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Riverdale’s ONLY Locally Owned Newspaper!

Volume XVIII • Number 33 • July 28 - August 3, 2011 •


Exclusive: Discussion between Shoah survivor and new Muslim head of MC Holocaust Center

By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER The Manhattan Chapter of Women Holocaust Survivors grew concerned when they learned that Manhattan College had decided to expand the mission of its 15-year-old Holocaust Resource Center, to rename it the Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center and to appoint a Muslim, Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, as the center’s director starting this fall. Riverdalian Lily Margules, president of the survivors’ group, recently had a tête-à-tête with Afridi to address the group’s concerns. Following are some brief excerpts from their dialogue. Lily Margules: I came here not as Lily. I represent a group of survivors, and I came here for a friendly discussion. It’s just a very unusual situation, and I got a lot of phone calls—“Lily, do something. How can this happen? What can we do? We are afraid.” So I decided that the best way is to talk to you and find out. The situation is that people are wondering—what prompted you to get interested in Judaism and what prompted you to get interested in the Holocaust? Mehnaz Afridi: At Syracuse University, I really got interested in critical philosophy and decided to major in religious studies. I did a lot of work with a faculty member—his name was Sander Gilman—and he taught me 19th-century Germany and the figuration of the Jew in Western philosophy. Then, I got an assistantship with Alan Berger doing a post-Holocaust course. That changed my whole direction Continued on Page 19

Mehnaz Afridi, new head of the Manhattan College Holocaust Center, with Holocaust survivor Lily Margules.

Mass exodus of teachers at RKA reflects ‘toxic’ environment under principal O’Mara By MIAWLING LAM Nearly a dozen teachers have fled the beleaguered Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy due to harassment, intimidation and a toxic work environment. The figure was revealed after the Riverdale Review secured exclusive interviews with two teachers last week. Both expressed frustration with RKA principal Lori O’Mara and were critical of her poor leadership skills and her tendency to show favoritism. They said the school is plagued by widespread teacher dissatisfaction and is led by a principal more preoccupied with preserving her own image than with educating children. A number of colleagues felt O’Mara targeted certain staff members while protecting those in her inner circle and overlooking their wrongdoings.

“The tone is never really conducive to a healthy learning environment,” according to one source, who preferred not to be identified. Some were particularly upset that while insufficient time and resources got allocated to student activities, the principal found time to set up a Weight Watchers program and Zumba dance class for adults at the school. “If you’re going to devote that kind of energy to setting up and maintaining activities for adults, why aren’t you directing that attention to the children as well?” the teacher said, noting that these issues were discussed among the staff. O’Mara perpetuates a culture of finger pointing and distrust as well as favoritism, the seasoned educator said. “She seems very self-centered and focused on covering her own tail, on preserving her image, so at times,

you want ask, ‘Where are your priorities? Are we really working with the students’ best interests in mind?’” Another teacher, who also declined identification for fear of retribution, said veteran staffers are intimidated and harassed. “They go after the teachers that have a lot of years,” the person said, adding that experienced teachers were pushed out because of their impact on school finances. Of the 11 teachers who left last month, seven filed for retirement. “One of the biggest problems of the Bloomberg administration was that the principal became responsible for hiring teachers,” the person said. But many observers feel that the mayor’s “fair school funding” penalizes schools with senior, better-paid teachers. “It just made Continued on Page 7

Thursday, July 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Two local post offices on chopping block

By BRENDAN McHUGH The U.S. Postal Service announced Tuesday they will be studying 17 Bronx post offices, including two in Riverdale, to determine whether any should be closed. The USPS will be conducting a study of the Bronx offices to assess customer needs. Nationwide, USPS will be looking at approximately 3,700 retail offices. “Our customers’ habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said. The Bronx offices are Botanical, Castle Hill, Clason Point, Cranford, Dreiser Loop, Einstein, Esplanade, Fieldston, Hillside, Hunts Point, Melcourt, Morrisania, Spuyten Duyvil, Stadium, University Heights, Van Cott and West Farms. In Westchester, Yonkers South and Sandford Station in Mount Vernon will be studied. “Why would they take away that service and make the other post offices more crowded?” asked Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, whose district includes Fieldston and Spuyten Duyvil. “If you try to go to the Kingsbridge post office, there are long lines, and if you have a car, it’s difficult to park.” He added that he doesn’t believe the post offices that would remain open would get more staff or stay open longer. “That would cut off most people in Riverdale from having a post office,” he said. “It’s one of those quality of life issues for us.” A handful of the stations were on consolidation lists earlier this year, when USPS closed a handful of stations throughout The Bronx. USPS says employees at closing branches are reassigned, not laid off. “This list is a brand-new set of post offices that we’re going to study again from scratch,” USPS spokeswoman Darlene Reid-DeMeo said. Reid-DeMeo poited out that many of the offices were on the original lists from 2009 and 2010 and that the consolidation of offices is an ongoing process to preserve and better use existing resources. By law, branches cannot be closed for purely economic reasons. USPS receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. But as more customers choose to conduct their postal business online, on their smart phones and at retail stores, the need for the USPS to maintain its retail offices has diminished. “Today, more than 35 percent of the Postal Service’s retail revenue comes from expanded access locations such as grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and, open 24/7,” Donahoe said. For communities currently without a postal retail office, the Postal Service introduced the Village Post Office as a potential replacement option. Village Post Offices would be operated by local businesses, such as pharmacies, grocery stores and other appropriate retailers, and would offer popular postal products and services such as stamps and flat-rate packaging. “By working with third-party retailers, we’re creating easier, more convenient access to our products and services when

and where our customers want them,” Donahoe said. “The Village Post Office will offer another way for us to meet our customers’ needs.” With 32,000 postal retail offices and more than 70,000 third-party retailers—Approved Postal Providers—selling postage stamps and providing expanded access to other postal products and services, customers today have about 100,000 locations across the nation where they can do business with the USPS. “The Postal Service of the future will be smaller, leaner and more competitive and it will continue to drive commerce, serve communities and deliver value,” Donahoe added.

By BRENDAN McHUGH Plans for the Van Cortlandt Park iceskating rink to be up and runnung by November are on thin ice. Delay after delay has hit the proposed rink ever since Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the plan in his State of the City at the beginning of the year, and opposition locally has mounted. The Franchise and Concessions Review Committee was supposed to vote on the project during their August 8 meeting, but the Department of Parks and Recreation has not released the project details, forcing the committee to push the vote back at least one month. Community Board 8 was going to hold a meeting Wednesday, July 27, to discuss the project and possibly vote on a recommendation to give to the FCRC, but because the parks department has withheld any new information, the meeting was cancelled. This is not the first delay in plans for the rink, which would be operating with a 15-year lease. Originally, the request for proposals was to be released in March, but in May, changes were still being made. The parks department said after the RFP deadline passed at the end of May that it would take only a few weeks to choose a winner. If the city felt they did not receive enough interest or enough adequate proposals from skate-rink developers, they held the option of canceling the project altogether. A parks department representative said they anticipate an announcement later this summer but would not clarify further. Of the three developers who came to an April meeting in Van Cortlandt Park, only one submitted a bid for the site.

The lack of information given out by the parks department and by others involved turned the skating rink project into a mystery that some called scandalous. Community Board 8 members have fought vigorously to obtain more information during the year, and some members interpreted that as opposition to the rink itself. The location and length of the concession area has some members concerned. “We were promised to have a meeting on this issue, and I don’t want the community board to be just pushed aside,” said board member Robert Press, who has supported the idea for a Bronx skating rink. Earlier this year, Press attempted to pass a resolution that would call for an environmental impact study. Because the rink and amenities would be on parkland, Press wanted to know the impact it would have on the land. The rink would also be next to the elevated subway tracks on Broadway, and Press wanted to know the impact the train, cars and buses would have on skaters. The rink would operate only during the winter months. Other locations for an ice-skating rink have been suggested since the plan was made public. Community Board 12 members believe their side of Van Cortlandt Park has been neglected by the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy—the public-private partnership in charge of the park—and they wish the rink would be sited near Woodlawn. Orchard Beach, a site near Yankee Stadium and even the Kingsbridge Armory have also been brought up as better locations.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz came out in support of a sports arena for the armory this week, saying he was happy to learn ice-skating rinks were among the recommended ideas to fill the building. “I am pleased to learn that sports facilities, including those for ice-skating and hockey, are among the possible uses being contemplated for the Kingsbridge Armory,” he said. “The possibilities are endless, including real ice-skating rinks for the entire Bronx to enjoy.” The plan would feature at least six yearround rinks, including at least one rink outdoors in the winter. A charter school would also go into the armory, and it would be mandatory that the school have access to the rinks.

3 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, July 28, 2011

Skating rink problems force long delays

Thursday, July 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Around the schools... Manhattan College

The college’s chemical engineering program, ranked fifth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, will offer a new Master of Science option this fall in cosmetic engineering. The program will be the first of its kind in the country. “We took our nationally recognized chemical engineering curriculum and coupled it with cutting-edge cosmetic engineering courses, so that our students could take advantage of a completely untapped market in the engineering field,” said Dr. Ann Marie Flynn, associate professor and chair of the chemical engineering department. “Nobody else is doing what we’re doing, and I’ll take that advantage any day.” After consulting experts at L’Oréal, Revlon, Avon and Cosmetic Essence on the skills lacking in recent hires with only a bachelor’s degree, Flynn developed plans for the new program and hired Dr. Thomas Twardowski to help design the curriculum. Four unique courses in the will prepare students not only for the cosmetics industry but also for the pharmaceutical and food industries. Students can earn an M.S. in one year or go for a five-year B.S./M.S. chemical engineering program with a specialization in cosmetic engineering.

Local Scholars

The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, has announced that the following students earned degrees as members of the Class of 2011: Anna Johnson, Johanna Tramantano and Andrew Vidich each received a Certificate of Advanced Study; and Liliya Shamazov received a Master of Science in education. The College of Saint Rose is a private independent coeducational liberal arts college located in the heart of Albany. It offers 67 undergraduate, 45 graduate and 12 continuing education programs and enrolls more than 5,000 students. Saint Rose offers a strong liberal education curriculum and progressive academic programs. Fairleigh Dickenson University in Teaneck, New Jersey, has announced that Moira Rafaela Francisco graduated from the school’s metropolitan campus this spring. FDU, New Jersey’s largest private university, enrolls more than 8,000 undergraduates and more than 3,000 graduate students. In addition to its New Jersey campuses in Teaneck and Florham, the school has campuses in Wroxton, England, and Vancouver, Canada. It offers an internationally recognized core curriculum and a wide variety of innovative programs in education, nursing, psychology, business, computer science, visual arts and public administration. Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island, has announced that Gregory Pappas, Nicholas Winiarski and Stephen Winiarski were named to the dean’s list for the spring 2011 semester. To qualify for the dean’s list, students must achieve at least a 3.55 grade point average with a minimum of 12 credits. Providence, a Catholic liberal arts school, is the only college or university in the United States administered by the Dominican Friars. It enrolls 3,900 undergraduates and offers degrees in 49 academic majors. In the 2011

edition of U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges, Providence ranked second among master’s-level universities in the North region and among the top five schools in the Great Schools, Great Prices category. Its graduation rate is the highest among 574 master’s-level universities nationwide. Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, has announced that Giselle A. Jimenez, daughter of Jose Jimenez and the late Ramona Jimenez, received a B.A. in art and sociology at the college’s June commencement. Jimenez was co-chair of performance for Ritmo Latino, drill sergeant for Sankofa, a junior advisor and a tour guide. She was included on the dean’s list and earned honors in art history. Williams, a residential, privately endowed liberal arts college located in the Berkshires, enrolls 2,000 undergraduates and offers 36 majors. The Comparative Guide to American Colleges calls Williams “one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges in the country,” and Barron’s Top 50: An Inside Look at America’s Best Colleges reports that “Williams’ biggest strength is the students it attracts.” The school’s alumni society, the oldest in the world, includes more than 27,000 active members. Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, has announced that Joel Vargas was named to the dean’s list for the spring semester. To earn this distinction, students must achieve a GPA of at least 3.6. Lafayette College, one of America’s oldest, offers 47 majors in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering; 250 student organizations; and a campus rich in academic, residential and recreational facilities for its 2,400 selected students. The college’s proximity to New York City and Philadelphia affords academic connections and career networking opportunities for alumni. Lafayette offers all the benefits of larger schools with the student-centered approach of a small, undergraduate college.

FAX education news to:

The Riverdale Review (718) 543-4206





The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, July 28, 2011

you should always turn off your air conditioner...

to keep your home cooler in the summer, it’s a smart idea to...

a. when zombies attack b. at night c. every other hour d. when you leave home a. use ceiling fans as much as possible to supplement a /c

b. grill outside instead of heating up the oven

c. open windows and turn of f a/c when it’s cool at night

d. all of the above

answer: d

answer: d

what should you do if you smell gas?

cell phone, mp3 player and pda chargers use energy...

a. leave the area immediately, then call Con Edison at 1-800-75-CONED

a. only when charging


b. when plugged in, whether they’re charging or not

b. do not use electrical devices, including flashlights

c. even when disconnected from the outlet

answer: b

c. both of the above

answer: c

for 100+ energy saving tips visit or find us on Facebook at Power of Green TRIM




Thursday, July 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Michael Poast to give art lecture at Hebrew Home Artist Michael Poast will present an illustrated lecture entitled, Thresholds of Dimension: Music, Color, Space - The Sculpture of Michael Poast. He will focus on the topic of his large-scale steel sculptures and discuss his working process. The talk will take place on Thursday, July 28 at 2:30 p.m. at the Derfner Judaica Museum, located in the Jacob Reingold Pavilion at The Hebrew Home at Riverdale, 5901 Palisade Avenue in Riverdale. This event is free and open to the public. R.S.V.P. or (718) 581-1596. The Hebrew Home acquired one of Poast’s large outdoor sculptures in 2010, entitled, Windy Voyage. It is currently on view in the sculpture garden overlooking the Palisades and Hudson River. Poast will discuss his recent explorations of thresholds, by which he means the carving out of spatial areas and volumetric forms, even using linear forms to imply volume. A composer as well as a visual artist, Poast uses color as a notation system for musical expression. He has sometimes performed using his sculptures, relating the painted steel color to the sound it produces when struck with hammers or timpani mallets. ‘ ‘ Immediately following his talk, participants may join the artist outside for a viewing of Windy Voyage, a large, vibrant red steel sculpture composed of a series of

interconnected shapes that create a sense of motion, suggesting the direction and currents of the wind. Michael Poast has exhibited his outdoor sculptures at such sites as the Socrates Sculpture Park (Long Island City) and Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum (Hamilton, OH). He currently has work on view at the Howland Cultural Center (Beacon, NY), Pound Ridge Reserve (Cross River, NY) and Unison Art Center (New Paltz, NY). He has received honors and grants for both visual art and his avantgarde music from such organizations as the Lila Acheson Wallace Fund, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, NYSCA and many others, for both visual art as well as his avant-garde music. He was recently honored with a Gottlieb Foundation Grant for re-establishment of a studio space, and is currently artist-in-residence at Metalmen Sales in Long Island City. As a member of the American Association of Museums, The Hebrew Home at Riverdale is committed to publicly exhibiting its art collection throughout its 19-acre campus, including the Derfner Judaica Museum and a sculpture garden overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades. The Derfner Judaica Museum + The Art Collection provide educational and cultural programming for residents of the Hebrew Home, their families and the general public from throughout New York City, its surrounding suburbs and visitors from elsewhere. The Home is a nonprofit, non-sectarian geriatric center

serving more than 3,000 elderly persons through its resources and community service programs. The Art Collection is open daily, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The Derfner Judaica Museum is open, Sunday - Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Call for holiday hours at (718) 581-1596.

Musical revue at Riverdale Senior Center

Beat the blistering heat with fun and laughs by catching a special one-off performance of Let’s Face The Music. The musical revue show will be staged at 11 a.m. on Thursday July 28 at the Riverdale Senior Center, located at 2600 Netherland Avenue. Music, dance and sketches will be aplenty and Phyllis Shapiro is even slated to make a special guest appearance. Everyone is welcome. Street parking is available. For more information, please call 718-884-5900.

Marble Hill Senior Center announces activities

The following programs are scheduled at the Marble Hill Senior Center in the upcoming week: On Friday July 29th at 1:00 PM multi-instrumentalist Paul Phillips will play music for listening and dancing prior to the Center’s July birthday party. Cake and ice cream will follow at 2 PM. 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.

BAE’s Summermusic features 60s hits

BAE’s Electronic Mosholu Crash takes the stage on Friday, July 29 and Sunday, July 31 to play popular ‘60 hits at BAE’s SummerMusic 2011 performance titled “Here Comes the Sun and Strawberry Fields Forever” featuring the music of The Beatles, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, The Kinks, Herman’s Hermits, Ray Charles and more! The July 29 concert is scheduled for 6 pm in Pelham Bay Park at Middletown Road and Stadium Avenue. The Sunday, July 31 concerts are at 2 pm at Rockwood

Drive Circle, Van Cortlandt Park, near Broadway and Mosholu Avenue in Riverdale and at 4 pm in McGinley Center at Fordham University, on the Bronx Rose Hill Campus at Southern Boulevard. BAE’s Electronic Mosholu Crash includes Lily Claire Nudsbaum - vocals, Dave Brandwein - guitar and vocals, Andrei Matorin - violin, Brian Kesley - bass and Jovol Bell - drums. In case of rain, the Friday, July 29 concert will be moved to the Knights of Columbus at 3243 Ampere Avenue and the 2pm Van Cortlandt concert on Sunday, July 31 to Vladeck Hall in the Amalgamated Houses at Hillman Avenue and Van Cortlandt Park South. Limited free parking is available at Pelham Bay Park. The audience is asked to bring a blanket or folding chair to enjoy the Pelham Bay concert. Seating is provided in Van Cortlandt Park but the audience is also urged to bring folding chairs. For more information, call 718.601.7399 or visit This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, NYC Dept of Parks & Recreation, New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation, Fordham University Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Councilman G. Oliver Koppell, Councilman James Vacca, Councilman Joel Rivera, Councilwoman Helen Foster, State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein and Bronx Borough President Rubén Diaz Jr. The Bronx’s premier music performance ensemble serving the borough since 1972, the Bronx Arts Ensemble is a not-for-profit organization enriching the cultural environment of the Bronx with a year-round schedule of concerts, special programs for families and a full music and arts-in-education program for schools.

Learn archery at Van Cortlandt Park

Take aim and try for a bull’s eye! Don’t fret - we’ll teach you the safe and proper way to draw a bow and shoot an arrow. A great way to build upper body strength! Participation in a mandatory safety review lead by a trained Ranger is required. Equipment provided. Ages 8 and up. FREE. Come to Van Cortlandt Park on Saturday, July 30, at 11 a.m. Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center, on West 246th Street and Broadway. Public transportation: Take the 1 train towards 242nd Street Broadway to the last stop which is W 242 Street and Broadway. For more information please visit www. or call 311 and ask for the Urban Park Rangers.

By MIAWLING LAM Teachers at Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy are among the most dissatisfied across all Bronx high schools, according to new research. An independent analysis of the latest NYC School Survey reveals RKA’s satisfaction ratings are well below average and among the worst in the borough. Data shows RKA principal Lori O’Mara was voted as one of the 10 worst Bronx principals when it comes to collaborating with staff. She was given a score of 5 out of 10 after only 58 percent of teachers said they were invited to play a meaningful role in setting goals and forming important decisions for the school. In comparison, Rex Bobbish and SueAnne Rosch, respective principals at The Cinema School and Community School for Social Justice, topped the list with a score of 9.7. UFT chapter leader and High School of American Studies teacher Jonathan Halabi drew these conclusions after he poured over data and scrutinized the results from virtually every Bronx high school. He analyzed teacher responses to four key questions concerning support, competency, trustworthiness and collaboration and concluded that transfer schools, as a whole, recorded better results. Halabi, who declined to be interviewed, also surmised schools that encompass grades 6 through 12, while not at the bottom, bunched toward the lower middle of the pack. However, he said a clearer picture of how Bronx schools fare will emerge once findings for the other four boroughs are complete. “The middle of the pack may turn out

to be nearer to the bottom, once we look at more boroughs,” he wrote in an email. “I fully expect that what passes for so-so in The Bronx may be unacceptable elsewhere.” Halabi, who is the co-chair of New Action, the oldest opposition caucus in the United Federation of Teachers, also determined that O’Mara ranked at the bottom of the scale on issues of competence and trustworthiness. The embattled leader was deemed to be the 14th most ineffective manager and scored a 4.1 out of 10 after 54 percent said she did not make the school run smoothly. She also scored a 4.9 out of 10 for trustworthiness, placing her in the top 20 percent of least trustworthy principals. However, O’Mara avoided the grand

slam after placing above average for support, raking up a score of 5.1 after 54 percent of teachers said they felt supported by her either to “some” or to a “great” extent. Despite the troubling satisfaction ratings, Councilman G. Oliver Koppell said officials at Tweed were not planning to give O’Mara the boot. He said following a recent meeting with District 10 Superintendent Sonia Menendez, measures were being introduced to turn the school around. “At this point, there doesn’t seem to be a disposition to replace the principal,” he told the Riverdale Review. “As far as I can tell, that’s not on the agenda. I don’t believe the Department

of Education is prepared to replace her. “They’re working with the principal to try and get her to be more effective in working with the teaching staff there. There is clearly some lack of confidence on the part of the teaching staff.” Overall, the analysis shows principals at Bronx Academy High School, The Cinema School, Freedom High School and Crotona Academy High School consistently ranked near the top. At the other end of the spectrum, leaders at John F. Kennedy High School, High School for Academic Careers and School for Community Research and Learning placed at the bottom. Valerie Reidy, the controversial principal at the prestigious Bronx High School of Science, also fared poorly.

Mass exodus at RKA

Continued from Page 1 the principal biased against the teachers who cost the most money and were putting a strain on their budget.” The source also said RKA’s leaders fail to enforce school rules and policies. Instead, staff are given the responsibility of administering punishments and are forced to cope with the student backlash. What angers teachers the most, the person said, is the administration’s lackadaisical approach to enforcing the citywide cell phone ban in schools. However, when a supervisor observing a class spots a student using a mobile device, the teacher is written up for inability to control the class. “The administration is not strong with disciplining the kids,” the staff member said.

Montefiore Announces New Dental Clinic Opening The Department of Dentistry is opening a new clinic on Broadway, providing dental care for both adults and children. The new clinic accepts most dental insurance plans and is conveniently located for patients in the Marble Hill, Riverdale, and Kingsbridge areas of the Bronx. The new clinic provides the very best in patient care with new digital X-ray technology for diagnostics and electronic medical records to simplify insurance filing. To schedule your next appointment, call the clinic at 347-557-4950 or the Montefiore Dental Call Center at 1-888-700-6623.

Montefiore Dental Clinic 5500 Broadway Suite 102 Bronx, New York 10463

Recognized by U.S.News & World Report as a leader in specialty and chronic care, Montefiore is the University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

7 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, July 28, 2011

Study confirms teacher dissatisfaction with RKA principal O’Mara

Thursday, July 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Thursday, July 28 Spuyten Duyvil

SUMMER READING 2 p.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street A librarian will share favorite picture books, providing children with the wonder of books and the joy of reading. For ages 5 to 10 years old. For more information, call 718796-1202.


ART LECTURE 2:30 p.m. Hebrew Home 5901 Palisade Avenue Artist Michael Poast will present an illustrated lecture entitled, Thresholds of Dimension: Music, Color, Space – The Sculpture of Michael Poast. He will focus on the topic of his large-scale steel sculptures and discuss his working process. This event is free and open to the public. R.S.V.P. or (718) 581-1596.

Friday, July 29 Marble Hill

JULY BIRTHDAY PARTY 1 p.m. Marble Hill Senior Center 5365 Broadway Multi-instrumentalist Paul Phillips will play music for listening and dancing prior to the Center’s July birthday party. Cake and ice cream will follow at 2 PM. For more information call 718-562-8551.


TEEN SUMMER READING 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Meet new friends and check out new books at the Kingsbridge Library’s teen summer reading club. Discuss the books you’ve read lately, update your reading logs to get prizes, participate in weekly raffles for a chance to win COOL and FABULOUS stuff, and enjoy some refreshments in our brand-new library! The teen summer reading club is open to all students who are in (or who are about to enter) 7th - 12th grade. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Saturday, July 30 Van Cortlandt

LEARN ARCHERY 11 a.m. Van Cortlandt Park West 246th St. & Broadway Take aim and try for a bull’s eye! Don’t fret – we’ll teach you the safe and proper way to draw a bow and shoot an arrow. A great way to build upper body strength! Participation in a mandatory safety review lead by a trained Ranger is required. Equipment provided. Ages 8 and up. FREE. For more information please visit or call 311 and ask for the Urban Park Rangers.


CLASSICAL GUITAR 2 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street An afternoon of music with classical guitarist Don Witter Jr. He started his musical career at the age of 4-years old and performed in public at the age of 5 at Carnegie Recital Hall. Recently he performed for the “Taste of Times Square Event.” In this music program he will be performing works by Almeida, Bonfa, Powell, and Jobim. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Sunday, July 31 Van Cortlandt

CONCERT 2 p.m. Van Cortlandt Park Rockwood Drive Circle BAE’s SummerMusic 2011 performance is titled “Here Comes the Sun and Strawberry Fields Forever,” featuring the music of The Beatles, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, The Kinks, Herman’s Hermits, Ray Charles and more! For more information, call 718.601.7399 or visit

Monday, August 1 Kingsbridge

TODDLER STORY TIME 10:30 a.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st 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 718-548-5656.


ANIME NIGHT 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 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.

Tuesday, August 2 Van Cortlandt

PRESCHOOL STORY TIME 10 a.m. Van Cortlandt Branch Library 3874 Sedgwick Avenue Preschoolers from 3 to 5 years old and their parents/caregivers can enjoy hands-on projects using a variety of skills. For more information, call 718-543-5150.

Spuyten Duyvil

SUMMER READING 2 p.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street A librarian will share favorite picture books, providing children with the wonder of books and the joy of reading. For ages 4 to 8 years old. For more information, call 718-796-1202.

Van Cortlandt

SUMMER READING 3 p.m. Van Cortlandt Branch Library 3874 Sedgwick Avenue A librarian will share favorite picture books, providing children with the wonder of books and the joy of reading. For ages 3 to 5 years old. For more information, call 718-543-5150.


GAME DAY 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Board games of all types and all skill levels. For ages 5 to 12 years old. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Wednesday, August 3 Van Cortlandt

STRING ART 3 p.m. Van Cortlandt Branch Library 3874 Sedgwick Avenue Hands-on projects using a variety of skills. For ages 6 and older. For more information, call 718-543-5150.


MAKE JEWELRY 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Make something with that extra sparkle! Take marbles and wire to make hip and funky bracelets, necklaces, and more. Jennifer Jacob’s work has been featured at Barney’s New York, so you know it’s fashion forward. All materials will be provided. For ages 12 to 18. For more info, call 718-548-5656.

Thursday, August 4 Kingsbridge

BABY LAPSIT 10:30 a.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Baby Lapsit @Kingsbridge Library on Thursday, August 4, 2011 @10:30 for birth to 18 months for parents and caregivers. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Spuyten Duyvil

SUMMER READING 2 p.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street A librarian will share favorite picture books, providing children with the wonder of books and the joy of reading. For ages 5 to 10 years old. For more info, call 718-796-1202.

Friday, August 5 Kingsbridge

TEEN SUMMER READING 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Meet new friends and check out new books at the Kingsbridge Library’s teen summer reading club. Discuss the books you’ve read lately, update your reading logs to get prizes, participate in weekly raffles for a chance to win COOL and FABULOUS stuff, and enjoy some refreshments in our brand-new library! The teen summer reading club is open to all students who are in (or who are about to enter) 7th - 12th grade. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Riverdale Rising Stars Summer Camp Broadway On the Hudson presents 2 great shows!!!

By MIAWLING LAM Local parents lobbying for a new charter middle school have hit another hurdle. Councilman G. Oliver Koppell last week fired off a letter to Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott to voice his vehement resistance to their plan. A group of parents, spearheaded by former P.S. 24 parents’ association co-president Cliff Stanton, a close political ally of Anthony Perez Cassino, defeated by Koppell overwhelmingly in the last election, last month proposed a new school for the area to give families more education options. They claim many parents do not want to send their children to the Riverdale/ Kingsbridge Academy and that the area is devoid of real and affordable choices. However, in a two-page letter, Koppell warned that if the plan receives the rubber stamp, it would spell trouble for the Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy. “Some local parents consider the middle school at RKA to be ‘the weak link in the chain,’” he wrote. “However, I believe their plan to create a new charter school to be a poor solution. “Rather than start from scratch, our efforts and those of concerned parents should be put toward improving the middle school.” He noted that, with the right guidance, the school could be resurrected. He also said corrective measures were already being undertaken by District 10 Superintendent Sonia Menendez. “A charter school will undermine these efforts by siphoning off students and interested parents from RKA,” he said. “Rather than having one strong school, we will have two weak ones.”

Thursday., August 4th @ 7:00 pm Sunday, August 7th @ 4:00 pm Directed by Richard Amelius

But neither side seems to acknowledge that any student in District 10, by far the largest in the city, would be eligible to enter a random lottery which, by law, charters must use to select their students. Students living in Riverdale would likely have not much more than a 1 in 20 chance of winning a spot in the school Koppell implored Walcott to denounce the group’s plans. “I am urging you to strengthen the efforts of those who are trying to bring about improvements at the school,” he said, “rather than endorsing a charter school, whose creation will have a negative impact on our longstanding goal of providing a quality education to all young people in the Riverdale/Kingsbridge area.” Stanton rebuffed suggestions his charter school would impinge on RKA when the group unveiled their plans at last month’s Community Board 8’s education committee meeting, “We do not present this as a competition,” he said. “No parent from 141 should be threatened by this. We do this to address a need that’s not being filled right now.” At the time, Stanton said no formal application had been submitted but that the school would cater to approximately 180 students in grades 6 through 8. He also hoped to have the school open within two years despite not having yet secured a building—the biggest obstacle that has proved to be the Achilles’ heel of other charter school plans in the past. Coincidentally, RKA itself was created after local parents, community leaders and Community School Board 10 banded together to create a neighborhood high school.



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Wednesday, August 3rd @ 7:00 pm Sunday, August 7th @ 1:00 pm Directed by Annette Wilson


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The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, July 28, 2011

Koppell opposes P.S. 24 parents group on charter 9

Thursday, July 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


By BRENDAN McHUGH The city’s waterfront plan is updated every five years, as is the city’s plan to build new schools. So why not the city’s plan to implement bike lanes, too, asks City Councilman James Vacca. Many of the bike lanes the city would like to create are based on a master plan that has not been updated in 14 years, and Vacca is introducing legislation that would require the city to update the master plan every five years. “Some of these bike lanes are on a map that many people did not know existed,” Vacca said. “It was created in 1997—some of the blocks that are proposed for bike lanes do not make sense.” He cited a handful of streets in his East Bronx district, but there are other areas of concern as well. In the West Bronx, a handful of roads could present problems if the routes are not adequately studied. In Riverdale, cars and buses waiting to pick up and drop off children at the SAR Academy have plagued West 254th Street. Adding a bike lane to the road, as is laid out in the master plan, could intensify the problem. While the street has been identified by multiple organizations for a bike lane to aid the Hudson River Greenway, bikers should be warned of the potential danger. “My guess is that usage would be low, and that even if properly marked, drivers wouldn’t pay any attention to a dedicated bike lane,” said Dr. Stephen Hammer, a nearby resident. “Drivers coming down

the hill already cross over into the middle of the street directly in front of SAR because this moderates the bend in the road once they hit Sycamore [Avenue].” Hammer says the bigger issue is the steepness of the hill—bikers have a hard time controlling themselves going down the hill, and an even harder time trying to bike up it. “To the extent folks are coming down the hill, they tend to go at high speed, and we’ve seen plenty of wipeouts in front of SAR over the years to prove that point, while going up the hill, most folks get off their bike and walk, which is potentially more dangerous given the absence of any sidewalk.” Vacca’s legislation will reopen the discussion for bike lanes within each community board. Critics of Vacca say his bill is redundant and that any bike lane already needs community approval before it becomes a reality. Vacca responded by saying there was not enough community input at the time in most cases and that many people’s opinions of bike lanes have changed dramatically. “Many times communities are supportive of bike lanes,” Vacca said. “But many times communities feel bike lanes are not located logically.” A Department of Transportation representative said they would never put in bike lanes without going to the community board first and that the master plan is a guideline, not the final say. “I’m saying that this is a plan of the City of New York, and as such, I don’t think it’s realistic,” Vacca said.

11 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vacca: Bike lanes based on outdated map

Thursday, July 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Dinowitz: Obama must stand up to GOP By BRENDAN McHUGH Don’t drink the tea. That’s the message Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz has sent to President Obama, calling on the president to stand up against “extremist” Republicans in the battle raging over the national debt ceiling. “The Democrats must not allow the decimation of crucial programs, including Social Security and Medicare, to be the price for their votes in raising the national debt limit,” Dinowitz said. The national debt limit, which will be reached by August 2, must be raised or the United States will go into default. In the past, raising the ceiling on the national debt has been a relatively routine matter, but this year Tea Party Republicans have demanded trillions of dollars in cuts to federal programs as the price for voting to raise the ceiling on the national debt. “I strongly urge President Obama to stand firm and not succumb to the extortionist tactics of the Republican Party in this monumental fight over the national debt,” Dinowitz said. Obama gave a speech on the debt ceiling Monday night, calling for Republicans and Democrats to find common ground. “The only reason this balanced approach isn’t on its way to becoming law right now is because a significant number of Republicans in Congress are insisting on a different approach, a cuts-only approach—an approach that doesn’t ask the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to contribute anything at all,” Obama said in his address. “And because nothing is asked of those at the top of the income scales, such an approach would close the deficit only with more severe cuts to programs we all care about—cuts that place a greater burden on working families.”

Dinowitz has relayed the same message, calling for a larger burden to be placed on the wealthy and large companies. “We should permanently eliminate the Bush tax cuts on income in excess of a million dollars, and we must end special tax loopholes and giveaways for big oil and other corporate interests. That alone could generate trillions,” Dinowitz said. “The idea that there should be three dollars in cuts for every dollar of revenue increase, or worse yet, no revenue increases at all, is outrageous.” Dinowitz also blasted Republicans for attacking programs that low-income communities, senior citizens and millions more rely on. “The Republicans have wanted to destroy Social Security and Medicare for decades. They are putting the U.S. economy in jeopardy and risking throwing the U.S. into a double-dip recession in order to carry out their right-wing agenda. We need the president to stop them.” “The Democratic Party is the party that gave Americans Social Security, the most successful program ever, and Medicare. Now the Democratic Party must stop the Republicans from destroying these programs —and the president should lead the way.” House Speaker John Boehner, in a response to Obama’s address, said, “The sad truth is that the president wanted a blank check six months ago, and he wants a blank check today.” He then urged the president to sign his plan to raise the debt limit. But the plan may lead to another debt ceiling debate during the height of the 2012 presidential election, which Democrats say would embarrass the party and the president. “If the president signs it,” Boehner said, “the ‘crisis’ atmosphere he has created will simply disappear. The debt limit will be raised.”

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Call 7 days a week 8am - 11pm EST Promo Code: MB0611 Digital Home Advantage plan requires 24-month agreement and credit qualification. Cancellation fee of $17.50/month remaining applies if service is terminated before end of agreement. After 12 months of programming credits, then-current price will apply. $10/mo HD add-on fee waived for life of current account; requires 24-month agreement, continuous enrollment in AutoPay with Paperless Billing. Premium Movie Package offer requires AutoPay with Paperless Billing; after 3 months then-current price applies unless you downgrade. DISH Platinum offer requires qualifying HD programming, AutoPay with Paperless Billing; after 3 months you must opt to continue subscription. Free Standard Professional Installation only. All equipment is leased and must be returned to DISH Network upon cancellation or unreturned equipment fees apply. Limit 6 leased tuners per account; upfront and monthly fees may apply based on type and number of receivers. HD programming requires HD television. Prices, packages and programming subject to change without notice. Offer available for new and qualified former customers, and subject to terms of applicable Promotional and Residential Customer agreements. Additional restrictions may apply. Offer ends 1/31/12. HBO®, Cinemax® andrelated channels and service marks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc. Starz® and related channels and service marks are the property of Starz Entertainment, LLC. All new customers are subject to a one time non-refundable processing fee.



PIANO CONCERT 7:30 p.m. Caramoor Center for Music & Arts 149 Girdle Ridge Road Introducing Claire Huangci. The 20 year old pianist has been astonishing audiences and competition juries around the world with her sensational technique and extensive expressive range. With a scintillating array of repertoire for her Caramoor recital debut, Claire demonstrates why she has established herself at the forefront of her generation. Location: Spanish Courtyard. For more information, call 914-232-1252 or visit

Friday, July 29 Katonah

CONCERT 8 p.m. Caramoor Center for Music & Arts 149 Girdle Ridge Road A seemingly unlikely encounter, singer-songwriter and polymath Gabriel Kahane and burgeoning superstar and Caramoor favorite Alisa Weilerstein team up for an evening that ignores musical boundaries and unveils an eclectic landscape of influences. Powerful performances of Kahane’s own compositions are set into relief by unaccompanied cello works by Bach and Britten. Experience these passionate, mesmerizing artists reinventing the recital format before your eyes and ears. Location: Spanish Courtyard. For more information, call 914232-1252 or visit

Saturday, July 30 Ossining

TREASURE BEACH 10 a.m. Teatown Lake Reservation 1600 Spring Valley Road Do you have a natural item found on a beach and are not sure what it is? Come to Teatown beach, bring your treasures and explore the treasures that we’ve collected to find out more about ocean life. Teatown Members Free, Non-Members $5. For more information, call 914-762-2912 ext. 110 or visit


SUMMER CONCERT 6 p.m. Lasdon Park Route 35 The park opens at 5 p.m. for picnicking. Bring blankets and lawn chairs for seating. Light refreshments for sale. Weather permitting. Net proceeds are dedicated to the Conservatory fund. For more information, call 914-864-7268.


CONCERT 8 p.m. Caramoor Center for Music & Arts 149 Girdle Ridge Road Orchestra of St. Luke’s; Jennifer Koh, violin; Alisa Weilerstein, cello; Pablo Heras-Casado, conductor. Two supremely gifted young soloists bring laser-like intensity to the special dialogue that is Brahms’ Double Concerto. The internationally-lauded, young Spanish maestro, Heras –Casado, adds his musical flash and fire to Mendelssohns’s journey through Italy and Beethoven’s paean to liberty, the great Overture to Egmont. The great Orchestra of St. Luke’s sings with one soulful voice in its final appearance of the season. Venetian Theater. For more information, call 914-232-1252 or visit

Saturday, July 31 Mt. Kisco

HISTORY TOUR 1 p.m. Merestead 455 Byram Lake Road Find out what it was like to be a servant in a grand estate house in the early 20th century. Visit the servants’ wing to see where they lived. Find out what they did for coffee breaks and even how much they earned. 14 participants maximum. By reservation only. For more information, call 914-864-7039.


FEEDING FUN 2 p.m. Greenburgh Nature Center 99 Dromore Road Come visit the live animal museum to see what the Center’s critters consider to be a gourmet meal. Free with Museum admission. For more information, call 914-723-3470.



Bronx River Parkway Music and entertainment. Bring lawn chairs and blankets for seating. For more information, call 914864-PARK.

Tuesday, August 2 White Plains

FAMILY FILM FRENZY 7 p.m. Saxon Woods Pool 1800 Mamaroneck Avenue Featuring the movie, Toy Story 3. Concessions stand open or bring a picnic. Admission wristbands go on sale day of the event at each location. For more information, call 914-995-4180.

Wednesday, August 3 Yonkers

SOLAR DAY 11 a.m. Lenoir Preserve Dudley Street Come to Lenoir for a fun day in the sun. We will hike around the preserve enjoying the late summer landscape. When we return we will learn how our solar cooker works and enjoy a snack and some sun tea. Pre-registration required. For more information, call 914-968-5851.


FIREWORKS! 9:15 p.m. Playland Park Playland Parkway Playland’s renowned fireworks display, accompanied by music. Free admission, parking fees apply. For more information, call 914-813-7010.

Friday, August 5 Rye

BIG BAND MUSIC 7:30 p.m. Playland Park Playland Parkway Milt Gerver and his orchestra play music from the Big Band era and up under the stars. Rain date: August 12. For more information, call 914-813-7010.

Saturday, August 6 Ardsley

WHIFFLE BALL TOURNAMENT 9 a.m. V.E. Macy Park Saw Mill River Road Pre-registration required. Call for more information, 914-328-1542.

Sunday, August 7 Rye

MORNING MEADOW MOODS 10 a.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 The meadow of Marshlands seems to have an infinite number of different creatures large and small. All you need is a little enthusiasm. Prepare to be amazed as you venture through the world of meadow life. Hand lenses provided. Long pants and shoes highly recommended. For more information, call 914-835-4466.


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


INDIAN HERITAGE CELEBRATION 12:30 p.m. Kensico Dam Plaza Bronx River Parkway Ethnic food, music, entertainment, dance and arts and crafts. For more information, call 914-864-PARK.

Mt. Kisco

HISTORIC MANSION TOUR 1 p.m. Merestead 455 Byram Lake Road Find out how a Geogian-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.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday, July 28

Thursday, July 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



As Congregation Shaarei Shalom began its sixth year serving the Riverdale community at the start of this month, Cantor Daniel Pincus joined its clergy staff as the second cantor to serve the pulpit of the Reform Jewish synagogue. Cantor Pincus is a graduate of Columbia College with a Baccalaureate in Psychology. He holds a Masters in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music and from the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion School of Sacred Music, where he garnered numerous academic and cantorial awards and received cantorial investiture. He has served the pulpits of several congregations in New York in Washington Heights, Poughkeepsie, and Glen Cove and in Savannah, Georgia. Cantor Pincus has also had considerable experience working in ‘spiritual support’ at the Jewish Home and Hospital in Manhattan and for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York Hospice Program. He has provided home visits to hospice patients, pastoral visits to residents and patients, led Shabbat and holiday services, served on a collaborative Palliative Care team, conducted memorial services, and produced the weekly Jewish music concert. He founded and continues to lead drum circles at the Nursing Home

of the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx and at the Allen Pavilion of New York Presbyterian Hospital. Congregation Shaarei Shalom is a Reform Jewish synagogue. It offers a contemporary and participatory worship experience and prides itself on its inclusiveness of all members of the Riverdale community, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, race, age, or creed. For further information about the congregation, services, membership, its Religious School, or any of the many adult program offerings, please contact the congregation at (718) 796-0305 or e-mail the congregation at:

Based on the Tony-award winning musical these 9-13 year olds will sing and tap dance their way into your hearts. Songs include Thoroughly Modern Millie, Forget About the Boy and many others. Show times are: FROG AND TOAD, Wednesday, August 3 at 7:30PM and Sunday, August 7 at 1:00PM; MILLIE, Thursday, August 4 at 7:30PM and Sunday, August 7 at 4:00PM. Tickets are online at; $10 for students and seniors, $15 general admission. At the door general admission is $18.

Riv. Rising Stars present two plays

The Committee of 100 Democrats Is pleased to announce that the 7th Annual Free Community Barbecue will take place on Saturday, July 30th. Time: 1 - 6 PM. Place: Lisbon Place - East 205th Street, between Mosholu Parkway and the Grand Concourse. The Committee of 100 Democrats will be honoring Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson for his unsurpassed work in law enforcement. The Committee of 100 Democrats will be giving the Community Service Award to the Bedford-Mosholu Community Association for outstanding community involvement. The event will have a full program of entertainment, and expects to have many

Riverdale Rising Stars summer camp, Broadway On the Hudson is proud to announce our two upcoming productions, A YEAR WITH FROG and TOAD, KIDS and THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLE, JR. Follow Frog and Toad through the seasons with some of their pond friends, Birds, Squirrels, Moles, Lizards, Mouse and Turtle. Performed by our 6 to 9 year olds on a new, exciting alternate stage, we share the musical adventures of these well-known characters. THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, JR. is a musical romp through the roaring 20’s.

Committee of 100 Democrats to hold barbecue

elected officials in attendance. For more information call 646-5097166 Mr. Ricky Martinez Chairman, The Committee of 100 Democrats.

Volunteers needed to survey beaches

Get fit, help protect the city’s beaches and save marine wildlife by enrolling in the annual Volunteer Beach Floatables Program. Under the initiative, run by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, volunteers are mobilized each summer to survey more than 45 beaches across the five boroughs. Participants are asked to walk along the shoreline or on their favorite beach and spot debris such as styrofoam, wood, glass or plastic waste. They do not have to pick up or touch anything and instead simply record any items they see and report it to the agency each week. The program is critical as it provides authorities with useful data, ensures fewer beach closures and helps save marine wildlife from ingesting the debris. Upon registration, each volunteer will receive all materials necessary for monitoring, including letters of authorization and acknowledgment. For more information, please contact 212-889-4216 or 917-658-2380.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cantor Daniel Pincus joins Shaarei Shalom

Thursday, July 28, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Drop the ‘Dinky Rink’ It seems that there may be some bumps in the road to building the skating rink nobody asked for in Van Cortlandt Park. The few potential vendors have, as we predicted, been diminished to one insider, yet the Parks Department has been forced to postpone the process yet again. A November completion date seems increasingly likely to come and go without the rink even being started, let alone finished. If this is so, good. There will never be a better time than now to pull the plug on this ridiculous project. The borough president’s office has made great strides in solving another problem – the use of the Kingsbridge Armory – and the lead proposal coming out of that makes the Van Cortlandt Dinky Rink project look pathetic. The Armory plan has a full size, all-year, full service indoor rink, with plenty of parking, and close to a key transit hub, while the plan for Van Cortlandt Park is for a small, temporary outdoor rink, with no parking, more accessible to Westchester and Manhattan than the rest of the Bronx. Trouble is that folks to the north and south of us have far better alternatives locally and won’t use the Dinky Rink. And that could have a negative impact on the Kingsbridge Armory plan, advanced by New York Rangers hockey great Mark Messier. If the ill-conceived Dinky Rink fails as a commercial enterprise, it could well discourage those behind the more serious endeavor to abandon their plans. And we believe the Van Cortlandt Park project is doomed to fail. Skaters will glide in the shadow of the Broadway elevated train, subjected to a decibel level so high, that currently tennis players have abandoned the now existing courts that would be supplanted by the Dinky Rink. You can breathe in the fresh winter air, perfumed by the scores of buses and trucks rumbling by on Broadway. And then there’s the view of the ugly concrete wall of the rear of the grandstand that will make up your view. Have to go to the bathroom? We’ve got temporary bathrooms, hardly better than port-a-pottys, to cool your butts on should you get the urge. And to augment the temporary rink and the temporary johns, there will be temporary businesses (referred to as a Christmas Market) to compete – unfairly – with our local merchants. Why is a plan so bad still being discussed? Because there was no discussion, and won’t be if the mayor and his . This plan was hatched in secret, closed meetings, by the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy, a political arm of the Bloomberg administration, with a board heavy with outsiders, light with real community residents. Maybe if there was a public hearing, the bathroom issue could have been aired. Maybe if there was open discussion, a better, more suitable site in the park may have been found. Maybe it would have been nice to ask folks here whether they even want a skating rink at all, particularly since the plan is truly for a dinky rink.

Hot Weather Lessons

When the thermometer pushed above the hundred degree mark last week, our neighbors in the northeast Bronx and in nearby Westchester suffered through voltage reductions – just a step away from brownouts and rolling blackouts, proving just how fragile our power supply is. Those who advocate for the closing of Indian Point, which provides over a quarter of all power in the New York metro area, need to answer a simple question: what will replace the lost generating capacity? Should Indian Point be closed, we can probably expect an immediate 15-20% increase in electric bills, and had best be prepared for constant rolling blackouts when the temperature reaches the extreme levels of the past week. Moreover, whatever non-nuclear facilities replace Indian Point will contribute to the carbon footprint, unlike a nuclear plant that is generating so much power without any hydrocarbon emissions. It’s time for rational thought, not panic.

Yes, Riverdale is part of the Bronx

To the Editor: Since I first became borough president in 2009, I have advocated that we consider ourselves “One Bronx,” and that we understand that what happens in one of our neighborhoods has an impact, good or bad, on all of our neighborhoods.

Riverdale is very much part of that “One Bronx,” and I am proud to represent it as its borough president. The successes of Riverdale are the successes of the entire borough, and they are felt not just in neighboring Kingsbridge but in Throggs Neck, Soundview

and Mott Haven as well. Riverdale is an important part of the fabric of the Bronx, and the only answer one can give to the question “Is Riverdale a part of the Bronx?” is an emphatic “yes!” Ruben Diaz Jr. Bronx Borough President

To The Editor, The new modern library on 231 St. should of course be the source of a great blessing to our community, but, as matters stand now, it could be the source of a great tragedy. The latter outcome relates to a dangerous situation at the library’s perimeter. There, at street level, a low wall is followed by an unhindered fall to an outdoor concrete pavement at the basement level. An adventurous child or teenager could find the wall beckoning, climb over it, and then fall to become seriously injured or to die. Some form of protection—

even a temporary cushion on the ground—must be put in place without delay before tragedy

befalls a young person, his or her family, and our community. Michael Arky

Library pitfall

Hitting the (debt) ceiling

To The Editor: The latest talk from the Obama government is that he wants to delay sending out Social Security checks this month and he is trying to cut future cost of living increases to our senior citizens. I would like to remind all of our politicians, especially the congressman and senators who vote on this kind of change, that

ANDREW WOLF, Editor and Publisher

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

JOEL PAL Production Manager ROBERT NILVA Marketing Director

CECILIA McNALLY Office Manager MIAWLING LAM Associate Editor

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

our seniors worked all their lives and contributed to the system. If cuts are needed they should only cut the people who are collecting who have never contributed at all. I am talking about the immigrants who come here and because of a technicality in the law receive Social Security but have never worked in the USA, and the people on home-relief (also known as welfare), again people who have never contributed to the system but they receive our tax money. Why are the politicians so afraid to cut these people? They always want to take things away from the people who have worked all their lives and just want to retire with dignity. The next time we vote for our President, let’s make sure he is an American. Mary Graystone

Continued from Page 1 academically. I got deeper and deeper into it. I started to study Judaism. I did my M.A. comp on Moses—I loved the figure of Moses from the Torah perspective—and then I did my dissertation on Islam, on literature, arguing that Islam has a balance of both the religious and the secular. You have to balance it—you can’t just be religious and you can’t just be secular. And that’s really who I am. I believe in secular law, but I practice what I believe in, my faith. And then I went to Israel in ’95 because I was curious—what is this Israel place? I went through Hebrew University to Jerusalem and took a class in biblical archaeology. I was the only Muslim in the program—there were Jews there from all over the world. I was there for five weeks and I loved it. I loved being in Jerusalem, I loved being in Tel Aviv, I loved being in the Palestinian territory. I had some arguments with Palestinians and also with some Israelis. But on the whole, I found that everyone just wanted the same thing—which is peace. The Israelis didn’t want to live in fear anymore, the Palestinians didn’t want to live like second-class citizens. I had no opinion at that point. I just went to experience. So I came back and started to take courses in Judaism, Holocaust. I decided to go part-time and focus on research. I interviewed survivors in LA, I went to ADL workshops, I did a lot of interfaith work at temples. And the reason why I’m invested in this is because somebody has to be—I have to be. Muslims have to stop the voice of anti-Semitism. I have to step up from my community. This is why I’m doing it. I can at least educate people about the Holocaust. Lily Margules: Until now, we were really very gratified that Manhattan College had a Holocaust Resource Center. But now, it’s changed. I many times get into hot water when I say something that I feel, and maybe it’s not popular. But when I heard about the new name, I went over to [outgoing center director] Jeff Horn and I said to him, “It is bothering me as a survivor that you put in one sentence Holocaust and genocide. There are so few of us survivors. I don’t want people to put it in the same sentence and diminish the horror of what it meant.” Mehnaz Afridi: I didn’t come up with the title. One of the suggestions I had was Holocaust and Interfaith Institute. But then, we couldn’t do that because people said, “Well, what about the other genocides?” Let me say that for me, as the new director, the Holocaust is the main focus of the center. Lily Margules: When I hear you say this, it warms my heart because you understand what I’m talking about. The Holocaust has to be taught. Sometimes I stand in front of 500 children. It’s very hard for me, but I am doing it because I feel this is my sacred duty, because I am one of those who still can talk about it. And you know what? We are a disappearing race. Mehnaz Afridi: I do understand. I want people to know—I have two assistants. One is Jewish and one is Christian. I had lunch with them yesterday, and they’re happy because I’m including them more. The three of us bring different things to the table, but we know we’re focused on the Holocaust. And I get into a lot of trouble, not just with Muslims, but academics, because

now there’s a whole problem with the word “holocaust.” They say, “Look at how many people Stalin killed.” But that’s not what we’re talking about. They’re going by the numbers and not understanding why the Holocaust is unique. That’s why my book is called “The Shoah through Muslim Eyes,” so that everyone would just go away. I did not want to use the word in my title. And I talk about other genocides to say why the Holocaust is indeed unique. Lily Margules: When 9/11 happened, it was one of the biggest tragedies that America lived through in modern times. And when we hear that 500 feet from that sacred place, a Cordoba project has to be erected, it is very painful for us. First of all, we don’t like the name Cordoba project. I am wondering, where are the moderate Muslims? Mehnaz Afridi: Everyone asks me that. They’re around. They did speak up. After 9/11, at least when I was in Los Angeles, the Muslim community wrote lots of letters to MSNBC. There was no media given to us. Even [cultural center proponents] Daisy [Khan] and Imam Feisal [Abdul Rauf] were speaking out. Lily Margules: But first of all, we resent the title, because Cordoba is conquest. I am not a scholar, but certain things, I make it my business to know. In was called Andalucia, and it was the biggest conquest of Islam. After 9/11, to call this center—whatever it is—Cordoba is not proper. It’s an insult. Mehnaz Afridi: The Cordoba name comes from Imam Feisal’s organization, called the Cordoba Initiative. Let me give you his perspective. He thinks—and this is why he named it—that Jews and Muslims and Christians lived together peacefully [at that time]. That’s his perspective. This was a time of renaissance among the three religions. The reason they were originally [planning to locate the cultural center near ground zero] is because the building was cheap—that’s the only reason they were going to use that building. But now, they had a falling out with the developer. Lily Margules:: Look, I am all for peace and I am all for interfaith relationships, and I respect everybody’s religion. But there comes a time that certain things have to be acknowledged. And one of those things that were in very bad taste was even to propose that 500 feet from--those people that perished there—their families don’t even have graves for them. So this is sacred ground. Mehnaz Afridi: For the Muslims who want to build this cultural center, it was not based on religion. It was based on community—to bring in Jews and Muslims and Christians because of 9/11. The perspectives are very different on this. The whole idea was cultural center. And even the prayer space—they were saying, “I don’t know if we want one or not—if we have one, just have an interfaith prayer space.” The rest was a swimming pool, library, arts—like a Y. I was on the phone with Daisy and I said, “Just give it up now. People are so upset.” And she actually ended up giving it up, because she didn’t want to upset all of America with this. Lily Margules: To us survivors, the existence of Israel is very important because we feel that if in the early ‘30s, or even in 1939, if there would be a homeland, a place called Israel, there wouldn’t be a Holocaust. For us, Israel is numero uno. In the 1930s, the European Jews had no place to escape. So I would

like for you to tell me, how do you feel about the existence of Israel as a sovereign Jewish state? Mehnaz Afridi: I’ve said openly that I accept Israel as a Jewish state. I don’t have an issue with what you’re saying. I understand the need for Israel. I also understand the theological belonging to Israel. I understand that Jews were always there and that Arabs were always there. I also believe that Palestinians need to have their state—because the Arabs are not going to do anything for them. Lily Margules: But if they destroy Israel, we Jews won’t be able to walk on the street. When I was a in Poland as a little girl, the Poles were yelling, “Jew, go to Madagascar!” And we opened our maps—where is Madagascar? But if there would be an Israel in that time, then we would all go there. Mehnaz Afridi: And in Germany, there were posters--pre-Holocaust and during the Holocaust—that said, “Jew, go to Palestine.” Lily Margules: I am happy that you give priority to the Holocaust. There is anxiety and fear that people will stop talking about it and that history would repeat itself. Mehnaz Afridi: I believe spiritually that God has put me in this place. Look at my experiences. I’m very secular in my outlook, but I feel something inside—I feel like a spiritual activist. God has created this trajectory. For four years, I’m sitting at home and writing this book. My husband would say, “You’re a Muslim. What are you going to do with this?” And what happens? I see this job. What jobs in America

advertise for a person to teach Islam and direct a Holocaust center? What are the chances of their finding somebody and for me to find this job? I feel that way—that there is a spiritual calling in me. And I don’t want it to be someone outside the Muslim community. It has to be a Muslim who says, “Stop this. The Holocaust happened. It was six million, this is exactly what happened, there were gas chambers, it was brutal, it’s unique, accept it.” I will keep saying that till I die. Lily M. Margules, a retired radiotherapy technician, has worked closely with Manhattan College’s Holocaust Resource Center since its inception. As an active member of speakers bureaus for the Museum of Jewish Heritage and Facing History and Ourselves, she speaks to groups of school children to teach them about the Nazi Holocaust through her personal experience of survival. In 1999, she published a collection of essays, “Memories, Memories…From Vilna to New York with a Few Stops along the Way.” She is also editor of the newsletter Voice of the Woman Survivor. Dr. Mehnaz M. Afridi serves as a board member for Friends of the Arava Institute, the International Education and Welfare Society, the Levantine Cultural Center, the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics. She regularly presents papers and publishes journal articles, and her book, “The Shoah through Muslim Eyes,” is due next year. She earned her doctorate in religious studies at the University of South Africa and her master’s in religious studies, post-Holocaust studies and Islam at Syracuse University.

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