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Riverdale’s ONLY Locally Owned Newspaper!

Volume XVIII • Number 36 • September 1 - 7, 2011 •


Armageddon, No; Annoying, Yes!

By BRENDAN McHUGH Tropical storm Irene blew through New York City Sunday morning, wreaking havoc throughout The Bronx. While the storm caused significantly less damage than in other parts of the city and suburbs fallen trees, flooding, mudslides and power outages were found throughout the borough. According to the Bronx borough president’s office, Riverdale was hit the hardest by power outages. “Con Ed can’t remove the trees until there is no power in the lines,” borough president spokesman John DeSio said Monday afternoon. “We have live wires. Con Ed can’t fix the power until the trees are removed. There are safety issues.” He said 1,933 households in The Bronx—the majority in Riverdale—were without power at the time, and many remain without power as we go to press. During the storm, nearly 10,000 Bronx households lost power. Riverdale, which had a tornado touch down about one year ago, now must deal again with a whirlwind of problems. Behind the houses that comprise the Villa Charlotte Bronte, a retaining wall collapsed, causing a mudslide onto the Metro-North railroad tracks. Residents of the co-op complex at 2501 Palisade Avenue seemed relaxed Monday afternoon as they congregated outside of their houses for the day. While the Metro-North has resumed regular service, residents of the Villa were still forced to stay out of their homes as construction crews worked on stabilizing the area. Retaining walls weren’t the only things to collapse due to the storm. Due in part to wind and perhaps exacerbated

by ground wet from the rainy summer, trees throughout The Bronx fell, tearing down telephone poles and destroying fences and cars. At a house near Independence Avenue and West 231st Street, two adjacent trees, each about five feet in diameter, fell within ten minutes of each other at around 1:30 a.m. The homeowner said he was lucky neither caused damage to his house, thanks to a branch that deflected one of the trees. The second tree, which snapped a telephone pole in half, came to rest on a vacant house across the street. The homeowner said he had difficulty reporting the problem. “I called 311, but they tell me to call 911, then they tell me to call 311,” he said with a laugh. Con Edison was on the scene Monday working to remove the trees. One employee said they hoped to restore power to the residents by Wednesday. Only a two blocks away, a tree in Seton Park was resting on the fence enclosing the tennis courts. Next to that, a different fence was the only thing keeping another tree from completely falling onto a telephone pole and then onto West 232nd Street. Across the street, John and Lisa Fruscella were watching the storm when they heard a loud noise at 4 a.m. “We hear the noise, and of course my wife is panicking,” John Fruscella said. “So I open the door, and there’s a forest right in front of me.” A large branch had fallen on their house, covering the front porch with leaves and branches. “I felt like Robin Hood in Sherwood

A tree is uprooted in Seton Park by the tennis courts.

Mudslide near the Spuyten Duyvil Station obliterated the tracks. Forest,” he said. in filing insurance claims in order to get The Fruscellas, who are trying to sell the most for what was lost,” state Senator their house, said that no real damage Adriano Espaillat said. was done. “Whether it is water damage from floodOn the other side of the Henry Hudson ing or structural damage from trees and deParkway, one Riverdale resident couldn’t bris, insurance is in place to ease the financial believe a tree had crushed the front end burden during the rebuilding process.” Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. apof his car. “I parked here because the tree looked plauded Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the proactive measures he took, recalling the sturdy,” Steven Gaeta said in disbelief. Along Cambridge Avenue, Gaeta’s mishandling of the snowstorm last year. windshield, hood and side-view mirror “This administration clearly learned were destroyed. Luckily, he said, the car from this past winter’s blizzard, and we are grateful to them for their strong response is a rental that his company pays for. “Hopefully, they have good insurance to Hurricane Irene. During the coming for me,” he added. days, my office will work with the Office Throughout the city, residents are still of Emergency Management and other picking up the pieces one by one. Local agencies, as well as Con Edison, to help elected officials are urging their constitu- Bronxites clean up in the aftermath of this storm,” Diaz said. “I urge all Bronxites to ents to call their offices for any help. “Being prepared for extreme weather is stay safe, be mindful of their surroundings important, but for those who lost property and not to hesitate to report storm-related in the storm, it is critical to act quickly issues to my office or 311.”

Thursday, September 1, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Further delays seen for controversial ‘dinky rink’ By BRENDAN McHUGH Within the course of a week, Community Board 8 announced and then cancelled a public forum about the proposed Van Cortlandt Park ice-skating rink, furthering growing doubts that the rink will be operating by the planned start date of November. The forum was tentatively scheduled by the community board as a way to ensure the public had an opportunity to discuss the rink at length after the Department of Parks and Recreation announced the plans. However, the department has no timeline for an announcement, so the board cancelled the forum. Both the plans and the private company that will run the rink will have to go to the Franchise and Concessions Review Committee for a vote. The community board was ready to hold the special meeting on September 8 in order to vote on a recommendation to the FCRC. The FCRC holds meetings monthly and is made up of a borough president, the city comptroller, two mayoral appointments and representatives from the budget office and law department. “We won’t have a public forum if there is no application,” said Robert Fanuzzi, chairman of the board, before the meeting was cancelled. He confirmed that the parks department was not going to have any documents prepared in time for this month’s FCRC meeting. The parks department issued a request for proposals earlier this year but has yet to choose a winning company that will operate the privately run rink in Van Cortlandt Park. Because of the nature of RFPs, only once a winning bid is chosen are specific

details—such as rental fees, food options and the like—made available for public review. Since the parks department won’t be releasing any of those details, another meeting would replicate meetings held during the spring, a handful of board members said while the September date was still scheduled. This is the second special forum the community board has tried to schedule in anticipation of an announcement. At the beginning of the summer, the parks department was expected to make the announcement but never did, so the board meeting was cancelled. The RFP deadline was in May, and initial reports from the parks department said a winning bid would be announced within a few weeks. “We want to give [the rink] as much public review as possible,” Fanuzzi said. “That would be the only agenda item, in order to expand and intensify public review.” While some board members appreciated the efforts to hold a public forum on the rink, they believe now that the board is back in session, the skating rink issue should follow the normal procedure for any project. Community boards are generally on hiatus for the summer, aside for the occasional emergency hearing. “I think it’s about time the public was informed about this project,” said board member Robert Press, adding that the parks department needs to give out information. Other board members, who asked not to be named, were also irked at the decision to hold a special meeting now that the board is holding regular committee

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meetings again. “I think Bob is anxious to hear from the community on the project as well as myself and many other board members,” said Press, later joking that he meant himself, Fanuzzi, and Bob Bender, chair of the parks committee for the board. “All three Bobs.” Fanuzzi said that Bender’s September 12 parks committee has a full agenda, so in order to give the skating rink its proper public debate, they decided a special forum would be best. The next FCRC meeting is October 11, so if an announcement is made before then by the parks department, a separate public forum still may be held to let the community board discuss the rink. FCRC agendas are set 20 days in advance.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who has criticized the lack of suitable public meetings on the skating rink, was still cautious about the public forum. “The [community board] shouldn’t fit into the Franchise and Concessions Review Committee’s agenda,” he said, explaining his concern that if, for example, the information becomes available the day before the meeting, the public won’t really have time to digest the plans before they need to discuss and possibly vote on the plan. “If no one has a copy of what’s being proposed, people may not see the information until the meeting. That’s not the way to have an open and fair discussion,” he said. The planned skating rink will run on a 15-year contract during the winter season and will be situated on the defunct tennis courts near the West 242nd Street elevated subway station.


Dozens of the nation’s best and brightest minds will be asked to map out a strategy to lift school achievement at The Bronx’s inaugural education summit. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said the meeting on Saturday, October 15, will bring together students, teachers and educators and ask them to look beyond the usual short-term solutions. The aim will be to create an agenda and formulate new ideas to make sure all Bronx students are given every chance to succeed in life after school. “Our children must be prepared to enter college and the workforce, and the way to make sure that happens is to guarantee that our schools are the best they can possibly be,” Diaz said. “This is the reason that I called for this summit. It is vital to bring students, parents, educators and communities together to closely examine issues of concern and develop the action plan needed to address them.” The summit has also been bolstered by news that longtime school reform advocate and preeminent education expert Diane Ravitch will deliver the keynote address. Diaz said securing Dr. Ravitch was a major coup and revealed her speech would center on improving education for the children of The Bronx. “The goal of our education summit is to bring together the best minds in education, from all sides of the issues, to put forward a clear vision for the future of education in The Bronx,” he said. “With that in mind, we are extremely grateful that none other than Diane Ravitch, one of the most important voices in the national debate on education, is coming to The Bronx to participate in this historic event.” Dr. Ravitch, one of the nations’ most vocal critics of standards-based education reforms, is vehemently opposed to closing schools, replacing public schools with charter schools and firing teachers based on test scores. The summit, entitled “From Cradle to Career,” will be held at Lehman College from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Proceedings will begin with greetings from Diaz, New York University’s Dr.

KEYNOTER: Dr. Diane Ravitch

Pedro Noguera and Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, before Dr. Ravitch presents her keynote speech. Attendees will then break out into eight small groups to discuss topics including parental involvement, English as a second language, school safety and higher education. A VIP policy panel will round out formalities, in which a series of experts will discuss education issues spanning from birth to higher education and offer recommendations on how to improve the state of education in The Bronx. For more information or to register, call 718-590-6116 or visit

3 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ravitch to keynote education confab

Thursday, September 1, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Around the schools... P.S. 81

Parents of kindergarteners are invited to attend “kindergarten café” on the first two days of school—Thursday, September 8, and Friday, September 9—in the school cafeteria. While the youngsters are busy getting acquainted with their classrooms, parents can sip coffee and chat with parents association volunteers, sign up for committees and generally “ease those first-couple-of-days jitters,” parent coordinator Nina Velazquez suggested. PA volunteers will be available for parents from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Weather permitting, participants will meet outdoors. Get-acquainted meetings with teachers will begin the week of September 19. Students will be engaged in other planned activities while parents visit their child’s classroom to discuss curriculum or other matters with teachers. Parents of thirdand fifth-graders may visit the school on Wednesday, September 21; second- and fourth-grade parents on Thursday, September 22; kindergarten and first-grade parents on Tuesday, September 27.

Horace Mann School

Canh Eric Oxelson has been appointed as director of college counseling. Oxelson was selected after a national search to replace Stephen Singer, who held the position for more than 25 years. Oxelson graduated from the University of San Francisco, where he was a President’s Scholar as well as an NCAA Division II National Champion in swimming. After earning a master’s in education at Harvard, he worked in the admissions offices at several California colleges and then served as director of the multicultural recruitment program and regional director of admission at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 2003, Oxelson has served as Upper School dean and department chair at Harvard-Westlake School in North Hollywood, California, where he manages the college counseling program for 850 students. He transitioned the college application process to the electronic submission system and introduced spring break college tours. Oxelson will begin at HM next July. Other new appointments at HM: Lisa Moreira, the school’s director of admissions since 1996, has been appointed as director of institutional research and enrollment management, a new position. HM alumnus Jason H. Caldwell, former assistant director of admissions, will become the director of admissions for nursery through grade 12. Alumnus Dr. Daniel Rothstein has been appointed as the Upper Division’s director of counseling and guidance.

Manhattan College

Manhattan alumnus Andrew Ryan, a licensed professional engineer, has been appointed vice president for facilities. Ryan will be responsible for the daily operations of the physical plant and for development, design and management of new projects. His first major task will be to oversee construction of the Student Commons, a centerpiece in Manhattan’s new strategic plan. He most recently held a position at Weill Cornell Medical College and has worked on projects with Perkins Eastman, Syska Hennessy and Langan Engineering. At Weill Cornell, he collaborat-

ed in construction projects, strategic planning and implementation while holding overall responsibility for the maintenance and operation of more than 1.6 million square feet of combined state-of-the-art research, medical, educational, business and residential space. He brought that institution into the Mayor’s University Challenge to achieve a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2018, and they have already reached that goal. At Manhattan, he will lead the college’s extensive sustainability initiatives. Ryan began his career at the New York Power Authority as an assistant operations engineer in Plattsburgh, where he became lead engineer for a major expansion of a substation. He held several positions at the New York Power Authority, ending up as a senior electrical engineer. In the early 1990s, he was director of plant operations at Hackensack University Medical Center and served at Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey, before joining Weill Cornell. Ryan graduated from Manhattan College with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He holds an M.B.A. from Iona College and is a member of the APPA, the American Society for Healthcare Engineering, the Hospital Engineers of Greater New York, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, among other professional organizations. “We are delighted to welcome Mr. Ryan back to his alma mater,” Manhattan College President Dr. Brennan O’Donnell said. “Andy’s excellent engineering education combined with broad and deep experience and an impressive record of accomplishment will make him a great addition to our administrative team.”

FAX education news to:

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

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The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, September 1, 2011

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bus, seven kosher meals and snacks, all sightseeing and gratuities. Bus leaves the Y at 9:15am and 9/12 returns approximately at 6:00pm. For further information please call the Y at 718-548-8200x223 or 230.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Riverdale Neighborhood House after school program

The Riverdale Neighborhood House After School Program for K-5, is safe, reliable and affordable. Parents have the option of 2,3,4, or 5 days of care. Fee on public school half-days, and full-day care from 8:00-6:00PM on most school holidays, and February and Spring breaks. Limited scholarships for working parents. Pick up from PS 81 & PS 24. If you would like additional information please call 718-549-8100 ext. 125 Or visit their website @ for more details Riverdale Neighborhood House is located at 5521 Mosholu Avenue, Bronx, New York 10471 Since our founding in 1872, Riverdale Neighborhood House (RNH) has partnered with the residents of the Northwest Bronx to build and sustain a healthy and productive community. RNH delivers first-rate educational and social services to the entire community: children, teens, seniors and families. RNH programs strengthen the social fabric of our community and enhance the quality of life for our neighbors.

St. Margaret Leisure Club announces meeting

Sept. 9th at 12:30 p.m., and every other Friday, the Leisure Club of St. Margaret of Cortona will have their first meeting of

the season in the rectory room at 6000 Riverdale Avenue. Coffee and cake is served and entertainment or talks are here to enjoy. Day trips are always on the program. Membership is $15 a year and open to all. The club just celebrated its 40th year.

Hebrew Home to pay tribute to 9/11 anniversary

The Hebrew Home at Riverdale will host the 49th annual Grandparents’ Day celebration in conjunction with a remembrance of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. To mark the event, The Hebrew Home’s President and CEO, Daniel Reingold, will lead the attendees in a moment of silence, honoring the 10th anniversary of the tragic events. Grandparents’ Day, a national holiday to honor and appreciate grandparents, originated at the Hebrew Home under the leadership of the late Jacob Reingold. He was inspired by the idea of designating one day each year to celebrate grandparents-an idea he put into effect by creating Grandparents’ Day in 1961 at the Home. That first celebration received a special tribute from President John F. Kennedy. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed Grandparents’ Day a national holiday. The Home celebrating Grandparents’ Day has since become a strong tradition to the community. The event will also feature the 13th

annual Rhythm on the River Concert with special performances by The TomCats Jazz Aces Swing Band featuring String of Pearls and David Belt. It will be held on September 11, 2011 - 12:00-4:00 PM, at The Hebrew Home at Riverdale, 5901 Palisades Avenue, Riverdale, NY 10471 The Hebrew Home at Riverdale is a non-sectarian, not for profit geriatric care organization that provides a continuum of care to more than 3,500 older people in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Westchester County, New York. Founded in 1917 as a shelter for homeless elderly in Harlem, the Home is located on a beautiful 19 acre campus along the Hudson River and provides residential healthcare, rehabilitation and palliative care facilities, senior housing community, and the Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention. For more information, please visit Follow The Hebrew Home at Riverdale on Facebook.

Indian summer getaway to Newport and New Haven

The Simon Senior Center located at the Riverdale YM-YWHA is pleased to announce an Indian summer getaway to Newport, Rhode Island and New Haven from Monday, September 12thWednesday, September14th. This trip has something for everyone.-sightseeing, shopping, gambling, relaxation, wine tasting and much more. Enter a world of exceptional elegance and inspiration in architecture, art, interior design and landscapes. Explore 250 years of American history at properties located on lush acres of gardens and parks. Join us for a journey back in time at America’s houses and museums including The Breakers (Vanderbilt), Marble House (Vanderbilt), and Rosecliff in Newport. Also visit the oldest physical synagogue building in the US, The Touro Synagogue. Visit the mansions of Tour of Newport vineyards and wineries and evening fun at the Newport Grand Casino. The trip will also include a stop in New Haven at the New Haven Museum to see the special exhibit ‘The Hill’ New Haven’s first suburban community describing the different ethnic groups who settled in New Haven. The Cost: $495 doubles after August 10th $515 - $560 singles after August 10th $580 which includes accommodations at the Ramada Inn, a deluxe motor coach

Riverdale YM-YWHA Open House on September 11th

For Early Childhood Center Families�, The Y’s Early Childhood Center is hosting an Open House for new and returning families from 10:00 am- 12 noon. If you are registered for Nursery School this year, the morning will begin with a fun-filled jamboree in the main gym where youngsters will romp around on the trampoline and climb and roll over our inflatable castle. At 11:00 am parents and children will gather upstairs for an entertainment-filled hour of meet and greet with teachers, light refreshment and some child-appropriate entertainment. If you are interested in our early childhood programs, but are not yet registered (there are spaces available in many classes), contact Wendy Pollock at For Elementary Aged Children and their Families, �the Y will be offering some highlighted activities from our after-school programs. The afternoon’s events, which will run from 1:15 - 3:00 pm, will include Karate, Sports, Art & Crafts and Magic! These are just a small taste of the fun and educational courses offered at the Riverdale Y. If you would like more information about after school programs please contact Charlie Schiller at (718) 548-8200, ext. 229

JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center September events

Special fall cultural events at JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center in September: On Tuesday, Sept. 13th Sigal Chen, soprano and Jonathan Dzik, accompanist will present a program of classical, Broadway and Hebrew at the JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center. Sigal Chen graduated from the Rubin Academy of Music in Israel. She has given concerts at the Atria Riverdale, River Walk, Park East Synagogue and other area venues. Jonathan Dzik is a music educator who sings with the Collegiate Chorale and conducts the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale Community Choir. A holiday dinner (pineapple chicken, rice, broccoli and sorbet) will be served at 5:30 PM followed by the concert at 6:30 PM. The voluntary contribution for seniors is $2.00 for the meal and $2.00 for the concert. JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center is located in the Van Cortlandt Jewish Center at 3880 Sedgwick Ave. off of Van Cortlandt Ave. West on the Bronx #1 or #10 bus routes. For more information and advance reservations, call the center office at 718-549-4700.

Toastmasters set meeting

Bronx Toastmasters Club of Riverdale invites new members to join them at their free meeting on September 14th at 7:00 pm at the Riverdale Neighborhood House, 5521 Mosholu Avenue. Wouldn’t you like to communicate effectively? Now you can! Toastmasters will show you how to listen effectively, think on your feet, and speak confidently. You will learn valuable leadership skillsall in a supportive, non-intimidating environment. They meet every second and fourth Wednesday of the month. For further information, reach them at their website or 718-796-6671.

The Riverdale Community Center at MS/HS 141, 660 West 237th Street, is accepting registration for its Adult and Youth Education Program. Over 60 classes are offered for adults, teens, and children in the Arts, Computer, Dance, Exercise and Health, Languages, Leisure Activities, Music, Saturday Morning Enrichment Center, Exam Preparation and Reading and Math Tutoring. RCC Skills Program specializes in test preparation –Specialized High Schools Admission Prep, TACHS (Test for Admission to Catholic High Schools), S.A.T. prep; and Art prep for the specialized art schools. We also offer small group tutorials in Reading Grades 2 & 3; Reading and Writing Grades 4 &5; Basic Math Skills Grades 2 & 3; and Basic Math Skills Grades 4 & 5. RCC Enrichment Center is a new program offering challenging and enriching activities for children in grades 2 and 3 focusing on mathematics, English Language Arts/Reading and music. Each component will be approximately one-hour and children will rotate throughout the three-hour program to each component. All test preparation, skills and enrichment classes are taught by licensed/certified teachers. New Tuesday evening classes for adults include Nutrition Lifestyle Makeovers – Create new dietary habits and break bad ones and Yo! Yoga for Osteo! where certi-

fied Hatha Yoga instructor will teach how to minimize the effects of the potentially dangerous disease osteoporosis through yoga. Other favorites include Pilates, Zumba, Piano, Cooking, Life Drawing and Painting, and many more. New Saturday morning classes for children include Holiday Crafts for Kids, Tennis and Modern Hip Hop. Additional classes for children include Basketball, Gymnastics, Jewelry Making, Guitar, and Piano. Call 796-4724 or 796-4882 or visit our website at for information or for a free brochure. You may register by phone with Master Card, Visa, Discover or AMEX or by FAX at 796-0414. In-person registration will be held at Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy (MS/HS 141) on Sept. 24th from 10 am – 12 noon and on Sept. 27th 7-8:30 pm Payment by check or money order is accepted with the downloadable registration form on our website or mail registration form inside our brochure. The Riverdale Community Center, now in its 40th year, has something for everyone Church of the Mediator will host a special Labor Day flea market on Saturday, September 3, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The sale will be held on the corner of West 231st Street and Kingsbridge Avenue in the Bronx, steps away from Broadway and the #1 train. Jewelry, handbags, clothing, books, linens, CD’s, DVD’s and toys will be sold

at bargain prices. The famous Mr G. from Irvington, NY will also be on hand to serve up five kinds of his homemade empanadas, as well as his signature rotisserie chicken and rice. For more information, please call 718-548-3312 or Ruben Mendez on 917846-0182.

HIR Community Choir Begins on September 7

The Hebrew Institute of Riverdale Community Choir is starting its tenth season on Wednesday evening, September 7.

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.

7 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, September 1, 2011

A full slate of programs at Riverdale Community Ctr.

Rehearsals are held on Wednesdays from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the social hall on the lower level of the synagogue, 3700 Henry Hudson Parkway. Performances during Chanukah week are planned. The choir welcomes new members who can sing in harmony with others, become familiar with each season’s repertoire and follow the conductor’s directions. Ability to read music is helpful but not required. Singers receive practice CDs or tapes of their voice parts to assist them in learning the music, which is mainly in Hebrew, Yiddish, English and Ladino with English transliterations for Hebrew and Yiddish songs. New members are invited to participate in the first few rehearsals to determine whether they are a good fit for the group. For further information, contact the choir’s music director, Jonathan Dzik, at or 718-549-8520 and visit

Thursday, September 1, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Friday, Sept. 9

Saturday, Sept. 24

LEISURE CLUB MEETING 12:30 p.m. St. Margaret of Cortona 6000 Riverdale Avenue Sept. 9, and every other Friday, the Leisure Club will meet. Coffee and cake is served and entertainment or talks are here to enjoy. Membership is $15 a year and open to all.

MEDITATION 2 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street A meditation movement empowering New Yorkers to do more of the things they love by recharging through meditation: a practical way to refresh every day. For more information, call 718-548-5656.



Sunday, Sept. 11

Monday, Sept. 26

9/11 ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE 12 p.m. Hebrew Home 5901 Palisade Avenue The Hebrew Home at Riverdale will host the 49th annual Grandparents’ Day celebration in conjunction with a remembrance of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. To mark the event, The Hebrew Home’s President and CEO, Daniel Reingold, will lead the attendees in a moment of silence, honoring the 10th anniversary of the tragic events. For more information, please visit www. Follow The Hebrew Home at Riverdale on Facebook.

READING ALOUD 4 p.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street A librarian will share favorite picture books, providing children with the wonder of books and the joy of reading. For ages 5 to 12 years old. For more information, call 718796-1202.


Tuesday, Sept. 13 Kingsbridge

LEARN TO DANCE 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Join the Annabella Gonzalez Dance Studio as they demonstrate a variety of contemporary dance moves with Latin flair. Let the music and rhythm inspire you to move along with the performers. For ages 12 to 18 years. old. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Thursday, Sept. 15 Kingsbridge

GOOFY GRAPHICS 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Explore how water and oil repel each other. Make marbleized paper using the concept of repulsion to make and then capture a design. Presented by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. For ages 5 to 12 years old. Limited to 25 participants. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Friday, Sept. 16 Spuyten Duyvil

SOUTH OF THE BORDER 3:30 p.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street Storytellers weave narration, music and audience interaction into this collection of folktales from Mexico, Central and South America. For ages 6 to 12 years old. For more information, call 718-796-1202.

Saturday, Sept. 17 Kingsbridge

MEDITATION 2 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street A meditation movement empowering New Yorkers to do more of the things they love by recharging through meditation: a practical way to refresh every day. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Monday, Sept. 19 Van Cortlandt

BEAUTIFUL BANDANAS 4 p.m. Van Cortlandt Branch Library 3874 Sedgwick Avenue Create wearable art! Transfer your sketch onto a bandana and then paint it in! Show it off with pride, or make it a present. All materials will be provided. For ages 12 to 18 years. old. For more information, call 718-543-5150.

Wednesday, Sept. 21 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 Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Book club participants must reserve copies of each title through the Library’s catalog system. Reserve your copy by placing a hold online at www. or visiting your local branch. For more information, call 718-549-1212.

Spuyten Duyvil


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, Sept. 27 Spuyten Duyvil

BABY LAPSIT 11 a.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street Babies from birth to 18 months old and their parents/caregivers can enjoy great books, lively songs, and rhymes, and meet other babies in the neighborhood. For more information, call 718-796-1202.


MANGA DRAWING WORKSHOP 4 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Obsessed with the creatures of the night? Bring them to life on the page with horror master Ivan Velez. Zombies, werewolves, vamps, and ghouls achieve afterlife while your create. All materials will be provided. For ages 12 to 18 years. old. For more information, call 718-549-1212.


TURTLE DAY 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street TURTLE DAY (Teaming Up Readers Toward Literacy Excellence) with LINC (Literacy Inc.) @Kingsbridge Library on Tuesday Sept.27 @4:00 ages 5-12 years old. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

By MIAWLING LAM Local straphangers are being taken for a ride—literally. A new report compiled by the Straphangers Campaign reveals No. 1 trains arrive intermittently, are prone to breakdowns and remain plagued by inaudible or garbled announcements. Official transit data also shows while trains are scheduled to arrive every three minutes—versus the system-wide average of five minutes—only 70 percent arrive at regular intervals. Service is so poor, a trip on the local red line is worth just $1.10, less than half the $2.25 fare commuters are forced to cough up. However, the results could be far

worse. Data for the Straphangers Campaign’s 14th annual “State of the Subways” report was gathered before the Metropolitan Transportation Authority stealthily slashed service on the No. 1 line. Under the change, which quietly kicked in on July 1, the number of rush-hour trains dropped from 18 to 16. Off-peak, there are now between 9 and 11 trains an hour, down from 10 and 12. Despite the grim news, Riverdale’s sole subway line was judged to be among the eighth-best in the city, after registering above-average scores for seat availability. The report found one in two com-

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muters on the No. 1 line manages to snare a seat during rush hours and 93 percent of cars have “light or no interior dirtiness.” Overall, the rider advocacy group said there were fewer subway car breakdowns last year. On average, trains broke down every 170,000 miles—a 15 percent improvement over 2009. The J/Z service, which runs from Broad Street in Manhattan to Jamaica, Queens, was crowned the city’s best line and scored top marks for seat availability, train regularity and announcements. The E, Q and last year’s winner, the 7, were ranked equal second, while the No. 2 and C tied to earn the ignominious title of being the city’s worst subway lines. Both lines, which were valued at a pitiful 90 cents, were overcrowded, irregular and more likely than any other to experience delays due to mechanical problems Straphangers Campaign Senior At-

torney Gene Russianoff said the findings suggest constant renewal was key to rider satisfaction. “The critical thing is to constantly replace subway cars,” he said. “The quality of service depends a lot on your car. Some of those are decadeold cars.” Russianoff said it was far too early to measure the full impact of the MTA’s much-derided 2010 budget cuts but noted that next year’s report card would present a clearer picture. Meanwhile, the seven other subway lines serving The Bronx recorded mixed results, The No. 6 emerged as the borough’s top-performing line and was ranked fifthbest based on cleanliness and near-perfect in-car announcements. The local green line also has more scheduled services than any other line, with weekday trains arriving every 2.5 minutes. The D came in at eighth place, the No. 5 and 3 tied for 11th, the No. 4 was Continued on Page 10

9 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, September 1, 2011

#1 train may be no bargain, but is better than most

Residents raise $$ to bury neighbor

Thursday, September 1, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


By BRENDAN McHUGH After learning her recently deceased neighbor, Eleanor Gsell, would end up buried in potter’s field, Elaine Carinci has spent the last two weeks collecting $2,300 to give Gsell a proper burial. “She will have a casket and will be in her own plot, with her own headstone,” Carinci said. “The most important stuff has been taken care of.” Gsell, 74, committed suicide earlier this month when she jumped in front of a downtown No. 1 train. No next of kin was found, and a forensic audit of her apartment did not find any burial instructions or a plot to be buried in. Carinci initially expected the audit to take weeks, but only days later it was completed, making the effort to raise money much more urgent. So Carinci went back through the building and pleaded with her fellow 3015 Riverdale Avenue residents for money to give Gsell a proper funeral. Otherwise, Gsell would have been buried in potter’s field, where the city buries unclaimed bodies or those with families unable to fund a private funeral. Potter’s field is currently located on Hart Island, the easternmost part of The Bronx. The funeral was Wednesday, August 31, at St. John’s Church, 3121 Kingsbridge Avenue. Carinci believes Gsell will be buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Westchester. “Most of the money came from people in the building,” Carinci said, adding that a few hundred dollars were donated from local businesses. “I’m still waiting on engraving of the headstone, but that can wait a little.”

For Carinci, she’s just happy life can return to some sort of normal now. “I took time off of work to deal with this,” the NYPD lawyer said. “Phone calls, letters, etc. I didn’t get confirmation of anything until Monday afternoon.” Carinci said Gsell wasn’t a close friend, but most certainly more than just an acquaintance. “Eleanor liked to sit outside on the benches in the evening, eating her dinner. I’d stop and talk to her, but I’m not one of the residents here who have known her for 30 years.” Those who did know her said she lived without electricity for the last few months and had a gambling addiction—she would spend two days a week going to Atlantic City, where she burned through most of her monthly income.

Transit ratings Continued from Page 9 voted third-worst, and the B was ranked second-worst. The findings are based on official transit data and encompass six performance indicators such as service frequency, how often a line experiences a delay due to mechanical problems, crowding and cleanliness. MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the agency valued the group’s findings. “We always appreciate and consider the Straphangers Campaign’s fun and unique take on subway and bus service.”

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By MIAWLING LAM Eight weeks after Tweed officials confirmed they were investigating the principal at P.S. 24, local parents are still waiting for answers. Department of Education authorities launched a probe into Donna Connelly two months ago following claims she falsified financial information and signed off on fraudulent timesheets. The investigation, which is being conducted internally, is also understood to be looking into alleged hiring improprieties and the possible illegal “warehousing” of the assistant principal position. However, despite continuing efforts over the summer break, officials have yet to release their preliminary findings. The city also refuses to comment publicly about the probe. Critics have long suggested that Connelly has been waiting for her close friend Emanuele Verdi to complete the required coursework so he can fill the assistant principal vacancy. The Spuyten Duyvil School has been without an assistant principal for two years, despite recently boasting as many as two. The Council of Supervisors and Administrators raised objections to Connelly’s actions on the matter last year and called for a fully qualified assistant principal to be appointed immediately. Department of Education spokeswoman Barbara Morgan this week confirmed inquiries were continuing. The case came to light after the Riverdale Review received a tip-off from a person at the school on June 28, a

couple of days before the end of the school year. The source said it appeared that Connelly was complicit in the school’s acting assistant principal Manny Verdi’s pocketing extra money. It is understood that five teachers saw Verdi’s timesheets and noticed an anomaly suggesting he was collecting extra money for school bus pickups. It was this eagle-eyed observation that sparked the scrutiny. The Review has also learned that Connelly is being queried over the alleged misuse of school funds raised in the annual Laps for Learning event. Monies from the fundraiser have traditionally been used by teachers to purchase books and classroom materials, but funds did not find their way to the teachers last year and were spent exclusively under Connelly’s direction, upsetting a number of the instructional staff. Richard J. Condon, Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City Public Schools, is not involved in the probe.

FAX education news to:

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

11 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, September 1, 2011

Investigation of P.S. 24 principal continues

Thursday, September 1, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


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.

Sunday, Sept. 4 Rye

EARLY FALL MIGRANTS 7:30 a.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 Come and discover those “confusing fall warblers” and many other birds on the move for this season. Please bring binoculars. 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 enjoy a day at the farm. Fresh produce, meat, cheese, soap, candles. honey, maple syrup, flowers, fish and delicious baked goods. For more information, call 914-864-7282.


WALKING TOUR 2 p.m. Lasdon Park Route 35 Enjoy a leisurely walk through the perennial gardens with Lasdon’s horticulturist. Learn about the wonderful perennials that will bring beautiful color to your fall garden. For more information, call 914-864-7268 .

Friday, Sept. 9 Valhalla

PHOTOGRAPHY OPEN HOUSE 8 p.m. Westchester Community College Tech Bldg., East Gate Westchester Photographic Society Open House. Welcome to New Members and interested photographers at all levels. Presentation by Warren Rosenberg, “Shooting Sports.” Refreshments and a fun evening of photography. Free. For more information, visit or call 914-271-5542.

Saturday, Sept. 10 Mt. Vernon

HISTORY LECTURE 1 p.m. St. Paul’s Church 897 S. Columbus Avenue Archaeologist Dr. Eugene Boesch uncovers the physical and human history of the area, and considers where the bold Puritan rebel Anne Hutchinson lived in the 1640s, helping to explore the site’s feature exhibition, “A Clash of Cultures: Anne Hutchinson’s Brief life near St. Paul’s Church.” The talk is presented through the New York Council for the Humanities speakers program. There’s also a 3 PM tour of the historic church and Bell Tower, as well as the cemetery, one of the nation’s oldest burial yards. For more information, call David Osborn at 914-667-4116

Sunday, Sept. 11 Garrison

A 9/11 OBSERVANCE 3 p.m. Garrison Institute Route 9D The Garrison Institute marks the ten-year anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001 with a showing of the documentary Rebirth and a discussion with the author of the companion book. The film follows the lives of nine people coping with 9/11 over the past decade, and is both a remembrance of the lives lost and a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit. A light reception will follow the film, including a book-signing by Dr. Robin Stern, co-author of the book

Project Rebirth: Survival and the Strength of the Human Spirit from 9/11 Survivors. Learn more at www.garrisoninstitute. org/rebirth or

Friday, Sept. 16 Valhalla

PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION 8 p.m. Westchester Community College Tech Bldg., East Gate Westchester Photographic Society presents Members’ Competition. The public is invited for an exciting and inspiring evening of photography. Free. For more information, visit or call 914-271-5542.

Saturday, Sept. 17 White Plains

HEALTH LECTURE 8:45 a.m. White Plains Hospital Center Davis Avenue at East Post Road Dr. Cheng Gonjon, a geriatrician, will be guest speaker. Program also includes a panel from the Latino Alzheimer’s Association from New York City who will discuss their personal experiences as caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s. Early registration is advised as space is limited. To sign up, call Corina DeLeon at (914) 813-6393.


HOOK MOUNTAIN MIGRATION 9:30 a.m. Teatown Lake Reservation 1600 Spring Valley Road Hike with a naturalist to the top of Hook Mountain for a bird’s eye view of Haverstraw Bay , the Tappan Zee and points south. Bring binoculars to spot hawks, ospreys and falcons as they migrate. Car pooling to the trailhead may be necessary. For more information, contact Mary Haley at 914-762-2912 ext. 110 or visit

Sunday, Sept. 18 Ossining

FAIRIES & GNOMES 1 p.m. Teatown Lake Reservation 1600 Spring Valley Road Use your imagination and natural materials (no picking please!) to create a home for woodland critters real or imagined! Free for members; $5pp for nonmembers. Call 914-762-2912 ext. 110 to make a reservation.

Monday, Sept. 19 Scarsdale

CHARITY GOLF & TENNIS 8 a.m. Quaker Ridge Golf Club 140 Griffen Avenue Charity Golf and Tennis Outing with Tennis Star James Blake: Westchester Children’s Museum is hosting its annual golf outing at the beautiful and challenging Quaker Ridge Golf Club, counted among the nation’s top 40 golf courses. Not a golfer? Come hit the courts with tennis star James Blake. Proceeds will support the museum’s educational programs. A limited number of VIP tickets are available. Ticket prices begin at $500. Quaker Ridge Golf Club. Scarsdale, N.Y. Call 914-421-5050 or visit for more information.

Thursday, Sept. 22 Mt. Vernon

MEDICARE BASICS 10 a.m. Westchester County Office Building 9 S. First Ave., 8th floor Case workers will provide information about Medicare parts A, B, C and D and how to use Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) for even greater savings. EPIC is a New York State-sponsored plan that helps eligible seniors pay prescription drug costs. They will also discuss Medigap insurance, cost-sharing and preventive benefits. Program sponsored by the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services (DSPS). To register, call DSPS’ Medicare Information Line at (914) 813-6100.

Friday, Sept. 23 Ossining

HAWK MIGRATION 9 a.m. Teatown Lake Reservation 1600 Spring Valley Road The view from Teatown Hill encompasses the Hudson River flyway and a chance to see migrating hawks, vultures and maybe even a falcon or eagle. FREE. Call 914-762-2912 ext. 110 to make a reservation. Please note this program is for adults only. For more information, call 914-762-2912 ext. 110.

By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER Most of us would suffer after touching poison ivy, but the city’s parks department takes a hands-off approach to controlling its spread except on park pathways or playgrounds. So a call to 311 to get a patch eradicated may not yield the desired response. “Parks treats any poison ivy that encroaches onto our sidewalks, trails, playgrounds, fence lines and bench areas,” a department representative stated. But the plant is free to flourish within wooded areas adjacent to the paths and elsewhere in the city. The offending component in the plant is an oil called urushiol. For those who have experienced urushiol-induced contact dermatitis and would favor the eradication of Toxicodendron radicans altogether, the parks department website links to an article entitled “In Praise of Poison Ivy” that offers a broader perspective. It explains why poison ivy is “an important plant in our urban natural areas” while acknowledging “certain drawbacks” for many people—70 to 85 percent of us—“who are allergic to its oily sap” and its benzenering-containing chemicals. “These chemicals can cause itching and blistering of skin, but they are made by the plant to protect it from being eaten by insects and vertebrate herbivores such as rabbits and deer.” Poison ivy is a native species here. Uniformed parks employees regularly make short work of other invasive species—entire stands of thriving green, weedy foliage suddenly turn brown and withered and are yanked out of the earth, victims of an herbicide offensive. But poison ivy neighboring the now-dead non-natives lives on

and proliferates with impunity. The parks department staff can’t touch it. “No one seems to like Toxicodendron radicans, but poison ivy is an important plant in our urban natural areas,” the article notes. “In New York City it is all but ubiquitous in natural areas.” A team of department employees recently tidying up Raoul Wallenberg Forest on Palisade Avenue admitted that they couldn’t do anything about the poison ivy throughout the woods. Many locals walk there with their dogs, who scamper through the poison ivy hidden among the other species of ground cover. The pets themselves don’t suffer the symptoms, but any urushiol on their fur is transferred to an unsuspecting human.

“It is as ground cover that poison ivy performs its most vital functions in urban woodlands,” the article says. “It can grow in almost any soil and it enjoys full sun, but can grow in closed canopy woodlands. It is an ideal ground cover, holding soil in place on the steepest slopes, while collecting and holding leaf litter and sticks that decay to form rich humus. It captures rain, causing the water to sink into the ground, slowing runoff, renewing groundwater, filtering out pollutants and helping to prevent flooding.” Poison ivy comes in several styles, so it’s not always easy to identify. It can grow in the form of a shrub, a vine that trails along the ground or a vine that climbs up the bark of a tree. The leaves are always

13 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, September 1, 2011

Watch out! City won’t remove poison ivy here

arranged in groups of three attached to a single middle stem, but they may or may not have irregular notches, and colors range from any shade of green to any hue in the palette of fall colors. “Flowers of poison ivy are small and greenish-white and not often noticed, except by the honeybees and native bees which visit them for nectar and to exchange pollen among the flowers. Honey made from poison ivy nectar is not toxic. Fruits of poison ivy are small and waxycoated berries that remain on the vine into winter. They are eaten by woodpeckers, yellow-rumped warblers and other birds. Crows use poison ivy berries as crop grist (instead of, or along with, small stones) and are major dispersers of the seeds…. Poison ivy is also important as shelter for birds, and many invertebrates.” Rhymes to aid recognition include “leave of three, let them be”; “hairy vine, no friend of mine”; and “berries white, run in fright.” But should these fail, the damage of touching poison ivy can be reversed if the affected area is thoroughly washed—within about ten minutes of contact—with water and soap, preferably detergent, or alcohol. The urushiol itself can remain potent for several years, so it’s best to bathe the dog ASAP while wearing rubber gloves. If an itchy rash appears—and these vary in appearance as much as the poison ivy that caused it—consult, or another reputable site. “While those who are severely allergic to poison ivy have reason to dislike and avoid it, Toxicodendron radicans has an important place in our urban natural areas. No one would advocate letting it grow in playgrounds, picnic areas, or along heavily used trail margins, but it belongs in our woods and fields and should be treated with respect, not hatred.”

Thursday, September 1, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



Tinnitus sufferers are invited to attend a free tinnitus support group on Thursday, September 8 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held in the conference room of the Church of the Mediator on 260 West 231st Street in Kingsbridge. Guests are instructed to enter near the BX7 and BX10 bus stop, All members of the public are welcome. Meetings usually last one hour. For more information, please call Dr. K. Nabinet on 718-410-2301 or 917-797-9065.

Riverdale Y programs

The Riverdale Y is now registering for our Kids Space and Y care programs for new and prospective families. Come to our after-school orientations and meet our counselors and learn about your child’s after-school program. �Kids’ Space at the Y�Thursday, September 8 �6:30 - 7:30 pm;�Y! Care at PS 24�Wednesday, September 7 �6:30 - 7:30 pm Kids Space is open to the entire community. Y Care is open to students at PS 24 only. For more information call Charlie Schiller the Y at 718-548-8200 ext. 229 or email The Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue.

Jewish War veterans

Jewish War veterans of Post # 69 Newman-Goldman will hold their monthly meeting on Sunday September 18 at 10 a.m. The event will be held in Room 3D22 on the third floor of the Kingsbridge Medical Hospital on 130 West Kingsbridge Road. Guests are instructed to enter via Webb Avenue. The group is the only active JWV post in the Riverdale/Kingsbridge area. Members of other posts, veterans and any interested parties are welcome. Attendees do not need to be registered at the hospital. For more information, please call Mel Saks on 914-337-0277 or Herb Barret on 718-548-6832.

Riverdale Senior Services

Riverdale Senior Services is having a “Half-Way to St.Patrick’s Day” party on Thursday, September 15th. For a $5.00 contribution you will enjoy a delicious corned beef & cabbage lunch (served at 12 noon), followed by music and dancing with Ian Gallagher and Bingo at 2:30. Tickets can be obtained at the center (no telephone reservations accepted) which is located at 2600 Netherland Avenue (the

Century Building). Validated parking is available for $3.50. For more information call: 718-884-5900.

Riverdalians named to St. Catharine’s Board

St. Catharine Academy announced the following new members to its Board of Trustees: Brother Thomas J. Scanlan, FSC, President Emeritus, Manhattan College; Maureen Doran-Houlihan, an alumna and Vice President of Global Learning and Global Talent, Acquisition, and Development, MasterCard Worldwide; Brendan P. Weiden, P.E., Partner, Jaros, Baum, and Bolles, Consulting Engineers; and Domitilia M. dos Santos, Senior Vice President, Wealth Management, Morgan Stanley/Smith Barney. Commenting on his appointment Bro. Scanlan said, “Based upon a long and wonderful, personal and professional relationship with the Sisters of Mercy, and as a devoted Bronxite, I am honored to accept Sr. Patricia Wolf’s invitation to serve on the Board of Trustees. From my experience with its graduates who continued their education at Manhattan College, I know first-hand that SCA is an excellent school.” Maureen Doran-Houlihan added, “I received a superb education at St. Catharine’s and I am so grateful

to give back to the Sisters of Mercy and an institution that made such a positive impact on my life.” Trustees re-appointed include Sr. Ann Veronica Bivona, Principal, Saint Margaret Mary School, Bronx, Hon. LaTia W. Martin, Supreme Court Justice, and Hon. Denis J. Boyle of Riverdale, Acting Supreme Court Justice, Bronx County Supreme Court.

Medicare Seminar

Riverdale Senior Services, Inc, (RSS) is sponsoring several Medicare informational seminars that will overview Medicare Parts A & B; Medigap plans; Medicare Advantage plans; Medicare Part D; the Medicare Savings Program and EPIC. The seminars will be held at the following locations: RSS (2600 Netherland Avenue, the Century Building) on Thursday, September 8th and Tuesday, September 20th from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m; The Simon Senior Center @ the Riverdale Y (5625 Arlington Avenue) on Tuesday, October 4th, from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. and at St. Gabriel’s Church/Walsh Hall (3250 Arlington Avenue) on Sunday, October 23rd from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. The seminars are free of charge. Advanced Registration is required. To register and for more information please call: 718-884-5900.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bx tinnitus support group

Thursday, September 1, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


‘Differentiated Instruction’ is a disaster for students in our schools To the Editor:

Your cartoon depiction of the current educational fad, “Differentiated Instruction,”at P.S. 24 is illogical, counterintuitive, impractical, unworkable, and was uncalled for. True. But “uncalled for”, in the sense that no one in education ever really expects the general public to take notice of such things. We therefore never “call for” it. So although “uncalled for,” it was a pleasant surprise, nonetheless. To some of us, anyway. And not unappreciated. Teachers have been struggling with DI for some time. Mind you, we’ve been implementing it (i.e. the core idea of DI: that each child learns at a different pace and brings to the classroom a unique set of strengths and weaknesses requiring the flexible use of instructional approaches and techniques suited to each child) for decades. But now we are struggling with it. Reason being is that the education bureaucracy has latched on to DI. When the education bureaucracy latches onto something, it immediately corrupts it. Now DI is required. Or as they say in bureaucratic circles: “mandated.” No, not the ‘just plain common sense’ version that we in the western world have practiced successfully since Greek antiquity. Rather, the Department of Education version. Now every lesson taught MUST show “evidence” of Differentiated Instruction. The more levels of instruction, the more numerous the groupings of students, the more evidence the teacher can produce that he/she has effectively individualized the material for every single student in the class, the better the lesson. At least according to school administrators, the people who evaluate teachers. In other words: the teacher should not “teach a class.” He/she should teach each member of the class individually. (Yes. That’s correct. We used to call this “tutoring.”) And simultaneously. “Differentiated Instruction”, like a religion, is variously interpreted and now encompasses a number of increasingly distinct sects. Each denomination offering a slightly different interpretation and each deploying its own star advocates. It’s anyone’s guess as to whom Dr. Mike Schmoker (prominent author and education critic) was referring in his Education Week column that appeared late last year: “Several years ago, I had a courteous, if troubling, email exchange with the architect of a hugely popular instructional innovation. She had heard that I’d been criticizing this approach. I had.” By Schmoker’s account the exchange boiled down to an issue of “show me the money.” In other words, where is the evidence that DI works? Only after multiple requests did I finally receive an answer: There was no solid research or school evidence” to support DI’s widespread adoption. But never before has that (i.e., a complete absence of scientific evidence) stopped bad ideas from taking root and, in time, taking over. Especially in education. Result: “Differentiated Instruction went on to become one of

the most widely adopted instructional orthodoxies of our time.” So how does it actually play out in the classroom? Well… not so great. (But does that matter?) Schmoker again: “I had seen this innovation in action. In every case it seemed to complicate teachers’ work.” That’s pretty much what most teachers in the trenches see as well. Keep that straightjacket handy. Paul Hogan

P.S. I have been a teacher of Special Education in New York City for 27 years and am an elected UFT delegate.

cordially invites you and your family to our

49Grandparents’ th Annual


Join us for an afternoon of celebration, service and remembrance

Sunday, September 11, 2011 12 – 4 p.m. (rain or shine)

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19 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, September 1, 2011

Storm Hype and Reality Did Mayor Bloomberg overreact when he ordered evacuations from low-lying areas and played a role in ordering a variety of actions that had the result of shutting down the city for 2 days in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene? History suggests that the mayor may have been more than a bit overzealous, perhaps overcompensating for his widely criticized mishandling of the blizzard that struck the city shortly after Christmas Day last year. The fact is that New York due to its fortunate geography rarely takes a major hit during hurricane season. A famous storm in 1821, estimated to be equivalent to Category 4, flooded city streets to Canal Street, which was then the northernmost settled area in Gotham. In 1938, a Category 3 hurricane made landfall in Suffolk County – but not in the city proper – killing hundreds and causing much damage. Virtually no storms actually hit the city directly. It may be wet, it may be windy, but it isn’t a major threat – at least within city limits. The suburbs, far more vulnerable, are another matter entirely. We live in an era of hype, a time when radio and television stations build ratings upon the fear of extreme weather. Thus we prepared for the off chance that an implausible major storm would hit us dead on. Perhaps a case could have been made for the closing of the subway system and perhaps the evacuation of the very few areas clearly in harms way. But most of the evacuation was certainly overkill and the suspension of bus service was certainly uncalled for. Whatever uncertainty there was as to the strength of the storm was put to rest on Friday when the storm made landfall in North Carolina not as a category 3 or even category 2 hurricane as was widely predicted, but as category 1. By the time it reached the metropolitan area it was no longer even a hurricane but merely a tropical storm. The flooding and power outages that resulted were similar to those that follow many other less exotic weather patterns. Nothing we haven’t seen before. The real lesson here though is that above all else we should be following the historic patterns based on centuries of experience which suggests that the city of New York is unlikely to be struck by a major hurricane. Perhaps it could be said that God created the Carolinas to take the hit for us when hurricane winds blow. On one hand tens of millions of dollars were wasted, business lost and many were inconvenienced. But at least unlike the post-Christmas blizzard, the mayor stayed put in New York and didn’t fly off to his weekend retreat in Bermuda. Now that’s a good thing. Isn’t it?

More delay on Dinky Rink Once again Parks Department has put off approval of the Request for Proposals regarding a Van Cortlandt Park Skating Rink. We suspect that they know, what they have assiduously shielded from the public – that this project in fatally flawed. The community board should act before more time passes, and act – not on the proposal itself, but on the undemocratic process that excludes the public from decisions about parkland that is supposed to be theirs. They should insist on the following reforms, at minimum: •that any such proposal be submitted through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Process, as any public project should. •that the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy open its meetings to the public. The business of government must not ever be done in secret. •that the politicians be removed from the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy, replaced by community residents not beholden to any special interest. The effort to build a skating rink here, a project that no one has asked for, may well be an effort to set the precedent for the privatization of this park and others. That’s why this process must be opened to public scrutiny. That is the real issue here.

Can there be peace in the Middle East? To The Editor: I will not dispute Philip Brieff’s version of the history of Israel/ Palestinian, although I don’t see it exactly as he does. As a fellow supporter of Israel as a Jewish state, I am more concerned about its future than the past. Do we wish for Israel a state of eternal war? Do we wish for Israel to rule indefinitely over a hostile population that is growing at a rate where it will eventually outnumber Jewish Israelis, threatening either the Jewish or the democratic character of the state? Do we wish for Israel to be isolated among the nations for its treatment of an unwilling people? To avoid this onus, what is urgently needed is serious negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government two establish two states, living in peace and with security. The United States, as a principal supporter of Israel and a source of funds for the PLO must provide the leadership to bring the parties together. No, Israel

shouldn’t negotiate with those who remain sworn to destroy it. The PLO, under Mahoud Abbas has accepted Israel’s right to exist, renounced violence and agreed to abide by past agreements. Does Israel have an ideal negotiating partner? Certainly not. But, to paraphrase Rumsfeld, you negotiate with the partners you have, not the ones you wish you had. President Obama has suggested that a starting place for negotiations would be the establishment of a border between Israel and the Palestinian state-to-be on the basis of the pre-1967 armistice lines with mutually agreed on land swaps to meet Israel’s legitimate security needs. This approach has been taken by several American Presidents as well as former Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Barack and Ehud Olmert and several leading Israeli military leaders, intellectuals, legislators and former diplomats. It has been said that the pre1967 lines are “not defensible”.

ANDREW WOLF, Editor and Publisher

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Not defensible against what? Israel has the finest army in the world and, most probably, nuclear weapons. The danger to Israel is not external. It comes from governing a growing and hostile population. In the near future, there may well be an effort before the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state over the objections of Israel and the United State. The result of that effort could be more hostility among the nations at a time when global cooperation could not be more important. It could give false hope to the Palestinian people and further fuel their despair and rage without improving the situation on the ground. This conflict can only be resolved around the negotiating table, not by way of one-sided declarations by either side. This past Tuesday, J Street, the pro Israel, pro peace organization, delivered 40,000 post cards to 100 members of Congress, urging American support for a two state resolution. Over the years, friends have often quoted to me W. H. Auden’s line, “We must love one another or perish”. I have always demurred. It’s setting the bar too high. What we must do is stop killing and oppressing one another. We early Zionists saw Israel as a “light unto the nations”. Let that vision now be restored with peace and justice. David Kornbluh

Thursday, September 1, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Riverdal Review, September 1, 2011  

Weekly newspaper published in Riverdale, NY 10471