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Riverdale’s ONLY Locally Owned Newspaper!

Volume XVIII • Number 19 • April 14 - 20, 2011 •


Reporters and public barred from skate rink meeting By BRENDAN McHUGH Despite growing concerns from community leaders and elected officials over a proposed ice-skating rink, reporters were turned away from the April 6 meeting of the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy. In the past month, many have questioned the lack of public input from the Riverdale community over the decision to put a skating rink facility in Van Cortlandt Park, and the Riverdale Review planned to attend the meeting with the hope of finding answers. "I don’t think they would view you as a disinterested observer, but they should probably let you in," former parks department commissioner Henry Stern said in a phone interview. "It depends on the circumstances," he said. "People are legitimately concerned."

In March, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz wrote a letter to Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe asking why public hearings have not been held on this matter. Community activists Karen Argenti and Jane Sokolow wrote letters to city Comptroller John Liu, pointing out that there are a number of less utilized sites that would fit a skating rink. Members of Community Board 8 are split over the process and its corollaries, and Community Board 12 has publicly asked for a skating rink for years, raising the question “why not us?” The Review went to the Conservancy meeting at Horace Mann School ready to get answers over the many concerns but was quickly told to leave. Afterward, Dinowitz arrived at the meeting, and despite not being a board member, was allowed to stay. "I went to the meeting to get more information about

the skating rink and I was able to receive answers to several of my questions, which I was pleased about," he said. "However, I was shocked when the chair announced at the beginning of the meeting that they had barred the press from the meeting, and I was even more surprised when the Bronx parks commissioner [Hector Aponte] announced that the conservancy is not subject to the Freedom of Information Law." Argenti, when told two reporters were denied access to the meeting, was alarmed, but not totally surprised. The parks department has a history of giving out public land for private use without much public input, she said, citing tennis courts at Mill Pond Park and a museum in a public building. "Keeping the press out and refusing to divulge inforContinued on Page 19

St. Margaret School is on the cutting edge of educational technology

By MIAWLING LAM around textbooks and book using iPads in school and keepKeenan refuted claims the learning. Children as young as five are initiative would spell the end He said the idea was borne bags that weighed, on average, ing heavy textbooks at home,” swiping, pinching, and tapping for textbooks and said instead out of a desire to eliminate 32 pounds. he said. Continued on Page 19 iPad screens as part of an instruc- said the iPads would supplement the need for students to lug “Students have the benefit of tional overhaul at a Riverdale primary school. St. Margaret of Cortona School, located at 452 West 260th Street, is transforming student learning by using cutting-edge tablet computers to augment their curriculum and instruction. Under the pilot program, dubbed "Toss the Textbooks," teachers and students are being equipped with 95 first-generation iPads. The four-month trial—an archdiocese first—began last week when K-2 students were given their tablets. Kindergarten and first-graders will share the devices, while second-graders will be given an iPad each. Authorities will review the program’s success in September before deciding whether it should be rolled out to other grades next year. Principal Hugh M. Keenan said he was excited about the bold initiative as it put the school at the forefront of the new educational frontier. “We keep using the phrase 21st-century skills—how students and teachers need 21stcentury skills but we keep giving them 19th- and 20th-century tools,” he said. “I think this will really transform the way that students learn. This is not the magic bullet, but certainly, a major step in the Second graders at St. Margaret School use the iPads to supplement learning. They use it to complete arithmetic and online quizzes. right direction.”

Thursday, April 14, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Council still digging out of the snow By BRENDAN McHUGH The City Council held public hearings to discover what everyone already knew—the December 26 blizzard was a debacle. Streets were left unplowed for days, buses and emergency vehicles were stuck in the middle of streets, senior citizens could not leave their homes to get medicine and lives were lost. After 30 total hours of public hearings in all five boroughs, the City Council passed a set of bills that will require the city to put together detailed plans for snow emergencies. The bill, Intro 517, is part of a broad package of reform legislation adopted by the council on April 6 that requires the Department of Sanitation to create and publish borough-specific snow-removal plans every year before the start of the snow season. "During the December blizzard, we heard a lot of talk about tertiary streets and how they were the lowest priority for snowplows," City Councilman Jimmy Vacca said. "Well, tertiary streets are where taxpayers like you and I live, and many of us didn’t see plows until days after the blizzard was over. That’s unacceptable." Vacca, a co-sponsor of the bill, also said, "This bill will put the city’s feet to the fire so that they are forced not only to have a plan but also to explain why they chose to have the plan they chose to have." Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. attended the Bronx public hearing at Hostos Community College in January, where he told the City Council members present a story about a person who died because an emergency vehicle did not arrive in a timely manor. What made it worse, he said, was that the cars in the funeral precession got stuck in the snow days later. The plans must include a complete list of primary, secondary and tertiary streets, including the criteria the city uses to designate streets. This information must be available online. It must also include a strategy for removing snow from bus stops and curb cuts located at primary street intersections; contact information for agency personnel responsible for communicating with residents, elected officials and on-the-ground workers; and finally, an inventory of snow management equipment and personnel by community district. "Last December’s blizzard revealed how woefully unprepared the city was to deal with these kinds of major storms," City Councilwoman Annabel Palma said. "After reviewing the city’s response and hearing from residents at a number of post-blizzard hearings, we have put together a series of common-sense reforms that will ensure New Yorkers get the kind of response they deserve from their city government when inclement weather strikes." Other elements of the council’s snow-response package will require the city to create a registry where nonprofits and individuals can volunteer to help elderly or disabled property owners

remove snow and establish a system to notify New Yorkers of disruptions to government services, such as garbage collection, parking rules, and transportation services. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg initially opposed all 16 of the bills the City Council proposed, but after some negotiation, Hizzoner changed his views. Most of the 16 bills were condensed down to seven larger bills. One bill that did not make the cut was to suspend meter collection whenever alternate side parking is suspended for snow. Council Speaker Christine Quinn said if the mayor is unreasonable about the meters in the future, the bill would return.

By MIAWLING LAM Riverdalians are being urged to fill out the city’s annual school survey and make their voices heard. Preliminary figures obtained by the NYC Department of Education reveal mixed levels of participation among parents, teachers and students at P.S. 24, P.S. 81 and M.S/H.S 141, the RiverdaleKingsbridge Academy. As of 6 p.m. last Friday, just 5 percent of parents and 1 percent of teachers at M.S./H.S. 141 had taken the survey. No student had filled out the document. A concerted effort by P.S. 24’s parent coordinator is reaping immediate rewards, with 37 percent of parents and 65 percent of teachers having taken the

survey in its first three weeks. At P.S. 81, 59 percent of parents and 99 percent of teachers responded. Public school parents, teachers and students in grades 6 through 12 are eligible to complete the NYC School Survey. The citywide initiative is currently in its fifth year and is one of the largest school surveys of its kind to be conducted nationwide. According to the Department of Education, preliminary response rates aren't a true reflection because there is a 24-hour delay in the processing of online surveys and a five- to seven-day delay in the shipment and processing of paper surveys.

Student has ‘high’ time in RKA cafeteria By MIAWLING LAM A student from the Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy allegedly smoked pot while his colleagues devoured pizza bagels and tri-color salads. The Riverdale Review has learned a male sixth-grader from M.S./H.S. 141 brought a marijuana cigarette to school and lit up in the cafeteria during lunch on March 9. Two other students, also believed to be sixth-graders, were implicated as well. The matter came to light only last week following a tip from a member of the public. Department of Education spokes-

woman Marge Feinberg confirmed the case. She declined to elaborate on the exact punishment doled out to the trio but said they were all penalized. “The cigarette was confiscated and parents notified,” she said. “He was disciplined. Two other students also were disciplined for their involvement.” Feinberg said the matter was handled internally by school principal Lori O’Mara in conjunction with School Safety Agents, a division of the New York City Police Department. Calls to the school seeking comment were, as usual, not returned.

Spokeswoman Deidrea Miller said it was important that people take the time to provide feedback on how their local schools are faring. “The school survey gives parents, students and teachers the opportunity to share their experiences and expectations to foster an engaging and enriching learning environment at their schools,” she said. The results are considered invaluable, as they provide insight into a particular school's learning environment and measure people's attitudes on the local administration, academic expectations, communication, engagement, and safety and respect. The data also contributes up to 15

percent of a school's Progress Report grade. A notice posted on P.S. 24’s website reveals the school is aiming for a 75 percent return rate from its parent cohort this year. Just over half of all parents submitted a response last year. “Your collaboration in regard to your child’s education is beneficial not only to your child but to all the children in our school,” parent coordinator Florence Byrne wrote. Interested parties can complete the survey either in traditional paper format or online in 10 different languages at Responses must be submitted by this Friday.

3 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 14, 2011

Local parents, teachers and students take the latest school survey

Thursday, April 14, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Around the schools... P.S. 81

Kindergarteners are busy this week. On Friday at 9 a.m., they will present a show of Capoeira, a kind of Brazilian martial art. As part of its “spring fling,” Ms. Olivet’s class will prepare empanadas under the expert direction of a student’s grandmother. The children will be given aprons to commemorate their empanadamaking, and classmates will sign each other’s aprons. Guitarist Russell Velazquez will provide musical entertainment for the event.

P.S. 24

Wednesday was the school’s Earth Day Walk to School Event. Parents and students were encouraged to start out with a good breakfast, to make walking to school a habit and to organize a “walking school bus” together with their friends and neighbors. A snack and a walkto-school button were provided to participating students who passed the parents’ association greeting station at the corner of West 236th Street.

I.S./H.S. 181/RiverdaleKingsbridge Academy

Last Thursday was the school’s third annual Stop Graffiti Day, sponsored by the Kingsbridge-Riverdale-Van Cortlandt Development Corporation, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, City Solve and the NYPD 50th Precinct’s Graffiti Task Force. The event featured a clean-up demonstration as well as educational games and presentations. Assemblyman Dinowitz and the other sponsors addressed the students.

Kinneret Day School

The school entered a team of five seventh-graders—Ben Davar, Zachary Epps, Ben Gaebler, Michael Goldfarb and Yuval Sitton—in last week’s First Annual Con Edison Bronx Middle School Math Tournament at the Museum of Mathematics. Teacher Assistant Sarah Kirschner accompanied the team to the tournament site in the Con Edison Auditorium in Manhattan. Golfarb came in second place and Epps came in third. The entire team came in third place as the only group of seventh graders to place in the top three. The eighth-graders enjoyed a three-day senior trip to Washington D.C. Highlights included a visit to Mount Vernon,

George Washington’s home; a tour of the Ford Theater, where a guide walked them through the events that led to the shooting of President Lincoln; some time at the Spy Museum, where they had to search for clues and spy on each other in order to find the truth; and an evening boat ride where they met students from other schools.

Manhattan College

The college is pleased to announce that its 40-year-old adult Division of Continuing Studies will be renamed the School of Continuing and Professional Studies effective July 1, 2011. The school will continue to serve as the key educational resource for adult students and will now expand to including a master’s degree program. Dr. Cheryl Harrison, the school’s new executive director, will oversee development. Before joining Manhattan College, Harrison was executive director of organizational leadership programs for the college of professional studies at Quinnipiac University, where she helped to integrate undergraduate and graduate programs for adult learners in the classroom and online and was assistant professor for the school of business at Central Connecticut State University, where she taught courses in management and organizational behavior and theory. She also worked as a team leader for a leadership development system for healthcare clinical managers. Before starting her career in higher education, Harrison was a director of organization and leadership at CIGNA Healthcare, a consultant and human resources director at Development by Design, a manager for targeted selection and development at Aetna Life and Casualty, a consultant at NYNEX (now Verizon) and a corporate consultant at John Hancock Life Insurance Company. Harrison holds a doctorate in organizational behavior from Harvard University, a master’s in instructional design and technology from Boston University and a bachelor’s in comparative literature from University of Southern California.

FAX education news to:

The Riverdale Review (718) 543-4206

By MIAWLING LAM A sophisticated idea to transform subway wind power into electricity has propelled four Bronx students to victory in the world’s largest school science competition. The quartet—seventh graders from the Horace Mann School in Riverdale— beat 6,000 other teams to win the regional title of the ExploraVision contest. The victorious team, comprised of twin brothers James and Hugh Savoldelli, James Hayman and Jeffrey Weiner, were honored during an award ceremony at the school last Wednesday. Their creation, dubbed the Subway Smart System, attempts to produce clean energy by tapping the wind power produced by subways and converting it into electricity. The idea was borne out of the school’s

Science Club and was developed over a period of two years. Team coach and chair of the Horace Mann Middle School Science Department Jodi Hill said she was extremely proud of her charges and impressed by their teamwork, perseverance and dedication. She said victory was made even sweeter considering the group, who won in the Grade 7 to 9 category, competed against much older students. “I think their idea is wonderful. In fact, their idea is so practical,” she said. "When they first mentioned it to me, I spent weeks trying to find out who had already done this because it seemed so logical.” Hill also revealed inclement weather almost resulted in the students' missing their submission deadline.

Horace Mann students Hugh Savoldelli, James Savoldelli, James Hayman and Jeffrey Weiner were honored at an award ceremony last week. The group were declared the regional winners in the ExploraVision science competition.

“Both times that ExploraVision was due last year and this year, we had snow days,” she said. “This year was that ice storm and in Riverdale, there was ice about an inch thick on every surface and FedEx stopped picking things up that day. Luckily, there was an extension of the ExploraVision deadline.” James Savoldelli, 13, explained the concept and said the primary source of power would be derived from a series of ram air turbines that could be laid across the crossties of subway tracks. “As the train goes overhead, it spins the rotor blades that are inside the ram air turbines,” he said. “Those blades then move and spin a generator. The generator will generate electricity.” The output would be supplemented

5 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 14, 2011

Horace Mann school wins regional science award

with a second component, which harnesses piezoelectricity by using piezoelectric smart grass. His brother Hugh Savoldelli said subway tunnels could be lined with piezoelectric smart grass, which generates currents when pressure is applied. “You line the walls with artificial blades of grass, and when the train goes by, the wind pushes on it, bends them and puts pressure on a piezoelectric crystal on the bottom,” he said. “With many millions of these on the walls, you could generate a sophisticated number of amps where it could then help power all the electrical [devices] in the subway stations and lights.” All regional winning schools received a laptop, banner and plaque, while each victorious student was awarded a camcorder. They have now advanced to the next stage and will compete for national honors.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


RNH sponsors college information workshop

Riverdale Neighborhood House is offering a College Awareness Workshop to high school sophomores and juniors who are looking forward to taking the next step in their academic careers. Topics include: Choosing the Right School, the College Application Process, Applying for Financial Aid and more. The workshop will take place at Riverdale Neighborhood House, 5521 Mosholu Avenue, on Thursday, April 14 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. For more information, or to reserve your place in this workshop, call 718549-8100 x114. Visit their website at for more details.

Viewing of 1982 PrePassover Farbrengen

The Riverdale Jewish community will join hundreds of other Jewish communities worldwide on Thursday, April 14, as a day of great significance for every Jew of our generation: the birth of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson of blessed memory, on 11 Nisan 1902. It is a day in which hundreds of thousands of Jews the world over pause to reflect on the Rabbe's calling to deepen and rededicate ourselves to our individual and collective mission, as articulated in the Torah and illuminated in Chassidic teachings.

Join in at Chabad of Riverdale, 535 West 246th Street, on Thursday, April 14, from 8:30 to 9:45 p.m., for a special viewing of the 1982 Farbrengen, which marked the Rebbe's 80th birthday. The Farbrengen is for men and women. Light refreshments are sponsored by Dr. Michael Blotner. For more information, call Chabad Lubavitch of Riverdale at 718-549-1100 ext. 10.

Free graphic novel writing workshop

The Bronx Council on the Arts' Bronx Writers Center presents 'Not Just Boom! Pow!: A Graphic Novel Writing Workshop' - one of a series of free writing workshops for aspiring writers at Barnes & Noble Bay Plaza. The Bronx Writers Center presents this hands-on workshop, facilitated by graphic novelist Ray Felix for aspiring writers who are working on graphic novels. Learn techniques for creating intriguing plots and characters and starting a publishing career. Q&A follows. Bring a notebook, a pen and an idea for this hands-on session. Admission is free. All are welcome. 'Not Just Boom! Pow!: Free Graphic Novel Writing Workshop' is one of a series of free workshops for writers produced by the Bronx Writers Center. Upcoming BWC workshops are 'Write Your Life: Free Memoir Writing Workshop' on May 20; 'Re-Write it Right: Free Revision Workshop' on June 17; 'Vampires, Zombies

and Magical Beings: Free Fantasy Writing Workshop' on July 15; and 'First Lines: Free Workshop to Help You Get Started Writing' on August 19. For additional information on this workshop or other events presented by the Bronx Writers Center, call 718-931-9500, x21 or email or visit the Bronx Writers Center's web pages at Barnes & Noble at Bay Plaza is located at 290 Baychester Avenue in the Co-op City section of the Bronx. To find out about other literary activities at the store, call 718-862-3945 or visit www. (click on 'Stores and Events'). The Bronx Writers Center promotes and supports the writing community, the development of writers and the audience for literature and reading in the Bronx. Through its reading series and open mics, free creative writing workshops, seminars, fellowships, competitions, and the Bronx WritersCorps program, BWC reaches writers of all ages, backgrounds and disciplines. Over the years, BWC has presented one of the most diverse and exciting reading series in New York City, featuring emerging talents from the Bronx as well as renowned writers from around the country.

Jewish War Veterans to hold monthly meeting

Jewish War veterans of Post # 69 Newman-Goldman will hold their monthly meeting on Sunday April 17 at 10 a.m. The event will be held in Room 3D22 on the third floor of the Kingsbridge Medical Hospital on 130 West Kingsbridge Road. Entrance is via Webb Avenue. The group is the only active JWV post in the Riverdale/Kingsbridge area. Prior members of any post and all veterans are welcome. Attendees do not need to be registered with the hospital. For more information, please call 718548-6832.

Dog walking event planned for May 1

'Fitness With Fido' Dog Walk, a fundraiser to restore the parks and Canine Court for the better use of pets and people to enjoy the beauty of Van Cortlandt Park will be held on Sunday, May 1, 2011, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Canine Court Dog Run of Van Cortlandt Park;enter the park

at Broadway and Lakeview Place Meet at Canine Court, bring your pet pooch and walk around the track with your dog. Extra bonus after Walk: Frisbee Catching Contest at Canine Court Dog Run (only registered dog owners and their pets are eligible to participate). Celebrate how pets and parks enrich peoples lives in New York City and promote responsible pet ownership. Presented by Friends of Canine Court and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Must pre-register: $10 per dog. Registration form at: www. All proceeds will go toward upkeep of the Canine Court dog playground. For more information call Friends of Canine Court, 718-796-4541.

Second Night Passover Seder at Riv. Temple

Why spend Passover alone? Join in for the annual feast of freedom the Second Night Passover Seder on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. at Riverdale Temple Rabbi Judith S. Lewis will lead the Seder and we will share in the reading of the Haggadah, sing Passover songs and eat a delightful kosher meal. The community is invited. $40 per adult, $15 per child ages 5-12, Ages 4 and under are free. Reservations are a must! Call 718-548-3800 ext. 0. Send check to Riverdale Temple 4545 Independence Avenue, Bronx, NY 10471 or pay online at

Passover Observances at Congregation Shaarei Shalom

The preparation for and celebration of the Festival of Passover at Congregation Shaarei Shalom will begin this coming Shabbat, April 15 and 16, as Shabbat HaGadol (the Great Sabbath) is observed. The community is warmly invited to Join the Experience! First day Festival morning service will be conducted on Tuesday, April 19 at 10:00 a.m., include a midrashic study of Shir HaShirim, The Song of Songs, traditionally read on during Passover, and be infused with the special melodies of the Passover season. Shabbat services will be conducted on Friday evening, April 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday morning April 23 at 10:00 a.m. Seventh day Festival morning service will be conducted on Monday, April 25 at 10:00 a.m. and include a Yizkor memorial service. All services will be held in the congregation's sanctuary at 5919 Riverdale Avenue. Each will offer participants the opportunity for joyful prayer, wonderful music, and the chance to experience the tradition of celebrating Passover, the second of the Jewish calendar's three pilgrim festivals and the commemoration of the exodus from Egypt. Congregation Shaarei Shalom is a Reform Jewish synagogue. It offers a contemporary and participatory worship experience and prides itself on its inclusiveness of all members of the Riverdale community, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, race, age, or creed. It is dedicated to embracing the diversity within the Reform Jewish movement. For further information about the congregation, these services, membership, it's Religious School, or any of the many adult program offerings, please contact the congregation at (718) 796-0305, e-mail the congregation at: shaareishalomriverda or visit its website at www.


Grammy-nominated Eroica Trio (Erika Nickrenz, Piano; Susie Park, Violin; Sara Sant'Ambrogio, Cello) headlines Bronx Arts Ensemble's intimate chamber music concert on Sunday, April 17 at 3 pm at 761 West 231st Street, Riverdale. Joining Eroica Trio is oboist Lorenzo Jaldin, winner of BAE's 2010 Young Bronx Artist Competition. The program will include Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello - Rebecca Clark, Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in E minor Opus 90, 'Dumky' - Antonin Dvo ák, and Sonata for Oboe and Piano - Camille Saint-Saëns. The most sought-after trio in the world, the Grammy-nominated Eroica Trio electrifies audiences with their powerful and passionate performances. The Trio was the first all-female chamber ensemble to reach the top echelon of its field, breaking an age-old gender barrier. Tickets for the April 17 concert are $25, which includes an intermission reception to meet the artists. For more information, visit www. or call 718 6017399.

RMHA offers new group

Do you think you may have too much 'stuff'? Do you have difficulty letting go of things that have sort of just 'piled Up' over time? Do you consider yourself or do others think of you as something of a 'pack rat'? If you have difficulty organizing or disposing of your possessions, the 'Clutterers Group' may be just right for you. Come and share your thoughts with other 'clutterers.' This will be an ongoing group run by RMHA Social Worker, Paul Heron, LMSW. The group will aim to help members own their possessions instead of having their possessions possess them. The group will meet on Mondays at 2 p.m. at RMHA, 5676 Riverdale Ave., 2nd floor, starting on May 9. Interested persons should call Paul Heron for further details at 718-7965300 ext. 160.

Curves Food Drive kicks off in April

During the month of April, Curves of Riverdale will participate in the 13th Annual Curves Food Drive to collect nonperishable food and cash donations to benefit their local food bank. Current members who make a $30 donation or an equivalent donation of food are eligible to receive a Curves reusable Food Drive grocery bag. And, from April 4-17, Curves will waive the membership fee for new members who donate a bag of nonperishable food or make a minimum donation of $30. 'Our goal is to top the donation that we made last year,' said a Curves of Riverdale staff member. 'This is a great opportunity for the members of our Curves community to help strengthen the Riverdale community, too. Everything that our members donate at our club will benefit local families in need.' In addition to the food and monetary donations that each gym collects, Curves

International is offering gyms the opportunity to win cash prizes for their local food banks. Prizes will be awarded to clubs with the most food collected, clubs who beat their 2010 donation level by the largest amount and to two randomly selected clubs drawn from all the clubs who enter the contest. Curves clubs have donated more than 61 million pounds of food in the U.S. and Canada since 2004. For more information about Curves of Riverdale, located at 3719 Riverdale Avenue, and the 2011 Curves Food Drive, contact a Curves of Riverdale staff member at 718-549-0555, or visit www.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 14, 2011

BAE to hold chamber music conert

Thursday, April 14, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Thursday, April 14 Riverdale

STORYTELLING 10:30 a.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue A storytelling and art-making workshop inspired by author-illustrator Maira Kalman. Children are invited to a reading of Maira Kalman’s What Pete Ate From A–Z, followed by a bookmaking project that explores whimsical words and loveable letters. Presented by the Jewish Museum. Limited to 12 participants. For ages 3 to 7 years old. Visit the special exhibition Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (Of a Crazy World) on view at The Jewish Museum from March 13 - July 31, 2011.

Spuyten Duyvil

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


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


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 more information, call 718-548-1212.


VIEWING OF 1982 FARBRENGEN 8:30 p.m. Chabad Lubavitch of Riverdale 535 West 246th Street A special viewing of the 1982 Farbrengen, which marked the Rebbe's 80th birthday. For more information, call 718549-1100, ext. 10.

Friday, April 15 Riverdale

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

Saturday, April 16 Kingsbridge Hts.

NEIGHBORHOOD FESTIVAL 10 a.m. Kingsbridge Heights Community Center 3101 Kingsbridge Terrace Celebrating the multicultural heritage of the surrounding community with street vendors, ethnic cuisine, games, music and performacnes, along with community service and learning activities. For more information, call 718-884-0700 ext. 191.

Sunday, April 17 Kingsbridge

JWV MEETING 10 a.m. Kingsbridge Medical Hospital 130 West Kingsbridge Road Jewish War veterans of Post # 69 Newman-Goldman will hold their monthly meeting. Prior members of any post and all veterans are welcome. Attendees do not need to be registered with the hospital. For more information, please call 718-548-6832.

Monday, April 18 Spuyten Duyvil

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


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.

Tuesday, April 19 Riverdale

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


TWEEN TUESDAYS 4 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue For ages 5 to 12 years. The library is yours on Tuesdays! Play games, challenge your friends in a video game competition, hop on a laptop, and check out all new materials on the shelves. For more information, call 718-549-1212.


PASSOVER SEDER 18:30:00 Riverdale Temple 4545 Independence Avenue Rabbi Judith S. Lewis will lead the Seder and we will share in the reading of the Haggadah, sing Passover songs and eat a delightful kosher meal. The community is invited. Reservations are a must! Call 718-548-3800 ext. 0.

Wednesday, April 20 Riverdale

BOOK DISCUSSION 1 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue The Riverdale Branch Library meets the third Wednesday of every month @ 1:00 p.m. This month will be discussing Thirteen Steps Down by Ruth Rendell. For more information, call 718-549-1212.

Van Cortlandt

EASTER ARTS & CRAFTS 3:30 p.m. Van Cortlandt Branch Library 3874 Sedgwick Avenue Come a celebrate Easter with us and make an adorable bunny masks. For more information, call 718-543-5150.


PRESCHOOL STORY TIME 4 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Preschoolers from 3 to 5 years old and their parents/ caregivers can enjoy new and classic picture books, action songs, and related activities, and meet other preschoolers in the neighborhood with Debbie the volunteer. For more information, call 718-549-1212.

Thursday, April 21 Spuyten Duyvil

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


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

Friday, April 22 Riverdale

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

By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER A plump teen with big hair learns the latest dance steps from a black schoolmate while they’re both in detention at school, then she stars on a TV show and desegregates its troupe of dancers after breaking out of solitary confinement at a women’s penitentiary with help from a local aspiring-rock-star idol, who falls in love with her, joins in her civil-rights mission and snags the recording contract he’s always dreamed of. Unlikely? Not when the Riverdale Rising Stars trot out their talents and make the multilevel fantasy come true in their production of “Hairspray.” Director Laurie Walton brings the Broadway musical to life for Bronx theatergoers at the Riverdale Y. The 80member cast, including newcomers along

with RRS regulars, remains exuberant in realizing the brilliant choreography of Emily Walton to the ‘60s beat created by a live backstage band under the direction of Remy Kurs and Bob Walton. Costume coordinator Penny Margeotes adds to the fun with some outrageous outfits. Every actor “stole the show” on opening night last Thursday. Jessica Lavery, who alternates performances with Rebecca Abrams as Tracy Turnblad, is a natural as the spunky heroine—it’s easy to rejoice at her triumphs. Lily Feldman, who alternates with Michal Schorsch as Tracy’s best pal, Penny Pingleton, is graceful and endearing as she comforts her daring friend and is herself emboldened to defy the racial bias of her unappealing mom, Prudy, portrayed by Jennifer Morris, alternating with Sarah Knispel.

One of the many memorable songs was “Mama I’m a Big Girl Now.” In a comical sextet—Tracy and her mom, Edna; Penny and her mom, Prudy; and the snobby Amber Von Tussle and her insufferable mom, Velma—the ladies engage in separate pairs of mother-daughter arguments. The counterpoint, punctuated by unison responsive cries of “Stop!” “Don’t!” “No!” “Please!,”is cleverly choreographed and smoothly performed. Edna Turnblad, played in the original Broadway cast by Harvey Fierstein and in the Riverdale cast by a housedress-wearing David Newman, is warm, wise and

hilarious. Eric Berger is the good-natured, plaid-pants Wilbur, Edna’s adoring husband and Tracy’s supportive dad. Edna and Wilbur express their enduring love in a side-splitting dance number, “You’re Timeless to Me.” Sam Piland is perfectly polished as TV show host Corny Collins, who recognizes Tracy’s dancing skill and overlooks her chubby figure. Breffni Ward, alternating with Shara Zierler Feit, is mean and full of herself as Velma, the Collins show producer who disqualifies a young black girl, Little Inez, played by Jenna Baker, on the basis of race. Continued on Page 19

YOU CAN'T STOP THE BEAT--“HAIRSPRAY” AT THE RIVERDALE Y: Jessica Lavery (Tracy Turnblad), Ryan Esnard (Link Larkin), David Newman (Edna Turnblad), Lily Feldman (Penny Pingleton) and Tyrone Blanco (Seaweed Stubbs) get their moments �������������������������������������������������������� of fame on the Corny Collins dance show. Remaining performances on Wednesday, April 13, and Thursday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 16, at 8:45 p.m.; and Sunday, April 17, at 2 p.m. To reserve, visit or call 718-548-8200.

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9 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 14, 2011

Riverdale Rising Stars to present the musical ‘Hairspray’ at the Y

Thursday, April 14, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


By MIAWLING LAM The state millionaire’s tax, Indian Point and federal health care reforms emerged as the key constituent concerns during the latest town hall meeting. Four local elected officials, representing all three levels of government, convened at a full-to-capacity Van Cortlandt Jewish Center last Sunday to answer a slew of the public’s questions. Congressman Eliot Engel, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, State Senator Gustavo Rivera and Councilman G. Oliver Koppell headlined the event. The panelists kicked off the proceedings with brief statements on the state budget—including a mention of the successful restoration of Title XX funding for senior centers—before the floor was opened to the more than 200 residents. During his opening remarks, Dinowitz expressed his dismay at Governor Andrew Cuomo for failing to extend the millionaire's tax. “I think that was a mistake because we’re cutting off income that the state needs,” he said. “We’re making cuts to public education in order to fund the cut in taxes for millionaires. “There were a number of cuts, and we’re going to see the ramifications of those cuts in the near future.” Rivera took his five-minute allotment to reiterate his pledge to strengthen and renew rent stabilization laws, and he denied the millionaire’s tax bill was dead. “There is a schism within the Republican Conference because they know these cuts will affect the majority of the people that they represent,” he said.

“What they’re doing by not extending this surcharge is that they’re giving a tax cut to a minority.” Meanwhile, Koppell encouraged residents to visit the newly refurbished library at Kingsbridge and provided a glowing endorsement of local public schools. “There certainly are problems with our schools, but as far as the elementary schools are concerned, I am particularly very pleased. “I wouldn’t hesitate to send my children or grandchildren and you shouldn’t hesitate to send your children or grandchildren.” Fresh from last-minute budget negotiations that averted a government shutdown, Engel said both federal parties needed to focus now on cleaning up their act. “We should not even be going up to that brink because all it does is show the American public that there is dysfunction in Washington,” he said. “That we can’t compromise. That we can’t get our act together, and I think it hurts everybody.” Engel also reiterated his calls for the Indian Point nuclear energy plant to be closed, adding that he was investigating the cozy relationship between the nuclear industry and regulators in Washington. The Q&A session, which lasted well over 90 minutes on its own and was heated at times, covered everything from overcrowded local buses to the Croton Water Filtration Plant and the U.S. military intervention of Libya. Riverdale retiree Gita Weiner, 60, also asked Engel whether his own insurance premium, like hers, had increased 30 percent. The senior citizen said her insurance provider blamed health care reform laws for the increase, Continued on Page 19

11 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 14, 2011

VC Village packs town hall meeting

Thursday, April 14, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Mayor of Itamar visits Hebrew Institute of Riverdale

By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER Every so often, a boar or some other wild creature prods the electrified security fence around the Israeli community of Itamar, and a guard from a central station jeeps over to the spot where the animal made contact. False alarm—the fence is intact, the boar continues foraging and the guard returns to his post. Late at night on March 11, a different sort of beast set off a signal and moved on without a trace, and the guard who dashed over there thought it was just another false alarm. But those who breached the fence that night stole into the community and lurked until the Fogel family had turned in for the night before they climbed through an unlocked window into the home, stepped onto the bed of a sleeping child they didn’t notice, proceeded through the rooms, slaughtered the child’s parents and three siblings and escaped just as they came, triggering another alert upon reentry into the adjoining town of Awarta. Rabbi Moshe Goldsmith, the mayor if Itamar, and his wife, Leah, stopped at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale on April 2 as part of their speaking tour for American groups who wanted to hear a first-hand account of the attack and to show in a personal way their support for the grieving town. A slide show featured upbeat snapshots of everyday life, complete with celebrations, in

the agricultural “settlement.” “It is a great honor to have Moshe and Leah with us. We wish it were not under these circumstances,” HIR’s Rabbi Avi Weiss said. He announced plans for the congregation to organize a trip to Itamar “as an expression of solidarity.” A fundamental teaching in Judaism, he said, is that all of Israel is “one body” and that “if any part of the body hurts, we all hurt.” The killers’ entry point was a blind spot for the security cameras, and binoculars and telescopes found on the Awarta side of the fence indicated that the attack was well planned. “They were staking us out for many months,” Goldsmith said. Leah Goldsmith described how she and her husband had met in seventh grade at a Brooklyn yeshiva, where they flew paper airplanes at each other but also learned a thing or two. She extolled the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs as prototypes in pointing out the Jewish nation’s link to the land of Israel, relating the bible reading for the week to current events in the holy land. The Goldsmiths have lived in Itamar for the past 25 years, she said. When they arrived, she was “still wearing high heels and carrying a Bloomingdale’s bag,” and locals wondered how long the American newcomers would last in their prefab houses alongside “a generator that drones for four hours a day.”

“But we stayed,” she said. “When we first came, it was a parched brown hill of thorns and rocks. Today, it is the number-one producer of organic eggs, yogurts and flour in Israel.” She extended a general invitation to visit. “The greatest thing you can do is come and be with us,” she said. “Come and see it—it’s a beautiful place.” Itamar has a population of 1,300, including students who reside at local schools. Young families continue to move there, and babies continue to be born. Visitors from all over Israel are now flocking there to visit, and a busload of non-Jewish Russians recently came to show their solidarity, the mayor said. The couple scheduled themselves for more than 50 speaking engagements over several days. They turned to the United States in 2002 to raise funds for heightened security after a similar tragedy in Itamar—the murder of five members of the Shabo family. Now in the wake of the Fogel murders, they are here to appeal again to the generosity of Americans, especially because the Israeli army has not provided sufficient protection. Audience members were eager to know how they could contribute, and Goldsmith referred them to the community’s website, A man asked for Goldsmith’s thoughts on the popular notion that the settlements are the

source of all Middle East problems and that without them, there would be peace and “everyone would love each other.” “Before we had settlements in 1948, we were attacked by all the Arab countries,” Goldsmith replied. “The Jewish nation has been attacked because we’re Jewish, not because we’re settlers….

We can’t be apologetic all the time. We have to stand up for who we are because no one is going to do it if we don’t do it ourselves.” A man asked how the town would respond to the murders. “We’re going to use all our energy to build another neighborhood,” Goldsmith said. “That’s our response. That’s our revenge.”

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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 information, call 914-722-1289.

Sunday, April 17 Valhalla

EARTH DAY CELEBRATION 10 a.m. Kensico Dam Plaza Bronx River Parkway Discover keys to greener living while enjoying live music and kids' activities, shopping a farmers market and taking a chance to win great prizes. For more information, call 914813-5425.


LIVE ANIMALS 11 a.m. The Weinberg Nature Center 455 Mamaroneck Road Travel the world as the Center introduces you to their diverse collection of resident critters. Join Aaron Levine for this wonderful global safari experience. For more information, call 914-722-1289.


EASTER EGG HUNT 11:30 a.m. Greenburgh Nature Center 99 Dromore Road Search the GNC grounds for hidden eggs, then meet some of the animals from the Animal Museum, play some games and shake hands with a rabbit. Come dressed up and bring a basket. Egg hunts are at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. For more infomration, call 914-723-3470.


CONCERT 8 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Reisinger Concert Hall The Sarah Lawrence String Orchestra, directed by Sungrai Sohn, will perform. For more info, call 914-395-2412.

Monday, April 18 Bronxville

FRENCH FILM SERIES 7:30 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Heimbold Visual Arts Center Frederick Wiseman's film, 'La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet,' offers a portrait of suppleness and agility — not just that of the dancers' bodies but also of the august institution of the title. For moreinformation, call 914-395-2412.

Tuesday, April 19 Scarsdale

CONCERT 1:30 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Reisinger Concert Hall Violinist Rolf Schulte and pianist James Goldsworthy will play works by Schumann. For info, call 914-395-2412.

Thursday, April 21 Scarsdale

FRENCH FILM SERIES 7:30 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Heimbold Visual Arts Center

Featuring the film "A Town Called Panic." Starring Stephane Aubier & Vincent Patar. Its playful, nonstop anarchy is bound to appeal to children and adults alike. For more information, call 914-395-2412.

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 more information, 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 info, 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 infomration, 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.

Sunday, April 24 Rye

EARLY SPRING MIGRANTS 9 a.m. Marshlands Conservancy Boston Post Road Bring binoculars to view the first wave of the returning spring birds. For more information, call 914-835-4466.

Monday, April 25 Bronxville

CONCERT 6 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Reisinger Concert Hall Wall to Wall Chamber Music. Directed by Sungrai Sohn. An evening of ch amber music performed by SLC student groups. For more information, call 914-395-2412.

Tuesday, April 26 Bronxville

CONCERT 1:30 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Reisinger Concert Hall Cygnus Ensemble reads and performs student compositions. For more information, call 914-395-2412.


CONCERT 8 p.m. SUNY Purchase College Performing Arts Center Maestro Michael Adelson will conduct the Purchase Symphony Orchestra with "Onward!", an evening of three pieces that point to joyous futures. Tickets $22.50. For more information, call 914-251-6200 or visit

Wednesday, April 27 Bronxville

CONCERT 12:45 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Marshall Field Room 1 Music for Baroque Violin and Harpsichord. Featuring Joan Plana and Martin Goldray. For info, call 914-395-2412.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday, April 14

Thursday, April 14, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



On Easter Sunday morning, April 24, the Annual Mass and Communion Breakfast will be held in the Greentree Restaurant, 5693 Riverdale Avenue (at W. 259th Street). The sponsors are Sean Oglaigh na hErieann, Friends of Irish Freedom,Saorse of New Jersey, Bronx Gaelic League and the Irish American Cultural Club. The Mass, commemorating the 95th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Uprising, will begin at 10 a.m. and will be celebrated by Rev. Patrick Moloney. A traditional Irish breakfast will follow at 11 a.m. There will be a guest speaker from Ireland. Tickets are $25 each (children under 12 years are free). Parties of four or more, please make reservations to ensure seating. To order tickets or for more information, call 718-884-3085 or 718-601-1550.

CSAIR teens going to New Orleans

Jewish Teens for Justice at CSAIR (high school students from 9-12 grade) will take a service trip to New Orleans on Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-30. This is in respond to the need for help to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina. There will be an information session

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with Rabbinic Intern Corey Helfand on Wednesday, April 13, at CSAIR at 6:30 p.m. Get all your questions answered. Parents are welcome to attend. Dinner will be provided. Get all the details for the heavily subsidized trip plus the fun details of hanging out in New Orleans. Highlights include: service work, Café DuMonde, Southern Jewish life (and cooking), The French Quarter. RSVP by April 12. Call or email Corey at 913-486-9868 or

BALAM Dance Theater at Lehman College

BALAM Dance Theatre: From Bali to the Bronx commences BALAM Dance Theatre's spring 2011 season with a free performance on Thursday, April 28, 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. at Lehman College's Lovinger Theatre. BALAM is a New York City-based company that offers a new vision of contemporary dance by fusing ballet, modern and diverse cultural dance styles with Balinese theatre. BALAM Dance Theatre: From Bali to the Bronx celebrates the arrival of spring and the company's recent successful tour of Bali, Indonesia by creating a new program featuring the most popular works from BALAM's Bali Tour 2010. Signature pieces highlighted on this program include 'Tigerlily and the Dragonfly,' a fantasy courtship with BALAM's principal dancer

Robin Gilbert on point, and 'RamayanaAbduction of Sita,' an action packed story ballet inspired by the Hindu epic with Broadway ballerina Dianna Warren debuting as the alluring Golden Deer. Toshinori Hamada's dance trio, 'Sunda Upasunda,' makes its New York premiere in the program. For more information, call 646-361-9183 or visit

'Run for Your Life' 5K race and walk

Yes the Bronx will sponsor 'Run for Your Life 5K Race and Walk' on Saturday, April 23, 10 a.m. at the Split Rock Golf Club 870 Shore Road. This is part of the 'Run For Your Life' series to raise awareness about the obesity epidemic and get everyone using the Bronx parks. As always, prizes, T-shirts, and fun for all will be the order of the day. Participants may sign up at

Sr. Cecilia to address Serra Club meeting

Sister Cecilia, of the Franciscans of the Renewal, will be the guest speaker at the April 27th luncheon meeting of the Serra Club of The Bronx and Westchester. Sister will be accompanied by two postu-

lants and will discuss vocations and how they were called to be a part of the order founded by Fr. Benedict Groeschel. The Serra Club is an international organization, whose mission is to foster and promote vocations to the ordained priesthood and vowed religious life, and through this ministry, fosters and affirms the members' common Catholic faith. Luncheon meetings are held at noon at the Eastwood Manor at 3371 Eastchester Road (corner of Boston Post Road) in the Bronx. The cost of the luncheon is $20. Call 718-654-3601 for additional information and reservations.

Dance Against Violence at St. Philip Neri School

Dance Against Violence will be held on Saturday, April 30, 7 p.m., at St. Philip Neri School, 3031 Grand Concourse. Rocking the house with DJ Sleepy of 98.3 FM K-JOY. There will be Dance Crew Battles, Battle of the DJs, Local Businesses, Free Giveaways, Raffles 50/50 Drawings. Food and refreshments are sold all night. $8 cover charge. Tickets sold at the door only. This event is sponsored by the American Eagle Force Cadet Unit - SPN School. For more information, call Eagle Cadet Command at 347-726-5452.




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The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 14, 2011

1916 Easter Mass and commemoration set

Thursday, April 14, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Iron Curtain over Van Cortlandt Park

Last week a sympathetic soul sent us and apparently other news outlets and political leaders notice that the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy was holding a meeting. With so many unanswered questions about the controversial plan take over a significant section of the park to build a “temporary” skating rink, we sent two of our reporters to the meeting to try and find out how our public land is proposed to be used. Both reporters were ejected, and told that the meeting was “private.” Thus we learned nothing, and in a way we learned everything about this ill-conceived plan. The Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy was set up and its initial members appointed by the Bloomberg administration in a questionable backroom process that substituted politicos and a cadre of folks from outside of the community for local park activists and community leaders. It is engaged in developing projects that utilize this parkland that belongs not to Mayor Bloomberg, but to all of us as New Yorkers. We pay taxes to support the park and yet it is treated as if it were some private property. We challenge the Conservancy, and for that matter the Parks Department, to explain just why these meetings are closed to the public and the press. We can see no item that can conceivably be discussed by this group that requires such secrecy and why they are creating a climate of perceived deception that a closed meeting implies. There are a lot of questions about this plan that remain unanswered. Why this particular location in the park, in the shadow of the elevated train, along side an unappealing concrete wall? Not exactly the same ambiance one would find in, say, Bryant Park. Is this the best location or the location that best serves the political ambitions of City Council candidate Anthony Perez Cassino? Which leads us to the inevitable question, what about rest rooms? Port-a-pottys in Van Cortlandt Park in the dead of winter? Certainly this is not what we want for our children. What exactly is the role of the equally unanswerable private 34th Street Partnership? Why are they “donating” $120,000 for a skating rink in a park in the Bronx, much to the chagrin of the merchants in their area according to a story in the New York Post? We’ve learned to grow suspicious of gifts that may have strings attached. We suspect that a wily operator such as Dan Biederman is not doing this out of the goodness of his heart. He may see the Conservancy as an investment (with someone else’s money) leading to yet another six-figure annual salary or consultant fee sometime in the near future. That the plans for the use of our public parkland can be hatched in secret, closed door sessions reveals everything wrong with the Conservancy and this hastily, ill-conceived proposal for a skating rink. They reinforce the image of the Bloomberg administration as contemptuous of the public’s right to participate in their own government. This is no different than secret plans for bike paths, and efforts to close major thoroughfares like Times Square and 34th Street without public input because the mayor and his deranged “anti-transportation” commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan like bikes and hate automobiles. These schemes were also proposed without public hearings. Why not put this plan before the public? Why not let them ask questions, make comments, air ideas? What is the Conservancy trying to hide? The Conservancy’s insistence on secret, closed-door meetings reveals the totalitarian thinking of its chairman, Perez Cassino, the architect of the failed boycott scheme to try and put newspapers out of business, and control the flow of information in our community. Having the public’s business conducted in secret is a sort of preview of Perez-Cassino’s mindset that would lead to a Riverdale where criticism isn’t allowed or permitted. The iron curtain fell over twenty years ago in eastern Europe. It doesn’t need to be rebuilt here along Broadway. So, to Perez Cassino and members of the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy: Tear Down that Wall!

Mo’ on NoMa

To The Editor: Solaria and other real estate professionals who use the term, NoMa, North of Manhattan, as a reference to Riverdale, do so in introducing Riverdale to the countless New Yorkers who do not know much about this community, including its location. We found the term in the neighborhood rebranding section of Wikipedia and its use follows a long tradition of quick and easy abbreviated references to city neighborhoods, like SOHO and DUMBO. In fact, in Washington DC, the part of town North of Massachusetts Avenue is called NOMA, and it makes it easier for people to find because of the abbreviation. As in our use of the term here, it is not meant as a slur but as a directive for those looking for Riverdale. Locally, I am sure that residents who live here do not need directions to find Riverdale or Solaria. As an active member of this community, no insult to Riverdale was intended. Rather it emphasized for a broader audience what all Riverdalians know: that Riverdale is a beautiful community just North of Manhattan and very accessible to those who

look to Manhattan for work and entertainment. As I mentioned to you, our experience is that many New Yorkers and people coming into New York do not know about what a wonderful community this is. I would hope that all of us who have a stake in this community would benefit from having this knowledge spread in an easy to understand shorthand. I did not get the opportunity to deal with the comments quoted in your second article about NoMa and in the Letters to the Editor section that related to the building. We are not in fact the priciest condominium in Riverdale per square foot. La Rive recent sales have prices, common charges, and taxes per square foot higher than ours. La Rive is a totally residential 12 story building built as a condominium in the late 1980’s. In fact, before the last several new construction projects in the area, it was the only building to have that distinction. Approximately half of Solaria’s 64 homes are still available. Surely there is room in all of Riverdale’s housing options for that number of homes in a full service building, suffused with natural light, wonderful protected views, high end

ANDREW WOLF, Editor and Publisher

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finishes and spacious homes and amenity spaces. It is also in current terms surprisingly affordable. We recently looked at the after tax cost of owning, for a typical buyer who puts 20% down, using rates provided by one of the lenders to Solaria residents. That study showed that as of last week’s rates, the monthly cost after principal paydown and tax benefits of owning most available homes ranged between $1719 and $4285 a month. Joseph Korff Founder and Principal of ARC Development

Wolcott will fizzle as Chancellor

To The Editor: Regarding the interview that the Daily News Editorial Board held with newly appointed Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, I find it ironic that his big plan is to make waffles for school kids soon, because he waffled through the whole interview, not making clear where he stands on anything, including teacher tenure or how teachers should be assessed or whether the results of such assessments should be made public. I learned that "parents are the key," that "the budget is tough," that "LIFO is extremely important" BUT that "we shouldn't be looking at teachers solely based on the number of years." His closing remark was, "Have waffle iron, will travel." It seems obvious, though, that the real cook in the kitchen has always been the mayor and that his education experts, including Dennis Walcott, are merely flashes in the pan. Gerald Lebowitz

iPads enhance learning for St. Margaret students

‘Hairspray’ at the Y

Continued from Page 9

Velma passes her fine traits on to her daughter, Amber, convincingly portrayed by Anna Rose Sitley, alternating with Lea Cohen. Mariah Escobar is brash yet sweet as Motormouth Maybelle, host of the Collins show’s “Negro Day,” whose record store becomes a haven for Tracy and her followers and who serves as a role model in her song “I Know Where I’ve Been.” In the finale, “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” the characters—black and white together—dance their hearts out, thanks to Tracy, who is voted best dancer by the TV viewers. Edna bursts out of a giant can of hairspray in a flamboyant getup and is hired to create plus-size dress patterns— her lifelong aspiration. Tracy and Link are an item, as are Penny and Seaweed, who eventually wins over Penny’s mom. And the show’s sponsor, Harriman F. Spritzer, played by an imperious Aaron Kisslinger, alternating with Tommy Gelfars, appoints Velma to head up of a division of beauty products—for women of color! Hairspray opened on Broadway in 2002 and won a Tony Award for Best Musical. No reason to miss it here, with remaining performances on Wednesday, April 13, and Thursday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 16, at 8:45 p.m.; and Sunday, April 17, at 2 p.m. To reserve, visit or call 718-548-8200.

Town hall meeting Continued from Page 11 but Engel strongly denied the claim. “The insurance companies are trying to do everything to discredit the new health care laws,” he said. “[They] are doing this to sabotage health care reform. The fact of the matter is, the health care bill will lower your premiums, not increase them.” However, Weiner, who has since been forced to draw on her own savings to get by, was skeptical that any savings would eventually be passed onto consumers. She said prior to the reforms being flagged, she was paying $450 a month. Her premiums are now $603. “Before reforms, I was paying a lot less,” she told the Riverdale Review. “They can say all they want about it going down, but we all know nothing ever goes down. Really, give me a break. Nothing ever goes down. We’re not so stupid.”

are lightweight, versatile and application-rich. Archdiocese of New York spokeswoman Fran Davies said officials wanted to evaluate the program before they consider replicating it in other Catholic schools. “Any innovation in the schools, we always like to track exactly how we can improve it and other things we can do before we make it a model for others,” she said. “We’re excited. I think it’s very innovative and great and I look forward to seeing what we learn in the summer at the conclusion of the pilot.” The Riverdale Review visited the school on Tuesday to observe a second-grade class using the tablets. Although the children had been using their iPads for only four days, they were engaged in their learning, concentrating and interacting with their peers. Teacher Patricia Hund said she has been in education for 31 years and has never seen such a powerful innovation. “It’s really fantastic,” she said. Hund said iPad use in her class comprised 25 percent of a given school day, but she envisaged that it would increase to 50 percent as the pilot continues. The school is not alone in its quest to

September. Officials there hope the rollout, which will cost $200,000, will boost literacy rates from 62 percent to 90 percent in two years.

Reporters tossed from skate rink meeting

Continued from Page 1

mation is not the way to instill confidence in part of the public that the conservancy is operating properly," Dinowitz said. "Unfortunately they have succeeded in turning what might be a worthwhile project into something that’s looked at in suspicion because of their closed-door policy." Dinowitz was able to get most of his questions answered, but there was still debate about some points he made. For example, he asked what kind of restrooms would be available, thinking that the young girls who ice-skate shouldn’t have to use an average porta-potty, especially one that sits outside all winter. Since the project is going through a request for proposal process, details like that are left up to a concessionaire. Another concern is over public access to the rink. The concessionaire is required to provide at least four hours per day of public skating, but the RFP does not say when. With a large number of schools in

the area, Dinowitz fears the public will get less time to skate while the concessionaire makes time for institutions willing to pay more. During the March parks committee meeting of Community Board 8, the public was given only three hours' notice that the skating rink would be discussed at the meeting. Some committee members said they were displeased with such short notice and that there would have been a much greater turnout had sufficient notification been given. A site meeting will take place April 28 at 11:00 a.m., where interested contractors will have the opportunity to view the site for the rink—four tennis courts and two handball courts near the corner of Broadway and West 242nd Street. At last month’s parks committee of Community Board 8, a parks department official invited the community to the site meeting, saying many times that new ideas will surface that can be added to the RFP.

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19 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 14, 2011

Continued from Page 1 “One of the goals of our program is to utilize the enormous amount of digital content available from publishing companies and educational outlets.” Citing the example of the school’s Glencoe Mathematics curriculum, Keenan said students could use their iPads to access additional digital content. “Students can read and solve examples, get extended practice, take and submit quizzes, use study guides and even take chapter tests,” he said. “This can now be done in the classroom on a private device without scheduling time in the lab or waiting until they get home.” A private, anonymous donor provided the grant to purchase the iPads. The school will pay for apps, insurance and software through fundraising efforts and they are currently selling chocolate bars as part of these efforts. Keenan said the school looked into purchasing Kindles and Nooks but ultimately chose iPads because they

embrace technology. Just last week, school authorities in Auburn, Maine, announced that each elementary public school student and teacher would be given an iPad 2 in

Thursday, April 14, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Riverdale Review, April 14, 2011  

Weekly newspaper published in Riverdale, NY 10471