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Volume XVIII • Number 28 • June 16 - 22, 2011 •

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RKA students spending last days of term watching movies By MIAWLING LAM Students at Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy are spending up to one-third of class time watching popular Hollywood films, television shows and documentaries. Allegations have emerged of excessive movie-watching at the beleaguered M.S/H.S. 141. The Riverdale Review has learned that precious instruction time is being wasted and students are viewing movies with little or no educational value as the current school year winds down. The school’s Advanced Placement English class recently spent three periods watching “Clueless,” a comedy loosely based on Jane Austen’s 1815 classic tome, “Emma,” while those in the Advanced Placement History class watched Tom Hank’s blockbuster film “Forrest Gump.” A person at the school, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said a 12th-grade economics class even watched “Takers,” a 2010 crime film that follows a group of professional bank robbers. The source said the practice, which emerged late last year, can be used to enhance classroom learning, but

that the situation at RKA was out of hand. The person said it was becoming more prevalent and that teachers were using class time for passive viewing of movies. “You see a TV going down the hallway all the time,” the person said. “There are times when they’re showing documentaries—it’s educational and it’s part of the unit. But there are other times when the movies are questionable.” Students in a senior forensics science class also regularly watch “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” while those in the Spanish class watch films as the teacher oversees an exam, according to the source. “There are days when the kids just aren’t getting instruction because the teacher has to give the oral part of the exam out in the hallway,” the person said. “There’s no one tending to the class, and so she just throws on a movie to keep the kids quiet.” In many cases, movies are being shown after students have taken their final exams or have covered the syllabus, but that shouldn’t be an excuse to slacken off. “There is a little bit of ‘we did a lot of work, we cov-

ered the curriculum and now we’re going to chill out a bit,’ but ‘Clueless’ is…so inappropriate for an Advanced Placement class,” the person said. The trend has become so dire that students are even beginning to question their need to be in class. “Some of the kids are complaining that they were watching a lot of movies,” the person said. “You would see a kid in the hallway and say, ‘why aren’t you in class?’ and then the kid would say, ‘they’re just watching a stupid movie.’” As of press time, calls to the school for comment had not been returned. According to a 2009 study, using popular films to teach history can be a double-edged sword. Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis found students recall 50 percent more factual information when they read and watch a movie than when they just read the text. However, when the movie presents information that conflicts with historical facts, students were more likely to remember the film’s version of events, even if they are inaccurate and dramatized.

City plans to raise parking fees by another quarter per hour By BRENDAN McHUGH Nothing could come between the Beatles and their Lovely Rita, Meter Maid, but a handful of City Council members are certainly trying to come between the city and its meters.

For the second time in a year, the city is trying to hike meter rates outside of Manhattan to $1 per hour, and for the second time in a year, City Council members James Vacca (Bronx), Karen Koslowitz (Queens) and Diana

Reyna (Brooklyn) are attempting to block the hike. “This parking meter rate increase represents yet another hit to the average working-class resident of this city,” Vacca said. “Between parking tickets that

The updated pool at the Riverdale Y is only a twelfth as salty as the ocean, so if you’re hoping for the buoyancy of the Dead Sea, you’ll still have to travel farther away than Arlington Avenue. Salt is one component of the pool’s new sanitizing system. The slightly salted water passes through an electrolytic cell, which breaks down the salt into various substances—including sodium hypochlorite, or chlorine. The process generates just enough to keep the water sanitized but not enough to smell offensive, make you itchy or burn your eyes. The new green pool should be available to swimmers by the end of this week. But before suiting up, check with the Y at 718-548-8200 or RiverdaleY.org.

now exceed $100 and meters that could soon cost twice as much as they did two years ago, motorists are paying nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars every year to the City of New York.” In 2009, parking meter rates were at 50 cents an hour. Today, rates stand at 75 cents an hour, or 20 minutes per quarter. In January, following negotiations led by City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Vacca, Reyna, and Koslowitz, DOT postponed a planned outer-borough parking meter rate hike. The agency then reintroduced the hike proposal in its fiscal year 2012 budget proposal. Vacca has said he is looking into crafting legislation that will restrict how often and how much the city can raise meter rates. To drive home their opposition, the Council members revealed that the City of New York expects to collect nearly $700 million from parking meters and parking tickets this fiscal year— $250 million more than the total amount the city contributes to the operating budget of the Department of Transportation. The $700 million figure includes more than $520 million from parking violations and nearly $160 million in charges at the city’s meters, lots, and garages. “Here we go again!” exclaimed

Koslowitz. “It was just a few months back that we had the same fight with the administration. Breaking the backs of the middle class and small businesses is the wrong way to fix our fiscal woes in the city.” “This Band-Aid approach is unsustainable and empties the pockets of consumers and merchants while the economy is still recovering,” Reyna said. “We are sending the wrong message when we continue to burden working families, who are watching where every quarter is being spent.” Parking meters first came to New York City in the 1960s—not as a way for the city to make money or balance a budget, but to increase the turnover of cars in merchant corridors. City business advocates say that when faced with the options of shopping in the city or going to New Jersey, Yonkers or Long Island, consumers have increasingly flocked to suburban malls with free parking as the parking rates in the city increase. New Muni-Meters are also irking shoppers because drivers now have to park their cars, walk to a Muni-Meter, then walk back to their cars to put the receipt on the dashboard. City officials maintain that it makes collection of money easier and economically efficient and that it gives drivers the ability to pay with a credit card as well as cash.


Thursday, June 16, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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Wi-Fi in parks? Not here in Riverdale

By MIAWLING LAM Free Wi-Fi will be provided in 20 New York City public parks under a new citywide initiative. The service, announced by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on June 9, means tech geeks will be able to surf the Web while lounging around the city’s parks. Of the 26 locations to be wired up, three are located in The Bronx. None are in Riverdale. Joyce Kilmer Park, near Yankee Stadium, has already jumped online, while Devoe Park in Kingsbridge Heights and Bronx River Park in West Farms will be Wi-Fi-enabled later this summer. Wireless connections will eventually be rolled out to parks in the other boroughs, including Manhattan’s Central Park and Tompkins Square Park, as well as Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and McCarran Park. Telecommunications giant AT&T will provide the service, which will be accessible to anyone with a Wi-Ficapable device. Flanked by AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson during a press conference in Harlem, Mayor Bloomberg said the five-year initiative would allow New Yorkers to stay connected. “New York City has the greatest network of public parks in the world, and we’ve invested heavily to expand and enhance them,” he said. “Now, thanks to the terrific corporate citizenship of AT&T, they will provide an even better experience for New Yorkers and visitors.” The latest effort is part of Bloomberg’s “Road Map for the Digital City,” a comprehensive strategy unveiled last month that seeks to make New York more digitally connected. It also comes hot on the heels of the city’s attempts to add Wi-Fi to subways, car services and pedestrian thoroughfares like Times Square. “The parks department is pleased to partner with AT&T to bring Wi-Fi access to parks in all five boroughs of New York City,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Park visitors will now have more options to surf the net while enjoying the great outdoors of New York City’s open spaces,” Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Carole Post said the announcement was the latest milestone in the city’s strategy to expand public Internet access. “By providing a geographically diverse, sustainable technology solution for New Yorkers—at no cost to them—we’re helping keep our parks and public spaces connected in a highspeed age.” State Senator Jose M. Serrano also hailed the initiative. The lifelong South Bronx resident said the addition of Wi-Fi would make it easier for people to job search and give them an incentive to spend more time outdoors. The scheme is expected to counter

“cell phone bill shock,” as data downloaded over Wi-Fi does not count toward a customer’s monthly smartphone data plan. Councilman Fernando Cabrera anticipates the service will be well used, especially among families who cannot afford to pay for an Internet connection. “Access to the Internet is no longer a luxury in our society, it has often times become a necessity,” he said. “Internet access is a critical development tool for children, families and community groups—all of whom use our city parks on a regular basis.”


By BRENDAN McHUGH It’s had judicial hearings, public comment periods and support from a once-veto-proof number of City Council members, but that hasn’t been enough to ensure survival for the Small Business Survival Act. Bob Bieder, a staunch proponent of the act and prominent business leader in The Bronx, attended Community Board 8’s economic development committee meeting last week to share his knowledge and brainstorm with the committee on how to move the act forward. Economic development chair Maria Khury has been keeping tabs on the bill since she first took over as chair in September, and now her idea is to form a pair of mock trials in the hope of convincing landlords that the bill can be a positive thing for them. The business survival act would have businesses and landlords who are fighting over a rent increase enter into free, nonbinding arbitration for the first 90 days after a lease expires. If no agreement is reached during that time, the two parties enter into binding arbitration over the next 90 days. The binding arbitration step has those against the bill screaming “rent control.” “This is about as far away from that as you can get,” Bieder said. “[City Council Speaker] Christine Quinn has said it’s unconstitutional, and no reasoning why. That unconstitutional is the catchall phrase to say, ‘Lets bury this thing.’” Bieder says Quinn’s only reasoning

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for not supporting the bill is because her main campaign contributors are real estate companies. According to the Campaign Finance Board, some of her biggest contributors for the 2013 election—in which she is expected to run for mayor—are real estate companies like Sotheby’s and Fisher Brothers Real Estate. Furthermore, Bieder says when Quinn presented her own version of the act, it was filled with things that already exist and didn’t give any real protection to business owners. “The Small Business Survival Act is a fair process for a legal negotiation,” maintains Bieder, who is the chair of the Bronx Merchants Coalition. A judicial review held by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and a number of city and state judges found it to be constitutional, but the speaker has refused to budge. Khury hopes that next year, the economic development committee will join with merchants associations and other business groups throughout the city and host a mock trial about the act. She said that while the judicial review panel was effective, she also believes there needs to be a new way to present the act to win new supporters. The committee has tentatively deemed a mock trial the next step in the fight for the act, saying that if they can show how this bill could also actually help landlords, they may sway some Council members who haven’t signed on. One of the mock trails would be about a landlord who has renovated the building and now wants to increase rent

based on those improvements. The other trial would be a more typical situation, with a tenant fighting excessive rent increases by a landlord. The event will most likely be held in the fall. At one point, a veto-proof majority—37 of the 51 City Council members—signed on to the bill, but that number has wavered since Quinn has refused to let the act come to a vote. Quinn was able to pressure Councilman Robert Jackson, the original sponsor of the bill, to back off. While Jackson still supports the bill, it is looking for a new sponsor. “In the last 25, 30 years, we’ve been running into problems,” Bieder said.

“The number-one reason business are failing is rent increases. As go our neighborhood stores, so go our community.” Johnson Avenue in Riverdale has seen its fair share of high rents recently. A number of stores along the small merchant strip have either closed down or jumped ship to Riverdale Avenue, where the rent is cheaper. At the eleventh hour, the 35-year-old Blue Bay diner averted shutting down due to a rent increase they couldn’t afford only because members of the community, including elected officials, merchant groups and the media, all attempted to pressure landlord Friedland Properties to negotiate a fairer lease.

3 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, June 16, 2011

City Council considers new form of commercial rent control


Thursday, June 16, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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Around the schools... P.S. 24

The Spring Classic co-ed softball fundraiser is this Friday, June 17, in Seton Park. Two home teams—P.S. 24 and P.S. 81—will contend in two five-inning games: a 3:30 p.m. game for players in grades 4 and 5 and a 5:30 p.m. game for family members, staff and alumni. Fifth-grade graduation is next Friday, June 24. Grads will celebrate at a dance from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on the prior Thursday night. Parents of students with disabilities are encouraged to learn more about an updated form developed by the New York State Individualized Education Program. An information session regarding the use of the form will be held next Tuesday, June 21, between 9 and 11 a.m. at the Department of Education, 1 Fordham Plaza, Room 838.

P.S. 81

Students are getting out and about. The fithgraders enjoyed a trip to Medieval Times Lyndhurst Castle in New Jersey on Wednesday. Fourth-graders left Riverdale at 6 a.m. for a trip to the state Capitol in Albany on Tuesday. Closer to home, kindergarten classes spent the week learning about their neighborhood—they visited a local supermarket, a bank, the library and a candy shop where they got to sample the merchandise.

Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy

The school is one of more than a hundred of the city’s public middle and high schools included this spring in a pilot program that teaches students to recognize and correct the hurtful behavior known as bullying. The program aims to teach respect and leadership skills to students as they prepare for college and careers. Funding is through the Community for Education Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 1992. The program will offer the organization’s Overcoming Obstacles Life Skills Program to additional schools—a total of 850—in the fall. The curriculum includes a three-hour introductory workshop, ongoing guidance and coaching and daily classroom lessons and materials for students.

Horace Mann School

Summer school science courses begin this Thursday, June 16, and end on Friday,

July 29. Courses that begin on Monday, June 27, also end on July 29. Mini-session #1 runs from Monday, June 20, through Friday, June 24; mini-session #2 runs from Monday, June 27, through Friday, July 1. The Horace Mann Day Camp season is from Monday, June 27, through Friday, August 5. The Leadership, Creativity and Community program has just completed its third year. Under the direction of Dr. Barbara Tischler, 19 selected Upper Division students returned to the campus after their final exams to attend a three-day workshop on developing projects that will serve the local community. Program veterans mentored the new students, who worked individually and in groups. LCC projects have included work at the Riverdale Community Center, the creation of SAT prep class, the journal “Relax Mann” and the “Try Meatless Tuesdays” movement.

Kinneret Day School

Seventeen separate awards were conferred upon deserving eighth-graders at their graduation ceremony on Monday. As many as 23 students merited the school’s own award for outstanding achievement in service. Others were awarded for achievement in Hebrew, computer skills, art, athletics and attendance. The President’s Award for Academic Excellence and the President’s Award for Academic Achievement, both signed by President Obama, were issued by the U.S. Department of Education in partnership with associations of elementary and secondary school principals as a way to recognize students who achieve academic goals. The President’s Award for Acadmic Excellence, which called for a grade point average of at least 90, went to Daniel Gadasi, Max Orman-Kollmar, Martin Liberman, Samuel Messenger, Jordan Stanton and Michael Steinberg. The President’s Award for Academic Achievement went to Maya Allon, Spencer Balson, Samuel Cohen, Isabelle Lenoff, Ronnie Luzon, Sarah Nahmias, Alan Ordukhanov and Jenna Solomon. Additional awards issued by the state Senate, Assembly and comptroller’s office were granted to many students. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office issued a “Triple C” award for courage, commitment and character. Quite a few Kinneret students earned multiple awards—for academic achievement as well as character and service.


By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER With Riverdalian Sam Torres on alto sax, the Wayne Shorter Ensemble performed last month at the Smoke Jazz and Supper Club-Lounge, a cozy Upper West Side space with crystal chandeliers and exposed brick walls. The sextet was formed at the New York Jazz Academy several months ago, but they sound as though they’ve been together for years. It was decided that Torres would lead for this gig, so the handsome Horace Mann junior quietly announced the tunes and gave subtle cues to the piano, guitar, bass, drums and fellow alto sax. The set featured sixties classics like “Witch Hunt” by Wayne Shorter, the Grammy Award-winning composer and virtuoso sax player with a fresh style that changed the face of jazz. “To be in the Wayne Shorter Ensemble,

you need to be on a certain level of proficiency on your instrument,” said Wayne Escoffery, instructor to the group. They’ve appeared at the Zinc Bar in the Greenwich Villiage and Miles Café in Midtown Manhattan as well as Smoke. Torres is the youngest member of the ensemble—the bassist and drummer are both high school seniors and the other two musicians are grownups. He’s been learning at the New York Jazz Academy for the past year. The innovative school enrolls adults as well as kids as young as six months old, offering private lessons, fundamentals, specialized workshops and performance opportunities in groups like the Wayne Shorter Ensemble. According to academy founder Javier Arau, NYJA “fills some significant holes” in current jazz education in that it

questions. Torres picked up the saxophone in fourth grade. He started piano lessons while in kindergarten, “but before that,” he said, “I liked to put boxes together and play drums on them.” By now, he’s mastered the alto saxophone, but he can switch to tenor, baritone or soprano when called upon to meet the needs of various jazz groups. He also plays guitar and electric bass and is in the process of teaching himself clarinet, drums, singing and how to work with electronic synthesizers. For college, Torres is thinking in terms of music conservatories—particularly, Juilliard or the Manhattan School of Music, but other contenders include the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, SUNY Purchase, NYU Steinhardt and the New England Conservatory.

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5 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sam Torres, local jazz saxophonist

stresses the “improvisational experience” and learning how to play “expressively and creatively” instead of following a “concert band model” that emphasizes reading only. Torres is also part of an ensemble called the Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra, a group that performs for youngsters on Sunday afternoons during the school year at a club called the Jazz Standard on East 27th Street in Manhattan. Families can make a day of it—lunch at the club starts at 1 p.m. and features a children’s menu as well as a standard menu and full bar. The Sunday performances are part of the Jazz Standard Discovery Program, a system of workshops initiated by club founder James Polsky. At weekly kids’ workshops he hosts, professional musicians play jazz, explain its elements, describe its history and answer students’


Thursday, June 16, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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Bronx International Film Festival at Lehman Stages

The Bronx Stage & Film Company presents the 9th Bronx International Film Festival (BXFF) on June 16-18 and July 8-9 at Lehman Stages (CUNY campus of Lehman College) showcasing new narrative and documentary films from the US, Canada, Denmark, Spain, Austria and India. Best narrative and best documentary will each win a $1,000 cash award. Visit http://bronxfilmfestival.com for schedule and developing festival information. You can connect with BXFF via http://www. facebook.com/BronxFilm and http://twitter.com/bronxfilm. The reservation and information line is 718.907.0079. Films to be screened in competition include Below New York (USA), Words (India), Zero Percent (USA), Beatboxing - The Fifth Element Of Hip Hop (USA), Una Calle Sin Salida (USA), Boom Boom (USA), R_tt H_r/ Svart (Spain), Odysseus’ Gambit (Spain), Challenging Impossibility (USA), Escape Of The Gingerbread Man!!! (Denmark), Puppenspiel (Austria), Sweet Sweet Baby (USA), Rumbleseat (Canada), DILLI (India), You Have the Right to an Attorney (USA), Fireworks (USA), Achante (Canada), Easy Street (USA), The Confession (USA), Positive Buy (USA), Porque Hay Cosas Que Nunca Se Olvidan (Spain), Manual Practico Del Amigo Imaginario (abreviado) (Spain), A Wake (Canada), You Don’t Like the Truth - 4 Days Inside Guantanamo (Canada) and Between Floor (USA).

General admission tickets are $5 per night. Lehman Stages is conveniently located on the CUNY campus of Lehman College at 250 Bedford Park Blvd West, Bronx, NY 10468 near the #4 and D lines and just minutes away from Westchester and the GW Bridge. The Bronx International Film Festival is made possible with public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the support of Lehman Stages and Bronx Council on the Arts.

Bronx students showcased in Festival of Arts

The Bronx Arts Ensemble will present its 4th annual Festival of the Arts, a performance showcasing talented students in its arts-in-education programs in Bronx schools, on Thursday, June 16 at 3 p.m. in the Lovinger Theatre at Lehman College, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, featuring performances by band, African drumming & dance, hip hop, recorder, Latin dance, musical theater and chorus students. The June 16 program is free and open to the public. The BAE offers an acclaimed arts teaching program in over 50 schools in the Bronx and beyond, including instruction in music, dance, drama and visual arts, offering quality professional programs to fulfill State Learning Standards in the arts. ‘The Festival of the Arts provides students with valuable performance experience and develops students’ skills

working together as a team toward a polished demonstration of their talents,’ stated William Scribner, Executive/Artistic Director of BAE. Bronx schools represented at the Festival include: New School for Leadership, International Community High School, MS 224, MS 219, Bronx Early College Academy, PS 109 OST, PS/MS 280, PS 126, Hunts Point Middle School, PS 16, PS 56, IS 229, Archimedes Academy, Ellis Preparatory High School and Pan American High School. The Festival is supported by funds from NYC Councilman G. Oliver Koppell, Councilman James Vacca, Councilmwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, Councilman Fernando Cabrera, Councilwoman Helen Foster, Councilman Joel Rivera and State Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. For further information on BAE’s arts-in-education programs and the June 16 Festival, please log onto www.bronxartsensemble.org. or call 718 601-7399.

Re-Write it Right: Free Revision Workshop for Writers

The Bronx Council on the Arts’ Bronx Writers Center presents ‘Re-Write it Right: Free Revision Workshop for Writers’, a free writing workshop for aspiring writers on Friday, June, 17th, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Bay Plaza in the Co-op City section of the Bronx. Admission is free. All are welcome. Maria Romano, Director of the Bronx Writers Center, will present this free hands-on workshop for aspiring writers who are struggling with a draft or who want to learn more about the task of revision. Learn techniques for finding the middle, tracking the arc of the story, punching up dialogue and examining language. Bring a notebook, a pen and your journal for this handson session. A brief Q & A will follow the workshop. ‘Re-Write it Right: Free Revision Workshop’ is one of a series of free workshops for writers produced by the Bronx Writers Center. Upcoming BWC workshops are ‘Vampires, Zombies and Magical Beings: Free Fantasy Writing Workshop’ on July 15th and ‘First Lines: Free Workshop to Help You Get Started Writing’ on August 19th. For additional information on this

workshop or other events presented by the Bronx Writers Center, call 718-931-9500 x21, e-mail bronxwriters@bronxarts.org, or visit the Bronx Writers Center’s web pages at www.bronxarts.org Barnes & Noble at Bay Plaza is located at 290 Baychester Avenue in the Co-op City section of the Bronx. To find out about other literary activities at the store, please call 718-862-3945 or visit www. barnesandnoble.com (click on “Stores and Events”). The Bronx Writers Center promotes and supports the writing community, the development of writers and the audience for literature and reading in the Bronx. Through our reading series and open mics, free creative writing workshops, seminars, fellowships, competitions, and the Bronx WritersCorps program, BWC reaches writers of all ages, backgrounds and disciplines. Over the years, BWC has presented one of the most diverse and exciting reading series in New York City, featuring emerging talents from the Bronx as well as renowned writers from around the country.

Marble Hill Senior Center announces activities

The following programs are scheduled at the Marble Hill Senior Center in the upcoming week: On Friday, June 17 at 12:45 p.m., Dr. Ernece Kelly will present a lecture entitled ‘Paul Robeson: Villain or Hero.’ On Wednesday, June 22, members of the Center’s Painting Class will exhibit their most recent works from 10 a.m. until noon. All programs are free and open to NYC residents aged 60 or older. The Marble Hill Senior Center is located at 5365 Broadway between West 228th and West 230th Streets. A hot lunch is offered at noon Monday through Friday for adults aged 60 and older. For more information, call 718-562-8551.

Zumba dance class at senior center

Dance your way into fitness and shed those winter layers with the magic of Zumba. A free dance class will be held at 10:30 a.m. on June 20 at the Riverdale Senior Center, located at 2600 Netherland Avenue. A certified instructor will lead the class and demonstrate easy-to-learn steps, before participants shake their hips and move to Latin and international music. Everyone is welcome. Street parking is available. For more information, please call 718-884-5900.


The Christ Church Riverdale Annual Spring Art Show will feature sculpture, photography, quilts, watercolors, drawings and more. This show features the work of artists: Richard Barnet, Bryan Hiott, Damaso Parets, Gunther Kilsch, Kathryn Kilsch, Jackquelynn Jones, Peter Nulty, Sheila Abbott, Carolyn Maitland, Frederick Snyders, Lois Stern, Aija Sears an others. The exhibit is free of charge in the Parish Hall; gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday, June 18th and 19th from 1 - 5 p.m. A reception for the artists will be Saturday, June 18th from 2 - 5 p.m. The community is invited. Christ Church Riverdale (Episcopal) is a landmarked church with stained glass windows dedicated to Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and an altar rail in memory of Lou Gehrig donated by Babe Ruth. Services are Sundays at 8:30 and 11 a.m. Everyone is welcome. For further information contact the office 718 543 1011 or www.christchurchriverdale.org

Sing for Hope’s pop-up pianos

Sing for Hope (www.singforhope.org) will further its mission of mobilizing professional artists in volunteer service to benefit local communities with Sing for Hope’s Pop-Up Pianos. From June 18 to July 2, Sing for Hope will install 88 pianos throughout the parks and public spaces of New York. Each of the pianos will be painted by professional artists and students from Sing for Hope’s arts outreach programs. The number 88 reflects the 88 keys on the piano keyboard and, as an increase from last year’s 60 pianos in New York City, will be the world’s largest street piano installation to date. Pianos will be ‘popping up’ throughout New York City’s five boroughs. Bronx locations include Arthur Avenue, Casita Maria/Hunts Point, Crotona Park, Fordham Plaza, Joyce Kilmer Park, Owen Dolen Golden Age Center, Roberto Clemente State Park, St. James Recreation Center, St. Mary’s Playground, Van Cortlandt Park, and Williamsbridge Oval. For a full list of locations,visit www.singforhope.org. Opening week concerts will be held in each of the five boroughs. An emerging artists-themed concert will take place in the Bronx on Sunday, June 26 at 4 p.m. at Van Cortlandt Park. Participating musi-

cians will be announced at a later date. Additionally, the public will be invited to participate in contests and scavenger hunts, and to post photos and videos of their local ‘Sing for Hope Pop-Up Piano’ at www.singforhope.org. Minute-by-minute updates on contests and concerts will be found on Sing for Hope’s Twitter (@singforhope) and Facebook pages. Inspired by British artist Luke Jerram’s street piano installation in London, this large-scale public art project is made possible by Sing for Hope’s ‘artist peace corps��� - professional artists from New York’s

leading companies who volunteer in Sing for Hope’s outreach programs.

Sunday Market at the Riverdale Y

The Riverdale Y will open a Sunday Market on Father’s Day, June 19, from 9 am - 2 pm, to be held outdoors in the arcade at MS 141 (Independence Avenue at W. 237th Street), across the street from the Riverdale Jewish Center, next door to PS 24. The market will be open every Sunday until November 20.

7 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, June 16, 2011

Christ Church annual art show, June 18-19

Formed with a committee of local Riverdale activists, the mission statement reads: ‘The Riverdale Y Sunday Market provides fresh, high-quality food grown or produced in the region. This family-friendly seasonal market is a community building gathering place for shopping and socializing, providing activities for children (and their parents) as well as music and fun! The market also fosters a direct connection between local shoppers and the small-scale farmers and food producers which the market champions. The market works to support sustainable agricultural practices.’ On each Sunday, there will be live local music, a café with Starbucks-donated free trade organic coffee, herbal iced teas, and free activities for children and their families. Later in the summer there will also be cooking classes by Chef Raquel Rivera-Pablo. For more information, visit www. RiverdaleY.org.


Thursday, June 16, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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Thursday, June 16

Spuyten Duyvil

FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS 3 p.m. Lehman College Lovinger Theatre The Bronx Arts Ensemble will present its 4th annual Festival of the Arts, a performance showcasing talented students in its arts-in-education programs in Bronx schools, featuring performances by band, African drumming & dance, hip hop, recorder, Latin dance, musical theater and chorus students. The June 16 program is free and open to the public. For more info, visit www.bronxartsensemble.org. or call 718 601-7399.

Riverdale

Bedford Park

Kingsbridge

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

Friday, June 17 Riverdale

KLEZMER MUSIC 4 p.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street Featuring David Glukh Ensemble. Klezmer is a musical tradition from the Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern Europe that was developed by Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants to the United States. These performances, include traditional klezmer music along with special “fusions” with other world musical traditions. For more information, call 718-796-1202. MAKE MUSIC NY 6 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Carlos Jimenez is the next generation of great Puerto Rican flute players, following the steps of Dave Valentin and Nestor Torres. His talent and passion for Jazz, Latin Jazz, Salsa, as well as Brazilian and Asian sounds has resulted in him recording with many musical greats. For info, call 718-549-1212.

Wednesday, June 22 Spuyten Duyvil

DISCUSSION 10:30 a.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue Shayna Malka Weiss, a doctoral student at New York University will discuss “What is Zionism in Israel today? Why aren’t young people excited about Israel today?” There is no charge but reservations are recommended if you would like to stay for lunch at 12 noon. A hot kosher nutritious lunch will be served and the suggested donation is $2.25. For further information and reservations please call 718-548-8200 x223.

BUTTERFLY BOOGIE 3:30 p.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th 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 718-796-1202.

Marble Hill

Thursday, June 23

LECTURE 12:45 p.m. Marble Hill Senior Center 5365 Broadway Dr. Ernece Kelly will present a lecture entitled ‘Paul Robeson: Villain or Hero.’ Free and open to NYC residents aged 60 or older. For more information, call 718-562-8551.

Saturday, June 18 Riverdale

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.

Monday, June 20 Spuyten Duyvil

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 info, call 718-549-1212.

Riverdale

OPEN HOUSE AND TEA 1:15 p.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue Open house and tea for new members. The special event will be an informational session describing the variety of classes, trips and other activities offered by the SSC. There is no charge for this event and complimentary refreshments will be served. Reservations can be made by contacting Toby @ 718-548-8200x223.

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

Spuyten Duyvil

Tuesday, June 21

Tuesday, June 28

PRESCHOOL STORY TIME 10:30 a.m. Van Cortlandt Branch Library 3874 Sedgwick Avenue Preschoolers from 3 to 5 years old and their parents/caregivers can enjoy new and classic picture books, action songs, meet other preschoolers in the neighborhood and stay after the story time for Arts & Crafts. For more info, call 718-543-5150.

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.

Riverdale

Kingsbridge

Van Cortlandt

MINI SERIES ON ISRAEL 10:30 a.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue Spring mini series on Israel, with Cantor Estelle Epstein performing a program of Israeli and Broadway music. For further information and reservations please call the Riverdale YM-YWHA at 718-548-8200x223.

Riverdale

DISCUSSION 10:30 a.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue Cantor Estelle Epstein will perform a program of Israeli and Broadway music. There is no charge but reservations are recommended if you would like to stay for lunch at 12 noon. A hot kosher nutritious lunch will be served and the suggested donation is $2.25. For further information and reservations call 718-548-8200 x223.

STORY TIME 4 p.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street A storytelling program including favorite stories from around the world presented by the Children’s Librarian. For more information, call 718-796-1202.

Riverdale

CRAFTS 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 280 West 231st Street Make Your Own Glass Mosaic Candle Holder with Susan Hale. Brighten up your space with color and light! Take a plain glass votive and make it your own with paper mache, glass beads, and more. All materials will be provided. For ages 12 to 18. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Thursday, June 30 Kingsbridge

GAME ON 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 280 West 231st Street Got the gaming moves? Show off your skills with the controller and challenge your friends to a game in the library. Take part in our tournaments! For ages 12-18. For more information, call 718-548-5656.


By BRENDAN McHUGH For the past four years, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz has fought tooth and nail for senior centers as chair of the Assembly Committee on Aging, and now he’ll bring that experience to his new post as chair of the Assembly Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection. “I’m very excited about it because I’ve always wanted to chair this committee,” Dinowitz said. “This really gives me the opportunity to deal with a lot of issues that are very interesting and very important.” The Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection has jurisdiction over consumer-related issues, including child product safety, food safety, unfair practices in the debt management, credit card, mortgage and other financial services industries, scams against seniors and identity theft. “I’ve always been a consumer advocate as the Assembly member representing the 81st Assembly District. This chairmanship will give me the opportunity to shape legislation and impact consumer issues to benefit people both in my district and throughout the state,” Dinowitz said. While the legislature session is almost finished, Dinowitz said he will be holding roundtable discussions and meeting with consumer groups over the summer to brainstorm ideas for future legislation. “I’m very charged up about it,” he said. “I like to think of myself as a strong consumer advocate. This is a perfect chair for me.” While the chair on aging was a seemingly perfect fit for a Riverdale legislator, Dinowitz says the chair on consumer affairs and protection is just as perfect.

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“Well, there are plenty of consumers around, too,” he said. “The types of issues I’ll deal with on this committee, they’ll affect older people, younger people and in between.” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (DManhattan) appoints the chair positions. Queens Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer was the previous consumer chair, and Brooklyn Assemblywoman Joan Millman is the new chair on aging. Committee chairs receive a $12,500 stipend. From 2003 to 2007, Assemblyman Dinowitz chaired the Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. He has chaired the Legislative Commission on Government Administration, the Subcommittee on Housing for the Elderly and the Subcommittee on Protecting the Elderly Consumer.

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9 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dinowitz new chair of Consumer Committee


Thursday, June 16, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

10

Large crowd attends second Riverfest last Sunday

By BRENDAN McHUGH A large number of members of the community flocked—or in some cases, kayaked—to the second annual Riverdale Riverfest last Sunday, lending support for increased riverfront access in Riverdale. “We’re putting the river back in Riverdale,” said Riverfest organizer Yael Levy. The festival, held at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, is driven by the desire to make waves in the fight to create a Hudson River Greenway running through Riverdale. The biggest obstacle is that the Metro-North train tracks run adjacent to the river.. “It’s clear that the people in our community want access to the river,” Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said, “and I think we’ve moved a step closer.” Metro-North has said in the past that they will look at the plausibility of moving one track farther inland, which

could leave room for a pedestrian and bicycle path. Included in the event were various exhibits and demonstrations, along with five musical acts. One exhibitor, Barry Keegan, showed off “primitive technology,” as he called it. He created fire using only wood and stone and displayed dozens of arrowheads he has collected. Arnold Adler continued his quest to photograph 1,000 faces of Riverdale, saying he got over 100 on Sunday. Three boats gave tours of the Hudson River for festivalgoers, and a 97-year-old barge hosted the Water Front Museum. The boats were so popular that each ride had a waiting list of people who didn’t sign up in advance. “It’s great that this is right in our backyard,” Rep. Eliot Engel said while on the barge. “Hopefully we can return access to the river.”

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Congressman Eliot Engel and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz are joined by members of the Riverdale YM-YWHA’s Rising Stars Theatre troupe.

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By MIAWLING LAM By all accounts, 50th Precinct Officer Harry Villanueva should be six feet under. The father of three was so obese that during a routine checkup two years ago, doctors said he should’ve been dead. Fast-forward to the present, and the police officer has trimmed a staggering 37 pounds off his frame this year after signing up for the precinct’s “Biggest Loser” weight-loss campaign. The program, run in collaboration with the Riverdale YM-YWHA, challenged 25 officers to improve their fitness, tone their muscles and transform their lifestyles in 16 weeks. The competition, which ended on April 26, was so successful there are now plans to roll it out citywide. Villanueva, 41, was formally declared the winner during last Thursday’s Community Council meeting and won a sixmonth gym membership at the Y for his fat-fighting efforts. Reflecting on the experience, the officer admitted he came a long way during the four months. He said he didn’t think he could last the entire duration and had even toyed with the idea of pulling out a couple of weeks into the program. “Once I started seeing the weight dropping, I just stuck with it and it got easier and easier,” he said. “I feel great now. I run on my own and I go the gym—things I thought I’d never do, and I do a lot of that now.” Each participant was given a personalized fitness program, which was routinely adjusted to accommodate changes to health. Villanueva, who has since bought a whole new wardrobe and is taking lower

doses of medication, said his children were still getting used to his new appearance. “My daughter likes her fat daddy,” he said. “She said, ‘Oh you have to get your belly back. I miss it.’ She can’t hold me like she used to, but I think she’s joking around.” Riverdale Y Fitness Director Lisa Bruskin said she was extremely proud of Villanueva’s weight-loss efforts. “Harry was exceptional,” she said. “He changed his eating habits, he changed his lifestyle and his wife is now involved and starting to get into shape. “It’s really important for adults, especially parents, because you’re instilling values into your child. And if the parents can teach them lifestyle at any point in time, the kids have great role models.” Final weigh-ins are still being conducted, but Bruskin said the five-oh is at least 63 pounds lighter. In addition to Villanueva’s dramatic 37pound loss, Officer Adolfo Enciso shed 19 pounds and Officer Judith Moreno dropped three pounds over the course of the campaign. Bruskin said although the competition was officially over, she was hopeful many participants would continue practicing their healthy eating habits. She told the Riverdale Review of her plans to expand the program and disseminate the fitness message into other precincts. “We’re going to try and make it New Yorkwide,” she said. “Maybe even statewide. “I think it would be good, even if we hit one precinct a month and we roll it over 24 months. “This is what the whole country needs. It’s a really good program. We’ll see how it goes.”

11 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, June 16, 2011

Police discover lighter side of weight loss


Thursday, June 16, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

12

Person on the Street:

Compiled by Veronica Vay

What are your feelings on marriage rights for same-sex couples in the state of New York?

Eileen Mcmanus: “I do believe that the state needs to recognize that gay couples have good, stable, loving families. They do need equality and I hope that it is granted in New York soon.”

Leanne Brathwaite: “I think love is love. I think that if you love someone, you should be able to marry that person. Now, why can’t two men get married who love each other? I say equality for all.”

Roger Parson:“Prideandcelebration is important freedom for gay couples. They should have rights, and should not be ashamed of their situation.”

Sarah Stevenson: “I think it’s time that gay couples have the same rights that straight couples do. It seems it’s one of those absolute basic rights.”

Danielle Blustein: “I think they deserve equal rights for marriage. I don’t see why they shouldn’t.”

Ralph Lopez: “It depends on how you look at it. From a religious perspective, I would be against it. According to human rights, then I would have to agree it’s OK. Myself, I am very spiritual.”

Erica Rincon: “I’m for it, and think that they have the right just as I do.”

Rhea Parson: “I absolutely support gay rights. It’s long overdue to have their marriage rights passed, and we hope this year we’ll get it through.”

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North White Plains

BUTTERFLY APPRECIATION DAY 1 p.m. Cranberry Lake Preserve Old Orchard Street Since there is no official butterfly day yet, Cranberry Lake is making this it! We’ll learn a little, walk a little and hopefully see some of these beautiful insects. Also, bring a clean and empty jar with a plastic lid and we’ll turn it into a garden butterfly feeder. For more information, call 914-428-1005.

Somers

WHITTLING DEMONSTRATION 1 p.m. Muscoot Farm Route 100 Watch Guy Hodges, our whittler, as he demonstrates the art and craftsmanship of a skill that many of our great grandfathers once enjoyed. For more information, call 914-864-7282.

Wednesday, June 22 White Plains

POOL PARTY & BARBECUE 10 a.m. Saxon Woods Pool 1800 W. Mamaroneck Avenue Enjoy a day of swimming, an old-fashioned cookout, dancing and entertainment. Co-sponsored by the Westchester Department of Senior Programs and Services and Westchester County Parks. Rain date is June 23. Suggested lunch contribution is $4. To make lunch reservations, call (914) 813-6380 ext. 6423. For more information call (914) 864-7064.

Mt. Vernon

JAZZ & SWING 1 p.m. St. Paul’s Church 897 S. Columbus Avenue The Sky Blue Band plays traditional jazz and swing selections. For info, contact David Osborn at 914-667-4116.

Yonkers

AUDUBON PROGRAM 6 p.m. Lenoir Preserve Dudley Street 6 p.m. - Guided nature walk around the preserve. 7 p.m. - Refreshments in the nature center. 7:30 p.m. - Election of officers, recognition of selected volunteers for their contributions during the year. Hudson River Audubon members will share their slides that they taken during the past year, birding trips, field trips, etc. For more information, call 914-968-5851.

Saturday, June 25 Ossining

BUTTERFLIES 10 a.m. Teatown Lake Reservation 1600 Spring Valley Road Explore Teatown’s fields and forest with Charlie Roberto in search of butterflies. FREE for members and non-members. For more information, call 914-762-2912.

Yonkers

BUTTERFLY PROGRAM 10 a.m. Lenoir Preserve Dudley Street Join master gardener Mary Harrington on a tour of the Butterfly Garden while learning all about them. For more information, call 914-968-5851.

Croton-on-Hudson

FISH TALES 10 a.m. Croton Point Nature Center Croton Point Avenue Join us as we walk the river’s edge and search for artifacts that lead us to incredible, improbable and totally audacious stories. For more information, call 914-862-5297.

Katonah

CARAMOOR OPENING NIGHT 6 p.m. Caramoor Center for Music & Arts 149 Girdle Ridge Road A festive Opening Night to support Caramoor’s mission and to kick-off Caramoor’s 66th season. Enjoy delectable pre-concert hors d’oeuvres, specialty cocktails and an elegant dinner created by Great Performances. Gala attendees will also have priority seating at the performance of H.M.S. Pinafore by Gilbert & Sullivan and dessert and dancing with the Pinafore cast at the After Dark party. For more info, call 914-232-1492.

Sunday, June 26 Somers

BIRD WALK 8 a.m. Muscoot Farm Route 100 Join naturalist Arthur Green on a bird walk through the backfields of the farm. Meet in the farm parking lot at 8 a.m. Bring binoculars and wear sturdy shoes. For info, call 914-864-7282.

Valhalla

AFRICAN HERITAGE CELEBRATION 12 p.m. Kensico Dam Plaza Bronx River Parkway Ethnic food, music, dance, entertainment and arts and crafts. For more information, call 914-864-PARK.

Rye

SHOREBIRD EXTRAVAGANZA 2 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 The salt marshes of Marshlands are key to the survival of many of our feathered shoreline friends. We will observe them in their natural element. Please bring binoculars. Long pants and shoes are highly recommended. For info, call 914-835-4466.

Somers

TOUR OF THE MAIN HOUSE 2 p.m. Lasdon Park Route 35 Learn about the history of Lasdon Park and Arboretum while touring the Main House with a park horticulturist. For more information, call 914-864-7263.

Katonah

CONCERT 4:30 p.m. Caramoor Center for Music & Arts 149 Girdle Ridge Road Join acclaimed pianist and host Christopher O’Riley and a slew of extraordinary young musicians for a broadcast recording of NPR’s From the Top. For over a decade, From the Top has been nurturing young musical talent, and each show presents thrilling performances by these dynamo-kids as well as interviews, games, and lots of fun for the entire family. Experience the future of classical music live at Caramoor! Location: Venetian Theater. For more information, call 914-232-1252.

Tuesday, June 28 Yonkers

MAGIC SHOW 1 p.m. Grinton Will Public Library 1500 Central Park Avenue Join Magic Jim and his trusty sidekick puppet Leonardo da stinky for a performance full of magic, humor, puppetry and lots of audience participation. For info, call 914-337-1500 x 306.

Wednesday, June 29 Katonah

DANCING AT DUSK 5 p.m. Caramoor Center for Music & Arts 149 Girdle Ridge Road Come to Caramoor for an evening of fun with the kids! Bring a picnic, spread out a blanket, and enjoy great music together. Cady Finlayson and Vita Tanga blend traditional Celtic fiddle tunes with American folk and world music influences. Jigs, Reels, and much, much more will make for a spirited evening of fun for the whole family! Children of all ages will have the opportunity to dance to live music, interact with the musicians, get to know their instruments, and ask questions. This is a wonderful way to have your child introduced, up close, to music in a relaxed and joyful way. Activities will be designed for toddlers as well as pre-teens. For info, call 914-232-1252.

Thursday, June 30 Yonkers

PAPERMAKING 1 p.m. Lenoir Preserve Dudley Street School’s out! Come to Lenoir Preserve on a warm summer’s day and enjoy making your own paper from natural and recycled objects. This will be an outside program. Pre-registration required. For more information, call 914-968-5851.

Katonah

BEIJING GUITAR DUO 7:30 p.m. Caramoor Center for Music & Arts 149 Girdle Ridge Road Caramoor’s Sunken Garden has proven to be a perfect setting for the intimate art of the guitar. The young, brilliant Beijing Guitar Duo breathes life into a superbly eclectic program that promises a listening experience of unparalleled beauty and freshness. For more information, call 914-232-1252.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sunday, June 19


Thursday, June 16, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, June 16, 2011


Thursday, June 16, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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The Riverdale Community Center at the Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy (M.S./H.S. 141) is pleased to offer a Summer Test Prep Academy of intensive “High School and College Preparatory” courses. Registration is now being accepted. 1. TACHS Prep (Test for Admission to Catholic High Schools - For upcoming 8th grade students. Instructional course for math and English in preparation for the parochial high schools’ entrance exam scheduled for the fall 2011. There is a focus on skill reinforcement in reading, vocabulary, spelling and grammar, etc. Math will focus on strengthening skills in major areas of the math curriculum. Test-taking techniques and practice tests provided. Two Week Session - 07/11/11 through 07/21/11, Monday through Thursday - 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fee: $250 + $15 Registration Fee 2. SHSAT Prep (Specialized High School Admission Test) - For upcoming 8th grade students. Intensive instruction in math and English in preparation for the New York City Specialized High Schools (Bronx Science, Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech, High School of American Studies, etc.) Admission Test given each year to 8th grade students. Test-taking techniques and practice tests provided. Two Week Session - 08/08/11 through 08/18/11

Monday through Thursday - 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fee: $250 + $15 Registration Fee 3. SAT Prep - For upcoming 12th grade students. Instructional course in English and math for SAT Preparation. Comprehensive course is taught by experienced, licensed teachers who have been involved for many years in preparing students to take standardized exams with much success. Two Week Session - 07/25/11 through 08/04/11. Monday through Thursday - 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fee: $250 + $15 Registration Fee Class size is limited. To register or for more information please call the RCC Office at 718796-4724 or 718-796-4882 daily from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. You can also visit us on the web at: www.riverdalecommunitycenter.org.

Riverdalians perform arias and other songs

Soprano Sigal Chen and piano accompanist Jonathan Dzik will giving a concert of operatic arias, Broadway tunes and Yiddish and Hebrew songs this Monday, June 20, at 1 p.m. in the downstairs ballroom at Park East Synagogue, 163 East 67th Street in Manhattan. They will also offer the program on Thursday, June 23, at Atria Riverdale. Sigal Chen, a native of Israel, has sung to great acclaim at the Riverdale Y and other local venues and gives regular recitals at New York events. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree at the Rubin Academy of

Music and Dance in Jerusalem and was a member of the academy’s opera studio. Jonathan F. Dzik is a veteran accompanist, choral conductor and music educator. Now retired from his position as a popular music teacher in the public school system, he directs the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale Community Choir, coaches and accompanies vocalist performers and serves as an educational consultant for the Metropolitan Opera, where he leads workshops for teachers and guides backstage tours of the opera house.

group for players born in 2002 and 2003, a middle group for players born in 2000 and 2001, and an older group for players born in 1997 through 1999. The registration fee is $75 per player, which includes a uniform of jersey, shorts and socks. Registration is by mail only through June 30, and you can print out a registration form from the Club’s web site, www.riverdalesoccerclub.org, or by calling 718-601-8639 to request that a form be mailed to you. After June 30, registration is subject to availability and the fee increases to $85.

Riverdale Soccer Club accepting registration

Israel spring mini series at the Riverdale Y

The Riverdale Soccer Club is now registering players for the fall 2011 season, for boys and girls born between 1997 and 2005. The season will run from September 10 through November 20. There are three programs, all of which will take place in Seton Park, located at 232 Street and Independence Avenue. The Peewee Instructional Program, for boys and girls born in 2004 and 2005, will meet on Saturday mornings. Older boys and girls will play regular games in the Riverdale Soccer League. The Boys Division will play its games on Saturday afternoons, and the Girls Division will play on Sunday afternoons. Each division will most likely have three age groups: a younger

The Simon Senior Center located at the Riverdale YM-YWHA is pleased to present its second annual mini series on Israel. The last of the series will be on Tuesday, June 21, with Cantor Estelle Epstein performing a program of Israeli and Broadway music. The program will begin at 10:30am and are open to the public. There is no charge but reservations are recommended if you would like to stay for lunch at 12noon. A hot kosher nutritious lunch will be served and the suggested donation is $2.25. The Riverdale YM-YWHA is located at 5625 Arlington Ave. For further information and reservations please call the Riverdale YM-YWHA at 718-548-8200x223.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, June 16, 2011

RCC announces test prep academy


Thursday, June 16, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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The Bloomberg Deception There is interesting news coming out of the Tweed Courthouse, where our city’s public schools are run. It seems that the number of children “failing” the reading and/or math tests in third through sixth grade is increasing, yet again. These are the children who are mandated to attend summer school because they scored only level one on these state-administered tests. We use the term failing extremely loosely here. It can be argued that those scoring even level 2 are also failing, since they too are performing below a grade level that, despite adjustments to compensate for the grade inflation admitted to by the State Education Department last summer, is still a very low bar. This means that in two years the number of children headed to summer school has tripled, a clear indication of just how much we have been lied to in the recent past. Mayor Bloomberg was reelected largely on the strength of those supposedly increasing test scores – a demonstration of his skill in managing the public schools. Now that we know the truth, we are stuck with the mayor who facilitated the deception by which he was reelected. Nine years into mayoral control, one can only marvel at just how little progress our students have made. And make no mistake about it, this failure is “owned” lock, stock and barrel by Mayor Bloomberg. Students entering high school this year have attended schools controlled by the mayor every day of their educational lives. Rarely discussed is the fact that this educational failure came at an enormous cost. Spending on education would have doubled by now if it hadn’t been for the cash shortfall at all levels of government. Still, Mayor Bloomberg has increased educational expenditures here by a factor of around 80%. What have we gotten? Flat results and huge sums leeching out to contractors, some of which have literally stolen millions in these funds meant to benefit the children. Now the mayor is boasting of improvements in the graduation rates, a result not of academic achievement but in gimmicks, deception and downright cheating. Failed students are turned into “graduates” by such dubious devices as “credit recovery.” If you’re not convinced, just take a look at the where the increases in the graduation rates occur. Not with the Regents or Advanced diplomas, those that mean something in the educational marketplace. No, rather the increases are in what is termed the “local diploma.” These diplomas are hardly worth the paper they are printed on. Those recipients of this type of watered down diploma who attempt to go on to college, rarely complete the course of study. That’s where we get the disturbing statistics that 75% of the students at the City University community colleges require remediation. They simply cannot do college level work, the kind of work that any high school graduate should be expected to do. Subtract these ersatz “graduates,” from the mayor’s numbers and you see the extent of the Bloomberg deception. These bogus graduation rate numbers, akin to the admittedly inflated grade 3 through 8 state tests, and the Regents tests given to high school students, tests so easy that one can nearly guess his way to a passing grade, are yet another fraud perpetrated upon students, parents and a gullible media. It is time for the citizenry to demand a new discussion of mayoral control of the schools. As dysfunctional as the old Board of Education appeared, it was far superior to the current system that, aside from not producing the results promised, aside from the increased cost, aside from the incompetence of the management, has also taken public participation out of our public schools. That is the Bloomberg legacy. It is time to revisit the laws that made the current anarchy our daily reality.

An open letter to Councilman Koppell Dear Councilman Koppell: I attended the Town Hall meeting recently and also read your Riverdale Review letter in the May 26th issue. I should like to comment on both of your statements. Let me start by saying that I have a research Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry and that I have taught at the college/university level (Kansas State, Bard College, Colorado School of Mines, SUNY/ Purchase) for 30 years and the high school level (The Calhoun School, RKA, Bronx High School of Science, Stamford High School) for 10 years, and I find you pretty ignorant of the goings on in local education. You contradicted me in the Town Hall Meeting when I stated that Bronx Science was ranked below Yonkers High School. You were unaware of the International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, like the one in Yonkers, in general. Instead you started bragging about the area schools you have visited. I’m sorry, but you are ignorant of the

teachers’ plight at these schools and of the true quality of these schools. Shame on you! Shame on you, too, for criticizing Andrew Wolf of the Riverdale Review. Like you he is a Bronx Science graduate, but unlike you, and like Professor Diane Ravitch, he “gets” the true state of education in the northwest Bronx. You clearly do not. And you seem blissful in your ignorance. For your information, according to the high school rankings in the U.S. News and World Report, Yonkers High School is ranked #41, whereas the Bronx High School of Science is #58. (Stuyvesant is at #31, Rye High School at #59, and Brooklyn Tech at #63). There are many New York State schools, and even other New York City schools, ranked higher than Bronx Science. I taught at RKA when the high school first opened, and it was terrible, but better than it is now. The principal in that era was Daniella Phillips who was, from my own observation, unstable, vindictive

ANDREW WOLF, Editor and Publisher

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and marginally competent. As a teacher without a classroom — only young, pretty teachers got classrooms — I was forced to sit in stairwells grading papers because there were no offices for peripatetic teachers. When I got the call to Bronx Science, Ms. Phillips agreed to let me go by saying, “I won’t say anything bad about you if you don’t say anything bad about me.” I had no choice but to agree. I wanted out. When, after two years of totally satisfactory service at Bronx Science, Principal “Dr.” Valerie Reidy turned on me, declared me derelict, and started giving me a string of “U” ratings for classroom observations. Mr. Wolf backed me in my “No Quack” campaign to oust her. You, on the other hand, canceled a meeting I was scheduled to have with you, at the last minute, and refused to reschedule. That was in 2005. Are you aware that students who appreciated my work had an encore performance of the “No Quack” campaign as seniors in 2008 because they resented the way I had been treated in 2005? Are you aware as to the way Ms. Reidy punished the two students involved in the encore, by telling ACS that their parents were unfit? (ACS later apologized to the two sets of parents for their misdirected investigation.) Ms. Reidy is a perfect example of “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” How can you ignore what she did to Continued on Page 19


By VERONICA VAY Revisit your childhood by entering the Candy Box & Gelato Shoppe at 5684 Riverdale Avenue—in this shop full of colors and temptations, Riverdale’s new candy-man Josh Bernstein offers a unique taste of indulgence. Though his new store is already a great success, Bernstein has been in the candy business for only seven weeks. After eleven years of stock trading, Riverdale’s Willy Wonka is taking a year off from his job—with the loving support of his wife, Michelle—to supply Riverdale with highquality gelato and much more. “We offer100 percent satisfaction guarantee,” Bernstein said. “The only complaint we’ve had so far is that our prices are too cheap,” he joked. The Candy Box contains 105 candy bins with something for everyone. Though gummies are the number-one seller, health-conscious patrons can make their own trail mix with other selections. The variety of nuts and dried fruits can satisfy any kind of sweet tooth, and for the more traditional chocolate lover, the shop fills a niche in Riverdale. With eighteen flavors of gelato, The Candy Box is a different experience from Baskin-Robbins or Carvel. Some gelato flavors have zero fat and are normally 80 to120 calories per serving. That is approximately one-third the average calorie count of regular ice cream, and gelato is much richer in taste. Mint Soy is an overall favorite for most costumers, but Bernstein says the upcoming temptation of Oreo Cheesecake is sure to draw a crowd. Bernstein knows the Riverdale consumer quite well—all of the food options are kosher. Beyond that, preferences rare in the candy business can be found by the binload

at the Candy Box. There are sugar-free, dairyfree and fat-free selections galore. There are also real Belgian waffles with a scoop of any gelato flavor on top. By the end of the summer, café coffees will be served as well. Since its recent arrival on Riverdale Avenue, the Candy Box has already participated in ten local events. Bernstein attended the “Willy Wonka” show at the Riverdale Y and handed out “golden tickets.” In another week or two, the shop will begin hosting private birthday parties. There have been multiple demands for this unique birthday idea, so Bernstein hopes people will schedule birthday parties well in advance. Operating hours are posted at thecandyboxonline.com, and Bernstein says they’re very active on Facebook.

Open letter Continued from Page 18 the 22 math teachers there? She once said that a lot of the students at Bronx Science “speak Asian.” She clearly does not “get” the 59.9% of students at the school who are Korean and Chinese. She even called a part time Korean teacher there, Kyoung-Mi Choi, a minister at the Bethel Korean Methodist Church, a “liar.” Great for community relations! Just like her returning all the huge donations from the Korean electronics firm jWIN. My ranking on the website RateMyTeachers.com for my years at Bronx Science was 4.6 out of a possible 5.0 (www. ratemyteachers.com/bob-drake/217150-t). No one currently teaching chemistry ranks so high. No wonder Bronx Science parents, after I left, hired me to tutor their kids. Yet Reidy trashed me, and you blew me off when I needed help, just like you are blowing off the students of the northwest Bronx by failing to really investigate the state of our public schools. The Bloomberg Leadership Academy, now headed by the previous Region One, anti-gifted idiot Irma Zardoya, is turning out intimidators, not leaders. A good principal needs years of classroom experience, not hours. But oldsters are being pushed out. The City Council should go on record against this stupidity. YOU ought to go on record against this stupidity, and not be writing letters of excuses. Why do you defend these inferior administrators and the inferior schools they oversee? Do something! Robert F. Drake, Ph.D.

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19 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, June 16, 2011

Riverdale’s new Candy Man can


Thursday, June 16, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW

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Riverdale Review, June 16, 2011