’ has become a nightmare of complacency as regimes across the globe seek to imitate the Nazi message of hatred, superiority and intolerance.” Horn explained that the center’s mission is about to expand. “Under the leadership of my successor, Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, the center’s mission will remain tightly focused on the Holocaust and genocide. But it will also—repeat, also—encompass broader issues related to genocide as well as interfaith dialogue among Jews, Christians and Muslims.” He stressed that this change is an addition, not a replacement. “I am confident that I am leaving the center in good hands. Dr. Afridi is much more of a scholar of the Shoah than I am.” Those in charge will ensure that “the Shoah remains the beating heart of the center’s activities.” State Senator Jeff Klein presented the Andrew Zucker Jewish Community Service Award to Congregation Shaarei

Shalom president Todd Rubinstein, a “lovable hero who takes an active role in his community, the kind of person elected officials depend upon.” Rubinstein pointed out that there were fully four tables from Shaarei Shalom attending the breakfast, and he heartily thanked those who supported him in his service roles. Finally, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz presented the Community Organizational Award to the Y’s Teens in Action program. Dinowitz was pleased to announce the complete restoration of funding to senior centers in the state budget before presenting the award to Lisa Bruskin, director of fitness and wellness at the Y, and Mason Voit, director of education and family life at the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale. In 2009, a group of 12- and 13-year-olds from CSAIR decided to participate as a team in the Y’s annual 5K/10K Run. They trained each week under the strict guidance of Bruskin. There are now 26 teens and a few pre-teens in the program. The project was successful, Voit said, because of the synagogue’s ability to partner with the Riverdale Y and because of Bruskin’s ability to motivate a group of teens “who would willingly go through pain to make themselves physically stronger and strengthen their character—and to do something good for the world.” The young scholar/athletes raised $5,000 for the American Jewish World Service. Bruskin was pleasantly surprised by how responsive youngsters were to a program that promotes healthful eating and exercise. “They come back every week,” she said. “And believe me, I’m not a nice person. They work very hard.” She encouraged everyone to join the next 5K/10K on Sunday, May 1. Participants don’t have to run the course—they can walk.



LECTURE 5:30 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Reisinger Auditorium Alfie Kohn will present the Longfellow Lecture 2011. For more information, call 914-395-2412.

Friday, April 8 Valhalla

PHOTOGRAPHY PRESENTATION 8 p.m. Westchester Community College Tech. Building Westchester Photographic Society presentation by Ron Rossbach. For more information, call 914-271-5542.

Saturday, April 9 Cortlandt

EXPLORE CROTON GORGE 10 a.m. Croton Gorge Park Route 129 Meet in the parking lot and explore the waterfalls at the park. For more information, call 914-862-5297.

Cross River

AH, SPRING 10 a.m. Trailside Nature Museum Ward Pound Ridge Reservation A hike around the reservation to look for signs of spring and stop at some of the beautiful areas of the park to hear poetry readings. For more infomration, call 914-864-7322.


VOLUNTEER WORK 10 a.m. Read Wildlife Sanctuary Playland Parkway Bring your family and friends to help with spring clean-up, invasive plant removal, trail work and more. For info, call 914-967-8720.

North White Plains

READING THE CLOUDS 1 p.m. Cranberry Lake Preserve Old Orchard Street Learn how to recognize weather patterns through photographs and actual cloud observations. For info, call 914-428-1005.


VOLUNTEER WORK 1 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Boston Post Road Clearing Stone Walls along the Meadow. Bring gloves and help remove vines adn vegetation from the historic stone walls. Tools provided. For more information, call 914-835-4466.


WORKSHOP 1 p.m. The Weinberg Nature Center 455 Mamaroneck Road Native American Lifestyles Workshop. For adults, college students and children grades 4-12. Minimum required age of 9 years (strictly enforced for safety). Great for middle and high school students. For more information, call 914-722-1289.


DOCUMENTARY FILM 1:30 p.m. Riverfront Library One Larkin Center The documentary film 'Silence of the Bees' will be shown. A story of the riverting investigation into the causes of bees' vanishment and the ongoing effort to save honeybees. For more information, contact Susan Thaler at 914-375-7941.


NATURE WALK 2 p.m. Lenoir Preserve Dudley Street Responding to Nature Visually and Verbally. Walk the property studying and sketching the composition of the landscape with artist Quincy Egginton. Bring a sketch book. For more information, call 914-968-5851.


ECOLOGY CLASS 2 p.m. The Weinberg Nature Center 455 Mamaroneck Road Exploring New Spring Creatuers and Growth: Kids on Safari. Discover what animals are now active and which animals moved

back for the season. Examine the new sprouts popping out of the soil. This program is for children ages 4 and 5 years old. For more information, call 914-722-1289.

Sunday, April 10 Rye

NATURE WALK 10 a.m. Marshlands Conservancy Boston Post Road Sounds and Swells of the Salt Marsh. Explore the many creatures that are offered by the tidal movements along the marsh. For more information, call 914-835-4466.

Monday, April 11 Bronxville

FRENCH FILM SERIES 7:30 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Heimbold Visual Arts Center Featuring the movie 'Around a Small Mountain.' Directed by Jacques Rivette. For more information, call 914-395-2219.

Thursday, April 14 Bronxville

FRENCH FILM SERIES 7:30 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Heimbold Visual Arts Center Featuring the film 'Summer Hours,' directed by Olivier Assayas. For more information, call 914-395-2219.

Friday, April 15 Valhalla

PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION 8 p.m. Westchester Community College Tech. Building Westchester Photographic Society presents members' competition. Members compete in digital, color, and open mind. For more information, call 914-271-5542.

Saturday, April 16 Scarsdale

ECOLOGY CLASS 2 p.m. The Weinberg Nature Center 455 Mamaroneck Road Spring Inhabitants of the Woods: Junior Scientists. Take discovery walks searching for animal tracks and traces, migrants and wildlife coming out of hibernation. This program is for children ages 6 through 8. For more info, call 914-722-1289.

Saturday, April 23 Rye

ECO-AVENGERS 10 a.m. Read Wildlife Sanctuary Playland Parkway A workshop to learn how you can do your part to help animals and preserve their habitats. For info, call 914-967-8720.

North White Plains

WILDFLOWERS 1 p.m. Cranberry Lake Preserve Old Orchard Street Hepatica, Dutchman's breeches and Rue anemone are just some of the beautiful wildflowers that can be found along the trails. For more information, call 914-428-1005.


VOLUNTEER WORK 1 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Boston Post Road Trail Maintenance. Bring work gloves and help spread wood chips along the trails. For more infor, call 914-835-4466.

Cross River

EGG-LAYERS 2 p.m. Trailside Nature Museum Ward Pound Ridge Reservation Oviparous Creatures of Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. Learn about the animals that lay eggs, take a walk to see some of them, then makey our own edible 'nest' to take home. for more information, call 914-864-7322.

Cross River

SONG OF THE TIMBERDOODLE 7 p.m. Trailside Nature Museum Ward Pound Ridge Reservation Witness the noisy courtship display of the American woodcock along the edges of the field habitat at sundown. For more information, call 914-864-7322.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday, April 7

Thursday, April 7, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



As part of the celebrations at Lehman College leading up to Earth Day, the documentary film 'Gasland' will be screened on Wednesday, April 13, at 3:30 p.m. in the Faculty Dining Room of the Music Building. After the screening, a discussion will be held with geologist John H. Williams of the U.S. Geological Survey's Water Science Center in New York, who is responsible for technical oversight of the Survey's groundwater program in the State. This event is free and open to the public and part of a series being sponsored each week by the Student Environmental Club in association with the Campus Sustainability Council. The events are being held in advance of Earth Day on April 22 because the campus will be closed then for spring break. 'Gasland' examines the controversial gas drilling process of hydraulic fracturing - widely known as 'fracking' - that is being debated in New York State. The film will inform the community of the benefits, drawbacks, and implications that hydraulic fracturing could have on their lives. Williams has provided technical assistance to the U .S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers

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and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on investigations of contaminated fractured-bedrock aquifers. In addition he is part of the Office of Groundwater's Branch of Geophysics training and technology transfer program.

Manhattan College students offer free tax preparation help

Manhattan College business students teamed up with the University Neighborhood Housing Program, Fordham Bedford Children's Services (UNHP/FBCS) and Ariva, inc., for the second year in a row to provide free tax preparation services at the Refuge House in Fordham Bedford as part of the IRS VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program. 'The VITA program has provided a great opportunity for students to help those who are less fortunate, while also offering a valuable experience in the tax field,' said Evan Wheeler, a junior accounting major at Manhattan. With residents of the west Bronx area paying the highest percent of income taxes on rent of any borough in New York City and the median household income in the Bronx barely increasing since 2000, the free tax assistance helps qualified Bronx residents complete basic tax forms and keep money in their pockets. In addition, the program helps in disputing the

fees and interest rate associated with the refund anticipation loan (RAL). UNHP/FBCS first launched the free income tax program in 2008, and in 2010, started solely depending on VITA volunteers such as Manhattan student volunteers to run the program. The VITA program offers free tax services around the country to qualified families who have a household income of $55,000 and below. In preparation for this year's tax season, Manhattan students attended training and certification classes in January and February, and 25 students passed the VITA certification exam in time to assist local residents with their tax returns. Manhattan College is located at West 242nd Street near Broadway in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. For more information, visit

Peer support group to meet in RSS

Riverdale Senior Services, 2600 Netherland Ave., announces a new peer support group for older adults suffering from chronic pain. The group meets every month at the RSS senior center. The mission of the group is to provide a meeting place where group members can share their experiences and offer support and encouragement. There is no fee for

participation; your involvement is the only request. The group will be meeting once a month. Dates scheduled so far are Tuesday, April 12 at 12:30 p.m., and Tuesday, May 24 at 1:30 p.m. In the coming months, RSS will host lectures related to the issue of chronic pain. To register and for more information, call 718-884-5900.

Hebrew Home at Riverdale seeks volunteers

The Hebrew Home at Riverdale, located at 5901 Palisade Avenue, is currently seeking volunteers who would like to share their talents and time to help others. Available opportunities include, but are not limited to, reading to residents, administrative office tasks, helping with crafts projects and much more. Volunteers to assist with programs of the Derfner Judaica Museum and Hebrew Home Art Collection are also needed. Hours are flexible and assignments can be short term or ongoing. The Hebrew Home provides orientation, training and continuing education for all volunteers. Volunteers who commit to three hours per day will be provided with a free lunch. For more information, contact the Volunteer Department at 718-581-1404.




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The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 7, 2011

Earth Day celebrations at Lehman College

Thursday, April 7, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


KIDS School: We told you so Last week came the news that the Kingsbridge Innovative Design School (KIDS), a charter school with apparent ties to some of the most venal and corrupt Bronx politicos, is in dire straits and likely to be closed down by the State of New York. Good. When this first was proposed two years ago, all we had to do was to read their proposal to recognize that this was utter gibberish, jargon-filled nonsense. From day one, personnel was constantly changing, the location was questionable, and the underlying philosophy was inane. So it is no surprise that the state has come down, and come down hard. We feel sorry for the children and their parents, deceived by such drivel. Chancellor Black and Commissioner Steiner, close this school down! A full year of the education of 150 children has been squandered. Also deceived apparently were the “boycott” leaders of the P.S. 24 Parents Association. They specifically attacked this newspaper because of our long-standing criticism of this school. Well, once again, we were right and they were wrong. When it comes to our schools, full and open discussion is the key to making things right, as painful as it may be. It isn’t our fault that parents and staff rated P.S. 24 so poorly last year that it was one of just 25 schools in the whole city given an “F” in school environment. Nor can we be blamed for the awful grade of “D” earned by the middle school portion of the Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy. We have been alarmed by the 90% decline in local students winning seats in Specialized High Schools in the past 18 years. Aren’t you? If you’re not you should be, but you can’t blame us. We’ve been sounding the alarm for over a decade. Criticism of the inexperienced leadership at P.S. 7 was particularly painful. But it turns out that the change in leadership might have resulted from a gentle prodding to the exit by the Department of Education, as the school’s scores tanked to abysmal levels not seen since the early 1990’s. Once again, we were right. The average SAT scores at the Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy are so low that they are below the national average. They are so low, in fact, that they are well below what is needed for admission to a senior college at the City University. Our fault? Hardly. It pains us to report of the failure at RKA, but we owe our children and all community residents nothing less than the truth. How else can we fix things? New York Magazine recently characterized our local schools as “sub-par,” confirming what we have been warning of for years. Now there are some who wish we would go away. But even if we did, the children, like the unfortunate 150 at the Kingsbridge Innovative Design School, are not well served by the delusions of politically motivated adults, content with mediocrity. Our warnings weren’t heeded, and those at KIDS have lost a full year’s learning that can never be replaced. A discussion should have been held, and our criticism should have been more fully aired by city and state educrats. Now it may be too late. It is too bad that we have zealots in the community, intent on quashing debate, and perfectly willing to sacrifice our children on the altar of Perez Cassino’s political ambition.

Shady Skating Dealing

A lot of questions have been raised about the proposal to place a skating rink in Van Cortlandt Park. But it all comes down to this: why is the Bloomberg administration intent on pushing this down our throats without hearing public comment? This is a remarkable betrayal of public trust. Why are the mayor and his puppets on the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy afraid of listening to our community? Isn’t this still a democracy, even during Bloomberg’s questionable third term?

Chinese or Spanish at P.S. 24?

To the Editor: Re: “Parents here play politics while Manhattan parents push Chinese” Last December, esteemed New York Times op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof, himself fluent in Chinese, argued that every elementary school child in America should learn Spanish first and study Chinese later: “As the United States increasingly integrates economically with Latin America, Spanish will become more crucial in our lives….In effect, Chinese is typically a career. Spanish is a practical add-on to your daily life, meshing with whatever career you choose.” Few New York City public elementary schools offer any foreign language. Yet Principal Donna Connelly has introduced Spanish to every child at PS 24. It is one of many ways she grants our children an early global awareness and an appreciation of the co-existence of cultures. I sat in the same PS 24 PA meeting as the Review education reporter last month when Spanish teacher Wendy Maldonado gave a riveting presentation on the well-researched and grade-tai-

lored Spanish curriculum she developed for the school. A moving video demonstrated fast progress in written and spoken Spanish via grammar books, oral lessons, dance, song, and games. How could the Review summarily dismiss this impressive presentation with the line, “But instead of simply offering Spanish, schools should challenge students and also offer Mandarin Chinese…”? It is very disappointing that your paper set out to manufacture a context by which to belittle yet another of the wonderful initiatives in our school. Have you ever discussed Dr. Connelly’s exciting school-wide studies? Have you tapped into the multitude of her enrichment offerings—the lunch clubs she introduced? There are clearly gems inside all of our local

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

[The Editor Replies: We have alluded to Principal Connelly’s Spanish language program at the school, although we think that students in this community should have other choices beyond Spanish, Mandarin Chinese among them. Unfortunately Principal Connelly and the Parents Association have a politically-inspired non-cooperation policy regarding this newspaper that has severely restricted the good news that must surely be happening at the school. The political agenda, to restrict free speech and discussion, has made the children of P.S. 24 unwitting victims and pawns in their political game.]

No more NOMA

To The Editor: “NOMA,” please give me a break. Years ago before Inwood became popular again my wife and I gave a 20-something a ride

ANDREW WOLF, Editor and Publisher JOEL PAL Production Manager ROBERT NILVA Marketing Director

schools. Shouldn’t a productive conversation about the state of education in Riverdale begin by unearthing those? Jennifer Firestone PS 24 parent

CECILIA McNALLY Office Manager MIAWLING LAM Associate Editor

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

home from a SoHo gallery to her 207th Street vicinity residence. I made the comment, “Oh you live in Inwood.” Not to be identified with her neighborhood she corrected me by saying “No she lives in Manhattan!” Despite his denial Joseph Korff’s latest scheme to market his albatross is just as transparent. He is hoping a tie to Manhattan in any way may help support his Manhattan asking prices. I wouldn’t cite an ad by Liebman’s Deli as an endorsement for promoting NOMA. Nor would I boast about NOMA being reference in Wikipedia. Wikipedia, Continued on Page 19

To The Editor: We’re all too familiar with how Madison Avenue invented catchy marketing tools to improve a community’s image to promote the ‘it’ factor as a new, hot trendy area of the Big Apple. Lamentably, the Bronx still needs to reinvent its image to outsiders and so without further ado, let me introduce you to NoMa – the ritziest suburban destination inside the City just north of Manhattan. Graciously hugging the majestic Hudson River, NoMa is approximately a three-mile square starting from the tip of the Bronx at Spuyten Duyvil going up to the Westchester line. In truth, NoMa relates more to the City, Manhattan than to the Bronx simply because of its unique location which has the advantage of having one of the most convenient transportation systems and networks which are more easily connected to Manhattan than to the rest of the Bronx. NoMa is blossoming with exceptional yet prudent residential and commercial opportunities. NoMa, Riverdale has an established time honored reputation for being a

comfortable, quiet, richly appointed community which enjoys some of the most esteemed private and public green spaces unique to the City. NoMa is just like a well cared for New England enclave, it’s a down home sweet country lifestyle with cultural attractions and convenience. There is perhaps no more visible

symbol of Riverdale’s transformatoin into its refreshingly modern attitude as NoMA, than the famed Solaria skyscraper, the tallest glass condo tower in the Bronx that opened its doors last year in central NoMA on Henry Hudson Parkway. The Solaria first noted for being “too different” seemingly more like a transplanted deluxe Manahttan

Less talk and more action

To The Editor: After reading the article by Miawling Lam in last week’s Riverdale Review (‘Top Regent paints grim picture of schools at Espaillat forum’), I don’t see that any progress was made that night. Curriculum was mentioned a few times and so was parent involvement but no one mentioned ways in which these problems could be addressed. I feel a need to address both. As far as curriculum is concerned, there should be a weekly two-hour workshop in each elementary school grade that plants the seeds for what children are studying. It should build upon the curriculum that is already in place

and be based on academics, arts and sports, and the social and emotional issues that children will encounter in the remainder of their school week. It can be done. As for parent involvement, all parents have the ability and talents to participate in lessons, regardless of their culture or spoken language. We can draw upon these talents and get parents to participate in classroom activities and even encourage them to help plan a lesson based on what they know and what they can share. Let’s get on it and stop talking about it. Karen Green

Call toll-free: 1-888-459-1026

No more NOMA Continued from Page 18 it should be noted, clearly states it is the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. I checked and I did not find a NOMA/ Riverdale reference. My internet search of NOMA found a number of references including: the New Orleans Museum of Art, National Association of Minority Architects, a section of Washington DC North of Massachusetts Avenue that his fellow real estate developers are trying to market (must be where Korff got his idea), and best of all: Noma a/k/a Cancrum oris which, according to numerous sources in addition to Wikipedia, is a type of gangrene that destroys mucous membranes of the mouth and other tissues. Soundds pretty nasty and certainly not someplace I wish to live. Like the rest of us when the half a dozen occupants of the Solaria get their jury duty notice it is to The Bronx Courthouse they must visit. On the bright side when they are done at the courthouse maybe they can walk down the block and see the NOMA Bombers play ball. I am waiting in great anticipation for Korff’s next brainstorm. Dennis Ferraro

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19 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 7, 2011

NoMa— the ritziest suburban destination inside the city?

condo tower than the traditional almost u niform red brick construction style of the mid twentieth century coops that showcase the main thoroughfare of NoMA. The Solaria condo was built to attract the intelligent needless to say the “money wise” Manahttan buyer, the corporate transplanted families, the empty nesters and retirees of all ages who all want to be in the City, but away from its hectic pace. Living well is the only option here — you’re at home in the sky with no hassles and great savings compared to the other well heeled areas of the City. NoMA’s main commercial artery, Riverdale Avenue between West 235th Street to West 238th Street in central NoMA is positioned to be one of New York’s hottest yet coolest “old fashioned” international restaurant row destinations in the City. Just imagine a festive atmosphere of “al fresco” sidewalk dining with a comfortable and pleasurable (BYOB) experiences, added to many of the establiished and new family owned Italian, Greek, Irish and Kosher eateries. So what are you waiting for? NoMa is ‘it.’ Susan Lynne Seidner Chasky Associate Broker with Sotheby’s International Realty

����������������������������������������������� Thursday, April 7, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW�

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tree giveaways sponsored by


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Riverdale Review, April 7, 2011  

Weekly newspaper published in Riverdale, NY 10471