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Riverdale’s ONLY Locally Owned Newspaper!

Volume XVIII • Number 35 • August 11 - 17, 2011 •


Mixed bag for local schools in state test results By MIAWLING LAM Local schools posted mixed results on this year’s statewide standardized tests. Data from the English Language Arts and math exams, released by the state Education Department on Monday, reveals Riverdale’s three schools recorded modest gains in some grades. P.S. 24 scores rose across the board; P.S. 81 recorded some gains in ELA and some dips in math, while the situation was reversed at the Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy. However, fewer children scored at the top level 4 and “exceeded proficiency standards.” For the second straight year, state officials upped test standards. This year’s exams included more multiplechoice questions, and all students were required to write

at least one full essay. P.S. 24 emerged as the winner in the battle of the two local elementary schools, with more students passing the reading and math exams administered in May. More than four in five students at the Spuyten Duyvil school were deemed proficient in math, up from 74 percent last year, while 71 percent passed the English exam, compared with 63 percent in 2010. Students are deemed proficient if they score at level 3 or 4. Of concern was the precipitous decline in the number of P.S. 24 students scoring at level 4. The percentage of fifth-graders scoring in the top ELA band nearly halved compared to last year, while the proportion of third-graders recording top marks plunged 16 percent.

At P.S. 81, slightly fewer students in grades 3 and 4 met the state’s bar for math proficiency, contributing to the school’s overall 64 percent pass rate for the standardized exam. Last year, it was 65 percent. The school recorded gains in English, with 64 percent of children performing at grade level, but an ethnicity breakdown paints another picture. Nearly three-quarters of Caucasian students scored at levels 3 or 4 for the ELA test but only 55 percent of African-Americans and 59 percent of Hispanics performed at the same standard. Meanwhile, results at Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy were less rosy. Just 45 percent of students from the school passed the English exam this year, slightly down from 46 perContinued on Page 3

Woman throws herself in front of oncoming subway train

By MIAWLING LAM and BRENDAN McHUGH A woman jumped to her death last week, deliberately falling in front of a subway pulling into the West 231st Street station. Just after 9:30 a.m., a 74-yearold German woman jumped onto the tracks last Thursday as an eight-car southbound No. 1 train pulled into the station. It is understood she recently emigrated from Germany and lived alone in Kingsbridge. Police identified the woman but will not release her name until her next of kin are notified. Commanding officer of the 50th Precinct Captain Kevin Burke said accounts from two independent witnesses confirmed the tragic circumstances. “They said she got up and purposely and intentionally jumped onto the tracks,” he said. Captain Burke said the woman, who was struck and killed instantly, had been carrying “psychological medicine” with her. Following the incident, hundreds of onlookers gathered below the elevated tracks on Broadway as parts of the woman’s body dangled perilously from the structure. Limbs protruded from the crossties of the tracks, prompting several teenagers to snap photos of the gruesome sight with their cellphones. A puddle of blood had also formed on the street directly below where the woman was found. Medical examiners and ambulance officers worked frantically

for more than an hour to extract the woman’s body while police interviewed witnesses and preserved conditions at the site. Steven Banks, 27, told the Riverdale Review that he was on his way to work when he witnessed the grisly scene. “I was on the platform and saw a [woman] jump,” he said, adding that she “just toppled forward, face first, a split second before the train hit. She knew the train was coming.” “The police and everybody was looking for the body, and I saw a broken cellphone piece and I looked under and I was like, ‘oh my God, the [woman] is stuck under the train.” An MTA spokeswoman said subway services were suspended in both directions between the Van Cortlandt 242nd Street and 215th Street stations for two hours after the incident. The BX9 bus service was also rerouted onto Bailey Avenue. The macabre death has sparked renewed interest in ways to increase straphanger safety. According to the MTA, in 2009, subway trains killed 40 people. The transit agency had previously announced they are considering installing sliding mechanical doors on all platforms to prevent people from jumping or falling onto the tracks. Earlier this year, Bronx Assemblyman Marcos Crespo proposed that all subways come to a complete stop before entering each and every station.

Under his plan, trains would be permitted to roll forward and pick up passengers only after the required pause. He also suggested cars be limited to a speed of 5 miles per hour as they enter the station. His bill drew heavy criticism, with opponents saying travel time from The Bronx to downtown Manhattan would increase

by 50 percent. But Crespo says safety and money are more important at this time. “The money they’re spending—$60 to $80 million in civil payouts to people hit by trains every year even though it’s illegal to go on the tracks for any reason,” he said. “So many of the incidents that occur could be avoided if

trains come in at slower speeds,” he said, citing the idea that if trains enter stations at a slow speed, a conductor would have time to stop if someone is on the platform. “One of the things I was open to is the train doesn’t come to a full stop—they just lower their speed before pulling into the station.”

Bystanders gather around the elevated track at 231st Street after a woman jumps in the path of an oncoming southbound train. Emergency service workers labored for more than hour to extract the woman’s mangled body from the track. The woman was a recent immigrant from Germany.

Thursday, August 11, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


More muni-meters to pick your pocket

By BRENDAN McHUGH Single-space parking meters are about to expire. Since last month, the Department of Transportation has started replacing the old parking meters with the much-reviled muni-meters. By summer 2012, every meter in the city will be a muni-meter. The DOT says budgetary reasons are behind the switch, as the munis cost less to maintain, they bring in more money and they save the meter attendants time collecting the money. If an old meter is broken, the lucky driver who finds it gets to park for free. If a muni-meter is broken, the driver has to find one that works. The switch from old to new, like everything else, has met with confusion and outrage. Last week, state Senator Adriano Espaillat and Manhattan City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez led a walking tour with Manhattan DOT commissioner Margaret Forgione to explain the newly installed meters. Manhattan just finished replacing all single-space meters. “This is a very practical machine,” Espaillat said on the tour. “I think it’s very user-friendly. I think it’s a smart way to get people to comply with the law, to contribute to the city and also to have available parking.” The muni-meters are meant to allow cars to park closer together, thus creating more parking spaces. However, that is not always the case. “You have people who simply do not know how to park,” Kingsbridge Heights resident Elijah Manners said. “Seniors, adults, women, men, teenagers. It doesn’t matter. Someone parks bad, it screws up everyone.” But the Manhattan borough commissioner believes people will get the hang of it soon enough. “You can fit about 15 percent more vehicles at the curbside when you eliminate each of the single-space meter poles,” Forgione said. In The Bronx, Arthur Avenue from Crescent Avenue to East 189th Street and 187th Street from Hoffman Street to Prospect Avenue have been converted to muni-meters. The DOT puts upcoming conversions on their website at least 30 days before any changes. No more conversions in The Bronx are scheduled for August. Another criticism of the muni-meters has been the extra time it takes to get to the meter and back to the car to place the recipt in view on the dashboard. Stories of people getting a parking ticket during the time it took to walk to the muni-meter and back to the car are far too common, but the city says it will void such tickets if a driver can produce a receipt from the machine stamped within five minutes of the time the ticket was issued. “It has a permanent clock. Anytime you’re walking by and you want to know the time and you don’t have a watch, just look at the meter and it’ll tell you the right time,” Espaillat said. Not all pols are in agreement over the muni-meters. “I think the muni-meters have unfortunately been a failure,” Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said. “I have not seen what the advantages are, except costing people more money. They were supposed to increase the number of parking spots. Clearly, that has not happened. I would like to get rid of the

ones we already have.” While he does like the fact that munimeters take credit cards, he sees them as another instance of the city making residents’ lives just slightly more difficult. “All these little things just add burdens to people’s lives,” he said. “You can’t even piggyback off meters with time left over.” Drivers are allowed to move their cars within the immediate area and use the same receipt to park elsewhere. As part of the budget effort, DOT began increasing parking meter rates in The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan north of 96th Street during the summer of 2011. In The Bronx, meter rates began changing on July 25.

Continued from Page 1 cent in 2010. RKA fared slightly better in math after 62 percent of students reached the state’s standard, up from 53 percent last year. However, again, upon closer inspection, the data reveals a racial achievement gap of 30 percentage points. Nearly 82 percent of Asian students at RKA met or exceeded the state’s math proficiency levels versus 52 percent of the school’s black and Hispanic populations. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said the school’s racial achievement gap was a major concern. “The large gap between African-American and Latino students on the one hand, and white and Asian students on the other, is very distressing,” he said. Dinowitz said he was pleased with the performance of Riverdale’s three schools but acknowledged much more work was needed to lift academic standards. “When I see scores going up, I am very pleased, and to the extent that scores have gone up in many of the categories in most of our local schools, that’s good news,” he said. “I want every one of our local schools to be among the very top schools in the city, and we have some work to do to make that happen. “I think the work really has to be done at the lowest grade possible because in most cases, students who are behind in fourth grade never catch up.” As of press time, calls to each of the three schools were not returned.

Local students also continue to outpace their rivals both in District 10 and in the rest of the city. Overall, 44 percent of city students were deemed proficient in English, slightly up from 42 percent last year, while 57 percent were up to par in math, compared to 54 percent in 2010. Statewide, there was a slight dip in the percentage of students meeting the English standard. In math, 63 percent of students across the state meet or exceeded the standard, compared with 61 percent last year. Despite the city’s gains, state officials were quick to point out that students here remained unprepared either for college or the workplace. “While the majority of students statewide met or exceeded the state’s proficiency standards in both math and ELA, overall performance remains low, and the gaps in achievement persist,” the department said in a press release. Newly installed State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. was less diplomatic in his assessment and said test results have been “stubbornly flat over time.” However, King believed that a series of reforms, including better tests, more training for teachers and principals and the provision of more transparent and useful data would improve educational outcomes. State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch also alluded to the need for changes. “These results underscore the urgent need for New York to continue to aggres-

sively move forward with the implementation of the Regents’ reform agenda,” she said. “Through aggressive implementation at the district and school level of higher standards, better and more accurate assessments, a more content-rich curriculum and a teacher evaluation system aimed at supporting teaching excellence, we can make tremendous strides toward ensuring all of our children succeed.” Not surprisingly, both Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott touted the city’s improvements and said “significant progress” was being made in schools, a claim heard many times in the nine years the mayor has totally controlled

schools here. “This is real proof that when expectations are raised, our students can rise to the occasion,” Walcott said. “New York City students and families should be proud of their continued progress, even with these tougher standards for success.” Officials recalibrated test scores last year after determining the exams had become far too easy to pass. As a result, marks plunged at virtually every state public school. The state has also launched an investigation into “grade inflation” and will look into claims that teachers or schools are exaggerating grades to give schools better ratings.

3 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, August 11, 2011

Local schools get some good news and some bad in score report

Thursday, August 11, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Around the schools... Manhattan College

The college will commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11 in a five-day tribute to victims of the attacks. Planned events for the occasion, called We Remember, will include a memorial ceremony, a panel presentation, a faculty teach-in, a special Mass and a campus-wide service day in honor of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act—which officially designates September 11 as a national day of service and remembrance. The college will also open a new exhibition at the Mary Alice and Tom O’Malley Library to honor the 20 alumni killed in the 2001 attacks. The first We Remember event on September 7, a panel discussion moderated by Francis Lombardi, former chief engineer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, will feature alumni who assisted in the immediate constructive response in the aftermath of 9/11: Michael Burton (’84), former executive deputy commissioner of the New York City Department of Design and Construction and current senior vice president and national operations manager of the LiRo Group; Eugene McGrath (’63), retired chairman and CEO of Con Edison; George J. Tamaro (’59), former partner and current consultant for Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers; and Richard Tomasetti (’63), consultant for Thornton-Tomasetti. These professionals will explain the challenges they and the city faced and what that experience has meant to them over the past decade. “The panel will help to inform our students, who were 8 to 12 years old on 9/11, of how knowledge, expertise, and professional training—as well as strength of character and dedication—helped to put the city and the nation on a course of rebuilding,” MC President Brennan O’Donnell said. At the teach-in on September 8, faculty members from multiple disciplines will examine the impact of the tragedy on aspects of American life. This event, moderated by Dr. Daniel Collins, director of the recently established Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching and associate professor of English, will analyze how various authorities, from politicians to media pundits, claimed that American culture and politics would never be the same after the attack. Faculty members will discuss what has changed during the past ten years as seen through the lens of particular academic specialties. Former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (’65), chairman and CEO of Giuliani Partners, will be the featured speaker at a September 9 commemorative service , where two MC students will read from The Guys, an offBroadway play by Anne Nelson about a writer working with a fire captain to draft eulogies for firefighters who perished in the World Trade Center. The names of the fallen Manhattan College alumni will be read aloud at the service.

College Of Mount Saint Vincent

Dr. Ron Scapp, professor of teacher education and founding director of the college’s graduate program in urban and multicultural education, was recently elected interim president of the National Association for Ethnic Studies, an organi-

zation that promotes scholarship in the field of ethnic studies. Scapp is also a fellow at the National Education Policy Center at The University of Colorado, Boulder, and a senior associate of The Urban Educators Forum in New York City. He is currently writing a monograph on urban culture and co-editing one book about metaphor and teaching and another on class and capitalism.

Local Scholars

St. Bonaventure University in St. Bonaventure, New York, has announced that Danielle Velez, a May graduate who majored in sociology and English, was named to the dean’s list for the spring semester. St. Bonaventure has been inspired for more than 150 years by the Franciscan values of individual dignity, community inclusiveness and service. Most of its 2,000 undergraduates live on the 500-acre campus, located in southwestern New York state. The university offers 43 undergraduate majors, the most popular of which are elementary education, journalism, psychology, accounting, marketing, finance and management. St. Bonaventure, founded in 1858, is the home of the Franciscan Institute—the center for research in the history, philosophy, and accomplishments of a group of men and women who, for 800 years, have dedicated themselves to peace, justice, social equality and alleviation of suffering. Some Franciscan friars live on campus, but the faculty also includes lay people of diverse backgrounds. More than 90 percent of the students receive financial aid. U.S. News and World Report has listed the university as a “Great School at a Great Price.”

FAX education news to:

The Riverdale Review (718) 543-4206 or email to 5752 Fieldston Road Bronx • New York,

By MIAWLING LAM A student from P.S. 24 was mercilessly assaulted and suffered a broken arm after two classmates allegedly attacked him during school hours. The male fifth-grader, who ended up being transported to Montefiore Medical Center for treatment, was allegedly beaten up while his class enjoyed recess at Seton Park on May 26. The Riverdale Review, which is withholding the victimized boy’s name, understands his family is now considering their legal options and could sue the Department of Education. The shocking assault came to light only last week following a tip-off from a member of the public. Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg downplayed the playground clash but confirmed the events. “On May 26 at about 11:30 a.m. in a park near the school, a group of fifth graders were having recess,” she said in a statement. “Two students were playing and pushed another student, causing the student to fall and injure the left wrist. “The supervisors called 911 and notified parents of the victim. The victim was taken to Montefiore Hospital.” Feinberg said the two students who initiated the attack were “disciplined,” but she would not disclose the nature of the discipline. She also refused to comment on whether a teacher was on playground duty at the time. Information obtained by The Riverdale Review suggests that no teacher was present.

The student’s father, whose name the Review has decided to suppress, declined to elaborate on the circumstances when contacted last week. “I shouldn’t really speak about it, I don’t think, at this point,” he said by phone. However, the father said his son was recuperating and on the road to recovery. “He had a broken arm,” he said. “The cast is off now, and he’s mending

nicely.” The father, who is employed by the city, also declined to confirm or deny whether a lawsuit is pending. “I can’t comment on that. I’m sorry.” If there is a lawsuit, it will not be the first time the Department of Education has been sued. Just last month, a Bronx couple sued the city after claiming a computer repairman repeatedly raped their 13-year-old

daughter at her Harlem school. Similarly, parents of a six-year-old autistic boy filed legal proceedings in January after an older student repeatedly sodomized their child in the bathrooms of P.S. 168X in Mott Haven. Angered by how playground violence is being allowed to go virtually unchecked, an increasing number of parents are hiring lawyers and suing school districts across the country.

BronxNet to get $$$ windfall in new Cablevision deal

By BRENDAN McHUGH LeBron James wishes he had the same fourth-quarter abilities as Ruben Diaz Jr. Bronx Borough President Diaz successfully brokered a last-minute deal Monday between BronxNet and James Dolan, owner of Cablevision and the New York Knicks, that will keep publicaccess television in the borough through the decade. “For many months, my office has been working hard to facilitate an agreement between Cablevision and BronxNet, and I am thrilled that these negotiations have been a success,” Diaz said. “This agreement gives BronxNet the tools to greatly expand their ability to serve our borough while also showcasing Cablevision’s commitment to serving the people of The Bronx as a good corporate citizen.” This agreement will provide BronxNet with the financial support to upgrade its technology and greatly expand the network’s services to Bronx residents, including high-definition broadcasting, video-on-demand capabilities and other considerations. The public-access station

has plans to open a satellite location in the South Bronx and is currently looking for an appropriate building. “The Bronx deserves up-to-date studios with accessible community programming, and BronxNet will be able to continue to provide that,” said Paul T. Gentile, board chairman of BronxNet. “This agreement with Cablevision is fair and will allow us to move forward.” The agreement comes after two years of difficult negotiations over funding, but in the end, a nine-year contract was reached that includes millions of capital dollars for the second studio and additional training. “We have an agreement with Cablevision that will allow BronxNet to upgrade technology and provide the level of services it has long desired for Bronxites,” Michael Max Knobbe, executive director of BronxNet said while praising Diaz for his support for media access to Bronxites. The city’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee will vote on the contract Wednesday, August 10. Diaz is one voter in the six-member panel.

BronxNet’s previous 10-year deal with Cablevision expired in 2009. Under the new pact, the network’s operational funding from Cablevision will triple, from 41.5 cents per subscriber per month to more than $1. “Cablevision is proud of our history of providing every Bronx resident with access to the most advanced cable television, phone and high-speed Internet products and of our more than 20-year record of support for BronxNet,” said Lisa Rosenblum, Cablevision’s executive vice president of government and public affairs. “We are pleased to have reached an agreement that continues our support of public access in The Bronx.” Federal law requires cable providers, such as Cablevision and Verizon FIOS, to support public access in exchange for the right to run their lines through public streets. BronxNet’s only facility is currently in the basement of Lehman College’s Carman Hall. Cablevision grossed $2.3 billion in The Bronx from 2001 to 2009 and has about 340,000 borough subscribers.

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 347-577-4950 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.

5 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lawsuit contemplated in assault of P.S. 24 student during school hours

and cultural backgrounds to learn about themselves, each other and the joy of performing. By participating in a fullscale theatrical production, children learn the basic elements of theatre, music and dance, while pushing their own creative and physical boundaries.

Thursday, August 11, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Lecture on adoption, conversion

The Simon Senior Center, located at the Riverdale YM-YWHA @ 5625 Arlington Ave is pleased to invite all seniors from the Riverdale and surrounding communities to a special lecture on Thursday August 11th with David Storfer, a yeshiva student in Israel in the Derech program at Ohr Sameach. The speaker will share his knowledge about international adoption and his personal journey from a Jewish perspective. The lecture will be held @ 10:30am followed by a kosher nutritious lunch at 12noon. Suggested donation is $2.25 for the lunch. Advance reservations are strongly suggested. For further information please call the Y @ 718-548-8200 x223 or 224.

‘Les Miserables’ to be shown at the Y

This summer the award-winning Riverdale Rising Stars are proud to present the classic musical, LES MISERABLES, SCHOOL EDITION. This stirring musical, with a lush score and a moving story features a cast of more than 30 Riverdalians; a combination of current Rising Stars and recent graduates of the program. Show dates and times are Thursday, August 11 at 7:30PM, Saturday, August 13

at 8:45PM, Sunday, August 14 at 3:00PM, Tuesday through Thursday, August 16-18 at 7:30PM and Saturday, August 20 at 8:45PM. Admission is $10 for students (at all times) and $15 for adults online at At the door general admission is $18. Group sales are available. Contact Riverdale Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue.

Free Disney performances for Bronx kids

Bronx kids and their families still have time to enjoy free performances through City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage Kids presented by Disney in parks throughout the Bronx. SummerStage Kids presented by Disney, New York City’s first international family festival, offers over 95 free performing arts events at 34 locations citywide through August 17th for over 25,000 New York City children and their families. The festival includes African dance, American roots music, hip-hop, jazz, mime, circus, tap and puppetry from cultures around the world and around the corner. It engages the city youth in the arts and culture of the diverse communities of New York City and beyond. The expansion of the arts festival, previously named CityParks Kids, is made possible through the support of The Walt Disney Company.

In addition to these exciting new initiatives, SummerStage Kids will also begin each performance with a reading and giveaway of beloved children’s poet Shel Silverstein’s classic books. The complete SummerStage Kids schedule follows. For the most up-to-date scheduling and line-up for all programming, visit Thursday, August 11, Heritage OP, Ciccarone Park Plaza, Arthur Ave. & E. 188 St., 10:30AM Dan Butterworth, Van Cortlandt Park, Jerome Ave. & Gun Hill Rd., Sachkerah Woods Playground, 10:30AM Friday, August 12, CityParks PuppetMobile - Bessie’s Big Shot, Ciccarone Park Plaza, Arthur Ave. & E. 188 St., 10:30AM Dan Butterworth, Poe Park, Grand Concourse at E. Kingsbridge Rd. & E. 192nd St. Next to the Bandstand, 10:30AM Monday, August 15, CityParks PuppetMobile - Bessie’s Big Shot, Slattery Playground, Ryer Ave.,Valentine Ave. & E. 183rd St., 10:30 AM Tuesday, August 16, CityParks PuppetMobile - Bessie’s Big Shot, Van Cortlandt Park, Van Cortlandt Park S. West 240th & Broadway, Southwest Playground, 10:30 AM

RCT presents Grease:The School Version

If Grease is the word, then Riverdale Children’s Theatre Summer Lights Summer Program is the place to be on Sunday August 14th as it produces the popular musical ‘GREASE: THE SCHOOL VERSION’ Book, Music, and Lyrics by JIM JACOBS and WARREN CASEY. With unforgettable music and beloved characters, the wellknown story of the Pink Ladies and the Burger Palace Boys comes to life starring over 30 talented 10-14 year olds from Kingsbridge, Riverdale and Westchester. “The School Version of Grease is the perfect way to introduce incredible songs like “Summer Nights”, ‘Born to Hand Jive’ and ‘You’re the one that I want” to kids of all ages”. Performances are held at the Riverdale/ Kingsbridge Academy at 660 west 237th Street. Sunday August 14th at 1pm and 5 pm and all seats are $12. Riverdale Children’s Theatre brings together children from various religious

Anne Hutchinson birthday celebration at City Island

On Saturday, August 13, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., the 2nd Annual Anne Hutchinson Birthday Celebration will feature Brunch/Lunch at the New ‘BISTRO SK’ Restaurant, 273 City Island Avenue, City Island - $25pp, includes all costs Thanks to BISTRO SK for hosting the 420th birthday party celebration up to 3pm (no other customers). Space is limited: Please check if reservations are still available: 718-885-3423; leave full information for callback Welcome and Introductions by Bill Twomey, President, Bronx History Forum, and Toby Z. Liederman, ‘AHY’ Coordinator. Program includes Presentation of an Autographed Copy of ‘TROUBLE’S DAUGHTER’, the story of Anne’s daughter, Susannah, written by KATHERINE KIRKPATRICK, FORMER CITY ISLANDER; Unique insights about our heroic pioneer by Historian Tom Vasti; plus YOUR comments, ideas and questions and a 50/50 to help support ‘AHY’ work.... Celebrate her 420th birthday with good food, good friends, and history enthusiasts!

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.




b. focusing light where it’s needed instead of lighting a whole room c. removing lamp shades

ceiling fans can improve energy efficiency…

d. keeping bulbs and fixtures clean

a. in the summer b. in the winter c. in both summer and winter

answer: c

an efficient way to keep your home cool in the summer is to... a. close shades or drapes to keep out the sun’s heat b. leave your a/c on all the time so it doesn’t have to cool a warm house

answer: c

what is the recommended setting for your a/c thermostat? a. 80° b. 78° c. 72° d. 60°

c. leave windows open for a breeze, even when it’s hot out

©2011 Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. Ad: Arnell Group

©2011 Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. Ad: Arnell Group

a. replacing light switches with dimmers or motion sensors

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, August 11, 2011

which of these will not reduce your electricity use?

answer: a

answer: b

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


Thursday, August 11, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Thursday, August 11 Riverdale

LECTURE 10:30 a.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue The Simon Senior Center invites all seniors to a special lecture. David Storfer will share his knowledge about international adoption and his personal journey from a Jewish perspective. For further information please call the Y @ 718548-8200 x223 or 224.

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.


GAME ON 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Come have some fun playing the latest XBox 360 games with Kinect at the Kingsbridge Library! For ages 12-18. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Friday, August 12 Riverdale

LECTURE 10:30 a.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue Sam Norich, CEO and Publisher of The Forverts, will speak on “The Forverts and The Forward: The Life and Times of a Jewish Newspaper.” For further information and reservations please call the Y @ 718-548-8200x223 or 224.


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.

Monday, August 15 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.

Spuyten Duyvil

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.

Tuesday, August 16 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.


BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION 10:30 a.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue A special celebration of August birthdays with a luncheon and birthday cake. There will be a free special concert with Maxim who will entertain the audience with classical music on the piano with selections by Haydn, Chopin and Barber. For further information and details please call Vicki @ 718548-8200 x224.

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 718543-5150.


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 17 Riverdale

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


SUMMER READING 2 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street A librarian will share favorite picture books, providing children with the wonder of books and the joy of reading. For ages 5 to 12 years old. For more information, call 718548-5656.

Thursday, August 18 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.

Monday, August 22 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.

Spuyten Duyvil

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


KNITTING & CROCHET 5 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Gather with other knitters and crocheters and perhaps pickup a few tips and tricks as you work on your own creations! For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Tuesday, August 23 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.


directed by Laurie Walton Thursday, August 11 at 7:30 PM —our gala fundraising night honoring Laurie Walton

$25 per ticket All other times and prices: Saturday, August 13 at 8:45 PM Sunday, August 14 at 3:00 PM Tuesday, August 16 at 7:30 PM Wednesday, August 17 at 7:30 PM Thursday, August 18 at 7:30 PM Saturday, August 20 at 8:45 PM

By BRENDAN McHUGH An established ice-skating rink in Brooklyn recently renewed its contract with the city for an extra three to ten years, at the city’s discretion. The contract gives Bronxites a peek at what might become of the Van Cortlandt Park ice-skating rink should it be built. The VCP rink has been shrouded in secrecy since Mayor Bloomberg first announced the idea in his State of the City address earlier this year. The city partnered with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy and released a request for proposals to search for a private concessionaire to use public parkland. Because of the nature of RFP process, key information about the project has been left up in the air, worrying some members of the community. Fees, hours, public time, skate rentals, food options and more were all unspecified in the RFP. The conservancy and parks department representatives had a difficult time answering questions about the rink, despite the fact that they had been working on the project, unbeknownst to the public and the community board, since early 2010. Community Board 8 did send a letter requesting various stipulations such as pricing and usage time, but very little information has been forthcoming. The Brooklyn skating rink—the Abe Stark Ice Rink in Coney Island—has been around “forever,” according to a representative for Brooklyn City Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr. City Ice Sports, the Staten Island company that runs the rink, plans to pay the city a minimum of $575,000 over the next three years,

and a minimum total of more than $1.2 million throughout the following seven years. However, none of that money goes into the area itself, instead going into a citywide fund. Overall, City Ice Sports would pay a bottom line or, if rental, admissions, or vending incomes are higher than the above numbers, they would pay a percentage instead. City Ice Sports also agreed to put $460,000 into emergency repairs and replacements in the area by August 31—the only capital improvement the company will make to the area. At the Abe Stark Rink, ice time is $8 per person, regardless of age, and another $4.50 for skate rental. A representative for Brooklyn Community Board 13 said City Ice Sports has been a relatively good neighbor in the community, adding to the attractions that Coney Island already boasts. A problem the potential suitor at Van Cortlandt Park may have is a lack of other amenities in the area—at the corner of West 242nd Street and Broadway—and therefore the skating itself will have to be the biggest draw. Once the RFP process is complete, the proposal will face a public hearing at the city’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee. While the parks department and conservancy have come to Community Board 8 meetings to discuss the rink in the past, many community board members have not seen the meetings as adequate public forums due to a lack of notice or a lack of information available during the meetings.



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Adults: $18; Seniors and Students: $12 Visit our website at www.Riverdale and order online tickets

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9 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, August 11, 2011

The award-winning Riverdale Rising Stars

VCP skate rink clues to be found in Brooklyn

Thursday, August 11, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


By BRENDAN McHUGH The outgoing chair of the state Assembly’s committee on aging had three bills signed into law last week that will protect and serve senior citizens long after he has moved on. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, finishing his term as committee chair, sponsored bills that protect seniors against domestic violence, aid senior military veterans and ease the difficulty of gaining state funds for senior communities. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bills into law on Wednesday. “I am pleased that Governor Cuomo signed these three bills, each of which will positively impact the lives of many seniors throughout New York state,” Dinowitz said. The Bronx assemblyman will be the chair of consumer affairs and protection when the new legislative session begins. The first bill (A6736) calls for the creation of programs for senior centers to prevent domestic violence. They will be developed by the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and will be brought to senior centers around the state. Elder abuse is a growing concern in New York, and these programs will play an important role in helping senior citizens avoid becoming victims. The programs will be provided in an ideal location—senior centers. Another bill (A544) directs the state’s Office for the Aging to review and develop programs to meet the needs of senior military veterans. New York has the nation’s second-largest population of

veterans, including those who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and the bill will ensure that these veterans have access to quality programs that serve their needs. Many veterans in New York are approaching or are already over the age of 60, according to the bill’s summary, but before the bill was passed, the Office for the Aging had no obligation to tailor many programs specifically to veterans. The third bill (A395A) relates to state matching funds for grants under the Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) supportive service program. The bill allows these communities to raise money outside of their geographic boundaries, thereby diversifying and expanding their sources of revenue. “In certain communities, through the natural process, the collective people became very old,” said Dinowitz, referring to the Amalgamated Houses as an example. The NORC program gives communities the ability to find more private money for senior programs, nurses, social workers and other needs. The new legislation is more flexible on ways to secure state money. Dinowitz said that despite his new position in the legislature, he plans always to keep in mind the needs of the elderly. “Now that I’ve been appointed chair of the committee on consumer affairs and protection, my tenure as chair of the aging committee has ended, but my commitment to fighting for the needs of seniors will never waver,” he said.

11 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, August 11, 2011

Three Dinowitz bills signed by Governor

Thursday, August 11, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Person on the Street:

Compiled by Amanda Macaluso

Do you support the debt deal recently passed in Congress?

“Congress already bickers a bunch to begin with, but the fact that the government almost shut down because the Democrats and the Republicans could not reach a consensus was horrible.”

- Jill Ballow

“I’m happy that they finally reached a decision on how to handle everything. Was it the right one? I don’t know. But at least they made some type of conclusion, and the government will continue running.”

- Brianna O’Connor

“I absolutely, 100 percent support the decision. If a decision wasn’t made, the dollar would’ve become worthless, and our interest rates just would’ve soared sky-high.”

- Noah Cooperstein

“It’s good they finally settled on something, but I don’t think making such a large cut in defense spending was wise at all. We need to have our military ranked at number one in the world. They should have made cuts elsewhere.”

- Matt Brecher

“The government was very inefficient in how they handled this whole debacle. I don’t think they reached an effective solution at all. I think they just settled on anything to keep the government from shutting down.”

“Because of their indecisive acts, they have repercussions, such as what happened today when the president announced credit unions see the U.S. as a risk because of how indecisive our politicians are.”

- Daniel Elsbury

- Vernon Maddox

“Debt is a serious thing, and to say that the U.S. shouldn’t have any is ridiculous. However, to keep increasing the debt ceiling is only going to cause us more and more problems down the road.”

“I think that Congress should stop screwing around with the American public and do the job their high salaries are paying them to do.”

- Shelby Couch

- Jeff Strauss



VOLUNTEER CORPS DAY 10 a.m. Read Wildlife Sanctuary Playland Parkway Join the Read Sanctuary Volunteer Corps as we work to improve the sanctuary. Help by removig invasive plants, do trail maintenance, clear debris from the salt marsh and other tasks. Join the team that’s helping keep the sanctuary in good shape. Lunch donated by the Friends of Read Wildlife Sanctuary. For more information, call 914-967-8720.

Wednesday, August 24



POND CRITTERS 10 a.m. Teatown Lake Reservation 1600 Spring Valley Road Teatown Lake is teeming with pond life. Grab a net and join us as we scoop the mud and identify the critters that lurk in the depths. Teatown Members Free, Non-Members $5. For more information, call 914-762-2912 or visit

Mt. Vernon

LENAPE INDIANS 1 p.m. St. Paul’s Church 897 S. Columbus Avenue A presentation exploring the lifestyles and history of the Lenape, the native peoples of the area. The event features a visual program, artifacts and discussion about the Lenape, helping to illuminate a major theme in the site’s feature exhibition, “A Clash of Cultures: Anne Hutchinson’s Brief Life near St. Paul’s Church.” Tours of the historic church, tower and burial yard are offered following the Lenape presentation. For more information, call 914-667-4116 or visit

Sunday, August 14 Ossining

ANIMAL ADVENTURES 11 a.m. Teatown Lake Reservation 1600 Spring Valley Road Meet a few of Teatown’s voracious ambassadors who will eat almost anything! For more information, call 914-762-2912 or visit


MALFA OPEN HOUSE 1 p.m. Croton Point Nature Center Croton Point Avenue Join members of MALFA and learn more about Croton Point’s amazing history and pre-history. We sit on one of the richest pre-history archaeological sites in New York State. Come by with questions and get answers from our local experts. For more information, call 914-862-5297.

Wednesday, August 17 Rye

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.

Saturday, August 20 Ossining

FROGS AND TURTLES 11 a.m. Teatown Lake Reservation 1600 Spring Valley Road Frogs and turtles are the most frequently encountered animals at Teatown. Find out about their behavior and natural history on a walk to the dam. Teatown Members Free, Non-members $5. For info, call 914-762-2912 or visit

Sunday, August 21 Croton-on-Hudson

SOLAR POWER 10 a.m. Croton Point Nature Center Croton Point Avenue Join us as we build our own solar cookers. Take yours home and use it to make amazing treats with the power of the sun. For more information, call 914-862-5297.


FAIRY WALK 1 p.m. Muscoot Farm Route 100 Do you believe in fairies? Discover the fairies that live in Muscoot’s forest. Children are encouraged to come dressed as fairies. For more information, call 914-864-7282.

BACK TO THE STREAMS 2 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 If you haven’t had enough of aquatic life in our spring-fed streams, have no fear. We will observe them again and see what life awaits us there. Hand lenses provided. Long pants and socks with shoes are highly recommended. For more information, call 914-835-4466.

Mt. Vernon

BRAZILIAN JAZZ 1 p.m. St. Paul’s Church 897 S. Columbus Avenue Enjoy a performance of Brazilian jazz, featuring guitar and bassoon. For info, contact David Osborn at 914-667-4116.


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

Saturday, August 27 Ossining

KING OF THE MEADOW 10 a.m. Cliffdale Farm 57 Teatown Road Monarch butterflies dazzle us every summer with their bold colored beauty and whimsical flight. Equipped with nets and patience we’ll trek into the meadow in search of these butterflies and discuss the challenges they encounter during their seasonal migration. Meets at Cliffdale Farm. Teatown Members Free, Non-members $5. For info, call 914-762-2912 or visit

Sunday, August 28 Croton-on-Hudson

HUDSON’S HARVEST 9 a.m. Croton Point Nature Center Croton Point Avenue The program starts anywhere between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Summer scavenger hunt for the Hudson Valley’s best local food. Follow the trail of the farms, farmers markets and community gardens in Westchester. Discover the delicious community in your back yard. Come to the nature center for a map and directions. Hunt for the foods you love. For info, call 914-862-5297.

Mt. Kisco

HISTORY TOUR 1 p.m. Merestead 455 Byram Lake Road W&J Sloane was one of the most famous retail stores for furniture and home furnshings in the 20th century. Learn the story of the W&J Sloane and how it is intimately connected to Merestead while touring the 1906-1907 Georgian-style Delano and Aldrich designed Main Dwelling. 14 participants maximum. By reservation only. For more info, call 914-864-7039.


MUSHROOM BASICS 1 p.m. Muscoot Farm Route 100 Ever wonder how many different types of mushrooms there are? Join Dianna Smith, President of Connecticut-Westchester Mycology Association, as she leads a hike through Muscoot’s trails in search of a variety of late summer mushrooms. Please meet in the Reception Center. For info, call 914-864-7282.

Saturday, Sept. 3 North White Plains

ALIEN SHIRTS 1 p.m. Cranberry Lake Preserve Old Orchard Street Melissa Sullivan will lead this unique program. You will make a wearable field guide of weeds and invasive plants. Bring a plain white or light colored T-shirt that you’ll then imprint with their images. For more information, call 914-428-1005.


PONDING AROUND 1 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 Explore the ponds and discover the wet beauty from within. An experience that will be fun for the whole family. Dip nets provided. Please wear old clothes to “pond” around in. Long pants and shoes are highly recommended. For more information, call 914-835-4466.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, August 11, 2011

Saturday, August 13

Thursday, August 11, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



Starting Tues. Aug. 16th, 2011, a new Dancercize class will be offered at 3880 Sedgwick Ave. from 5:00 - 6:00 PM followed by a light meal afterward. Doryanna is a dynamic and experienced instructor who will incorporate fitness and dance rhythms. The class will continue on Tuesday Aug. 30th, Sept. 6th & 20th, Oct. 4th & 18th. For seniors, the suggested donation is $3.00 for the class and $2.00 for the meal. For guests under age 60, the fee is $3.00 for the class and $3.00 for the meal. For registration and more information, please call the center at 718-549-4700.

Koppell gets MTA to clean up train station

Council Member Oliver Koppell succeeded in getting the MTA to immediately clean-up the #1 IRT elevated station, northbound, at 231st Street and Broadway after a constituent called to his attention the mess that pigeons had created on the handrails, steps and throughout the station. After being informed about the situation on August 1st, Koppell contacted the MTA’s train division and

demanded that they clean the station promptly since the pigeon droppings are not only unsightly, they are also unsanitary. The MTA indicated that they would remove the filth the very same day and, if necessary, power wash it that night. ‘I am gratified that the MTA responded quickly to my complaint. However, I was dismayed by the build-up of filth, which straphangers should not have to endure, and I have called for the MTA to monitor and clean the station on a more regular basis.’

Simon Senior Center celebrates August birthdays

The Simon Senior Center, located at 5625 Arlington Avenue, is pleased to invite all seniors in the community and surrounding neighborhoods to a special celebration of August birthdays with a luncheon and birthday cake on Tuesday August 16th @ 10:30 a.m. There will be a free special concert with Maxim who will entertain the audience with classical music on the piano with selections by Haydn, Chopin and Barber. A kosher nutritious summer lunch will be served immediately after the concert. There is no charge for the concert and the suggested donation for

lunch is $2.25. For further information and details please call Vicki @ 718-548-8200 x224.

Anne Hutchinson Year celebration

The Opening Day of the Anne Hutchinson Year will be held on Saturday, August 20 - 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the theme, ‘Anne Hutchinson: A Woman Ahead of Her Time.’ Bronx County Historical Society Special Exhibition - On-Going through October 2 at Valentine-Varian House, 3266 Bainbridge Av., Bronx. Fee/info:718881-8900 Commemorating our pioneering 17th century American reformer who spent her last days in what is now Bronx and Eastchester, Bronx Borough Historian Lloyd Ultan will talk about Anne’s life here in New York 1 p.m., August 20.

Social Security reps at Engel’s office

Representatives of the Social Security Administration will be at Congressman Eliot Engel’s Bronx office on Wednesday, August 24th to assist people with questions or problems concerning this program.

This service, at 3655 Johnson Avenue, is available only by appointment, which may be made by calling Richard Fedderman of his office at 718 796-9700. Rep. Engel said, ‘Social Security is an issue that affects many people in my district. Consequently, I have these experts from the Social Security Administration come to my office every month to help my constituents with any problems they may have with the program.’ The Congressman also directed people to the Social Security website (www.ssa. gov) which offers a wide array of on-line services including filing for retirement, survivors and disability benefits, change of address, replacing lost Medicare cards, and keeping up to date on Social Security matters.

Free concert at Methodist Home

Join us for a free concert on Thursday, August 18th at 2 p.m. at the Methodist Home for Nursing & Rehabilitation, 4499 Manhattan College Parkway, Riverdale, NY 10471 Students from Bronx Lab School will be performing music from the Big Band era. Space is limited so please call to reserve your seat at 718-732-7112.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, August 11, 2011

New Dancercize class at Van Cortlandt Senior Center

Thursday, August 11, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Fixing the test mess Six years ago, Mayor Bloomberg, then running for reelection and Chancellor Klein trekked up to The Bronx to announce the results of the citywide reading and math tests. They described the scores as “historic,” pointing especially to P.S. 33, where score increased 50 percentage points in just one year. Insiders rolled the eyes, but the press and public bought this hook, line and sinker. By the next year, the “miracle” principal had retired, a $15,000 bonus in her pocket (which will boost her pension by about $12,000 a year for the rest of her life), and the students’ gains totally, mysteriously, evaporated. An investigation of possible cheating that might have been embarrassing to the mayor was botched, the evidence destroyed. By last year, all of the supposed gains the city had seen since the onset of mayoral control also disappeared, when then State Education Commissioner David Steiner admitted that the scoring on the tests were wildly inflated by his predecessor and courageously corrected the false results. As long as tests have been given, people have found ways to cheat. But in the past, it has usually been the students who have been doing the cheating. This was usually simple stuff, copying answers from the “smart” kid in the next seat, or scribbling formulas onto the palm of his hand for quick reference during the exam. It was the students who did the cheating because they perceived that they had something to gain. As the purpose of testing moved from diagnosing student academic strengths and weaknesses to rating teachers, principals, schools, and mayors, cheating has taken on a more sinister flavor. It is adults who now derive benefit or sanction and, as predicted by Campbell’s Law, cheating is on the rise. Sociologist Donald T. Campbell wrote in 1976 that “the more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.” Campbell specifically applied his principle to testing of students. “When test scores become the goal of the teaching process, they … lose their value as indicators of educational status and distort the educational process in undesirable ways.” This is exactly what has happened in many states, as we have been reading in the news of late. We have no reason to believe that New York is immune from the laws of human nature. Kathleen Cashin, who served as a district superintendent under the old Board of Education, and then continued on as a regional superintendent under Mayor Bloomberg, now sits on the state Board of Regents. She recalled that “the old Board of Ed mandated a policy that on days standardized tests were administered, a representative from the local district would be dispatched to each and every school to oversee the testing process. This individual would monitor the unpacking of the cartons, breaking of shrink-wrap, and distribution of tests to classrooms. They would make certain that any instructional materials on display in classrooms were covered or removed. “While the exam was being administered, the district representative would tour the building, making sure hallway security was maintained and spot-checking the testing process in individual classrooms. When the exam was concluded, attention was shifted to the rapid collection of test materials and the secure delivery of those materials to the district office.” This policy initially continued under mayoral control by the then newly formed regional offices. But as the regional staffs were shrunk, the policy was discontinued. This vacuum creates opportunity for possible cheating. Security surrounding testing serves two purposes. First is to actually “catch” cheating as it occurs. But more importantly, the knowledge that there was an independent monitor watching the process was a powerful weapon in helping to keep teachers and principals honest. Last week, according to press accounts, Bloomberg administration officials charged that efforts by the State Education Department and Continued on Page 19

We are impressed with Dr. Afridi

To The Editor: Our sense is that even an iceberg could melt from the warmth of the dialogue between Dr. Mechnaz Afridi, Director of the Manhattan College Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center, and President Lily Margules, of the Manhattan Chapter of Women Holocaust Survivors, as reported by Paulette Schneider (Riverdale Review, 8/4/11). Both of the discussants, through their soul-searching remarks, clearly expressed their humanity and broadmindedness. All could learn much from them. Maybe not everyone would, as in confirmed Islamophobes, anti-Semites, and other misanthropes even when goodwill is in the air. We view differently those who expressed concern that there might ensue a watering down of the Holocaust theme by the Center’s expanded mission, and the appointment of a Muslim to the position of Director. Perhaps, they presume that a Jew would better identify with the World War Two Holocaust. Some among them may not know that Manhattan College’s

Holocaust Center’s first Director, Dr. Frederick Schweitzer, the epitome of one who is the proverbial scholar and gentleman, was not Jewish. We are reasonably certain that the religious faith of the Center’s director is, as it should be, irrelevant. With regard to the credentials

An ice rink supporter finally emerges To The Editor, The Review now says there is “growing opposition” to the Van Cortlandt Park Skating rink, I’d like to know exactly who those people are. I know they are not local moms like myself who desperately want things like this in our community. I also know close they are not parents of children from PS 81, PS 7, PS 360 and PS 24 since around 300 of them supported the idea in a recent survey my husband conducted with fewer than two dozen people expressing any concern. Community Board 7 endorsed the Rink at that site too. Your opposition to the rink over noise concerns is also insane. Has anyone at the Review ever been to the Park on a weekend? There are

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

and credibility of Dr. Afridi, and Ms. Margules as well, we are deeply impressed. Kudos is due Dr. Jeff Horn who, for several years, performed superbly as the program’s second director. Beverly Fettman Theodore Fettman

CECILIA McNALLY Office Manager MIAWLING LAM Associate Editor

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

a thousand people swimming and having picnics in the shadow of that train and no one is complaining. Parents in Riverdale and the surrounding area are tired of driving our kids to Yonkers and are not going to the Armory either, we want the rink in our neighborhood. Catherine McShane Editor’s Note: We appreciate Mrs. McShane’s letter, the first supporting the skating rink that we have received in all the months we have been covering the controversy. We have made it clear from the beginning that we don’t necessarily oppose the project, but we certainly oppose the high-handed secretive way it has been presented to the public. If indeed there are 300 parents who want the rink, certainly there should be no opposition to having the appropriate public hearings and discussions. This is a public park, and not the private preserve of politicians and the recipients of rigged sweetheart contracts that the contractors themselves appear to have drafted. It is time for the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy to stop the secret behind closed doors give-away of precious parkland. This is the City of New York, not Bloomberg, Inc.

To The Editor: After 22 years of being a happy Riverdale co-op owner, I found myself wondering if co-ops are a scam like Enron. In 2009 management came to my apartment without my permission and removed, with the blessing of the board of directors, an 18” x 18” piece of sheet rock from my wall and installed a metal door in it. No matter how many times I requested this to be removed, they ignored my requests. They claimed they need this access to serve the building. Inside my apartment is part of the sprinkle system and the fire department inspectors have to check this valve regularly. They open the window (exposing me and my children) and bring a very high pressure hose into my apartment to be connected to the valve. If the test failed they might have to replace the valve. Well, there goes our privacy and quality of life through the window. This valve needs to be constantly monitored and inspected by a certified person (usually the super). At this time the only person checking it are my children. Therefore, the safety of the building residents is in the hands of my children. I requested an emergency meeting to let all shareholders be aware of the dangers they are in. The board of directors said no to my request. If this valve leaks, the sprinkler system in the building will not work. I will not be surprised if in the past they had violations for not checking the valve in my apartment. They converted my apartment into utility closet to service the building. This had devaluated my apartment to almost zero. Nobody wants to buy a utility closet; they want a residential unit. The power of the co-ops is similar to the one of a dictator. They had harassed me and my child. They denied my child access to the swimming pool when the temperature was 100 degrees; their reason is that we are going to be evicted. We’ve been litigating in court for years at the expense of the shareholders. They make sure their late and legal charges are so high I can’t afford to pay them. These excessive

charges are questionable; they could be in violation of usury laws. They will do anything to get my apartment without buying it from me. But what is interesting is that a shareholder can’t file a harassment complaint in housing court (if I were a tenant I could). Even the housing court lawyer could not believe this was true; he is still checking. The co-op forced me into a very difficult financial situation because I could not sell my apartment because of the utility closet status and because they did not allow me to rent it. Meanwhile they were using it to provide service to the building without paying me rent. Finally, after talking to many lawyers I managed to file against the building and perhaps my maintenance will have to be reduced to adjust to the utility closet status. It seems to me that this apartment shouldn’t have been part of the offering plan; it seems like an illegal apartment. Lawyers were so surprised of the abuse of power co-ops get away with. It looks to me like a scam and might be part of the financial fraud we are experiencing today. Politicians need to take an active role into protecting the shareholders. They need to make sure a shareholder could file harassment charges in the housing court. They have to pass legislation that eliminate or automatically extend the expiration date of the proprietary lease. It is very disturbing to think that in 2058, when our children are senior citizens, they have to surrender the apartment they thought they inherited from their parents. It is a contract and there is no guarantee that this date will be extended. In 2058 we won’t be here to protest; our senior citizen children will be the victims. Did you ever wonder why most of the smarter residents did not buy when the plan was offered? They understood the proprietary lease. It is time for the politicians to protect our investment by passing legislation that protect the shareholders against the abuse of power, the usury charges, and make sure our hu-

man and civil rights are not eliminated just because we are a shareholder. It is America, isn’t it? Well, I was sold a lemon and it seems that I’m stuck with the lemon and that I could be evicted. But I’ll make sure everybody is aware that when you buy a co-op you could be buying a lemon and you will be living under a dictatorship. I still believe that there has to be a law that protects me; this is the USA, isn’t it? It seems that my only options are to sue in the Supreme Court. To sue the board

Editorial: Fixing the test mess

Continued from Page 18 the Regents to even discuss this issue is “a knee-jerk reaction to cheating scandals in other states,” and asserted that the city has “gone above and beyond” state requirements when it comes to ensuring test integrity. We disagree. There is a pervasive sense today that scores need to raised, and by any means necessary. In some cases, by some teachers and administrators, this is being interpreted literally, too literally. The fact that reports of cheating are popping up across the country on almost a daily basis is a warning for renewed vigilance. Not only should the old test monitoring procedures be restored here in New York, but the city and state should again insist on the analysis of erasures and use of statistical programs that can flag unusual patterns of right and wrong answers within a classroom or a school. It was this methodology that uncovered a cheating scandal some years back in Chicago, applied then by the superintendent there, a fellow named Arne Duncan, now the U.S. Secretary of Education. Some teachers lost their jobs. Similar methods

the losses.” Engel also called on the House Republican majority to use the promising July jobs numbers to finally fulfill its promise to the American people of having a “laser-like” focus on jobs, saying now that the self-inflicted distraction of the debt ceiling debate has passed, there is no excuse to continue avoiding any kind of jobs bill to help Americans get back to work. A July report indicated that the nation added a total of 117,000 jobs, and the U.S. Department of Labor also amended the May and June reports by showing an additional 56,000 jobs added for those months. The private sector added 154,000 jobs in July, with the state and local governments suffering job losses to drop the total down to 117,000. A portion of those lost government jobs stemmed from the Minnesota government shutdown. “With 13.9 million Americans still out of work, the path to employment is long and full of roadblocks. Unfortunately, the federal government has been placing some of those obstacles up themselves,” he said.

were used in Baltimore, where a former New York City administrator, Andres Alonso, leads the schools. This led to discovering massive fraud at one school that was winning national recognition from the Obama administration for high achievement. We are investing precious billions in the education of our children, and deserve to get true and accurate data. We must insist on a zero-tolerance policy towards cheating, whether it is a student copying from the child next to him, or bringing to justice former State Education Commissioner Richard Mills, who was responsible for rigging the grading scale that permitted the Bloomberg education deception to continue for so long. So as we look on this week’s test results, we have a right to be suspicious. Our children have been betrayed by educators and politicians at all levels. A good first step to restore test integrity is to restore test security. Given the troubling and sad events of recent years, that is the least we should demand, the few million it will take to protect the billions we invest in our schools.

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Party is not Engel’s cup of Tea

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of directors, the management company, and each board member individually for breach of contract, not protecting my interest, abuse of trust, abuse of power, denying me my rights, harassing me and my children, denying me quality of life, devaluating my apartment, denying my family privacy in my own home, forcing my family into a very difficult financial situation, etc. If you have suggestions, help or service to offer me, feel free to email me at Rosa Nazar

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19 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, August 11, 2011

Co-ops are like living under a dictatorship

Thursday, August 11, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Riverdale Review, August 11, 2011  

Weekly newspaper published in Riverdale, NY 10471