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Riverdale’s ONLY Locally Owned Newspaper!

Volume XVIII • Number 25 • May 26 - June 1, 2011 •


RKA substitute teacher accused of assaulting student By MIAWLING LAM A veteran relief teacher at the Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy could be facing criminal charges and disciplinary action after he allegedly choked a sixth-grader during class. The teacher allegedly grabbed the student by his sweater and shook him like a rag doll while more than 20 other students looked on in horror. The incident allegedly occurred in a classroom at M.S./H.S. 141 during a double math period on Monday, May 16. Police and school officials are releasing few details about the incident, which occurred at 2:40 p.m. but it is believed both city departments are investigating the assault. The Riverdale Review understands the teacher has worked at the school for 30 years. Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said the employee has also been removed from RKA’s relief teacher list, pending the investigation. “On Tuesday, a parent came to the school and stated

that a substitute teacher grabbed her son by his hoodie and said some inappropriate things,” she said. “The matter is under investigation. Disciplinary action is pending the outcome of the investigation.” The student’s mother, who requested her name not to be published, said her son was assaulted after the teacher accused him of throwing a piece of paper at his eye. “He came up to my son and he grabbed him by his chest and he was jerking him up and down,” she said. “All my son’s classmates were astonished. They were like, ‘oh my god, this is child abuse.’ Even they were shocked.” She said her son, who has been at the school for eight months, sustained bruising around the neck and chest from the violent encounter. The mom said the assault has left her son traumatized. In fact, he is so shaken up by it, he now has trouble sleeping and is currently seeing a therapist, she said. The parent also took aim at RKA principal Lori O’Mara and criticized the way she handled the incident.

“She actually told my son that the teacher was frustrated and that’s why he did that,” the mom claimed. “I said that doesn’t make it okay and then she said, ‘well I’m just trying to better the situation.’ I just feel as though she was taking it very lightly.” As of press time, calls to the school for comment had not been returned. The family has since hired a lawyer to discuss legal recourse options. The mom said she felt compelled to come forward and expose the alleged abuse because she wanted justice. “I’m not going to let it go,” she said. “I know if I don’t do this, the school is just going to sweep it under the rug and just let it go, and I don’t want that to happen. “My son comes home all the time telling me that the teachers verbally abuse them and that they’re always cursing at them. “They think it’s the norm because they’re so used to it, but it’s wrong.”

Van Cortlandt Park skate rink bidder gets cold feet By BRENDAN McHUGH At least one company has submitted a bid on the potential ice-skating rink in Van Cortlandt Park. Ice Rink Events, the Houstonbased company who also created the Bryant Park skate rink, confirmed that they have put forth a bid that includes permanent storage of chilling equipment within the park. The deadline to submit projects was Monday, May 23. Three different companies attended the site meeting in April. American Skating Entertainment Centers, LLC said they chose not to submit a project, claiming that high capital investment costs and a lack of a holiday atmosphere in the area turned them off. The other known interested company, Rink Management Services Corporation, has not responded to requests for comment. “After reviewing the location and the revenue potential, it wasn’t that compelling of a site,” ASEC CEO Shane Coppola said. “It wasn’t that interesting. We didn’t see it as enough traffic to generate the revenue.” Coppola said the area lacks attractions that keep people there. “We look for places with a holiday theme or a downtown theme where people can come

down and have dinner and make a night of it as opposed to a oneoff situation.” At the end of the day, he realized the location was it’s biggest handicap. “You’re on a tennis court in the back of a stadium.” The site, near the corner of Manhattan College Parkway and Broadway, is at the very end of the No. 1 subway and along a number of bus routes. While the subway and bus provide access, they also provide unwanted noise, pollution and traffic. Ice Rink Events project manager Ron Kraut said the project became much more complicated than originally expected, but he believes Van Cortlandt Park is worth it. “With the permanent installation of a chiller,” he said, “this evolved to be a much more elaborate project than originally expected.” An addendum was issued to the request for proposals by the parks department that asked bidders to try to include the installation of permanent chillers next to and within the stadium bleachers next to the tennis court. “It sent people scrambling,” Kraut said. “That required coming up with cash and making a commitment for capital expenditures. It got more complicated. Everybody had to go back to the

drawing board.” The cost was what became the most difficult part for Ice Rink Events. “Coming up with hundreds of thousands of dollars for capital expenditure in

this economy is tough to do,” he said. Kraut wouldn’t give specifics on his project, but said the company had a hard time deciding whether they should make

it look like a hockey rink with boards and glass or make it a more open space without all the hockey barriers. Ice Rink Events has been workContinued on Page 3

POLICE DAY AT THE RIVERDALE Y: Children were given a hands-on opportunity to explore the equipment, learn safety tips and talk with 50th Precinct officers.

Thursday, May 26, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Plan to ease $ impact of oil switch

By MIAWLING LAM In an unprecedented move, a group of Riverdale landlords will work together to reduce the cost of converting to cleaner heating systems. Nearly 10 co-op building managers voted to explore natural gas heating options and agreed to negotiate as a buying unit following a historic meeting on May 18. The groundbreaking event, organized by the Association of Riverdale Cooperatives and Condominiums, marked the first time a group of local landlords have met and sat down for a sole purpose. The building managers, who represent more than 100 co-ops, convened at Jake’s Steakhouse to discuss the mandatory conversion process with senior Con Edison staff. ARC President Stephen J. Budihas said the meeting was a monumental occasion, given that landlords are usually de facto competitors. “We’ve got a unique moment in time when everybody is concerned about the same thing,” he said. “If successful, this unique venture could be a landmark one, without precedent in Riverdale nor any other neighborhood. We [see] this as an opportunity for us to truly represent Riverdale, all the shareholders and all the residents.” During the two-hour discussion, stakeholders talked about how to minimize costs in converting from No. 6 heating oil, currently burned by virtually every Riverdale co-op, to cleaner alternatives. Under the mandatory phaseout, initially proposed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, all buildings will be forced to change from No. 6 heating oil to No. 4 by 2015 and then to No. 2 or gas by 2030. The laws will be a financial burden for co-ops, as they will have to change their heating system equipment and, in many cases, the pipes that run through their buildings and under roads. However, a convincing presentation from Con Edison representatives suggests a natural gas service can be built and provided for zero capital cost to buildings. Con Edison gas engineering section manager Nickolas Hellen said depending on the size of co-ops and the potential revenue generation, customers may not have to pony up funds. Citing the example of Columbia University, who converted 80 of their on-campus buildings to natural gas for zero outlay, Hellen said the model could be replicated in Riverdale. “By clustering and bringing people in at the same time, it benefits pretty much everyone involved.” ARC board member and Riverdale resident David Gellman agreed. He said there was value in the idea of numbers and that if the majority of landlords proceed with the plan, it will have enormous cost benefits. “We’re sort of looking at ourselves as a bit of a buying cooperative, and

Con Ed is our potential supplier,” he said. “The more we get together, the larger the group we are, the more negotiating leverage we’ll have.” Each landlord will now provide Con Edison with data including their annual oil consumption and total gas usage so capital cost requirements can be formulated. In the meantime, building managers will each decide whether they want to hire an engineer and obtain internal conversion costs. Once both processes are completed, buildings will be empowered to determine which option makes the most economic sense.

By BRENDAN McHUGH Representatives of the Kingsbridge Riverdale Van Cortlandt Development Corporation met with Community Board 8’s traffic and transportation committee last week to discuss the installation of a plaza program, but some members of the committee were hesitant to give the proposal a green light, as the location for the plaza is the same as a location of a greenstreet the committee recently approved. The location is at the bottom of the commercial corridor on Riverdale Avenue, at a triangle formed by the intersections of West 236th Street, Riverdale Avenue and Fieldston Road. It currently hosts about 15 metered parking spaces. While KRVC is the nonprofit looking for approval from the board, the South Riverdale Avenue Merchants Association would be the nonprofit responsible for funding the plaza. The cost to maintain the plaza is unknown, but it has been suggested in the past that plazas throughout the city can run $25,000 a year. The city

builds and maintains the plaza at the beginning but eventually hands the maintenance costs to a local nonprofit. The merchants association has yet to support the plaza program, saying they will discuss the proposal at their next meeting in June. Some merchants have come out in support of the plaza, saying it will create a place for shoppers to linger, but others are worried about costs and parking spaces. Cliff Stanton, KRVC treasurer, said the plaza would take away parking on Riverdale Avenue but would add new diagonal spaces on Fieldston Road. He didn’t address a smaller concrete island that would be put in farther south on the corner of Fieldston Road and West 236th Street that might take away some spots. Because the plaza would close a small portion of West 236th Street in front of Palombo’s Bakery, the traffic pattern in the area would have to change. Stanton brought up the idea of a traffic light, but the Department of Transportation has said in the past that traffic lights below

Skating rink contractor gets cold feet Continued from Page 1 ing on this project with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy since the summer of 2010. However, the community was made aware of the project only when the mayor gave his State of the City address at the beginning of this year. The lack of input has angered some community residents, but Community Board 8 has called the parks department back to the parks committee of the board nearly every month since February to discuss the project. Now that the deadline has passed, the

parks department will review the proposals and choose a winner. The parks department also has the ability to decide no proposals were adequate and either scrap the project completely or reissue the RFP and attempt to attract new bidders. If there is a winner, that company will go before the Franchise and Concessions Review Committee, which will consist of a public hearing and a vote on the final project. It is unknown how long the process will take, but the skating rink is expected to be up and running by this November.

the current light near Palombo’s doesn’t work because of the steep slope of Riverdale Avenue. During the winter, the area would become treacherous for trucks, buses and other large vehicles. “I think that particular area is too small for a plaza,” traffic committee member Sylvia Alexander said. “We have green spaces anyway. Leave well enough alone.” Community resident Bob Drake pointed out that the slope of Riverdale Avenue would also be inconvenient to people trying to sit at a table. “If you drop the ball, it’s going to roll down the hill,” he said. With the questions that still remain and the traffic concerns of the area, it is unlikely DOT would approve the proposal.

3 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, May 26, 2011

Proposed Riverdale Ave plaza hits roadblock

A DOT representative said the city has more applications than it can handle and is currently accepting only those applications that are easy to convert and have full support of the community. Also, the plaza program is part of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s plan to ensure all city residents live near an open space or a park. Stanton admitted that because of a number of nearby parks in Riverdale, this plaza would score low on the city’s list. City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell has already said he will be allocating $75,000 to convert the space to a greenstreet next year. The plaza would have to sustain a three-year process before it could be implemented. “I have some reservations about having a plaza,” Koppell said, referring to the amount of traffic that passing by the area. “But a greenstreet would be nice.”

Thursday, May 26, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Around the schools... P.S. 81

All P.S. 81 families are invited to attend the school’s International Dinner and raffle this Thursday, May 26, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Participants are asked to bring a dish that serves eight. The food must be contained in a disposable pan. The Kids Show, “P.S. 81 Goes to...the Beach,” takes place Saturday, June 4, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, June, 5, at 1 p.m. The show features 170 students singing and dancing to beach-themed songs. Tickets are $10 at the door.

P. S. 24

This year’s Springfest celebration is on Wednesday, June 8. Families are asked to contribute toward the basket raffle no later than Friday, June 3, by sending their child to school with a new, unwrapped item priced at $10 or less that’s in keeping with the theme (baking, BBQ, sports and outdoor play, etc.) assigned to the child’s class. Each item will be included in the class basket.

M.S./H.S. 141—RiverdaleKingsbridge Academy

RKA’s first Academic and Arts Fair will take place this Thursday and Friday, May 26 and 27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both days and from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday evening. The community is welcome—particularly on Thursday evening. Students will guide visitors through exhibitions featuring class assignments in all subjects and from all grade levels. The RKA Dancers and the middle school band will perform at the fair on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Manhattan College

At its 196th undergraduate commencement last week, the college awarded nearly 700 degrees in 40 fields from its schools of the arts, business, education, engineering and science. During the ceremony, novelist and executive director of the New York State Writers Institute William Kennedy was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Kennedy is a professor in the University at Albany’s English Department, and he taught writing at Cornell University. “Creating something new means you change the world, even if you don’t intend to,” he said as he addressed the class of 2011. His writing focuses on life in his hometown, Albany, where he now resides. His novel “Ironweed” was chosen

by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of the twentieth century. At its spring commencement for students from the adult degree completion program, the college awarded more than 200 bachelor’s degrees along with master’s degrees to those in the schools of education and engineering and professional diplomas to students in the school of education. An honorary Doctor of Engineering degree was given to structural engineer George J. Tamaro from the college’s class of 1959. Tamaro has more than 50 years of experience in foundation engineering.

Kinneret Day School

After the sixth-graders stopped off at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens last week, they visited the Brooklyn Museum to see the Egyptian exhibit. The trip concluded with a stop at the Believe It Or Not Museum. Back at school, each student conducted research on an item of interest from the Brooklyn Museum and then gave a presentation. Fifth-graders held a poetry reading last week. They wrote original poems on a variety of topics and invited parents to attend the event. Refreshments were served.

Horace Mann School

Riverdalians Megan Childs, Cordelia Francis and Jordan Kolinski were among the 36 Horace Mann students inducted into the school’s Cum Laude Society. Those inducted each year—no more than 20 percent of the senior class—are those who have shown overall academic excellence and who have demonstrated good character, honor and integrity in all aspects of school life. The induction ceremony was followed by a reception for the honored students and their guests.

College Of Mount Saint Vincent

The college held its 99th annual commencement last week and awarded its highest honor, the Elizabeth Seton Medal, to the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul of New York. The group founded the college a century ago, and they continue to be college sponsors. Created by Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the Sisters of Charity have ministered to the needs of New York and have founded, led, and staffed schools, hospitals, and social service agencies throughout their history.

By BRENDAN McHUGH Overlooking an empty reservoir from Fort Four Park, elected officials and community leaders joined together last week to call for access to the Jerome Park Reservoir. “Let the collective voices of the northwest Bronx be heard,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “And let the DEP listen to us and return the usage of the perimeter of the park.” In March, the Department of Environmental Protection released a report that called for a three-day pilot program for pedestrian access to the Jerome Park Reservoir in 2013. Now, local leaders are calling for a public hearing to discuss greater access to the reservoir. “The DEP offer of a three-day pilot in the year 2013 is totally unacceptable,” Diaz said. “The Jerome Park Reservoir is not only a major civic amenity, but represents a historically significant part of our Bronx heritage.” The hearing will be held on Thursday, June 2, at Vladeck Hall in the Amalgamated Houses located at 74 Van Cortlandt Park South (on the corner of Hillman Avenue and Van Cortlandt Park South). The hearing will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Bronxites will have the opportunity to voice their own opinions on public access to the reservoir. “The reservoir was designed, built and opened as a park, and access should be returned to the community,” Diaz said. Currently, two fences separate the community from the reservoir. Elected

officials vary in the access they’d like to see, but all agree it should be increased. Joining Diaz in the call for greater access were City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell, Assemblymen Jeff Dinowitz and Jose Rivera, state Senator Gustavo Rivera, representatives from community boards 7, 8 and 12, and members of local community groups. “For the DEP to deny this to the community just adds another to the long list of outrages to the community in recent years,” Dinowitz said, noting that he grew up near the reservoir and went to three different schools surrounding it. “We were lied to time and time again. The insult they are sending to the community is unbelievable.” Koppell pointed out that other reservoirs are open to the public, and any safety concerns the DEP has can be addressed through modern transparency. “We need to explore ways in which we can provide substantially more access without sacrificing public safety,” he said. Sen. Rivera made his message very clear, saying, “If it’s good enough for Central Park, it’s good enough for The Bronx.” The Central Park reservoir is open to the public. Other reservoirs upstate are open as well. Father Richard Gorman, chairman of both Community Board 12 and the Croton Filtration Monitoring Committee, slammed the DEP’s report. “In an age where the city is telling us that they don’t have enough money to provide for vital services such as fire houses, and it’s amazing, from a city administration that tells us how effective and

The Award- Winning

Riverdale Rising Stars Junior

Sunday, May 22 at 1:30 PM & 5:30 PM Tuesday, May 24 at 7:00PM Thursday, May 26 at 7:00PM Sunday, May 29 at 2:00 & 6:00PM Tickets available on line at At the door: $20 Admission: $18 (online) Seniors: $15 Students $10 Group Rates: $10 5625 Arlington Avenue Bronx, NY 10471 718-548-8200

efficient they are using their resources, that the DEP took thousands of dollars, tens of thousands of dollars, of not just weeks and months, but literally years, to come up with an 11-page report that includes pictures that says absolutely nothing.” Assemblyman Rivera said he was disappointed to hear the report of limited access, saying that wasn’t the case at a 2004 meeting with DEP. “It is sad that a handshake at a meeting made up of so many responsible people is not worth anything anymore. You have to keep up with your promises, keep up with your handshakes, keep up with your word,” he said. “The Jerome Park Reservoir is an incredible resource and a historic treasure that

should be enjoyed by the community. We’ve always supported access to Jerome Park Reservoir. We’ve been promised time and again by DEP commissioners that regular access to the reservoir will be granted, and we intend to hold them to that promise,” said Kristin Hart, president of the Fort Independence Park Neighborhood Association. “Community Board 8 has fought for public access to the Jerome Park Reservoir for close to twenty years, including this in our comprehensive rezoning plan in the ‘90s. It’s time for the DEP to once again allow the people of The Bronx to enjoy this historic and beautiful part of our community,” said Damien McShane, chairman of Community Board 8.

5 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bronx politicians call for access to Jerome Park Reservoir

Thursday, May 26, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


RCT to present Disney Little Mermaid Jr.

Riverdale Children’s Theatre has been selected as one of the first theater groups ever to present Disney Little Mermaid Jr. This special pilot production is based on the hit 1989 animated film. It is a classic fairytale story that follows Ariel, a young mermaid who longs to escape her ocean home and live among the humans that inhabit the world above her. Little Mermaid contains all of the memorable songs that are featured in the Disney animated film including the song ‘Under the Sea’ by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. All seats are $15 and can be purchased online at Performances are held at the Lovinger Theatre, located on the Lehman College campus at 250 Bedford Park Blvd. West. Show dates are: May 26 at 7 p.m.; May 29 at 1 and 5 p.m.; May 30 at 5 p.m.; and June 12 at 1 and 5 p.m. Group rates are available for groups of 10 or more. Call 646-436-3045 to book.

Town hall meeting to be held at SAR School

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Congressman Eliot Engel, Council Member Oliver Koppell, State Senator Jeff Klein, the SAR High School, and the SAR High School’s Political Action Alliance will host a town hall meeting to discuss critical issues such as the federal, state, and city budgets, neighborhood school funding,

senior citizen concerns, the expiration of tenant protection laws, the MTA, parking and transportation issues, job creation and economic development, as well as many other important matters. They are eager to hear their constituents’ concerns and opinions. The Town Hall Meeting, open to members of the public, will be held on Thursday, May 26th, 7:30 p.m., at SAR High School, 503 West 259th Street. For more information, call 718-5481717.

Memorial Day concert at Van Cortlandt Park

The Bronx Arts Ensemble presents a Free Memorial Day Holiday Concert in Van Cortlandt Park on Sunday, May 29 at 2 p.m. celebrating the music of Oliver Caplan, Aaron Copland, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublill, John Philip Sousa, Papo Vazquez and more. The concert features the Bronx Arts Ensemble Orchestra, conductor David Gilbert, soprano Halley Gilbert, trombonist Papo Vazquez, and flutist Theresa Norris. The free BAE Memorial Day outdoor tent concert is scheduled rain or shine. Seating will be provided. Pedestrians can enter the park at Broadway and 246th Street. Limited free parking is also available at the Van Cortlandt Golf House. Music will include Oliver Caplan: ‘Journey to the West’ (world premiere commis-

sioned by the Bronx Arts Ensemble), Gian Carlo Menotti: ‘Monica’s Waltz’ from The Medium, Rodgers & Hammerstein: Selections from ‘The Sound of Music’, ClaudeMichel Schönberg and Alain Boublil selections from ‘Les Misérables’, Raymond Torres-Santos: ‘Recordar es vivir’, Aaron Copland: Suite of Old American Songs, Morton Gould: ‘American Salute’, Papo Vazquez: ‘Oasis’ and ‘Primavera’ (world premiere) and John Philip Sousa: ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’. Presented with the support of Bronx Arts Ensemble, William Scribner, Executive/Artistic Director, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, New York City Dept. of Parks & Recreation n and Music Performance Funds, Local 802, AFM. For more information, call 718.601.7399 or visit

French Tribute Concert at Methodist Home

Methodist Home for Nursing and Rehabilitation will present ‘A French Tribute Concert’ on Saturday, June 4, 2-4 p.m., at its facility located at 4499 Manhattan College Parkway. Come enjoy the sounds of Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir and Alexandra Joan as they perform sonatas by Franck, Poulenc and Debussy. French wine and cheeses will also be available for your tasting pleasure. Admission is free; you must call to reserve a seat: 718-548-5100, ext. 231.

Great Music at Christ Church on June 4

Great Music at Christ Church will present a choir and organ concert on June 4, 2011, at 7:30pm. The choir, known for deftly singing a range of musical styles, will perform timeless pieces from Bach and Handel to Rutter, Langlais and traditional American spirituals. The Austin/Foley-Baker pipe organ, one-of-a-kind in Riverdale, will take center stage. After being silent for over three years, the renovated organ features stateof-the-art technology, which delivers an unforgettable musical experience. David Ralph, Interim Director of Music, will lead the choir and literally, pull out the stops, performing several solo selections. Highly regarded as an exceptional

organist and musician, Mr. Ralph could not contain his quick wit after playing the restored instrument for the first time. ‘This organ can do everything but make you a margarita,’ he said. While the salty, lime cocktail will not be on hand, a complimentary reception to delight the taste buds will immediately follow the concert. All are welcome to experience the final performance of this year’s concert series. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students. The concert will be at 5030 Henry Hudson Parkway East in Riverdale, NY. For more information, e-mail concer or visit the Great Music at Christ Church Facebook page. Great Music at Christ Church is in its 24th season. The series presents live music of the highest quality, performed in an inviting and intimate space for all Riverdalians and the greater Bronx Community. It acts independently of the church and is funded by grants, donations and ticket sales.

Law and Order at the Riverdale Y

Were you a Perry Mason fanatic? Do you ever miss an episode of Law and Order? Do you think you know who the guilty party is before the police do? If so, join our courtroom extravaganza Law and Order at The Simon Senior Center located at the Riverdale YM-YWHA on Friday June 3rd. We will present a special program with Aytan Adler entitled ‘Law and Order’. Feel the excitement as one of our fellow members play a DA, { defense attorney }, or a stone cold criminal. The program will begin at 10:30 a.m. and will be followed by a nutritious kosher lunch. This program is free and open to the community. The suggested donation for lunch is $2.25. For further information please call the Y at 718-548-8200 x224. The Riverdale Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue.

Riverdale Y offers Sports Specialty Camp

The Riverdale Y is excited to offer a new Sports Specialty Camp for ages 7-12 this summer in conjunction with the YM-YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood. Our camp is not led by counselors or volunteers. Our specially trained coaches do what their title implies...COACH! Programs will take place at the Riverdale Y. From July 22nd through August 19th campers will spend two days at the outdoor facility at the Henry Kaufman Campgrounds in Rockland County. Ther Sports Specialty camp is skill based, so campers leave having learned and/or improved their skills in various sports throughout the day. Let us be your sports camp as you can rest assured that your child has spent the day developing their skills, sportsmanship, having fun, and being active! This camp is perfect for the player that likes or wants to try all sports! We offer two to seven week options. Each day includes working with a variety of sports including: basketball, soccer, baseball, football, martial arts, swimming, ultimate frisbee, hockey, dodgeball, all while incorporating coordination and stability exercises! For more information contact Charlie Schiller at (718) 548-8200 ext. 229 or

Schervier sponsors Atlantic City Bus Trip

Schervier sponsors a Day Trip to Show Boat Casino, Atlantic City on Tuesday, May 31. The bus leaves from the Schervier Apartments, 2995 Independence Avenue, Riverdale, at 8:50 a.m. and Knolls Crescent at 9 a.m., and returns around 8:30 p.m. The cost is $28 and you receive $30 back from the casino! To reserve a seat, please call Nellie Kenny at 718-543-0237. Leave your name and phone number and she will get back to you.

Jasa announces activities for the month of June

Jasa Van Cortlandt Senior Center announces the upcoming special educational and recreational activities in June: Sunday, June 5, Make Up Day, featuring a ch oral performance by the Boricua College Chorus. Lunch served at 12:15 p.m. Menu: Chicken Chow Mein, brown rice, Oriental blend vegetables and dessert. Recommended contribution is $4. RSVP to office: 718-549-4700. Tuesday, June 14, Compassionate Care Hospice Presentation by Pricilla at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 15, 11 a.m., Book Talk with Francie Einenkel, NYPL librarian. Friday, June 17, Goldman Sachs Community Team Works Gardening and Picnic Event. Highlights of the day’s activities include: gardening, exercise, picnic lunch and entertainment by Rob Silverman, jazz pianist. Preregister for picnic lunch by calling the office at 718-549-4700. Wednesday, June 22, Tour the Methodist Home, including refreshments and entertainment. Meet at 12;45 p.m. Preregister in the office or call 718-5494700. Sunday, June 26, Make Up Sunday, featuring delectable lunch of turkey with pastrami sandwich, potato and fresh green salad at 12:15 p.m., followed by entertainment by Roman Lankios, xylophone player extraordinaire. Recommended contribution is $4. Wednesday, June 29 at 5:30 p.m., Dinner and performance by Bronx Opera Ensemble. Menu will include: fresh fish, orzo, green beans and dessert. Recommended contribution is $4. Jasa Van Cortlandt Senior Center is located at 3880 Sedgwick Avenue. For more information, cal 718-549-4700.

Wine Cellar Design in Riverdale

Wine Life Design announced its grand opening in Riverdale. A new luxury treat is now available to area home owners. Wine Life Design provides custom wine storage and home bar solutions to wine, liquor, and home entertaining aficionados. The firm creates unique and innovative designs specifically suited for the tight spaces of New York. ‘We bring the wine cellar to people without cellars,’ says Jessica Cox, Wine Life Design’s owner and lead designer. Wine Life Design is a full service design, installation, and project management firm. The company prides itself on attention to detail and features a professional Project Manager on every installation,

ensuring clients do not have to lift a finger (except to hold a glass of wine). Wine Life Design has joined forces with long time local business, Martos Development, LLC, to provide clients with comprehensive remodeling service. For additional information, contact Wine Life Design, 646-824-0280, www.

Blessing of the fleet at City Island

The Annual Blessing of the Fleet with

the cooperation and support of the City Island Power Squadron and the Leonard Hawkins Post #156 of the American Legion will take place on Sunday, June 26, at 1 p.m. Multi-denomination clergy will bless vessels from the Fenton Marine Dock located at 225 Fordham Street, City Island. Boats are to assemble at 12:30 p.m. at the Hart Island Ferry Dock in City Island Harbor. Communication on VHF Channel #71 will begin at that time. For more information, call 718-7922804 or 718-885-3757.

Youngsters 3-12 years old are invited to participate in the Reading Program on Saturday, June 4, at the Kingsbridge Library, 280 West 231st Street, from 1 to 1:45 p.m. Readers will be grouped by skill level and encouraged to read, helped with pronunciation and word understanding, and for those without reading skills, interpret pictures. There is no charge for participation. The Rotary Club of Riverdale is part of Rotary International and sponsors the library reading project as a local community service. Adult volunteers who are interested in participating are asked to contact Karen Pesce, Secretary: (718) 7494469.

7 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rotary Club to sponsor reading hour

Thursday, May 26, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Thursday, May 26

Saturday, June 4

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.

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

Spuyten Duyvil


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.


BOGS AND BEYOND 4 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Go green! Learn about biodiversity through Ireland’s peat. Create a miniature bog of your own! For ages 12 to 18. For more information, call 718-549-1212.


TOWN HALL MEETING 7:30 p.m. SAR High School 503 West 259th Street In coordination with local officials, SAR High School’s Political Action Alliance will host a town hall meeting to discuss critical issues such as the federal, state, and city budgets, neighborhood school funding, senior citizen concerns, the expiration of tenant protection laws, the MTA, parking and transportation issues, job creation and economic development, as well as many other important matters. For more information, call 718-548-1717.


DISCUSSION ON BOOK OF RUTH 7:45 p.m. Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel 475 West 250th Street Professor Diane M. Sharon will teach a class on ‘Sexual Politics in the Book of Ruth.’ Focus will be on the Biblical Book of Ruth, particularly Chapter 3. Two-part class: May 19 and 26. Free and open to the community. For more information, call 718-543-8400.

Sunday, May 29 Van Cortlandt

MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT 2 p.m. Van Cortlandt Park Broadway and West 246th Street The Bronx Arts Ensemble presents a Free Memorial Day Holiday Concert celebrating the music of Oliver Caplan, Aaron Copland, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublill, John Philip Sousa, Papo Vazquez and more. For more information, call 718.601.7399 or visit www.

Tuesday, May 31 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.



LIBRARY READING HOUR 1 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 280 West 231st Street Youngsters 3-12 years old are invited to participate in the reading program. Readers will be grouped by skill level and encouraged to read, helped with pronunciation and word understanding, and for those without reading skills, interpret pictures. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Riverdale. For more information, contact Karen Pesce at 718-549-4469.


FRENCH TRIBUTE CONCERT 2 p.m. Methodist Home 4499 Manhattan College Parkway Come enjoy the sounds of Sauenn Thorsteinsdottir and Alexandra Joan as they perform sonatas by Franck, Poulenc and Debussy. Free admission; call to reserve your seat: 718548-5100, ext. 231.


SOUNDS OF IRELAND 2 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 280 West 231st Street The uilleann pipes is the national bagpipe of Ireland. Hear the wonderful sounds of the uilleann pipes. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Monday, June 6 Spuyten Duyvil

KNITTING & CROCHET 11 a.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street A get together for knitters and crocheters at all skill levels to work on a current project, learn new techniques, or even to begin a new craft. A small supply of needles and year is available for beginners. All participants are encouraged to bring their own supplies. For more information, call 718-796-1202.

Van Cortlandt

ON THE PLATE! 3:30 p.m. Van Cortlandt Branch Library 3874 Sedgwick Avenue It’s time to snack! Join cooking wizard Jailin Acevedo as she guides you through baking, chopping, grilling, and melting is the quest for delicious treats. See what’s on the menu! All materials will be provided. For ages 12 to 18. For more information, call 718-543-5150.


ANIME NIGHT 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 280 West 231st Street Want to see the hottest new anime? Come check out what’s on screen at the library. Bring your friends, your pocky, and your anime and manga fandom! For ages 12-18. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Wednesday, June 8 Kingsbridge

TWEEN TUESDAYS 4 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue 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.

BUTTERFLY BOOGIE 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 280 West 231st Street Bugs aren’t gross—they’re great! After our giant cockroach puppet explains why insects are the coolest creatures around, The Tale of Flutterby and Piggle, an interactive musical performance, demonstrates the interdependence among plants and animals. Presented by the Central Park Zoo Wildlife Theatre. For ages 5 and older. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Friday, June 3

Saturday, June 18

LAW AND ORDER 10:30 a.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue A special program with Aytan Adler entitled “Law and Order”. For further information please call the Y at 718-5488200 x224.

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




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Dr. Mehnaz M. Afridi, who has been named the new director of Manhattan College’s Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center—known until now as the Holocaust Resource Center is greeted by the outgoing director, Dr. Jeff Horn. By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER sion,” college president Dr. Brennan Manhattan College hosted a com- O’Donnell said. The idea evolved as munity reception recently to welcome members of the college community “who Dr. Mehnaz M. Afridi, who in August had the vision, who had the courage, will succeed Dr. Jeff Horn as head of the who had the insight and who had the college’s Holocaust, Genocide and Inter- imagination to take the opportunity of faith Education Center—known until now a transition in leadership” decided to do as the Holocaust Resource Center. “something very new, very bold and very The event also heralded the expanded exciting with a center that already had a mission of the center to more actively wonderful track record but that many of promote interfaith dialogue and more us thought could be so much more,” he broadly focus on the phenomenon of explained. “We were greatly fortunate in genocide while continuing to examine being able to attract to this brand-new the Nazi Holocaust in particular. and very, very challenging position Dr. “We’re very excited about this expanContinued on Page 19 �

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9 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, May 26, 2011

College welcomes new Holocaust Center director

Thursday, May 26, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


UFT charges JFK HS was doomed by Tweed policy By MIAWLING LAM A war of words erupted between the United Teachers Federation and the New York City Department of Education after the union filed a lawsuit to halt the planned closure of 22 schools. The suit, filed in New York State Supreme Court on May 18, aims to spare 10 Bronx schools, including John F. Kennedy and Christopher Columbus high schools, from the chopping block. The litigation, brought forth by the UFT and its allies, including Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., also seeks to halt the co-location or expansion of 18 charter schools. At the heart of the UFT’s damning allegations is that authorities have cheated students, such as those enrolled at JFK, out of their fair use of shared space. The 65-page lawsuit, which contains a slew of emotionally charged language, claims charter schools placed in traditional school buildings get better access to amenities such as libraries, lunchrooms and gyms—a gross violation of state law. “Not only are the DOE’s justifications for why the proposed co-locations provide an equitable and comparable use insufficient, but in fact, many of the co-locations do not provide for tenable, let alone equitable and comparable, use of shared space,” it states. The suit also alleges that DOE authorities neglected to provide a schedule for use of the auditorium at the X475 campus, a building that JFK shares with seven other schools. City officials even listed the library in its shared space allocation table although the facility is closed and the librarian has been “excessed” out of the building. “This reveals the DOE’s failure to address the realities of these upon colocations and their impact on existing students, rather than preparing BUPs based upon boilerplate paper numbers and allocations, resulting only in hypothetical equality, [if that].” Similarly, the UFT accuses the city of reneging on its commitment to provide support to 15 of the schools that were given a reprieve following a similar lawsuit last year. It alleges that authorities did not do enough to reverse declining academic standards at Christopher Columbus High School. The plaintiff charges the city completed a curriculum audit of the school only after closure was a foregone conclusion. The audit was part of the 10-part Education Plan drafted by the union and city officials following a similar lawsuit last year. At least six schools did not even receive the benefit of a curriculum audit, according to the UFT. The union last year won to keep 19 struggling schools open after the courts ruled the city did not follow protocol relating to public review of the closing process. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott slammed the lawsuit and accused the union of holding failing students hostage by blocking their access to better schools. “This shameful lawsuit is about one thing—protecting jobs for adults at the expense of what is best for our children,” he said in a statement. “The UFT’s decision to wait until

the middle of May to file this lawsuit is both cruel and irresponsible. It will create enormous stress and uncertainty.” However, UFT President Michael Mulgrew shot back and said the DOE doesn’t seem to have learned its lesson. “The Department is still trying to inappropriately close schools, including most of the schools involved in last year’s court case, even after walking away from its written agreement to help those schools improve,” he said. “It is also violating the state law that governs co-locations, ignoring its obligation to make sure that district school children have the same access to public facilities as do charter students.”

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11 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, May 26, 2011




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Thursday, May 26, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Parents fired up by documentary film By MIAWLING LAM A new documentary demonstrating how parent power can be leveraged to influence educational policy debate premiered in The Bronx last week. More than 200 parents flocked to the majestic lecture hall at the New York Botanical Gardens on May 19 for a special screening of “Parent Power.” The 35-minute documentary chronicles 15 years of effective grassroots organizing and shows how major reforms were won for schools in African-American and Latino neighborhoods. It features interviews with several prominent Bronxites, including former District 10 Superintendent Irma Zardoya and Bronx parent advocate with New Settlement Apartments Carol Boyd. Coalition for Educational Justice parent leader Zakiyah Ansari kicked off proceedings before five other experts, such as the film’s director Jose Gonzalez and Zardoya, spoke. Intriguingly, not a single person acknowledged the systematic suppression of parent voices following Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s ascension to power. Instead, the event celebrated the achievement of parents and the reforms that have been won for children in The Bronx and across New York City. “What you’re about to see is what is, what can be, and the way it should be,” Ansari said. The mother of eight, who led chants of “Yes We Can” following the screening, said the film embodies the grassroots movement. She believed the city’s proposed budget cuts would have a devastating effect on student learning and lead to further syllabus compression. “We are in an educational crisis in this city. We’re losing art, music, reading and

teachers, even though only 42 percent of our kids are reading at grade level. And I say something has to change.” Jesse Mojica, education policy and youth services director for the Bronx borough president, described the film as an “outstanding piece of work.” He hoped it would galvanize parents to continue their fight for educational justice on behalf of children in The Bronx. “At times it feels like no one is listening, but what this documentary says very loudly is that that is not the case,” he said. “The power lies within all of us to create change, to maintain change and to give voice to those who cannot speak for themselves—our children.” Zardoya, who is now the Department of Education’s Leadership Academy director, refused to be drawn in regarding the current state of affairs and declined to comment on the effect that mayoral control has had on schools. However, she said being involved in the documentary was one of the most fulfilling experiences of her career to date. “It was just rewarding to see how parents stepped up and said, ‘we know what needs to get done and we want to be involved,’” she said. The film’s premiere comes a few weeks after an Education Council voting debacle prompted the Department of Education to implement a new voting period. The New York City Parents Union said the council election process had been riddled with a series of problems, including a shortage of candidates, inaccurate candidate information and candidates being ineligible for re-election. “Parent Power” is slated for a national release this September.


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Thursday, May 26 Yonkers

MEET THE AUTHOR 2 p.m. Grinton Will Public Library 1500 Central Park Avenue Historian Dennis Corcoran will talk about the origins and history of the Hall of Fame museum in Cooperstown, its election process and interesting biographical and career information of the inductees. Admission is free. Book signing will follow. For more information, call 914-337-1500, ext. 317.

Saturday, May 28 Rye

ONE WITH WARBLERS 7:30 a.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 The last wave of these active migrants. The habitats of Marshlands will overwhelm you with bird songs and calls of many of our feathered visitors. Please bring binoculars. For more information, call 914-835-4466.

Cross River

WALKING TOUR 1 p.m. Trailside Nature Museum Ward Pound Ridge Reservation Join us for a tour of Trailside’s Luquer-Marble Wildflower Garden while the flowers are at their peak. The garden is home to over 70 species of flowers and ferns and includes some increasingly rare native plant species. For more information, call 914-864-7322.

North White Plains

POND EXPLORATION 1 p.m. Cranberry Lake Preserve Old Orchard Street Cranberry’s premiere program, offered to hundreds of school children each year, is open to the public once a summer. Join us on this kid-friendly search for tadpoles, water bugs, snails and more. Nets provided, wear rubber boot if you have them. For more information, call 914-428-1005.


NATURE WALK 2 p.m. Greenburgh Nature Center 99 Dromore Road Jon Curator of Living Collections Travis Brady as he leads an excursion through the Nature Center’s woods and fields to explore ways to play in and with nature. Let go of those Legos adn let’s re-pioneer the world of outdoor play! Members $2, Non-members $6. For more information, call 914-723-3470.


NATURE WALK 10:30 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 Night of the Horseshoe Crab. Come and experience a tradition over 200 million years old! The moon will be full, the tide will be high, and the horseshoe crabs will be coming in to mate. For more information, call 914-835-4466.

Sunday, May 29 Somers

FARMERS MARKET 10 a.m. Muscoot Farm Route 100 Fresh produce, meat, cheese, soap, candles, honey, maple syrup, flowers, fish and delicious baked goods. For more information, call 914-864-7282.


HISTORY TOUR 2 p.m. Lasdon Park Route 35 Learn about the history of Lasdon Park and Arboretum while touring the Main House. For more information, call 914-864-7263.


NATURALIST CHOICE HIKE 2 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 Let the naturalist guide you through the magic and mysteries of Marshlands. For more information, call 914-835-4466.

Monday, May 30 Mt. Vernon

MEMORIAL DAY COMMEMORATION 9 a.m. St. Paul’s Church 897 S. Columbus Avenue The site will be open, regular hours, 9 AM to 5 PM, with walking tours recalling the lives and stories of soldiers interred in the historic cemetery. There will also be talks, music, and living history demonstrations. For more information, call 914-667-4116.

Wednesday, June 1 Mt. Kisco

MERESTEAD MID-WEEK TOUR 11 a.m. Merestead 455 Byram Lake Road Find out how a Georgian-style 20th century mansion made us want to go shopping and how it influenced the way we decorated and furnished our homes. 14 participants maximum. By reservation only. For more information, call 914-864-7039.

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JAZZ FLUTE AND PIANO 1 p.m. St. Paul’s Church 897 S. Columbus Avenue Jazz flute selections with Pamela Sklar, accompanied by Earl Brown on piano. For more information, contact David Osborn at 914-667-4116.

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BOOK DISCUSSION 1 p.m. Riverfront Library One Larking Center The Riverfront Book Club will meet. Join Librarian Jody Maier in a discussion of “Rescue” by Anita Shreve. For more information, call 914-337-1500, ext. 492.

Thursday, June 2 Ossining

BLACK LIGHT FOR INSECTS 8 p.m. Teatown Lake Reservation 1600 Spring Valley Road All welcome. Join Charlie Roberto as darkness falls to black-light for these splendid creatures of the night. FREE for members and non-members. For more information, call 914-762-2912.

Saturday, June 4 North White Plains

BOTANY WALK 1 p.m. Cranberry Lake Preserve Old Orchard Street Learn interesting botanical facts and how to recognize our local flora on this walk through lush green woods surrounding Cranberry Lake. For more information, call 914-428-1005.

Cross River

NATURALIST’S CHOICE HIKE 1 p.m. Trailside Nature Museum Ward Pound Ridge Reservation Seasonal climate and weather will help play a role in deciding where this hike will take us. For more information, call 914-864-7322.

Sunday, June 5 Somers

MUSCOOT FARMERS MARKET 10 a.m. Muscoot Farm Route 100 Support local farmers and take your pick of fresh produce and food products. Go to for a list of vendors. Open every Sunday through October. For more information, call 914-864-7282.


ALBANIAN HERITAGE DAY 12 p.m. Kensico Dam Plaza Bronx River Parkway Live music by Hajro Ceka, Albanian singers, dancers and sports activities. Bring blankets and chairs for seating. Food and beverages available for purchase. For more information, call 914-864-PARK.


BIG EQUIPMENT DAY 1 p.m. Muscoot Farm Route 100 Join farm staff for a display of our old and new farm equipment. For more information, call 914-864-7282.




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The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, May 26, 2011


Thursday, May 26, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


By BRENDAN McHUGH Dozens of livery taxi drivers joined with elected officials last week to express concerns about the possibility of a city proposal that could kill the livery taxi industry. The proposal would create 6,000 taxi medallions for yellow cabs that would be allowed to pick up fares only outside Manhattan. The five-borough taxi plan, as the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s proposal is called, would vastly reduce the need for dispatchers in the outer boroughs. The medallions, which are sold at auction, can go for as high as $1 million. “I believe the best proposal is to create a license that would allow livery cabs to pick up hails on the street,” City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said at the rally. “If the city wants to focus on providing taxi access to people outside of the lower half of Manhattan, it has to be done with the livery drivers in mind,” he added in a statement afterward. “This means making the medallions truly affordable for the people that work hard in our neighborhoods every day, and a system making sure the livery industry isn’t left out.” It’s common practice for livery cars to pick up riders who flag them down on the street, but the practice is still illegal. According to the TLC, the 22,000 livery cars are hailed 150,000 times a day. Riders are supposed to call dispatchers. “Residents in northern Manhattan and the outer boroughs have come to rely on the livery cab industry,” state Senator Adriano Espaillat said “Any proposal to

reform the current structure must take the livery industry into consideration and ensure that New Yorkers from all regions of the city continue to have access to safe, affordable, and reliable transportation.” Livery companies are concerned for their livelihood, saying the plan would not meet the demand for the new medallions. “If we have 22,000 licensed livery vehicles, then 6,000 medallions is not enough,” said Cira Angeles, representative for Livery Base Owners, Inc. “We

understand the city’s concerns, but we also understand the needs of the livery industry.” A plan was discussed by TLC earlier this year to allow livery cabs to pick up street hails outside Manhattan, but the plan was abandoned after opposition mounted from yellow cab owners and drivers. That plan would have required livery cabs to add meters and roof lights, but be a color other than yellow. “In Queens, you can often see yellow taxis near Citi Field, the U.S. Open and the

Same pizza, new name for local institution By BRENDAN McHUGH When Luigi Marcoccia was a finance major at Manhattan College in the mid-’90s, he became a regular patron of Jasper’s Pizza. “Everybody went to Jasper’s. It was a rite of passage,” he said. Marcoccia is now more than just a patron of the Italian restaurant. He is the new owner. Renaming it Generico’s Pizzeria and Café, Marcoccia says he hopes to provide the community a good value for their meal. “Jasper’s has been a tradition and legend for two decades,” he said. “Generico’s will honor Jasper’s tradition in a new way, and of course we will keep the famous Jasper’s pizza.” “Very Italian,” he said. “People will appreciate that over time.” Marcoccia is aiming for a Memorial Day Weekend opening for the 3535 Riverdale

Avenue restaurant, saying there are still a few loose ends to tie up before the restaurant can open up. He said that after graduation, he never dreamed Jasper’s would return to his life, and now he wants to keep it that way. “The legendary Mama Leone’s motto for her Manhattan restaurant, ‘make good food, give people plenty, they’ll come,’ became world renowned,” he said. “But we’ll go Mama one better. Fast, free delivery, free refills on soda and a menu with value for the dining dollar to fit the times.” Generico’s Pizzeria will also offer alfresco dining, as the front of the new bistro will feature a sidewalk café. Marcoccia said he hopes to do what Salvatore’s of Soho has done with their outdoor café. Within minutes of opening the sidewalk space for the first time, Sal’s had customers wanting to use the outdoor seating despite rainy weather.

“I think people will want to come down here—have a gelato, a pizza,” he said. Alex Shkreli, a Riverdale businessman and former owner of the Aria Hair and Beauty Spa on West 235th Street and Johnson Avenue, will be a business partner with Marcoccia in Generico’s. Shkreli owned Aria from 1987 to 2003 and says he always loved the neighborhood and people. “It will be good to be back,” he said. “I do enjoy being in business, but it is the people in the Riverdale neighborhood that I truly love.” Marcoccia said the surrounding businesses are excited about the revamp of Jasper’s. “The better one business does, the better they all do,” Marcoccia said. Marcoccia also expressed interest in joining the South Riverdale Avenue Merchants Association, which just put on the first-ever arts fair in Riverdale as a part of Bronx Week.

17 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, May 26, 2011

Latino politicians don’t hail new taxi proposal

airports, and that is the only place you will find them. The truth is that yellow taxis are refusing to serve our communities, and it has been the livery taxi industry that has filled that gap,” Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras said. “The livery cabs have been providing this service, and we want them to continue to do so.” There are currently 13,000 yellow cabs in New York City, with more than 95 percent picking up fares only within Manhattan or at the airports. The five-borough taxi plan has not been released officially by the city, but leaks through citywide media have provided a majority of the detail.

Thursday, May 26, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Koppell’s Rose-Colored Glasses Oliver Koppell has a right to be angry. After all, we have been critical of the fictionalized picture he paints of our schools. It is time for him to take this criticism like a man, take off his rosecolored glasses, and see the world as it is, not as he wishes. Koppell notes that we have been “critical” of the schools, and that does the community a “disservice.” Does he suggest that we lie to our readers and make up some alternate fairy tale? Our only commitment is to the truth. When New York Magazine analyzes all of the city’s neighborhoods and concludes that Riverdale’s schools are “sub-par,” does he suggest that we concoct some different conclusion than the one reached by this respected outside observer? New York Magazine based their conclusions on data. Which data does Koppell use to back up his claims? When the parents and teachers at P.S. 24 gave the school a failing grade in school environment last year in the official Department of Education survey, one of just 25 or so schools of the 1400 in the city to be so disparaged, does he suggest that we simply lie and cover it up? It is our contention, indeed it has always been the central principle of our education coverage, that the public has a right to know the truth, however painful. Acknowledging a problem is the first step in its solution. We have written hundreds of articles over the years, including accounts of Koppell’s grants of public funds to local schools, grants that are made by every councilmember to their district schools. That is part of the truth, too. But the poor results at many of our local schools is the other side of the story. Directing teaspoonfuls of public funds for smart boards and a handful of musical instruments can’t counterbalance the problems of leadership and in instruction that has resulted in a 90% decline in admissions to specialized high schools in our community since 1992. That has impacted in a negative way on the lives of thousands of local children, and will deny them opportunities that will cost them every day of their lives. We are not content with that failure, even if manipulative politicians like Koppell and Perez Cassino are. When we point out the frighteningly low average S.A.T. scores at the Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy, well below the national average and not high enough to secure a student a place at a senior college of the City University of New York, we do so as a call, indeed a demand, for improvement. That’s what our children deserve. We have pointed out for years that a significant majority of parents here reject the local public schools. Many thousands more have rejected our community as a place to raise a young family because of the very real concerns raised by our poor showing by impartial statistical measures, as New York Magazine points out. This costs each and every one of us in terms of property values. Does any believe that if we could, once again, send 150 students each year to schools like Bronx Science and Stuyvesant that any apartment or home here would languish on the market as so many here do? Koppell’s judgment has been flawed when it comes to our schools. He admits not fully reading the State Education Department’s indictment of the chaos at the Kingsbridge Innovative Design Charter School, a report that led to the unanimous revocation of the school’s charter by the Board of Regents. They did so to protect the students at the school from further educational harm. But who is going to protect them from Koppell?

Koppell’s excuses for lack of leadership on schools

To The Editor: I am writing in response to the editorial in the Riverdale Review, Thursday, May 19 2011 that depicts me as being unresponsive to our students’ need for better schools in our community. In point of fact, I have been a strong and successful advocate for improved schools in our community. Without my leadership as School Board President, neither RKA or In-Tech Academy would exist. Without my advocacy, PS 24 would have not obtained the Whitehall annex, which was critical to reducing overcrowding at the school. My advocacy for a new Gifted and Talented program at PS 7 was not to diminish our children’s chances to get into such a program, but to expand them, knowing that this was the only way we could acquire another G&T program in our immediate area.

Since the inception of my tenure as a Council Member, I have allocated over $13 million of my discretionary Council funds for capital projects in the schools in my district, $1,445,000 of which was designated for the three Riverdale schools, PS 24, PS 81 and RKA. These projects included the playground renovation at PS 81, the purchase of surveillance cameras at MS/HS 141, and the acquisition of new and upgraded technology, including Smart boards and computers, at PS 24 and virtually every other school in my district. In addition, I utilized Council funds allocated to me for a music enrichment program at PS 81 and for in-school and afterschool art and music programs in Kingsbridge and Norwood. Furthermore, I dispute the paper’s contention that our local schools are failing. It’s false characterization of PS 24 as being inferior and under the leadership

ANDREW WOLF, Editor and Publisher

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of an incompetent principal, so enraged the parents that they instituted a boycott against the newspaper. Moreover, the firsthand experience I have had by visiting virtually every school in my district has revealed not failing schools, but orderly and inspiring learning environments with competent administrations, engaged students and enthusiastic teachers. On the rare occasions when I saw room for improvement, I have called for remediation. I believe the Riverdale Review is doing our community no favor by erroneously disparaging our schools, rather than hailing their innovations and accomplishments. Regarding my support for the KIDS Charter School, as an elected official, I believe it is no disgrace to have responded to the appeals of parents in my district and to have respected their opinion that the school’s probation should be extended. Finally, rather than burnishing my educational legacy by “leading the charge for better schools” through bombast and negativity, as the paper would have me do, and as its wont, I believe my legacy will rest on the things I have accomplished, the impact of which is considerable and will be long lasting. G. Oliver Koppell Council Member

Continued from Page 9 Mehnaz Afridi.” Afridi described herself as “a Muslim intellectual woman who teaches Judaism and Islam, a Muslim who seeks dialogue with Jews, a Muslim who sympathizes with Jews and recognizes and accepts the State of Israel.” Her initial interest in the Holocaust was sparked when as a teaching assistant at the University of Syracuse she read a book by Holocaust scholar Dr. Michael Berenbaum. “I began witnessing the Shoah when I started to truly interview survivors,” she said. “Their stories grew inside of me like ivy, that has no end or no beginning. Witnessing the suffering of the survivors’ stories affected me deeply.” In considering herself a witness—both indirectly through survivors and directly through her own experience of “denial, relativism and refusal to accept the Shoah as a colossal genocide in the history of genocides,” she accepts the responsibilities incumbent upon a witness. “As a Muslim, I’m obligated by my faith to speak out against all injustices, false rumors and impressions,” she said. “My work stems from the ethical responsibility that I have to speak out against false testimony.” “As the Qur’an states over and over again, ‘Let not the hatred of a people swerve you away from justice. ’” Afridi characterized her work as being “about the Shoah, not the politics between Jews and Muslims” and admitted that she’s “not naïve” about the likelihood that politics will “surround” that work. But she’s “not afraid” of the politics and will stand by her “commitment to justice as an American Muslim woman.” Responses to the college’s decision have been mixed. When Brooklyn state assemblyman Dov Hikind learned of it from the Riverdale Review, he wrote a letter to O’Donnell expressing his concern. Hikind took issue with Afridi’s suggestion in a Khaleej Times article that “Jews can help Muslims navigate in a post-9/11 world by sharing with them the difficulties that they, too, faced in Europe and the United States.” Hikind, offended by the comparison, pointed out that Muslims in America are not “being rounded up and sent to gas chambers.” “It is inconceivable to me that Dr. Afridi can even begin to equate what the Jews of Europe suffered under Nazi rule with what she perceives Muslims in present-day America are enduring,” Hikind wrote. The August 11, 2008 article, entitled “Muslim-Jew conversation,” describes Afridi’s experience 18 years prior in a Jerusalem bar whose patrons promptly cleared out when they learned from the Israeli soldier she’d been chatting with that she was a Muslim born in Pakistan. Aside from the sentence that irked the assemblyman, the message in Afridi’s story was that both Jews and Muslims would benefit from mutual respect and recognition of the commonalities between them. O’Donnell in his reply to Hikind wrote, “I assure you that if Dr. Afridi’s views were such as you take them to be, she would not have been invited to direct the center.” The duty of an educational institution, he said, is to “create a forum in which people with vastly different perspectives can come together to engage in difficult

and even intensely painful conversation. Dr. Afridi has an impressive record of being able to conduct such conversations.” Dr. Howard Young, a social psychologist who attended the reception, applauds both interfaith dialogue and the appointment of Afridi. “Today, our way of not letting a Holocaust happen again is to help defend Israel in the world of public opinion,” he said. “Here we need as many Muslims as we can find who are pro-Israel to speak to other Muslims and the general

community in support of Israel. Dr. Afridi is one of those Muslims.” President O’Donnell formally thanked Dr. Horn for his four years of “exemplary service,” noting Horn’s persistence in persuading him to allocate additional resources to the center, which will move into a better space inside the college’s library. Horn will continue to chair the history department and teach courses on the Holocaust and genocide.

Food, fun and frolic at Bronx’s Little Italy

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., City Councilman Joel Rivera, Assemblyman Jose Rivera, Mike and David Greco of Mike’s Deli and locals chowed down at Arthur Avenue Retail Market during Bronx Week. The evening featured free food and drink samples, complimentary cigars, live entertainment, market tours and meet-and-greet sessions with vendors. By MIAWLING LAM It seems the lure of free food and alcohol proved too much for some to resist. Hundreds of Bronxites braved torrential rain and poured into the historic Arthur Avenue Retail Market last Wednesday for an evening of food, live entertainment and revelry. The event, part of a bumper Bronx Week program, aimed to showcase the borough’s culinary credentials and the array of fresh artisan goods available at the popular market. The evening kicked off with a flurry of food samples before people were encouraged to mingle and meet the market’s vendors and embark on a guided tour around the facility. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Councilman Joel Rivera and Assemblyman Jose Rivera, who recorded the evening’s proceedings, were among the attendees. Celebrated chef and owner of Mike’s Deli David Greco led the festivities and urged people to support local businesses in the Boogie Down long after the event winded down. He also told the Bronx Press he always volunteers to take part in the annual borough’s celebration of people, places,

history and culture because it mattered to him. “Bronx Week is a big deal. The Bronx is a very special place, but unfortunately it’s a recessed area,” he said. “I’m a guy from The Bronx who put my feet in the ground and planted my tree here, but my leaves are getting a little wilted. “We need the support. It’s important that the community stays together and comes to visit us in the market.” Among those gorging on the free-flowing food was 12-year-old Saeior Jones, who was joined by 13 other children from the Mary Mitchell Enrichment Program. The Honeywell resident said the event gave him an opportunity to try foods he wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. When asked whether Bronx Week meant anything to him, Jones said: “Before it didn’t, because around The Bronx, there’s a lot of violence and it’s not safe for most of the kids here. “So at first, I didn’t like The Bronx. I’ve never really liked The Bronx, but now it has changed it and I like it now.” Bronx Chamber of Commerce President Lenny Caro declared the event a resounding success and said it was a great way to bring people together. “This is a landmark, and when you get

merchants and people together, it’s so important,” he said. “I think it just gets the camaraderie of talking to people going.” The culinary showcase also provided an opportunity for the market to unveil its recent million-dollar makeover. Thanks to a grant from its landlord, the city’s Economic Development Corporation, the European-style bazaar was given a much-needed facelift last month with the installation of new doors. Economic Development Corporation President Seth Pinsky said the city remained committed to keeping neighborhood markets thriving, describing them as anchors in the community. “We are now making investments in these markets because we know how important these are, as landmarks, in their communities. Market Association President Michael Rella said he would now focus his lobbying efforts on securing a new roof. He said despite the renovations, the integrity of the food hall will remain. “We don’t want to change the whole structure of the place. We want to keep that old-fashioned Italian flavor,” he said. “We don’t want to make a supermarket out of it. We just want to give it a little facelift,” he said.

19 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, May 26, 2011

Manhattan College welcomes new head of Holocaust Center

Afridi earned her doctorate in religious studies at the University of South Africa and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Syracuse University. She is in the process of completing a book entitled “The Shoah Through Muslim Eyes.” While directing the center, she will be an assistant professor of religious studies. “My lifelong dream has come true,” she said. “As an American Muslim woman, I am able to bridge my teaching, my scholarship and my interfaith work—with passion—into a center and college that has offered me an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Thursday, May 26, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Riverdale Review, May 26, 2011  

Weekly newspaper published in Riverdale, NY 10471