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Riverdale’s ONLY Locally Owned Newspaper!

Volume XVIII • Number 21 • April 28 - May 4, 2011 •


Bloomberg plan could cost tenants and co-ops big $$$ By BRENDAN McHUGH New regulations adopted last week require buildings to phase out grades of heating oil that is both the most polluting and the least expensive. And this well-meaning initiative will have to be paid by co-ops and tenants, and could cost each apartment dweller hundreds of dollars each year. “The new rules adopted today will phase out Number 6 heating oil by 2015 and Number 4 heating oil by 2030,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in a statement. “But such regulations are only part of the answer. They tell building owners: ‘Thou shalt not.’ We’ve got another message to deliver, too: ‘We can help you do the right thing.’” The announcement comes as part of an update to Bloomberg’s environmental agenda, PlaNYC, and it will affect about 10,000 buildings in the city. According to a press release issued by the mayor’s office, only 1 percent of the buildings use Number 6 or 4 heating oil but are responsible for more than 85 percent of all the soot

pollution from buildings. Not only do local co-ops not believe the statistic, but they also say it will be difficult and costly to afford the change. Stephen Budihas, president of the Association of Riverdale Cooperatives and Condominiums, says virtually every building in Riverdale burns Number 6 oil. ARC represents 128 buildings and more than 15,000 units. Each Riverdale co-op burns, on average, 57,000 gallons per year, according to Budihas. Larger buildings such as the Whitehall burn much more. “Thousands of shareholders will be told they need to pony up to convert, and it will cost tens of thousands of dollars that we don’t have in our budget but we have to come up with now because it’s law.” Number 2 heating oil, a less noxious oil the city wants buildings to convert to, cost $4.25 per gallon in April. Number 6 cost $3.18. One North Riverdale co-op, Fieldstondale, is already stressed to afford the Number 6 heating oil, having to

assess shareholders 77 cents per share to make up more than $80,000 after the price of Number 6 rose significantly in the past year. The cost of Number 2 increased more than a dollar per gallon since last year. Because the new rule takes effect over time—full phase-out will not be reached until 2030—the city will work with Con Edison and National Grid to accelerate upgrades to the natural gas distribution system in neighborhoods that are underserved and to aggregate buildings that are ready to convert to gas. According to the mayor’s office, large numbers of buildings converting to natural gas or low-sulfur Number 2 oil in tandem will create economies of scale that will reduce the costs of conversion. But co-op groups say now is not the time to pressure city residents with the costs of conversion. Mary Ann Rothman, executive director of the Council of New York Cooperatives, said, “I wish the city gave Continued on Page 10

Local cops vie for the title of ‘The Biggest Loser’

By MIAWLING LAM They’re already professional crime fighters, but now you can add fat fighters to the list. Officers from the 50th Precinct have spent the past 16 weeks trying to slim down in an internal “Biggest Loser”-style campaign. A total of 25 officers voluntarily signed up for the weight-loss program and have been actively toning their stomachs, legs and arms since January 25. The program, run in collaboration with the Riverdale Y, will culminate with the community 5K-10K run this Sunday. Riverdale Y Fitness and Wellness Director Lisa Bruskin acted as the officers’ mentor during the 16-week campaign. She tracked participants’ progress by conducting monthly weigh-ins and collecting their waist and hip measurements. At the final weigh-in last Thursday, Bruskin said she was incredibly proud of her charges. “They seem to be so much better. If I tell you where they were, you wouldn’t believe it,” she said. “They had no idea how to eat or how to move their bodies. I wanted them to change their habits, and they’ve done it.” Bruskin could not provide the total number of pounds lost as several officers still needed to be weighed and measured.

Each participant was given a personalized fitness program, which was regularly adjusted to accommodate changes to their health goals. Of the 25 officers who signed up, Bruskin said 15 “really pulled through.” Two became pregnant, meaning they couldn’t be counted. Although the program will wrap up this weekend, she said she will follow up with the officers for the rest of the year to ensure they stick to their regimes. Among those who have vowed to continue embracing their healthier lifestyle is Judith Moreno. The five-oh police officer dropped 2.5 pounds, shed 3.5 inches off her waist and another inch off her hips during the campaign, “I would’ve preferred to have lost more weight, but I’m definitely happy with the results because I feel better,” she told the Riverdale Review. “I can see the difference in my energy levels. Now, I can go to the gym and stay on the treadmill. “At first, I couldn’t even do half a mile without huffing and puffing, and now I can finish three miles, no problem.” Deputy Inspector Brandon del Pozo said the initiative was borne out of a desire to establish

a healthier police force. He said it was all about encouraging officers to “get fit, stay fit and create a culture of fitness” that would remain strong well after the program concluded.

Although he had yet to see the final results, del Pozo predicted it would have a lasting impact on multiple levels. “It benefits everybody. It benefits the public, it benefits the

officers and it benefits the city at large because a healthy cop costs less in health insurances, does a better job, feels better about him or herself and projects a more positive image.”

Officer Adolfo Enciso is being weighed by Officer Judith Moreno (left) as Officer Mindy Ramos loks on

Thursday, April 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


NoMa? It’s still Riverdale to us

By BRENDAN McHUGH It may be good-bye to NoMa if one Brooklyn assemblyman gets his way. Hakeem Jeffries is set to introduce legislation this week that would require any new neighborhood acronyms created by real estate companies to get approval from local community boards, the City Council and the mayor’s office. “The assemblyman’s legislation will forbid real estate brokers from inventing neighborhoods out of thin air,” Jeffries’ spokesman Lupé Todd said. “Much like with the legislation for a street name change, the Neighborhood Integrity Act will establish clear procedures before a real estate broker or its corporation can advertise a new name for a historically designated neighborhood or change its boundaries.” In Brooklyn, Jeffries’ boyhood neighborhood of Crown Heights is being repackaged as ProCro by realtor Corcoran. By extending Propsect Heights into Crown Heights, the realtor justifies a raise in rental and homeowner prices. Jeffries believes this will push out the working class families who have historically resided in Crown Heights. “In effect, without any checks and balances, Corcoran is able to redefine on their terms the boundaries of Brooklyn’s historic neighborhoods,” Todd said. “We’re tired of it. Communities change, neighborhoods evolve, but he isn’t saying there should never ever be name changes. It just shouldn’t be at the discretion of the realtors. It should be at the discretion of the community and the people who represent the community.” In Riverdale, the new acronym NoMa—for North of Manhattan—has drawn skepticism from local community leaders, but they aren’t ready to jump on with Jeffries in creating legislation. “He raises an important issue as far as I’m concerned,” Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said. “I don’t think that anyone has the right to impose a neighborhood name. I appreciate his intent, but we should just resist the urge to change names.” Dinowitz believes that voicing distaste for the new nickname is the way to make NoMa disappear, not introducing legislation. Other local officials, including Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, have all said they don’t think Riverdale—or any part of the Bronx—should be pretending it is part of Manhattan. Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn’t keen on the legislation either. “I fail to see why the government should get involved,” he said at an unrelated press conference. “If you want to call your neighborhood NoHo or SoHo or the Village or whatever you want to call it, why not.” First introduced by Soetheby’s as a way to market the Solaria condominium, NoMa is being touted as a way to repackage Riverdale to the younger community, making the neighborhood the next “it” spot of New York City to those outside The Bronx. Susan Seidner Chasky of the realty company says, “name changes provide the starting point into establishing a regeneration of real estate interest to a whole new set of well-heeded savvy New Yorkers.” While it may be a way to draw outsid-

ers to Riverdale, not all Riverdalians are keen on the name. “It’s obviously just a ridiculous name that I don’t think would ever stick,” Community Board 8 Chairman Damian McShane said. “But at the same time, the idea of our City Council debating this and possibly passing a law preventing realtors would be pretty ridiculous and a waste of time.” McShane noted that none of the neighborhood nicknames have any official use—further reason for the government to avoid the issue. One local politician’s staffer said he believes the legislation may impose on First Amendment rights but that he would have to see the bill before making any final judgments.

By LLOYD ULTAN Bronx Borough Historian Recently, the developer of a condominium on Henry Hudson Parkway West in Riverdale announced his building is located in NoMa (for North of Manhattan). For some years, others have tried to use SoBro for the southernmost part of The Bronx. This may be a bit of a stretch for the developer of a single building to try and rename a whole existing community, and it has caused some controversy here. Developers and real estate interests making up new names for old neighborhoods has become rampant in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Brooklyn Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, fed up with this practice, is trying to require developers to get city approval first. Yet, promoting real estate with new names to replace old ones is not recent. It started in The Bronx in 1760. In that year, Benjamin Palmer of Throggs Neck formed a consortium to purchase Minneford Island in Long Island Sound. They envisioned turning that rural island into a major port city rivaling New York. They renamed the place City Island. Their grandiose plans fell through, but the name stuck. During the nineteenth century, many suburban villages were created in The Bronx. In 1848, some skilled workmen purchased land from Gouverneur Morris II. At his request, the village they created was called Morrisania to perpetuate the name of his ancestral colonial manor. Today, it is the Morrisania neighborhood. Gouverneur Morris II also converted Shingle Plain on his huge estate into a village named Woodstock after a popular

novel by Sir Walter Scott. Now the name survives only in the local public library branch. The next year, Jordan L. Mott bought 100 acres north of his iron foundry, divided it into 400 lots, and named his new village Mott Haven. The name is still used. Several village developers nearby also used their own names. Robert Elton created Eltona in 1851. Benjamin Benson promoted his own Bensonia at the same time. Neither name has survived, however. Elton also helped create another village. The 120-acre tract was named Melrose after another of Scott’s popular novels, “Melrose Abbey.” That name still exists for the modern Bronx neighborhood. The construction of the massive High Bridge carrying Croton water over the Harlem River became a tourist attraction by the late 1840s. Developers created a village nearby. They named it High Bridgeville. Today it is the Highbridge neighborhood. In the 1850s, Gouverneur Morris II filled in the narrow water gap separating his Stony Island from the mainland and promoted the site as a major deep-water port. He attracted industries by renaming the location Port Morris. It still bears that name. In the same decade a consortium of developers purchased farmland in today’s northwestern Bronx. They sold lots to wealthy Manhattan industrialists and merchants for mansions. They called their development Riverdale Park. A second consortium did the same thing south of

that site, naming their development The Park, Riverdale. That was the origin of today’s Riverdale neighborhood. In 1860, Robert Campbell and Edward Willis developed a suburban village south of 138th Street between Brook and Third avenues. They named it North New York, but that designation has fallen into disuse. In the 1870s, Edwin K. Willard developed the land north of the new Woodlawn Cemetery. The village and the subsequent Bronx neighborhood was called Woodlawn from that park-like institution. Across the Bronx River, a new village was patriotically named Wakefield in 1876, the nation’s centennial year. George Washington was born on the Virginia plantation called Wakefield. Today, it is

3 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 28, 2011

An old Bronx habit: Developers naming neighborhoods

a Bronx neighborhood. In 1889, developers promoting lots west of the Bronx River in an area called Williamsbridge since colonial times decided that the name Norwood was more attractive to prospective homebuyers. It remains the Norwood neighborhood today. In 1894, William Watson divided his estate east of the Bronx River into lots. He sold them with the name Soundview, maintaining that residents could see Long Island Sound. While it is doubtful they can do so today, the name Soundview still defines the neighborhood. In the 1890s, when Henry Mitchell MacCracken, Chancellor of New York University, developed a Bronx campus, he successfully campaigned to have its surrounding area called University Heights. Although NYU left in 1975, the neighborContinued on Page 13

Thursday, April 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Around the schools... Local Scholars

Samuel Levine, a student at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, won third place in the Fourth Annual Armenian Genocide Commemoration Contest, a national essay competition co-sponsored by the Knights and Daughters of Vartan and Facing History and Ourselves. The competition invited high school and college students to address the question, “How can international recognition of the Armenian Genocide help prevent future crimes against humanity?” The winners will receive their awards at the Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide and Holocaust Remembrance Day event to be held in Times Square this Sunday, May 1, from 2 to 4 p.m. The theme of this year’s Armenian Genocide Commemoration is “Turkey Is Guilty of Genocide: Denying the Undeniable Is a Crime.” The event will pay tribute to the 1.5 million Armenians killed by the Young Turk Government of the Ottoman Empire and to the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis. Dr. Mary A. Papazian, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Lehman College, will co-preside over the ceremonies. Rocheayne Clarke, a senior at the Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy, has won a scholarship to attend Berkeley College. The college awards scholarships annually to high school seniors who demonstrate a high level of achievement. Scholarships are renewed on the basis of the recipient’s cumulative GPA at the end of each academic year and are subject to continued full-time status. Berkeley has been a leading institution in business education for the past 80 years. The college enrolls nearly 9,000 students, including more than 800 international students, in its baccalaureate and associate degree programs in four New York locations and four New Jersey locations. Berkeley offers programs in more than 20 career fields.

Horace Mann School

The community is invited to the school’s Upper Division dance concert, presented by the Horace Mann Theatre Company and the Horace Mann Dance Club. The event—named “The Elements”—features tap, jazz, hip-hop, Irish, modern dance and some surprises. This year’s production involved a collaboration among faculty and students in the visual arts department, the music department and the theatre, dance and film studies department. Participants have been preparing since the fall. Performances take place in Gross Theatre on Thursday, April 28, at 3:30 p.m.; Friday, April 29, at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, April 30, at 7:30 p.m. The theatre is located at 231 West 246th Street. Tickets are $10 or $5 for students and seniors. To reserve, call 718-432-4150 or email hmtcboxoffice@horacemann. org. Tickets are also available at the box office just prior to each performance. This Friday, April 29, the Middle Division will celebrate its traditional Middle Mania Day, with color-coordinated contests all day long on Clark Field and on Four Acres. In the event of rain, other sites will be announced. Upper Division Orientation Day is this Saturday, April 30, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Following orientation, the school’s diversity office will host a spring family gathering on Head of School’s Lawn and

on the Lower Division’s Grasshopper Field. The event will feature a Shadow Box Theatre performance based on a Native American folk tale. On Tuesday, eighth-graders worked alongside their peers from other Bronx school on a community garden at the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center. Wednesday was Kite Flying Day for the kindergarten classes, who engaged in the annual tradition of flying kites on Clark Field.

Manhattan College

Manhattan College President Dr. Brennan O’Donnell has been elected to the 2011-2012 board of trustees for the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities. He was also appointed to serve on the board’s finance and administrative committee. O’Donnell, Manhattan College’s 19th president, assumed the role in 2009. Before his tenure at Manhattan, he was dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill, Fordham University’s oldest and largest school. He also spent 17 years at Loyola University Maryland, where he was a professor of English and served as director of the university-wide honors program. CICU’s board of trustees represents executive-level participation from colleges and universities in every region of New York state and highlights the diversity of institution type and size within the independent sector of higher education in the state. The organization is dedicated to representing New York’s independent colleges and universities and to advancing higher education public policy at the state and federal levels. Board members play a crucial role in advocating for colleges and universities statewide. Dr. James Patrick Abulencia, assistant professor of chemical engineering, has won a research grant from the Environmental Protection Agency for a water purification project in the Philippines. Abulencia, a native of the Philippines, competed in the EPA’s National Sustainable Design Expo with a plan for testing an affordable, sustainable technology for bringing clean water to rural Philippine communities. With the help of a research team from De La Salle University in Manila and Shannon O’Brien, a Manhattan College graduate student in chemical engineering, Abulencia gave a presentation earlier this month on how the combination of coconut shells, grapefruit seed extract and bamboo can clean contaminated water. The team received a year of EPA funding under the People, Prosperity and the Planet Program to begin designing the biodegradable water purification solution for the town of Nagcarlan. They developed a service-learning program for chemical engineering students from Manhattan College and De La Salle University to collaborate in testing the town’s existing water source for contaminants and in researching the best method to remove the contaminants. The National Sustainable Design Expo is part of the EPA’s Earth Day, when green businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and college students from across the country gather to display their efforts to protect the planet. Manhattan College and De La Salle University’s team competed for Phase II funding, which rewards up to $75,000 for expanded research.

By MIAWLING LAM Officials from the controversial Kingsbridge Innovative Design Charter School have secured a last-minute $350,000 bridge loan and are confident they will stave off possible closure. The New York State Education Department slapped KIDS with a probation order on March 24 and threatened to shut it down due to financial and educational mismanagement. Documents reveal the elementary school has struggled to balance its books since opening its doors—10 days behind schedule —on September 17. But at an emergency board meeting on Monday, school authorities said they have now shored up their finances. Board chair and KIDS co-founder John Torres said two local vendors came forward last week to offer the school a bridge loan. While the amount has yet to be finalized, he was hopeful the loan would cover the full $350,000. “There are two separate sources and they’re all local,” Torres said, refusing to specifically identify them. “One of them is a vendor that we work with currently and the other is actually related to Scimitar (the Connecticut-based bank that has been helping the school secure a loan). We’re working with one of the lenders that they work with.” Specifics were to be drawn up yesterday before the board convenes again today to vote on the measure. The loan, a temporary advance that can be paid back once a long-term deal is finalized, was needed because the school is $176,000 in the red from payroll expenses and unpaid back taxes.

In order to satisfy state authorities, the school must make these payments by Friday. The school was also approved for another $600,000 long-term loan on April 22, Torres said. However, because money from this loan will not start flowing until after the NYSED reviews documents and hands down their decision in early May, the bridge loan was required. Details such as interest rates are still being finalized, but Torres said the loan will be amortized over a period of 15 years and the rate will be capped at 7 percent. “It’s a $600,000 full, total credit line—$350,000 for the long-term loan and $250,000 for a line of credit,” he said. During the 90-minute meeting, the board also approved changes to the school’s organizational structure, daily schedule and classroom configuration. Torres said the latter was being amended to accommodate the expected growth in special needs students. From September, the school predicts one in five children will have special needs, so it will cap their integrated classes at 20 students. Officials also provided an update on the school’s permanent building and said it will be finished in two months. Torres said windows were being erected at their 3120 Corlear Avenue premises this week and that the school should receive its TCO and fire inspection certificate by June 15, rendering the first and third floors operational. Finishing touches on the common areas—the gym and cafeteria—will then be completed by July 30.

Officials did their best to portray a rosy outlook, and Torres said he was convinced the school’s probation order will be lifted next month. “We are very confident that we are going to meet all 16 points from the probation order,” he said. There are currently more than 100 charter schools in New York City, and although they are publicly funded schools, charter schools 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 for one to be threatened with closure. Despite this, Torres said the school was not alone.

“According to the Charter Center, 65 percent of new charter schools undergo these same issues,” he said. “Ours just seem to be very unusual, but they do exist. The same problem that happened here happened in the Yonkers Charter School in year one. Identical.” The NYSED gave the school until April 29 to clean up its act. Once the deadline elapses, the state will review the evidence, determine whether the school has complied with its 16-point remedial action plan and make a decision in early May. If they are not satisfied with the changes, the school could have its charter revoked and be forced to shut its doors.

5 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 28, 2011

Controversial charter school holds out hope as time dwindles down

Thursday, April 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Bronx Zoo discounts for tickets purchased online

Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo is discounting Total Experience Tickets purchased online by 20 percent to celebrate the arrival of spring. The snow is gone and the temperatures are creeping back up signaling the start of spring and the perfect time to visit the Bronx Zoo. With the start of spring, the zoo’s summer season hours are now in effect, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays. The 20 percent discount applies to all online purchases of the zoo’s ‘Total Experience Tickets’ from April 11 through May 31. The Total Experience Ticket represents the best zoo-going value and includes admission to the zoo as well as unlimited access to all rides and attractions including Congo Gorilla Forest, JungleWorld, Zoo Shuttle, Bug Carousel, Children’s Zoo, Butterfly Garden, Wild Asia Monorail, and Dora and Diego’s 4-D Adventure. By buying Total Experience Tickets online, guests will save money and time. Tickets purchased and printed at home allow visitors to skip the line at the gate and can be used any day through November 6. Zoo-goers can take advantage of this limited-time offer to check out spring line up of family-friendly entertainment at The Animal Tales Extravaganza which runs April 16 through June 26. While visiting with the Bronx Zoo animals, visitors can enjoy an amazing array of

top-rated children’s entertainment with New York Life Main Stage performances at the Grizzly Goodies picnic area or stop by the zoo’s Asia Plaza to catch a special children’s book reading. For more information, visit www.

CSAIR lecture on Judaism and American sports

The Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale (CSAIR) welcomes back Professor Jeffrey Gurock who will speak on ‘Judaism’s Encounter with American Sports,’ on Thursday, April 28, at 7:45 p.m. More than a sports talk glorifying Jewish ballplayers, Gurock uses the metaphor of athleticism to expose central issues of integration and identification that have been part of the 20th-21st century American Jewish experience. Gurock is Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University and chair of the Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society. He is the author of editor of 14 books, including ‘A Modern Heretic and a Traditional Community: Mordecai M. Kaplan, Orthodoxy and American Judaism,’ which was awarded the Saul Viener Prize from the American Jewish Historical Society, and ‘Orthodox Jews in America,’ which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. This program, which is sponsored by CSAIR’s Adult Education Committee, is

free and open to the entire community. CSAIR is located at 475 West 250th Street at the Henry Hudson Parkway. For more information, call the synagogue office at 718-543-8400.

Senior spring dance at Atria Riverdale

A very special intergenerational event heralds the spring season when the Spruce Street Jazz Project heats up the dance floor at Atria Riverdale on Thursday, April 28 at 7 p.m. High School students and young family members will trip the light fantastic with Atria residents while those less inclined to dance will enjoy the dessert bar, courtesy of its kosher Food Service Department. Fancy attire is requested but stuffy airs are to be left at the door. Atria Riverdale is located at 3718 Henry Hudson Parkway. For more information, call 718-432-2448.

Service in Remembrance of the Holocaust

Zachor — Remember. On Friday, April 29th at 7:30 p.m. Congregation Shaarei Shalom shall include a commemoration of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, during its Shabbat evening service. Each participant will have the opportunity to light a memorial candle to remember those who perished during the reign of terror that swept through Europe from 1939-1945. This especially moving service will be led by Rabbi Steven D. Burton and Cantor Ronald J. Broden. Special musical accompaniment will be offered by pianist Walter Winterfeldt. Shaarei Shalom congregant Judy Goldblatt will share her story of survival. Judy’s narrative begins on the day that her life changed. She was only eleven years old on January 30, 1933 - the day that Adolph Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. It took six years before relatives in America were able to provide the affidavit that would allow her to enter the United States. She will share her story of painful separation from her parents and eventual reunion with her mother. The service will be conducted in the congregation’s sanctuary located at 5919 Riverdale Avenue. The community is cordially invited to attend. 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, this service, membership, its 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.

Panel discussion at Lehman Art Gallery

Artists from the exhibition ‘New York Fiber in the 21st Century’ will discuss their work and the field of fiber arts. The discussion, to be held on Thursday, April 28, 3:30 p.m. at the Art Gallery Rotunda of the Lehman College Art Gallery, Bedford Park Blvd. West, will be moderated by Margaret Cusak and will feature Gema Alava, Michael Cummings, and ArlÄ Sklar-Weinstein. The exhibition will be on view through May 12, 2011. An online catalogue is available at For more information, call 718-960-8731.

Jewish-Muslim relations discussed at CSAIR

The Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale (CSAIR) will present ‘Jews and Muslims Working Together: Is it Possible?’ on Wednesday, May 4, at 7:45 p.m. This discussion will be led by Rabbi Bob Kaplan and Mohammed Razvi. Rabbi Kaplan is the Director of CAUSE-NY, a division of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. Mr. Razvi is the Executive Director and Founder of the Council of Peoples Organization. The two have been partners in creating initiatives around the issue of Muslim-Jewish relations since September 2001. In addition, they lecture widely on college campuses and work with local law enforcement officials in the area of interfaith relations. This program, which is free and open to the entire community, is sponsored by CSAIR’s Adult Education Committee. CSAIR is located at 475 West 250th Street at the Henry Hudson Parkway. For more information, call the CSAIR office at 718-543-8400.

Duke Ellington concert at Woodlawn Cemetery

America’s most iconic art form arrives at Woodlawn Cemetery’s Woolworth Chapel with a jazz concert from The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts — featuring Mercedes Ellington. Great music, stirring vocals, and inspirational poetry will pay tribute to the jazz legend at his final resting place. From the dawn of the Jazz Age until today, hundreds of celebrated jazz musicians have been memorialized at Woodlawn, including W.C. Handy, Coleman Hawkins, King Oliver, Bricktop, William ‘Sonny’ Greer, Charles ‘Cootie’ Williams, King Oliver, Arthur Whetsol, Sandy Williams, Milt Jackson, and Florence Mills. Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Illinois Jacquet, Miles Davis and Max Roach are together in Woodlawn’s famous jazz corner. The concert will be held on Saturday, April 30, 5 p.m. at the Woolworth Chapel, located at the entrance on Webster Avenue and East 233rd Street. Cost is $20 per person. For more information, call 718-920-1470 or email

On Sunday, May 1, the National Psoriasis Foundation is hosting its annual Walk to Cure Psoriasis in New York at the New York Botanical Garden, 2694 Dr. Theodore Kazimiroff Boulevard. The event aims to raise funds for the Foundation’s research, education and advocacy programs. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., and the walk begins at 8:30 a.m. Free registration. All participants who raise $100 or more will receive a walk T-shirt. Choose between 1K and 5K routes on this walk to raise awareness and funds to combat psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. All ages welcome. To register or for more information, visit or call 877-825-9255.

Lehman College Art Course at the Riverdale Y

Lehman College offers adults continuing education courses at the Riverdale Y. Registration is now open for ‘An Art Survey: Masters to Moderns’. This is an overview of art works from the Renaissance to modern masters will explore the influences of history and culture of the works, and the concept of style, diversity and differentiation among the art forms and artists. Stephen Epstein is the professor. The course will be held on four Sun-

days, 11-1:00 p.m.: May 1 through May 22. Tuition is $95. For full information, visit the Lehman website: or call (718) 960-8512. The Riverdale Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue.

Yom Hashoah Observance at CSAIR

Yom Hashoah will be observed at the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale, 475 West 250th Street, on Sunday, May 1, at 7 p.m. Yom Hashoah remembers the victims of the Holocaust. The program at CSAIR will be led by Rabbi Barry Dov Katz and will include a recitation of names of family members of CSAIR congregants who perished in the Shoah along with a reading of excerpts from Megillat Hashoah and a brief talk by Eugene Ginter, a childhood survivor and a member of CSAIR. Musical accompaniment will be provided by violinist and CSAIR member Sheila Reinhold. Cantor Elizabeth Stevens will lead a children’s choir. The program is free and open to the public. For more information, call the synagogue office at 718-543-8400.

Lifeguard Training Course at the Riverdale Y

The Riverdale YM-YWHA is offering training to become an American Red Cross certified Lifeguard. This 35+ hour course certifies individuals in American

Red Cross Lifeguard Training, Standard First Aid, CPR for the Professional Rescuer, Automated External Defibrillation (AED) and Oxygen Administration. Prerequisites: Participants must be at least 15 years of age before the completion of the course and must pass a practical swimming test before being allowed to enroll into the course. ONLINE REGISTRATION is available. To register use our on line registration form ; Fees: $425 Members/$500 Non-members*. For more information, call Paul Taylor at 718-548-8200 ext 239 or email at The Riverdale Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue.

Seniors fitness program in city parks

City Parks Foundation welcomes all New Yorkers, 60 and over, to participate in CityParks Seniors Fitness. The Spring 2011 season of Seniors Fitness program will begin the week of May 2, and will offer free tennis lessons, yoga instruction and fitness walking in 14 parks across the city, including new locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan. All activities in this eight-week fitness program take place twice a week at each location through June 24. Participants are encouraged to maintain regular attendance to maximize health benefits. In the Bronx, the schedules are: Crotona Park: Tennis, Mondays/ Wednesdays at 8 a.m. at the Tennis Courts,

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.

7 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 28, 2011

National Psoriasis Walk at NY Botanical Garden

E. 173rd St. and Crotona Avenue. Pelham Bay Park: Yoga, Mondays/ Wednesdays at 9 a.m., Middletown Road and Stadium Avenue. Van Cortlandt Park/Woodlawn: Yoga, Mondays/Wednesdays at 9 a.m. Walking, Tuesdays/Thursdays at 9 a.m. at the Woodlawn Courts, Jerome Avenue and East 233rd Street. CityParks seniors Fitness has served over 3,400 participants since it began in 2006 and aims to keep neighborhood parks a great place for community activity. The program encourages New Yorkers to maximize the health benefits of staying active at all ages. Even in moderate amounts, exercise can help participants feel better, maintain or lose weight, reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes, and minimize the symptoms of arthritis. For more information about City Parks Foundation’s free Seniors Fitness programs, call the Sports Department at 718-760-6999. All equipment and instruction is provided free of charge. Sessions are one hour, twice a week.

Thursday, April 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Thursday, April 28 Riverdale

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.

Spuyten Duyvil

THE SILKIE 4 p.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street Based on a Celtic folktale, The Silkie uses puppetry and songs to tell the mythic story of a wondrous creature from the sea who is bestowed with the mystic power of walking the earth as human. With magic, adventure, and a generous dose of humanity, this whimsical play illuminates the dreams of a fairy tale creature who wants nothing more than to be human, even if it’s just for a little while. For ages 5 to 12. For more information, call 718-796-1202.


TEEN CAFÉ 4 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Come hang out with your friends in a cool, casual environment. Bring snacks to enjoy while you listen to the radio & chat with your friends. Use laptops to do your homework, watch videos, play games, & more! For more information, call 718-549-1212.


BOOK DISCUSSION 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 280 West 231st Street The Kingsbridge Library would like to invite you to our meet and greet to kick off the new Kingsbridge Library book discussion group. We will be discussing the best possible time of day for our group to meet monthly. As well as seeking your input on possible books for future consideration. Refreshments will be served. For more information, call 718-548-5656.


SENIOR SPRING DANCE 7 p.m. Atria of Riverdale 3718 Henry Hudson Parkway High school students and young family members will trip the light fantastic with Atria residents to the music of the Spruce Street Jazz Project. For more information, call 718-432-2448.


LECTURE 7:45 p.m. Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel 475 West 250th Street Professor Jeffrey Gurok will speak on “Judaism’s Encounter with American Sports.” Free and open to the community. For more information, call 718-543-8400.

Friday, April 29 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.


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


REMEMBERING HOLOCAUST 7:30 p.m. Congregation Shaarei Shalom 5919 Riverdale Avenue Congregation Shaarei Shalom will include a commemoration of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, during its Shabbat evening service. For more information, call 718-7960305 or visit

Saturday, April 30 Riverdale

SIDDUR CLASS 10:30 a.m. Hebrew Institute of Riverdale 3700 Henry Hudson Parkway Shabbat Kedoshim. Rabbi Moshe Edelman will lead a class, ‘The Siddur: An Interactive Engagement with Praying and Prayer.” For more information, call 718-796-4730.

Sunday, May 1 Van Cortlandt

DOG WALK 12 p.m. Van Cortlandt Park Broadway and Lakeview Place “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. For more information call Friends of Canine Court, 718-796-4541.


YOM HASHOAH OBSERVANCE 7 p.m. Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel 475 West 250th Street Remembering the victims of the Holocaust. The program includes a recitation of names of family members of CSAIR congregants who perished in the Shoah. Free and open to the public. For more information, call 718-543-8400.

Monday, May 2 Riverdale

RNH COFFEE HOUSE 10:30 a.m. Riverdale Neighborhod House 5521 Mosholu Avenue Dr. Phil Schneider will meet with parents of preschoolers and talk about the miracle of speech/language development. Fee is $5. For more information, call 718-549-8100 ext. 100.

Spuyten Duyvil

READING ALOUD 4 p.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street A librarian will share favorite picture books, providing children with the wonder of books and the joy of reading. 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, May 3 Spuyten Duyvil

BABY STORY TIME 11 a.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street 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 718-796-1202.

Kingsbridge Hts.

CB8 MEETING 7:30 p.m. Kingsbridge Heights Rehabilitation Center 3400 Cannon Place Meeting of the Land Use Committee of Community Board 8. For more information, call 718-884-3959.

Wednesday, May 4 Van Cortlandt

CRAFTS 3:30 p.m. Van Cortlandt Branch Library 3874 Sedgwick Avenue Handprint Paper Flowers Craft. Come celebrate Mother’s day with us. Make an original gift for Mom, Grandma, Aunts, Sister or even a friend. For more information, call 718-543-5150.


JEWISH-MUSLIM RELATIONS 7:45 p.m. Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel 475 West 250th Street A discussion led by Rabbi Bob Kaplan and Mohammed Razvi on the topic “Jews and Muslims Working Together: Is it Possible?” This program, sponsored by CSAIR’s Adult Education Committee, is free and open to the entire community. For more information, call 718-543-8400.


9 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 28, 2011

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Riverdale Repertory Company Presents Directed by

Ben Becher Director of Performing Arts

Laurie Walton Set Designer

Eric Zoback Stage Manager

Drew Lewis

Saturdays: April 30 and May 7 at 9:00 pm Enjoy some wine on the Saturday evening performances

Sundays: May 1 and May 8 at 3:00 pm Wednesday: May 4 at 7:30 pm Thursday: May 5 at 7:30 pm Tickets available at ■ All Tickets — only $10

5625 Arlington Avenue Bronx, NY 10471 718.548.8200

Thursday, April 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Demands grow to end skate rink secrecy by opening meetings By BRENDAN McHUGH After learning the press is not allowed to attend Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy meetings, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz called on the group asking them not to exclude the community in their activities. “It may or may not be the case that you have the right to bar the press from your meetings, but it is certainly not wise,” Dinowitz wrote in a letter to conservancy chairman Anthony Perez Cassino and president Margot Perron. Neither returned requests for comment. According to their website, the conservancy is in a partnership with the city’s parks department to maintain and preserve Van Cortlandt Park through fundraising efforts as well as public outreach. “I would think you would want to engage the public in your activities and give everyone as much opportunity as possible to become aware of and get involved with the work of the Conservancy,” Dinowitz wrote. In January’s State of the City speech, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced the city would pair with the conservancy to put a skating rink in Van Cortlandt Park. It was uncovered that the conservancy had been working with various outsider groups on this plan since the middle of 2010, yet it never reached out to the community board for any input until February 2011. Three weeks ago, reporters from the Riverdale Review were barred from the conservancy meeting. Dinowitz, who is not a board mem-

ber of the conservancy, showed up to the same meeting and was allowed to stay. While he thanked the board for addressing many of his concerns, he said allowing the press and public in would benefit the group. “Especially given the questions of secrecy that have arisen with respect to the conservancy, I think banning the press from covering your proceedings sends out the wrong message and is a mistake,” Dinowitz wrote. “Openness can only work to the advantage of the conservancy and its mission.” The assemblyman also questioned the role of the conservancy. While they tout themselves as being a private nonprofit in a public-private partnership with the city, Dinowitz wrote in the letter that they are much more than that. “The conservancy in some respects is standing in the shoes of the New York City parks department, a public agency. The decisions it makes have an impact on a public park.” No public requests for a skating rink came from the Riverdale area until last month, despite claims that the area has wanted one ever since the Riverdale Ice Rink went out of business a quarter century ago. However, other areas of The Bronx have begged for one, to no avail, more recently. Community Board 12 and the 161st Street Business Improvement District have both presented the city plans for a skating rink but were rejected for a variety of reasons. Dinowitz is not the only one advocating for more open meetings. State senators Adriano Espaillat and Gustavo Rivera both

believe public involvement is key to a successful community group. “As an advocate for improving recreational options for Riverdale residents, Senator Espaillat sees great potential in an ice rink at Van Cortlandt Park,” Espaillat spokesman Ibrahim Khan said. “However, as plans for the rink move forward, we must keep the public abreast of all developments and encourage full

transparency. Opening up meetings to the public at large as well as the press would be a good start.” Rivera had the same notion, saying, “Transparency and inclusiveness is critical to any process. Community members and the Community Board should have a seat at the table when it comes to taxpayer dollars being spent on community resources.”

Bloomberg plan could cost tenants and co-ops big $$$ Continued from Page 1 more warning and gave more time. This is an expensive proposition. Taxes are going sky high and fuel costs are sky high.” Rothman encourages building owners to contact the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which is currently offering capital incentives for buildings to convert to cleaner oils. Budihas said, “The mayor has gone ahead and implemented this mandate without a whole lot of conversation with co-ops. ARC fully supports the idea of greening and going to cleaner fuels. But there are issues.” Issues, he says, such as cost and time. “The cost of converting any single building will be huge,” he said, estimating that some buildings will be mandated to spend more than $100,000 to convert from Number 6 to Number 2 oil. “For every building, getting the money to do that may be a problem.” Budihas has already been working with Con Edison for years to help ease the burden for some buildings. If he can convince Con Edison to view all the co-

ops in Riverdale as a whole instead of as individual buildings, the cost of conversion will decrease dramatically. “Let’s say we want to bring a pipeline to Johnson Avenue. That one building would bear the cost,” he said. “However, if we could get every building on Johnson Avenue to convert over at the same time, the cost of bringing that pipeline is divided by X amount of buildings. We’re trying to reduce the capital outlay as much as possible.” Still, costs will remain of converting buildings themselves and also of obtaining new boilers. The city said they would eliminate some red tape and simplify the process. The goal of the conversion is to achieve a 10 percent reduction in concentrations of PM 2.5, a major pollutant of heating oil. This could prevent more than 300 premature deaths, 200 hospital admissions and 600 emergency department visits each year, and it could move the city toward having the cleanest air of any big U.S. city. The Bronx now leads all boroughs in asthma-related hospital admissions.


The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


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Swastikas scrawled on doors in alleged bias incident

By MIAWLING LAM A man allegedly branded his neighbors’ doors with swastikas and vandalized his apartment building during an anti-Semitic rampage last week. Brian Siegel, 45, is facing hate-crime charges after he destroyed the third-floor hallway of 3671 Hudson Manor Terrace on April 21. Police said the accused drew swastikas on doors and walls, scattered papers over the floor and covered the ground in a fine, white powder akin to either salt or sugar. An estimate of damages has yet to be formalized. The incident occurred during the eightday holiday of Passover. Mindy Ramos, the community affairs officer at the 50th Precinct, said police were called to the same building a day earlier after they received reports of a man placing swastika stickers around the laundry room. Officers attended the scene and accompanied the accused to the hospital. He was dismissed without charge two hours later. However, police were called again the following day after the man allegedly walked past the Riverdale Jewish Center on Independence Avenue and passively incited people. “He was wearing cargo pants with swastika stickers painted on the back of his pants,” she said. Officer Ramos said the suspect has a history of mental illness and has previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Authorities eventually arrested the man after tracking him down at his home and seeing the vandalism.

The accused was given a health assessment at North Central Bronx Hospital. He is expected to face hate-crime charges later this week.

SAR student selected as MSG award finalist for sports commentary By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER Tal Fortang has such a flair for snappy play-by-play sports commentary that MSG Varsity and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences nominated him as a finalist for an MSG Varsity V Award. The SAR student called the shots at a December hockey match and submitted the tape for consideration, and he was one of 45 finalists selected from more than 3,600 students. In nominating finalists for the best playby-play commentary, judges looked for knowledge of the event, athletes and rules; a positive tone in the spirit of MSG Varsity; ability to maintain viewer interest; ability to communicate pertinent information relevant to the sporting event; enthusiasm; timeliness of delivery; subject knowledge; and articulation. Entries were required to run no longer than 10 minutes. Competing with Fortang for play-byplay are a student from New Canaan High School, two students from Wayne Hills High School and a student from Yorktown High School. The V Awards, now in their second year, aim to nurture the next generation of broadcast professionals by recognizing excellence in student-produced content for television.



CONCERT 7 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Reisinger Concert Hall Senior Recital, featuring soprano Noor Sandhu and pianist Martin Goldray. For more information, call 914-395-2412.

Saturday, April 30 Scarsdale

NATURE LOVERS & ARTISTS 10 a.m. The Weinberg Nature Center 455 Mamaroneck Road Come join local artist Mike Teator and explore the wonderful world of water color using scenes from the Westchester Parks. For more information, call 914-722-1289 or visit www.


BIRD WALK 10 a.m. Croton Point Nature Center Croton Point Avenue Catch a glimpse of birds visiting Croton Point Park. For more information, call 914-862-5297.

North White Plains

SPRING BIRD WALK 1 p.m. Cranberry Lake Preserve Old Orchard Street One of the best times of the year to see spring birds. Beginners welcome. They will lend your children binoculars. For more information, call 914-428-1005.

Cross River

AMPHIBIANS FOR KIDS 1 p.m. Trailside Nature Museum Ward Pound Ridge Reservation Get a close-up look at and learn about amphibians. Waterproof boots recommended. Ages 5 and up. For more information, call 914-864-7322.


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 information, call 914835-4466.

New Rochelle

CONCERT 8 p.m. Iona College’s Murphy Auditorium 715 North Avenue Israreli cellist Amit Peled will be the soloist for an allHaydn program when the Westchester Chamber Symphony concludes its concert season. For more information, call 914-654-4926.

Sunday, May 1


HIKE THE HUDSON 10 a.m. Croton Point Nature Center Croton Point Avenue An energetic hike that will teach you about migrating birds, fish and the people who lived here. For more information, call 914-862-5297.


VOLUNTEER WORK 11 a.m. Lenoir Preserve Dudley Street Butterfly Garden Cleanup Day. Start the season by cleaning up and preparing the garden for spring. For more information, call 914-968-5851.


NATURE WALK 2 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Boston Post Road The World of Shoreline Invertebrates. Join the naturalist and enter the world of creatures without backbones. For more information, call 914-835-4466.


SPRING DANCE CONCERT 2 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Schönberg Dance Studio

Showcase of student performances. Program A at 2 p.m. and Program B at 7 p.m. For more information, call 914-395-2433.


HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE 7 p.m. Shaarei Tikvah 46 Fox Meadow Road A program of readings, music and candle lighting to remember and honor the victims of the Holocaust. For more information, call 914-472-2013, ext. 300.

Monday, May 2 Bronxville

MUSIC 7 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Marshall Field Room 1 Featuring the Sarah Lawrence Jazz Ensembles directed by Glenn Alexander. Showcase of SLC student instrumental and vocal jazz ensembles. For more information, call 914395-2412.

Tuesday, May 3 Bronxville

MUSIC 1:30 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Reisinger Concert Hall Cygnus Ensemble, Sarah Lawrence College’s ensemble-inresidence, plays works by contemporary and student composers. For more information, call 914-395-2412.


READING 2 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Slonim Living Room Joan Cowen Bowman will read from and discuss her family memoir, “The Power of the Place.” For info, call 914-395-2412.


MUSIC 7 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Reisinger Concert Hall Sarah Lawrence Orchestra Concert, conducted by Jonathan Yates, will perform Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera “Hansel and Gretel.” For more info, call 914-395-2412.

Thursday, May 5 Bronxville

MUSIC 1 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College MacCracken Dance Studio SLC’s West African Percussion Ensemble is joined by dancers and singers from Guinea to perform traditional West African music using djembes and balafons. Famoro Doubate, Andy Algire and Jonathan T. King, directors. For more information, call 914-395-2412.

An old Bronx habit

Continued from Page 3

hood still bears that name. In the twentieth century, The Bronx rapidly urbanized. Edward Delafield in 1909 developed a settlement in the northwest Bronx he called Fieldston to preserve the suburban lifestyle. The name came from his ancestral home in England, but The Bronx neighborhood name stuck. From 1938 to 1942, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company erected a large apartment house development east of the Bronx River. They called it Parkchester combining parts of the names of two neighborhoods that then flanked it — Park Versailles and Westchester. It is still Parkchester today. Whether the names of NoMa and SoBro will survive or suffer the fate of Eltona, Bensonia and North New York remains to be seen. But it is certain developers will still try to change neighborhood names to make a quick buck.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday, April 28

Thursday, April 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



The Riverdale Y’s Resident Theater Company’s season continues as the adult theater company, Riverdale Repertory Company, presents Neil Simon’s Rumors. Rumors is a farcical play by Neil Simon. The cast includes community members and Riverdale Rising Stars alumni, as well as four stars from the Riverdale Repertory Companies recent hit production of The Drowsy Chaperone; Cast members include: Gregory Kanter, Danny Mejia, Arianne DeCerb, Liz Powers, Wylie Cohen, Ronni Stolzenberg, Kara Alyce Robbins, Kyle Robbins, Joe Gonzalez and Mary Ellen Gibbs.Show Dates: Saturdays, April 30 & May 7 @ 9:00PM; Sundays, May 1 & May 8 @ 3:00PM;Wednesday, May 4 @ 7:30PM;Thursday, May 5 @7:30PM. The cost for all tickets is only $10 and can be purchased at the door or online at www. The Riverdale Y is located at: 5625 Arlington Avenue /Bronx, NY 10471 or call (718)-548-8200 for more information.

Coffee hour is back at RNH

The Riverdale Neighborhood House Coffee Hour is back. It will be held on Mondays from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Each week you will hear and discuss information from experts about health, nutrition,

parenting, child development, relationships and much more. On Monday, May 2, Dr. Phil Schneider will meet with parents of preschoolers and talk about the miracle of speech/language development. Parents, grandparents and baby-sitters are welcome. Coffee will be served. Fee: $5. No registration required. Riverdale Neighborhood House is located at 5521 Mosholu Avenue. For more information, call 718-549-8100 ext. 100 or visit their website at

RCS concert to feature works of American composers

The Riverdale Choral Society invites music lovers to their concert entitled ‘American Composers.’ Under the direction of John Lettieri the chorus will perform Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Chichester Psalms’ along with selections by American composers Stephen Foster, William Billings, Eric Whitacre, Samuel Barber, Irving Fine, local composer Elliot Levine and Riverdalian Judith C. Lane. Accompanying instrumentalists include Eric Sedgwick on piano; Wendy Lucas on harp; David Graf on organ; and Glenn Rhias on percussion instruments. Following the performance, concert attendees are invited to dine on such American-style classics as chili, macaroni and cheese,

salads and corn bread. The concert will take place at Christ Church Riverdale on Saturday, May 7 at 4 p.m. Christ Church is located at 5030 Henry Hudson Parkway at West 252nd Street. It is on the east side of Henry Hudson Parkway where parking is available. Admission is $20. With the Bronx Cultural Card, admission is $18. For more information, visit www.riverdalechoral. org or call 718-543-2219.

Sports Academy at the Riverdale Y

The Riverdale Y is offering an extensive sports clinics and group programs for all ages starting in May. Group lessons include indoor soccer for ages 3 to 6; introduction to sports for grades 1 to 3; basketball clinics for all ages and levels including glrls basketball and 3 on 3 basketball for grades 7 to 8 and 9 to 12; gymnastics for all levels. They are now offering one on one training for sports specific training with coach Yudi Davis for grades 6 and up.For adults there is drop in basketball, softball, several leagues including, basketball, dodgeball and racketball. Registration is in the beginning of May for all programs. The community is welcomed to participate. Checkheck their website at www.river- or call Yudi Davis at 718-5488200 ext 240 for more information.

Bronx Week celebration to honor centenarians

As part of this year’s Bronx Week celebrations, Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. will be honoring Bronxites who are 100 years of age or older. If you or someone you know meet this criteria and would like to participate in this event, contact Larcenia Walton at 718-5906248 or for info.

Church of Mediator to host flea market

On Saturday, May 7, the Church of the Mediator will be hosting a flea market, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The church is located at 260 West 231st Street between Kingsbridge and Corlear Avenues. Refreshments will be sold. Proceeds will help benefit the church. For vendors interested in renting table space, the fee is $20 for one table and $35 for two tables. Vendors can contact Larry Molatto at 347483-2489. Or by email at larry2264@gmail. com. The flea market also has a website For more information, call 718-5498660 or 347-992-4361.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 28, 2011

‘Rumors’ to be shown at Riverdale Y

Thursday, April 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


The Politics of Skating

With spring finally underway, it somehow seems odd to be discussing the surprise construction of a skating rink in Van Cortlandt Park, which could be completed in just a few months. This “discussion” is apparently rhetorical, since all the decisions have already been made by our all-knowing leader, King Mike the Mayor, and his loyal lackeys. One would think that a project such as this would be the result of many months of community discussion and debate. After all, this is public land upon which this proposed rink would be built. But the public, and this community has, in typical Bloombergian fashion, been cut out of that dialogue. As we have repeatedly said we don’t necessarily think the skating rink is a bad idea – in fact we advocated for such a project more than a decade ago. But what does disturb us is the idea that an unelected but politically-connected cabal can unilaterally choose the site for this project and decide without the benefit of public debate whether and how this public land should be used. This is the issue that is really before us at this point. And this has implications that go far beyond the scope of this project. If we agree that the rink could be built without public review, then perhaps an amusement park could be built in an adjoining area of the park in a similar fashion next year. Maybe this or some future mayor or “Conservancy” might think that a facility for skateboarding might be just the thing, or perhaps Go-Karts or a petting zoo are the kinds of projects that should be pursued in our park, or should we say, their park. We don’t see that public participation – the community board and elected officials must abdicate in favor of dictatorial control – or else. Some of us may think that such proposals are good ideas while others would object to the use of this precious parkland for these purposes. That is why we live in a democracy. That is why we elect all our officials, not just the mayor, and we have created a structure in the City of New York of community boards that have certain powers over our public and private spaces, procedures that are now being ignored, setting a dangerous precedent. There are a lot of questions one can raise with regard to this specific proposal. Everything from bathroom facilities to just where the income derived by the skating rink will go. These questions deserve to be answered and from those answers can come a better proposal, or a degree of clarity emerging from open discussion which can only conclude that this particular hurried proposal is deeply flawed. Perhaps the folks who live around the park may have a little bit more insight than the out-of-towners that make up the majority of the so-called “Conservancy.” That the Conservancy is led by a local political figure, one that has failed to get himself elected to any public office, making us all the more suspicious. The fact that the Conservancy has closed its meetings to the public should raise serious questions. That the press is not permitted to attend the meetings and that the Conservancy claims that it is above not just the open meetings law, but also the laws regarding obtaining information through the freedom of information law. What are they trying to hide? Understand this: the Conservancy was established by the Parks Department. The chair was imposed on us by the mayor. They have been given authority over public parkland, which in our estimation, makes this a fully public entity subject to and governed by the same laws that the mayor and Parks Commissioner must adhere to. Open meetings, free exchange of information and public hearings. In a community that prides itself on using public lands in a responsible way and supports all manner of regulation over individual property, one would think that the protection of a public asset as important as Van Cortlandt Park would be a primary concern. And the Community Board should take note: if this project goes forward without appropriate review, then they might as well simply pack it in. Their powers will have, de facto, been eliminated by the mayor and his agents in a bloodless coup. There are several sites that we have identified which may be more Continued on Page 19

High school choice appears to be an illusion to many

By MIAWLING LAM Bronx students aspire to attend high-performing schools outside their borough and list more high school choices than their peers in Brooklyn and Queens. But a new study into New York City’s intricate high school admission process reveals many are actually accepted into schools closer to home. The findings, part of a broader study into high school choice, were presented before a packed audience at an educational forum at the New School in Manhattan last Wednesday. New York University Assistant Professor Sean Corcoran kicked off proceedings before four other experts, including NYC Department of Education Student Enrolment CEO Robert Sanft, spoke. Corcoran said the high school selection process, which was overhauled in 2004 by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and former Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, has yielded mixed results. Parents and students were being given unprecedented access to information, but he conceded not all were benefiting from the changes. “One of the things that is emerging from this and studies of school choice elsewhere is that information is not necessarily

sufficient,” he said. “Success is going to depend very heavily on parents and kids having access to information, how they use [it] and how well they understand the process.” The research findings are based on an extensive analysis of students’ preferred list of schools and those they were ultimately accepted into. Corcoran said Bronx students were more likely to rank a school located outside their borough and to nominate an average of 8.4 programs on their application form. Citywide, one in four students lists the maximum 12 programs, while 7 percent nominate just one. “Kids in Manhattan and The Bronx list the most choices,” he said. “A lot of this just has to do with geography and the availability of schools.” The educational economist also uncovered a large disconnect between the schools that students aspire to attend and those they are ultimately placed in, particularly among black and Hispanic students. He said while those teenagers tend to nominate schools that are higher performing and more racially diverse than their original school, they are usually accepted by schools similar to their middle schools.

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New York University doctoral candidate Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj criticized the system and agreed it disadvantaged those from lowincome families. She said she visited several middle schools during her research and discovered at least 20 cases where guidance counselors filled out application forms for students without getting their input. In other cases, guidance counselors weren’t even present. Department of Education Enrollment Office CEO Robert Sanft, who bore the brunt of the audience’s frustrations, responded by making a rare admission that the city had a supply and demand problem with its schools. “We don’t have enough good options to serve all New York City students, and we need to continue to improve that,” he said. “The supply isn’t moving as quickly as the demand, and we need to focus on that.” Sanft also denied that “overthe-counter” students—those arriving during the school year—were being funneled into specific schools. Coincidentally, Councilman G. Oliver Koppell raised the issue during a meeting with Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg on April 19. Koppell expressed his concern about the uneven enrollment distribution of English Language learners and over-the-counter students in The Bronx. He feared future incoming students would automatically be placed in DeWitt Clinton High School instead of in smaller or charter schools, and he called on the DOE to conduct a study to identify the high school needs of students in the northwest Bronx.

Synagogue teens help to rebuild New Orleans

Continued from Page 18 appropriate for the skating rink than this troublesome parcel along Broadway. If there was an open discussion that could touch upon parking, access to public transportation serving Bronx residents (after all, this site is far more accessible to residents of Westchester and northern Manhattan than to the vast majority of Bronxites), excessive noise and pollution, and dangerous traffic conditions, we can only conclude that while this locale is surely not be the best one for a skating rink, it might have been chosen simply because it is the best one to advance the political career of the Conservancy’s chair. Maybe that’s why there’s so much resistance to having a free discussion, public hearings, meetings open to the press and all of the inconvenient trappings of democracy which hereto for has been missing from this poorly thought out proposal. You see, the rush to build isn’t about skating, it’s about politics.


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19 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, April 28, 2011

Politics of skating

some kind of service work,” Helfand said. “Basically, we spent last year doing some learning and service projects in New York, some dialoguing with teenage students in the eastern Bronx schools through a community organizing model.” They worked with the Green Faith Initiative to help institute recycling and other green practices at the synagogue. They also volunteered at a soup kitchen run by an organization called Part of the Solution on Webster Avenue in The Bronx. POTS offers support services as well as food, clothing, showers and haircuts to the needy. The organization’s hours for volunteering are during the school day, so fellowship members served there during a day off from school—Christmas. “It’s something I grew up with—going to the soup kitchen every year on Christmas with

person’s home, and the future resident of that home will come through and talk about ‘this is where I lived before the hurricane, and this is what happened’—a real person.” When Helfand graduates from the Jewish Theological Seminary’s rabbinical school this year, he and his wife, Jenny, and five-month-old daughter, Eden, will head to California, where he will lead a 215-member congregation in Foster City, just south of San Francisco. Adam Baldachin, a third-year rabbinical student at JTS, will assume leadership of the teen group. Baldachin has worked with the Abayudaya, an indigenous Jewish community in Mbale, Uganda. For more information about the Jewish Teens for Justice Memorial Day weekend mission to New Orleans, email corey. or call the synagogue office at 718-543-8400.

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By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER Three rabbis meet, as the joke goes, to discuss how best to eradicate mice from their respective synagogue basements, and one reveals the only solution that actually works: “Give them all a bar mitzvah, and they’ll never come back again!” Not so at the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale, where a group of post-bar mitzvah boys and post-bat mitzvah girls convene to discuss ways of helping others and to team up for the service projects they decide to implement. This Memorial Day weekend, they’ll be in New Orleans, repairing houses for people displaced by Katrina, the 2005 hurricane that destroyed most of the city. CSAIR’s Jewish Teens for Justice Fellowship will serve as volunteer construction workers for the St. Bernard Project, a nonprofit that enables financially challenged families to rebuild their damaged homes in the St. Bernard Parish section of New Orleans. The project uses donations and volunteers to complete a home in 12 weeks for an average cost of less than $20,000. The organization asks residents seeking help to submit an application showing proof of need, and they give priority to seniors, the disabled and families with young children. Some adults from CSAIR have in the past volunteered for The St. Bernard Project, and one reason the group chose it for their service mission is that volunteers as young as 14 are accepted. Leading the teen fellowship is CSAIR rabbinic intern Corey Helfand. When Helfand took on the role two years ago, Rabbi Barry Dov Katz asked him to focus on the congregation’s high school students. “I was tasked with that demographic,” he said, “particularly to keep them connected with the synagogue.” The group is now around 10 strong, and the program has a community service orientation without a formal curriculum. Helfand shared with them his experience on a recent trip to Africa with the American Jewish World Service. “We did some learning about HIV, AIDS, global poverty, the hunger crisis in Africa,” he said. Other ideas he shared are from Hazon, an organization devoted to environmental concerns from a Jewish perspective. “One of the selling points for this fellowship was that we were going to take a trip at some point somewhere to do

my synagogue,” Helfand recalled. The Jewish Teens for Justice will spend their New Orleans nights in sleeping bags on the floor of Congregation Shir Chadash, a Conservative shul in the suburb of Metiarie. When they’re not busy with two-by-fours and shingles, they’ll take in the culture, partner with teens in a black Catholic church and “maybe listen to some southern gospel music,” Helfand said. After some basic training, volunteers will—under supervision—check for mold, replace roofing, windows and doors, and install insulation, sheetrock, flooring and trim. Staff or qualified volunteers tackle the electric and plumbing. “What’s nice is that we’re building homes for people who actually lost their homes in Katrina” but are now staying with friends or in temporary housing, Helfand said. “One of the things they talk about is that you can be building a

Thursday, April 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


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