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Riverdale’s ONLY Locally Owned Newspaper!

Volume XVIII • Number 47 • November 17 - 23, 2011 •


Mayor stunned by delays in ‘Dinky Rink’ By MIAWLING LAM The proposed ice-skating rink in Van Cortlandt Park remains snowed under. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who first announced the plan during his State of the City address earlier this year, admitted he was puzzled over the cause of the lengthy delays. Speaking at an unrelated press conference in The Bronx last week, Bloomberg appeared out of the loop on the project and said he was stumped by the hold-up. “I have absolutely no idea, but if you call us later, we'll find out,” he said. “I just do not know why.” The mayor's stunning admission emerged as Community Board 8 pressed ahead with plans to schedule yet another public hearing. At last Wednesday's general board meeting, members passed a resolution to hold a public hearing on Tuesday, December 6—a mere six days before the next Franchise and Concessions Review Committee gathering. It is the fifth hearing that CB8 has scheduled in four months in anticipation of the project's inclusion on the FCRC agenda. However, because the parks department has failed to announce a winning bid, CB8 has been forced to cancel each meeting. Despite the merry-go-round process, parks depart-

ment spokesman Zachary Feder said the city was pushing ahead with the rink and denied claims the project was delayed. Feder said the agency was currently in talks with another party but refused to confirm whether it was with Ice Rink Events—the only known company to be in the running for the project—or whether discussions were being conducted with multiple firms. “After the RFP, there’s usually a negotiating process,” he said. “There are some details that are still being worked out. I would not call it delayed. It’s still something that’s being discussed. “We still expect to have this great amenity available shortly.” However, CB8 parks committee chair Bob Bender conceded that details of the rink may never make it to the FCRC table as the proposal has yet to be certified, “They don't have to hear this issue, and they may never hear this issue,” he said. “For all we know, this proposal may never come before them. That's one possibility.” The FCRC was supposed to vote on the controversial project during their August—then September, then October and then November—meeting, but the parks department stalled on releasing the project details, forcing

them to push the vote back at least another month. The uncertainty has bothered many CB8 members, including Sergio Villaverde, whose patience appears to be wearing thin. “This is a ridiculous situation that we find ourselves in,” he said. “We shouldn't have to do this every month.” Under city guidelines, the FCRC must finalize their agenda and release it to the public at least 15 days prior to their meeting, while community boards only need to provide 10 days notice. However, Bender said the string of last-minute cancellations has raised serious questions about whether the city's 15-day timeframe is sufficient. “One of the things that I want to address whenever this is all over, if we all live long enough, is question the 15 days,” he said. “I frankly think that for a major concession, the community ought to be given 30 days' notice. When these concessions are renewed, 15 days might be sufficient. But having lived through this month after month, I think the 15 days is insufficient. “One of the things that I do want to do is propose that we ask the city to look at these regulations and give Continued on Page 19

Will this be the last Veterans Day that our heroes are made to wait for memorial? By BRENDAN McHUGH This past Sunday, about 100 people showed up on a brisk November afternoon to honor Riverdale’s veterans at the Van Cortlandt Park Memorial Grove. Herb Barret and Don Tannen, the leaders of the Memorial Grove Restoration Group and veterans themselves, have held the ceremony for the past five years, not only for the veterans in the area but also to highlight the need to restore the war memorial. "We were hoping that a good part of the grove would be completed," Barret said at the ceremony. "We’d just like to see it finished." The grove is set for completion this January, mainly because Barret and Tannen have been relentless in getting the Department of Parks and Recreation to move more quickly. The grove was created to honor 37 deceased war heroes—including two Medal of Honor recipients—with 37 trees and as many plaques, but a number of trees are missing, and many of the plaques have disappeared over the years. Many of those honored in the grove are from World War II, though a small number honor those who fought in World War I or the Korean War. Since the city began restoring the grove, five trees have been planted, and the plaques should be coming soon. Continued on Page 19

ROTC students from several Bronx colleges participated in ceremonies to mark Veterans Day in Van Cortlandt Park.

Thursday, November 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Body found in VC Park Lake By BRENDAN McHUGH A body was found in Van Cortlandt Park Lake Monday afternoon, highlighting a lack of patrol in the city’s parks. Anthony McGurran, 77, had been missing from his Bailey Avenue home since Friday. Police say the investigating is ongoing and that the cause of death is not yet known. There were no immediate signs of foul play. The news of the tragic death, whatever the cause may be, has underlined a problem with parks and crime. "The Parks Department is responsible for 14 percent of the city’s land, and it’s completely unacceptable that the city is not tracking and reporting crime," said Geoffrey Croft of NYC Parks Advocates, a parks watchdog group. The city staffs Parks Enforcement Patrol officers throughout the city’s parks, but earlier this year it was reported that only eight PEP officers tend to The Bronx’s 6,000 acres of parkland. The Bronx, once nicknamed the Borough of Parks, has two of the four biggest parks in the city. Manhattan has 34 publicly funded PEP officers. "There’s a lack of accountability when it comes to looking at what’s going on in our parks system," Croft said. "Much greater resources need to be allocated. The NYPD and parks department need to be forced to comply with the law." The parks department, like many city agencies, is struggling to maintain services as budgets and personnel continue to be cut. Croft held a press conference Tuesday at the steps of City Hall to demand the City comply with the park crime reporting law and reschedule the City Council's oversight hearing examining public safety in city parks. "Park crime reporting is vital to not only preventing crime but knowing where to allocate proper resources," he said. "The public has a right to know if their parks are safe." City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez had planned to attend the conference, but he was arrested with many of the Occupy Wall Street protesters early Tuesday morning when the NYPD forced them out of Zuccotti Park. The NYPD pulled out of the hearing scheduled for November 15, saying they could not prepare due to other commitments including Occupy Wall Street, according to an NYPD spokesman. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said they do not have the necessary resources or technology to comply with the law, according to documents obtained by NYC Park Advocates. "We know that there is such a lack of park enforcement, especially in The Bronx," Croft said. "A lot of them are in the so called contract parks—the publicprivate partnerships." Van Cortlandt Park is a public-private partnership, with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy charged with helping to run the park. The partnership with the city allows private organizations to raise money that goes directly to the park. Anthony Perez Cassino, the Conser-

vancy’s chair, did not reply to a request for comment asking whether they have funded any PEP officers. The group's projected financial statement for the fiscal year does not have any expenses listed for officers. Nine parks in Manhattan and Brooklyn supply an additional 78 privately funded PEP officers. No PEP officers are privately funded in The Bronx. Bronx PEP officers have said in the past that they cover the entire borough, so if they’re in one corner of The Bronx and something happens on the other side, they have to travel the distance.

By MIAWLING LAM Elected officials and residents are stamping mad over the United States Postal Service's plan to close the Spuyten Duyvil post office. More than 50 people attended last Thursday's public hearing at St. Gabriel's School to express their concerns over the proposed shrinkage strategy. The Spuyten Duyvil station at 562 Kappock Street and the Fieldston station at 444 West 238th Street are two of up to 3,700 branches nationwide that the USPS has flagged for closure. Officials estimate the Spuyten Duyvil closure would save the cash-strapped agency just $193,446 each year. Many of the anxious residents who spoke at the hearing said losing the station would cut seniors off from postal services, forcing those without cars to rely on public transportation to mail their packages. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said the cost-savings plan would pose a tremendous inconvenience to the community and that both local post offices should remain open. He also blasted USPS for failing to take into account the area's unique topography when determining alternate access points. Officials calculate the Kingsbridge branch is 0.3 miles away from the Kappock Street facility. “While the map may be two-dimensional, and perhaps the person who figured this out might be two-dimensional, the real world is three-dimensional, and it's really not that easy for a lot of people to get from one place to another,” he said. “Riverdale is high up. Riverdale has hills. Riverdale doesn't have a grid. We have streets that have dead ends. We have zigs and zags and step streets. Some people have cars, but not everybody does.” Riverdale resident Barry Freed agreed and took aim at USPS authorities for failing to conduct their research. He said it was baloney to suggest there were six alternate access points within a one-mile radius. “You gave out a sheet here tonight which has lies in it,” he said, referring to a fact sheet handed out by USPS authorities to residents. “They're not just erroneous statements. They're lies. It's just crap and you know it.” USPS officials claim just 30 percent of the post office boxes at the Kappock Street station are occupied and that revenue at the branch has declined by more than 20 percent since fiscal year 2007. Bronx Postmaster Howard Sample said the downward trend, driven primarily by accelerating digital communications, echoes the 20 percent decline in national mail volumes since 2006. As a result, he said, the agency was simply looking at ways to cut their costs. However, one resident lambasted Sample for not doing more to save the post offices in his own borough. Of the 29 branches in New York City currently being studied, 17 are located in The Bronx. “Why aren't you fighting for us? You're our postmaster,” she exclaimed. “If you're not fighting for us, you're allowing this to happen to your area.” Community Board 8 Chair Robert Fanuzzi also delivered a rousing, emotionfilled speech and said he was dismayed to see another cherished public institution being dismantled. “I know the role that the post office has played in knitting this country together,” he said.

“It's really our first national institution, and to watch it fray away like this, and with the conniving support of some very well-meaning administrators, pains me very much.” Fanuzzi said Riverdale, like any other town in the country, was entitled to a post office, and he implored officials to rethink their plans. Meanwhile, Andrew Sandler of Councilman G. Oliver Koppell's office raised concerns about the lack of public notice for the meetings. While he conceded more lead time was given for the most recent meeting, he was angry that the community was given just four days' notice for the Fieldston Continued on Page 19

3 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, November 17, 2011

Community goes postal over closings

Thursday, November 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Around the schools... P.S. 24

Open house days scheduled for this week are Thursday, November 17, for parents of second-graders and Friday, November 18, for parents of fourth-graders. Visits are from 8:20 to 9:05 a.m.

P.S. 81

First-graders who’ve been studying flamenco dancing with a resident artist from Lincoln Center will be performing this Friday, November 18, at 9 a.m. Thirdgraders will begin a flamenco program this week. Also starting this week, fifth-graders will work with the Primary Shakespeare Company, a group of specially trained teaching artists who present the works of Shakespeare in a manner that’s accessible to youngsters.

M.S./H.S. 141—Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy

This year’s remaining high school open house event for eighth-graders and their families is scheduled for Wednesday, November 30, at 8:30 a.m. To register, contact parent coordinator Julie Prince at Friday morning school tours for parents of prospective middle school students who live within the RKA school zone are scheduled through December 16. Tours begin at 8:30 a.m. To register, contact parent coordinator Julie Prince at JPrince4@schools.

Riverdale Country School

The third annual Riverdale Community Action Day is this Saturday, November 19. The event, conceived by alumni inspired by the school’s commitment to community service, is expected to draw up to 500 people from the school community—alumni, students, parents, faculty, and staff. The goal is to raise awareness and collect items needed by more than 15 nonprofit organizations. Among those to benefit this year are the USO, Make a Wish Foundation, Lighthouse International, Harlem Children’s Zone, Bottomless Closet, Yorkville Common Pantry, the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, the American Red Cross, Pantene Beautiful Lengths and Opera-


Party Showcase

tion Prom. Also featured for the second year is South Bronx�based Rocking the Boat, an organization that inspires youth development through boat-building and other life skills training programs. The school will also conducting a food drive to benefit Yorkville Common Pantry, clothing drives for Bottomless Closet and the Hunts Point Alliance for Children, a blanket and bedding drive for animals sheltered at the ASPCA, a musical instrument drive for a Bronx�based charter school, and book drives for a charter school in New Orleans and the Mercy Center in The Bronx.

Horace Mann School

The community is invited to a concert this Friday, November 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall. The school’s orchestras, chamber choir, girls’ ensemble and string sinfonietta will perform. An article by Dr. Barbara Tischler, history teacher and director of curriculum and professional development, now appears in the teacher resources section of the Oxford African American Studies Center, an online journal. Tischler, who holds a master’s degree in music, has written a creative 14-page analysis entitled “Music in the Era of Civil Rights.” The piece includes song lyrics and links to performers and events to show that music can be a powerful tool for teachers in bringing the civil rights movement to life. The school is hosting students from Taipei this week. The visitors will tour the school with student ambassadors and attend a variety of classes.

Kinneret Day School

Students in teacher Barbara Pato’s art class used their own reflections to create self-portraits in paint, pastel and pencil. Fifth-graders and their teacher Leslie Wachtel attended the Bronx Zoo last week to participate in “Polar Expedition,” a hands-on workshop focused on animals in their habitat. Ofer Asaf, father of kindergartner Natalie Asaf, used portable keyboards to teach musical notation to Dorit Niven’s kindergarten class. By the time he left, students were able to play a scale.



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By MIAWLING LAM Poor English test scores have propelled Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy onto the state’s new list of troubled schools. New York state education officials last week released their annual catalog of “schools in need of improvement” and identified M.S/H.S 141 as failing under the federal No Child Left Behind program. Both P.S. 24 and P.S 81 made sufficient yearly progress and remain in good standing. RKA was red-flagged after its bleak performance on this year’s standardized English Language Arts exams. Overall, 45 percent of RKA students met the state’s English proficiency standards this year, slightly down from 46 percent in 2010. However, the school was singled out because of its large racial achievement gap. New York State Education Department spokesman Jonathan Burman said the school was tagged in the “focused” improvement category because at least one of their student subgroups failed to record sufficient progress. According to official figures, just 35 percent of Hispanic teenagers performed at grade level on this year’s ELA exam, compared with two-thirds of their white peers. Among eighth-graders the disparity grows even larger, with fewer than 30 percent of black students and 31 percent of Hispanics meeting the state’s tough English standards. In comparison, 64 percent of whites

and 56 percent of Asians performed at grade level. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said it was unfair to track student progress using a single measure and believed the No Child Left Behind legislation has negatively impacted schools. “The way they determine progress is that if one particular slice of the school is lagging behind, the whole school needs to improve,” he said. “There’s always room for improvement obviously, but I don’t think a school should get a black mark simply because one particular group is lagging. “If the only thing that needs improvement [at RKA] is ELA, well okay, we have to make sure there is improvement.” Citywide, more than a third of public schools landed on the list after failing to make adequate yearly progress as determined by the NCLB legislation. In fact, the number of identified city schools nearly doubled from 302 to 640 in 2011. The issue is so widespread, all but one school district—District 26 in Queens—struggled to meet the state’s new learning standards. Schools that fail to lift their game may be forced to offer extra tutoring and allow parents to move their child to another school. Those that do not make any progress despite intervention may also be closed. However, improved results over a two-year period can get them off the list. The federal NCLB initiative aims to have every student at or above proficiency level in reading and math by 2014. The grim figures were also reflected


is protecting the world’s greatest city.

statewide, where the number of schools required to bolster their academic performance skyrocketed by more than 700 percent. This year, out of the state’s 4,685 public schools, officials said 1,325 schools needed to improve. A year ago, that number was 501. State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said the unprecedented number was further proof that the city and state education systems were in peril. “This is just further evidence, as if we needed any, that we must move forward to reform our schools and change what is happening in our classrooms,” she said.

“The Regents have adopted strong new reforms to improve student performance and increase accountability. If student performance doesn’t improve, schools must be held accountable.” Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott adopted a rosier outlook and attributed the burgeoning numbers to the state’s tougher graduation requirements and higher standards. He stressed that more than half of the 350 newly identified city schools earned either an A or B on its latest progress report. “We support strong accountability measures, but those that look at absolute proficiency alone penalize schools that are making progress,” he said.

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5 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, November 17, 2011

State Ed Dept. gives RKA even more bad news on reading tests

Thursday, November 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Senator Espaillat to speak at CSAIR

NY State Senator Adriano Espaillat will speak at the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale (CSAIR) on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 7:45 p.m. Riverdale's New York State Senator will speak about the U.S. and Israel on topics such as 'Peace in Our Time' and 'What Can Be Done?' This program is presented by the CSAIR Men's Organization and CSAIR's Committee for Israel Affairs. Israeli-style refreshments will be generously provided by the B'nai B'rith. It is free and open to the entire community. CSAIR is located at 475 West 250th Street at the Henry Hudson Parkway East. For more information, call the CSAIR office at 718-543-8400 or go to

Lehman Brass Quintet to give free concert

The Lehman Brass Quintet will give a concert on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 11:30 a.m. in the Lehman Recital Hall, located on the third floor of the Music Building. This event is free and open to the public. The concert will feature repertoire extending from the sixteenth century to the present, including original works for brass instruments and settings of music originally written for other instruments, by Baroque masters Bach, Vivaldi and Martini, as well as modern composers such as Alfred Reed, Alec Wilder and others.

Led by Lehman Prof. Jack Hyatt, the quintet is made of up two trumpets, french horn, trombone, and tuba. For more information, contact the college's Music Department at 718-960-8247.

Tumbling Bee course at Riverdale Y

The Riverdale Y, located 5625 Arlington Avenue is now offering on Fridays at Mommy and Me Tumbling Bee course. from 12:15 pm-1:00pm for ages 2 to 5 years.. This course is now through December 16 .Parent-participation is required. Children learn gymnastics on specially designed preschool equipment, gain confidence and learn in a playful, stimulating environment. Develop tumbling skills, balance, and upper and lower body coordination. For more information, please contact Yudi Davis, Sports & Recreation Program Manager at 718-548-8200 ext 240 or email at

New complimentary offerings at the Riverdale YM-YWHA

The Simon Senior Center located at the Riverdale YM-YWHA is pleased to announce a new class series, Kugel and Kommentary, led by our social work intern Margalit Schwartz. This series will explore different Jewish cultural traditions rooted in psychological principles meant to improve mental health and well being. We will begin with a cultural tradition and

uncover a practical and insightful topic on psychological health. Topics will cover cultural traditions both in specific holidays and within the general culture. This class will take place every other Friday at 1pm, beginning November 18th. Kugel will be served to all those who attend. The entire community is invited. A second offering will be the Women's Group also led by Margalit Schwartz which will be held every other Tuesday beginning on November 29th. For further information, please contact Toby or Margalit @ 718-548-8200x223. The Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue.

Hebrew Home at Riverdale seeks volunteers

The Hebrew Home at Riverdale, located at 5901 Palisade Avenue in Riverdale, is currently seeking volunteers who would like to share their talents and time to help others. Available opportunities include, but are not limited to, reading to residents, administrative office tasks, helping with crafts projects and much more. Volunteers are also needed to assist with programs of the Derfner Judaica Museum, Hebrew Home Art Collection and Archives. Hours are flexible and assignments can be short term or ongoing. The Home provides orientation, training and continuing education for all volunteers. Volunteers who commit to three hours per day will be provided with a free lunch. For further information, please contact the Volunteer Department at (718) 581-1404.

Riverdale Israeli House at the Y (iHouse)

The Riverdale Y is now hosting its Riverdale I-House, Israel House at the Y (iHouse) GYM-BO and Drama day on Sunday, November 20, at 10:30 AM. Please join us for lots of gym fun with our blow up castle, mats and equipment for children ages 1-8. After gym fun , drama and craft will follow with Tal Sabo. This will be followed by light brunch at 11:30. The cost is $20 for a family with one child, $5 for each additional child ( $30 max per family). Cost at the door starts at $25. Please make a reservation at www.RiverdaleY. org.. For more information, please contact Talya Lieb, coordinator Riverdale Israeli House at the Y, or on The Y

is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue. Habonim- Dror on Sunday, November 20, at 10:30 AM. Please join us for special Israeli youth activity with Habonim Dror for ages 9-12. This activity will be run primarily in Hebrew. This will be followed by light brunch at 11:30 with the IHouse. The cost is 5$ fee. For more information, please contact Talya Lieb, coordinator Riverdale Israeli House at the Y, or on The Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue.

Post Office closure rally scheduled

Bring your signs, wheelchairs, canes and walkers and protest the possible closing of the Fieldston post office on Friday. Riverdale resident Robert S. Gratz will hold a "senior power rally" in the front of the US Post Office at 446 West 238th Street between 12pm-1pm on November 18. For more information, call 646-4186575.

Riverdale Y offers course in girls basketball

The Riverdale Y, located at 5625 Arlington Avenue is offering a course called Yudi's Basketball Skill's Academy Player Development Program for Girls Basketball on Tuesdays 6:00-7:00pm for Grades 3-8, now through December 13 !If your girls is looking to shoot a couple of hoops or learn how to dribble, this class is for her! All classes will start with 30-minutes of instructional practice and end with a 30-minute game. For more information regarding this course and prices, please contact Yudi Davis at 718-548-8200 ext 240 or email

Riverdale Y offers introduction to sports

The Riverdale Y, located at 5625 Arlington Avenue is offering a course called Introduction to Sports on Tuesday 5:156:00pm for Grades 1-3 now through December 13, 2011. When you are not sure what sport your child is interested in- let us help! This introductory class will give your young athlete the chance to sample all the major sports. All classes will stress body mechanics and stability exercises. Class will include soccer, baseball, football skills (non-contact) boot camp training, floor hockey and much more. At the conclusion of the class you child will receive a Sports Diploma from the Riverdale YM-YWHA! For more information regarding this course and prices, please contact Yudi Davis at 718-548-8200 ext 240 or email

Judaic Art from around the world

The Riverdale Y's Forever Young invites you to a brunch and art lecture on November 20th from 1pm to 3pm. Enjoy bagels and assorted salads for brunch and afterwards partake in an intriguing art lecture. Judaic Art from Around the World will be presented by Beryl Brenner, an Artist and Certified Recreational Therapist at the VA Hospital in Bay Ridge. This presentation will focus on synagogues and Judaic art pieces throughout the world. The price is $8 for prepaid tickets and $12 at the door. For more information please call Leora Garritano, LMSW 718-548-8200 ext. 204 or email The Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue.

BAE dedicates concert to conductor Johannes Somary

The Bronx Arts Ensemble is dedicating its Sunday, November 20th 3 pm chamber music concert to Riverdalian Johannes Somary (1935-2011) with performances by flutist and BAE Young Bronx Artist co-winner Christine Dookie and pianist Irina Morozova at the home of Geoffrey and Sarah Gund at 690 West 247th Street. Music will include Piazzolla's "Tango Etude

Prodigal Son was premiered in New York, with a subsequent performance at the NationalGallery of Art in Washington DC. Johannes served as Choirmaster and Music Director in several churches, including St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, and also served as conductor of the Fairfield County Chorale for 35 years. As educator, Johannes Somary served for 37 years as Chairman of the Arts Department at Horace Mann School in Riverdale, and also taught at Columbia University, College of Mount St. Vincent and Sacred Heart University.

RSS announces Real Life Solutions Classes!

Fall season begins November with: Zumba, simple to follow dance movements done to Latin and International music, Rhea Linda, certified instructor. Class schedule: • Zumba: 4 Mondays, November 21stDecember 12th, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Registration Required. Call 718-8845900 and bring or mail check made out to Riverdale Senior Services. Validated parking available

Film 'Ushpizin' to be shown at CSAIR

The award-winning Israeli film 'Ushpizin' will be shown at the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale (CSAIR) on Sunday, Nov. 20, at 2 p.m. The first film made by members of

Kosher gluten-free baking class offered

Kosher Gluten-free Thanksgiving Desserts Baking Class, featuring Pumpkin pie, Apple Crisp, Egg-free Chocolate Mousse, and Date/Nut Balls. This class, for women and girls, will be held on Sunday, November 20, at 7:00 p.m.- at 5235 Arlington Avenue in Riverdale, New York. The fee is $45 and all supplies are included. To register, please call 718-601-6138 or e-mail

Schervier Center sponsors trip to Atlantic City

On Tuesday, November 29, 2011 Schervier Home will sponsor a Day trip to SHOWBOAT CASINO at Atlantic City. Cost is $28.00 per seat, with casino cash back of $30.00. The bus picks up from Schervier Apartments at 2995 Independence Avenue, Riverdale @ 8:55am and Knolls Crescent @ 9:00am. Returns at 8:30pm with drop offs at 230thst. & Kingsbridge Ave.; 232ndst. & Henry Hudson Parkway; Knolls Crescent and Schervier Apartments. For reservations please call NELLIE KENNY @ 718-543-0237.

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It has been said that art takes nature as its model. The beauty of nature has inspired many great Americans to create artistic masterpieces. From the wildlife portraits of John James Audubon to the stunning black and white photography of Ansel Adams, nature has been a muse to artists for centuries. Our Urban Park Ranger Art and Photography programs allow you to interpret the natural would through artistic expression, while learning about the local environment. Come to the Van Cortlandt Nature Center (Enter the park at W. 246th St. and Broadway) on Sunday, November 20, at 1 p.m. All Photography programs are for digital cameras and you must provide your own camera. DSLR preferred, but all cameras are welcome. FREE. For more information please visit www. or call 311 and ask for the Urban Park Rangers.

for flute", Johannes Somary's "Serenade for piano and winds", "Dreamscape for bassoon and piano", "Pastorale for violin, viola and piano" and Thuille's "Sextet for piano and winds". Tickets are $25 and include intermission refreshments. For tickets or more information, call 718.601.7399 or visit A long and happy collaboration with the Bronx Arts Ensemble includes Johannes Somary's appearances as guest conductor in concerts at Fordham University, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center and Merkin Concert Hall, as well as summer concerts at Fordham and Van Cortlandt Park. The BAE was privileged to present many of his chamber works on its concerts, and he appears as conductor on several of the Ensemble's CDs and recordings. In addition, he served annually as a keen and perceptive judge for the BAE's Young Bronx Artist Contest. Born in Switzerland and a graduate of the Yale School of Music, JOHANNES SOMARY was renowned as conductor, composer, organist and teacher. Founder and Music Director of the Amor Artis Chorus and Orchestra, he also conducted such ensembles as the English Chamber Orchestra, New Orleans Symphony, London's Royal Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic. He participated as well in many international music festivals, from Sion to Dubrovnik, Madeira to Israel and Greece. Under his leadership, Amor Artis distinguished itself as one of the foremost presenters in New York of lesser-known Baroque masterpieces, offering performances authentic in style and setting, paving the way for similar performances in the United States today. Audiences and critics have hailed Amor Artis for its excellence in all repertoires, from Dvo ák's Requiem to its recording of Kurt Weill's Violin Concerto, Kiddush, and Suite from The Threepenny Opera on CD. Johannes Somary's discography includes 65 recordings on eight labels, several of which have received Stereo Review's 'Record of the Year' awards. Three were first recordings of rare Handel oratorios. His last recording, a CD of the great Spanish Renaissance composer Tomás Luis de Victoria, was released in September, 2011. As composer, Johannes was commissioned by the Jefferson Music Festival, Blessed Sacrament Fathers and Benedictine Monastery in San Anselmo, Rome. In April, 2008 his dramatic cantata The

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7 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nature photography at Van Cortlandt Park

Israel's ultra-Orthodox community in collaboration with secular filmmakers, 'Ushpizin' provides a touching look at the daily lives of a husband and wife whose love is tested and faith is challenged when a secret from the past reveals itself during Sukkot. This showing is sponsored by the CSAIR Israel Affairs Committee. CSAIR is located at 475 West 250th Street at the Henry Hudson Parkway East. For more information, call 718-543-8400 or go to

Thursday, November 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Thursday, Nov. 17

Roth.” Reservations are recommended. To pre register please visit or call 212-294-6127.

CONCERT 11:30 a.m. Lehman College Recital Hall Music Building The Lehman Brass Quintet will give a free concert. For more information, call 718-960-8247.


Bedford Park


UNDERSTANDING DEMENTIA 2:30 p.m. Atria of Riverdale 3718 Henry Hudson Parkway Join us for a conversation regarding dementia and learn about free programs and services available. Refreshments will be served RSVP by 11/17 to Jane Kennedy 718 432 2448


ELDER LAW SEMINAR 5:30 p.m. Hebrew Home at Riverdale 5901 Palisade Avenue Daniel G. Fish will hold a legal information seminar. His topic, “Brooke Astor lived to be 105 years old. How do I pay for long-term care?”will focus on New York state elder law issues like power of attorney and the authority to make medical decisions for those who are no longer able to. For more information, call 718-581-1593.


CB8 MEETING 7 p.m. 50th Police Precinct 3450 Kingsbridge Avenue Meeting of the Public Safety Committee of Community Board 8. For more information, call 7181-884-3959.


FEATURED SPEAKER 7:45 p.m. Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel 475 West 250th Street NY State Senator Adriano Espaillat will speak about the U.S. and Israel on topics such as "Peace in Our Time" and "What Can Be Done?" Free and open to the entire community. For more information, call 718-543-8400 or visit

Friday, Nov. 18 Riverdale

ART LECTURE 10:30 a.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue Drs. Joan and Reuben Baron will discuss Highlights of the Contemporary Art Scene in the U.S. and around the world. Admission is free, and lecture will precede a hot nutritious kosher lunch. Suggested donation for lunch is $2.25. The entire public is welcome to attend. For further information please call Toby or Vicki at the Riverdale YM-YWHA @ 718548-8200 x 223 or 224.

Saturday, Nov. 19 Riverdale

CHORAL CONCERT 8 p.m. Christ Church Riverdale 5030 Henry Hudson Parkway The Riverdale Choral Society will perform the version of the Requiem that uses Fauré’s original instrumentation for chamber orchestra in a concert titled 'Heavenly Harmonies.' For further info: visit or call 718-543-2219.

Sunday, Nov. 20 Van Cortlandt

FILM SHOWING 2 p.m. Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel 475 West 250th Street The award-winning Israeli film “Ushpizin” will be shown. For more info, call 718-543-8400 or go to


SOCCER CLINIC 5:30 p.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue The Riverdale Y is offering a soccer clinic for children grades 3-7th and grade 8 through high school. This course will be taught by Former Captain of Saint Peter’s College Men’s Soccer Team, Assaf Shelleg. For info or to register for this exciting program, contact Yudi Davis at 718-548-8200, ext. 240.

Monday, Nov. 21 Riverdale

CAFE EUROPA MEETING 1 p.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue This month’s topic is, “Mindfulness: Living in the present.” The discussion will be led by social work intern, Margalit Schwartz. For info, call Jacob at (718) 548-8200 ext. 303.

Tuesday, Nov. 22 Riverdale

RPCNS THANKSGIVING FEAST 12 p.m. Riverdale Presbyterian Church 4765 Henry Hudson Parkway West RPCNS students will sing songs of the season, present their parents with decorations they’ve made for the holiday table and share a potluck Thanksgiving Feast. For more information, contact June Cohler, executive director at 718.548.8260 or email at


CB8 MEETING 3:30 p.m. Methodist Home for Nursing 4499 Manhattan College Parkway Meeting of the Aging Committee of Community Board 8. For more information, call 718-884-3959.


CB8 MEETING 7:30 p.m. Community Board 8 5676 Riverdale Avenue Meeting of the Education Committee of Community Board 8. For more information, call 718-884-3959.

Wednesday, Nov. 23 Spuyten Duyvil

EXERCISE PROGRAM 10 a.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street This exercise program based upon the Arthritis Exercise Program previously given at the library uses gentle movements to help increase joint flexibility, range of motion & maintenance of muscle strength. The class meets for eights weeks, one hour per session Wednesdays from October 5 through November 23, 2011. Registration is required as space is limited. For more information, call 718-796-1202.


NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY 1 p.m. Van Cortlandt Park W. 246th St. and Broadway Urban Park Ranger Art and Photography programs allow you to interpret the natural would through artistic expression, while learning about the local environment. For info visit parks/rangers or call 311 and ask for the Urban Park Rangers.

STORY TIME 11:30 a.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Preschoolers will listen to books read aloud by the Children's Librarian, sing songs and create a turkey craft. For more information, call 718-549-1212.


FALL ARTS & CRAFTS 3:30 p.m. Van Cortlandt Branch Library 3874 Sedgwick Avenue Come to the Library this Fall and participate in arts & crafts projects. Parental supervision is required for children 5 years and under. For more information, call 718-543-5150.

ART LECTURE 1 p.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue The Riverdale Y’s Forever Young invites you to a brunch and art lecture. Judaic Art from Around the World will be presented by Beryl Brenner. For info call Leora Garritano at 718-548-8200 ext. 204.


LECTURE 2 p.m. Riverdale Temple West 246th St. and Independence Ave. Dr. Jonathan Brent, YIVO Executive Director, will speak about “The Other World of Sholem Aleichem, Isaac Babel, Philip

Van Cortlandt


READING ALOUD 4 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue A librarian will share favorite picture books, providing children with the wonder of books and the joy of reading. For more information, call 718-549-1212.


The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


By MIAWLING LAM The iconic Riverdale Memorial Bell Tower has been granted official historic status. The New York State Board for Historic Preservation recently approved the inclusion of the local landmark on its Register of Historic places. News of the acceptance was announced at the Community Board 8 general board meeting last Wednesday. Located at the busy intersection of Riverdale Avenue, West 239th Street and the Henry Hudson Parkway, the 50-foot stone and limestone tower honors the large number of local soldiers who served in WWI. The Gothic structure, officially referred to as the Riverdale, Spuyten Duyvil, Kingsbridge Memorial Bell Tower, was designed by local architect Dwight James Baum and was built in the 1930s. CB 8 parks committee chair Bob Bender revealed the latest development at the board meeting and said he hoped the state protection would provide much-needed money for repairs. “The point of it is that it may bring some state funding,” he said. It is understood the tower requires masonry repairs at the crenellated roof and parapet level and the bell needs to be re-electrified. The monument’s eight lead gargoyle waterspouts also need to be replicated and replaced, as does its window screens, decorative oak door and surrounding frame. State officials are now applying for the tower to be accepted on the national register as well.

According to the nomination form submitted by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the bell tower is a treasured local icon that deserves to be recognized. “The monument has assumed a pride of place in Riverdale and has served as a touchstone for a diverse constituency,” the application states. “It serves the dual function of being a utilitarian and aesthetic object. “It elicits feelings of patriotism, incites reflection on the contributions of veterans and those who died in war, and serves as a tangible manifestation of tribute to local veterans.” Bronx Borough Historian Lloyd Ultan said the tower was originally located around 700 feet north of its existing location. He said it was moved to its current home—the tiny, round, Bell Tower Park in the center of a traffic circle—in 1936 to accommodate the Henry Hudson Parkway. Ultan also said although the memorial honors fallen soldiers, the tower’s bell hides many secrets. “The bell itself is a relic of the Mexican War,” he said “It was a bell that was taken from a monastery in Monterrey in Mexico during the Mexican War. What happened to it between then and now I have no idea, but it eventually wound up as the bell in the bell tower.” St. Stephens Church, a 113-year-old place of worship located at 146 West 228th Street, was also granted state historic status.

11 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bell Tower is named landmark

Thursday, November 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Sisters of Charity fetes one of its centenarians

By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER The Sisters of Charity, a congregation of Catholic women dedicated to serving the poor, is headquartered on the spectacular campus of the College of Mount Saint Vincent—an institution they founded as a women’s academy of higher education. The sisters settled in Riverdale when their original Manhattan home was overtaken for the creation of Central Park in 1855. They purchased the estate of Edwin Forrest, considered the first American actor, who had planned to bequeath his buildings as a residence for retired actors. But the only kind of acting that interested these buyers were acts of kindness. The religious community was founded in 1809 by Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American saint, in the spirit of Saint Vincent de Paul. They were charged with educating girls when New York City’s Catholic school system was established. In a building now known as Le Gras Hall on the Mount campus, they founded Saint Vincent's Free School to educate the children of Irish domestic workers employed at Riverdale’s estates. When St. Margaret of Cortona School was formed in 1925, the sisters were asked to staff it. More recently, Sister Jane Iannucelli, the current congregation president, cofounded Part of the Solution (POTS), a nonprofit on Webster Avenue that provides amenities and supportive services for those in need. The sisters created the New York Foundling Hospital as well as St. Vincent’s Hospital, whose patients over the course

of 26 years benefitted from the care of Sister Anne Mary Regan. Sister Anne Mary, who turned 100 this month, is living among friends at the Convent of Mary the Queen, a Yonkers residence that houses and cares for more than 80 retired Sisters of Charity. “I graduated from St. Vincent’s School of Nursing in 1935,” she said. “I wanted to devote my life to helping the sick and the poor—as a religious duty. So I entered the Sisters of Charity.” She joined the community after working for a year as a nurse. Initiates undergo several stages of “formation” as they deepen their commitment to the congregation. “I like people and I wanted to do something that was, for me, productive,” she said. “It’s motivation and it’s satisfaction that you’re helping people, and you see the effects of it. It’s not monetary. You get wonderful rewards.” Faith enhances and intensifies the community’s mission. “Everything you do should be a prayer,” she said. “When you get up in the morning, you offer your prayers and say ‘dear Lord, thank you for bringing me here and for protecting me during the night.’ And you offer your day for the people that you’re going to work with and be kind to them.” Sister Anne Mary, a Mary the Queen resident for the past two years, is pleased with the retirement home, calling it a “spotless” and “lovely environment” where she participates in activities and even has “a little social life.” A crowd of celebrants awaited her arrival at a birthday bash in the residence.

Sister Anne Mary, a Mary the Queen resident, celebrates her 100th birthday. The menu featured her favorite entrees and desserts. Balloons festooned the dining room, and milestones in her life were documented on the walls. After the first few bars of “Happy Birthday,” the centenarian danced into the room while holding onto her walker. The celebration caught the attention of News12. During their interview, Sister Anne Mary, a current Derek Jeter fan and Yankees devotee who’s cheered for Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, was handed a letter of appreciation from team owner Hal Steinbrenner. She fondly recalled Yankee Stadium

outings with her five brothers—first they’d stop at the Concourse Plaza Hotel for lunch. “What keeps me going is I like people and I like to keep my mind active,” she explained. “I don’t waste time looking at everything on the TV, but I like to look at certain news programs to know what’s going on in the world. “It helps you keep in touch with people, it helps you keep in touch with what’s going on and it helps you as an individual—you’re not thinking about yourself all the time. It’s very important to get out of yourself, to have other interests.”


adapted to survive. Cosponsored by the Friends of Read Sanctuary. For more information, call 914-967-8720.

LECTURE 6:30 p.m. Sarah Lawrence College Titsworth Lecture Hall Filmmaker, activist and grassroots organizer Barbara Trent will present her Academy Award winning documentary, The Panama Deception. The Panama Deception reveals the untold story of the 1989 US invasion, the shocking events of the assault, and the true motivation for the invasion, explaining how and why the mainstream media collaborated with the US government to censor information and deceive the public.



White Plains


ITALIAN WORD ORIGINS 6:30 p.m. Westchester Italian Cultural Center One Generoso Pope Place We invite every tizio, caio e sempronio to accompany us on this capricious cavalcade of some of the Italian language's most interesting and representative words and phrases. Presented by Professor Joseph N. Spedaliere MA, Distinguished Professor of Italian Language and Culture at Concordia College. For more information, call (914) 771-8700.

Friday, Nov. 18 Rye

PARTY NIGHT 8:45 p.m. Playland Ice Casino Playland Parkway Live DJ, party lights, on-ice contests, giveaways and more. Cost: $12 per person includes skate rental. For more information, call 914-813-7059.

Saturday, Nov. 19 Somers

HOLIDAY WREATH MAKING 9:30 a.m. Lasdon Park & Arboretum Route 35 Learn to make your own holiday wreaths with all the materials provided. Pre-registration required. For more information, call 914-864-7268.

Cross River

ADVANCED HIKE 10 a.m. Trailside Nature Museum Ward Pound Ridge Reservation A rigorous six-mile, day-long walk throughout the reservation. See the best spots, discuss ecology, learn some history and eat lunch on the trail. For more information, call 718-864-7322.


'LOCALVORE' FOR THE HOLIDAYS 10 a.m. Croton Point Nature Center Croton Point Avenue Local farms highlight what is available for the holiday table. For more information, call 914-862-5297.


COOKIE SWAP 1 p.m. Muscoot Farm Route 100 Bake your favorite holiday cookies and swap them for some of the best cookies around. Pre-registration required. Visit for rules and a registration form. For more information, call 914-864-7282.


ALL ABOUT INSECTS 1 p.m. Lenoir Preserve Dudley Street Learn about the most numerous animals on earth, and then learn to make an insect craft that you can take home. For more information, call 914-968-5851.

North White Plains

STONE WALLS 1 p.m. Cranberry Lake Preserve Old Orchard Street Children learn to build a stone wall after discovering the history of rocks in Westchester. For more information, call 914-428-1005.


AWESOME ADAPTATIONS 1 p.m. Read Wildlife Sanctuary Playland Parkway Meet live animals and see the incredible ways they have

VOLUNTEER WORK 1 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 Bring work gloves and free all the beautiful crabapple tree of vines. Great for community service hours and school credit. Hand tools provided. For more information, call 914835-4466.

Sunday, Nov. 20 INDOOR FARMERS MARKET 10 a.m. Westchester County Center 198 Central Park Avenue Fresh produce, baked goods, cheese, maple syrup, honey, meat and more. For more information, call 914-995-4050.


TRAIL MAINTENANCE 10 a.m. Muscoot Farm Route 100 The fall foliage has fallen and now is the perfect time to clean up our trails by clearing them off and cutting brush and vines. Dress to get dirty and wear sturdy shoes. For more information, call 914-864-7282.

Mt. Kisco

HISTORIC MANSION TOUR 1 p.m. Merestead 455 Byram Lake Road Take a curator-led tour through an elegant 100-year old Delano and Aldrich designed mansion to discover a family who not only impacted Westchester County, but influenced our lifestyle and interior decoration throughout the world. 14 participants maximum. By reservation only. For more information, call 914-864-7239.


SURVIVAL AT THE SANCTUARY 2 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 Learn hands-on techniques on what to do if you get 'stuck in the woods.' For more information, call 914-835-4466.


MOMENTS WITH THE TURKEYS 2 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 Bring binoculars and observe the turkeys on their home turf. For more information, call 914-835-4466.

Friday, Nov. 25 Rye

PARTY NIGHT 8:45 p.m. Playland Ice Casino Playland Parkway Live DJ, party lights, on-ice contests, giveaways and more. For more information, call 914-813-7059.

Saturday, Nov. 26 North White Plains

GREAT TURKEY WALK-OFF 1 p.m. Cranberry Lake Preserve Old Orchard Street Eat too much pumpkin pie on Thursday? Are you feeling a little sluggish? Make this post-feast hike part of your annual tradition and your pants will be on the way to fitting again. For more information, call 914-428-1005.


VOLUNTEER WORK 1 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 Inspecting the Forest Restoration Area: This is a volunteer work project. We will be removing invasive vines and other debris to help protect the area. Great for community service hours and school credit. Please bring work gloves. Hand tools provided. Meet at the visitor center. For info, call 914-835-4466.


SATURDAY NIGHT GROOVES 8:45 p.m. Playland Ice Casino Playland Parkway Skate to the sounds of the '70s, '80s, '90s and today. For more information, call 914-813-7059.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday, Nov. 17

Thursday, November 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



The Simon Senior Center of the Riverdale YM-YWHA will be having our next Café Europa meeting on November 21, 2011 at 1:00pm. Refreshments will be served. This month's topic is, 'Mindfulness: Living in the present.' The discussion will be led by social work intern, Margalit Schwartz. Please note that we are now meeting the third Monday of each month. These meetings, led by Jacob Weiland, MSW and Margalit Schwartz, are sponsored by the Claims Conference. The entire community is invited to the discussion. Lunch will be available to everyone at the senior center at 12noon for $2.25 per person. Before lunch, at 10:30am, Jacob will continue his lecture series on spirituality, 'Climbing Jacob's Ladder.' If you have any questions, please call Jacob at (718) 548-8200 ext. 303. The next meeting of Café Europa will be December 19, 2011.

RPCNS Annual Thanksgiving Feast

The Riverdale Presbyterian Church Nursery School will hold its Annual Thanksgiving Feast on Tuesday, Nov. 22, from 12 to 2:30 p.m. The celebration will be held at RPCNS Auditorium, 4765 Henry Hudson Parkway, Riverdale, NY 10471. This encompasses November's classroom

activities and projects focused on being thankful and charitable. RPCNS students will sing songs of the season, present their parents with decorations they've made for the holiday table and share a potluck Thanksgiving Feast. City Harvest will be picking up families' donated canned goods and the prepared foods (sometime between noon-3 p.m.) to be given to it to people in New York who are in need of food for the holidays. A number of students and their families will be available for photos and interviews. For more information, contact June Cohler, executive director at 718.548.8260 or email at

Riverdale Y offers program on jewelry design

Forever Young is a new program at the Riverdale Y that offers various courses for Baby Boomers. The lessons include Jewelry Design: 'From Clasp to Creation,' Intermediate Computer course, The Jewish Calendar's Rich Culture, Acting and more! 'From Clasp to Creation,' will be taught by jewelry designer Rebecca Ackerman. In this course you will learn the basics of costume jewelry design; including beading, stringing, and wire wrapping. There will be a range of materials used from wire, chain, semi-precious stones, beads, and findings. These designs will be the envy of all who see them and a

great conversational piece. Your one ofa- kind designs also make great gifts with holidays just around the corner! Jewelry Design 'From Clasp to Creation' is an 8 week course from 7-8:30pm and costs $120 per person. Registration is ongoing. If you would like more information please call 212-548-8200 ext. 223 or email Leora Garritano at The Riverdale Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue

Koppell seeking applications for community boards

Council Member Oliver Koppell is currently accepting applications to join Community 7 and 8 through February 17, 2012. Community Board 7 covers Norwood; Community Board 8 encompasses Riverdale, Kingsbridge and Van Cortlandt Village. . While the Bronx Borough President makes the Community Board appointments, 50% of the candidates are nominated by Council members. Positions are open to those who live, work, or have a significant interest in their board area. The boards provide advice on zoning, land use and service delivery. They also weigh in on budget priorities and help residents with local problems and concerns. They meet regularly to discuss issues such as the economic, health and safety needs of the community. Koppell is requesting that existing

board members who are up for re-appointment, as well as those who are seeking a board position for the first time, submit applications to his district office at 3636 Waldo Avenue, Bronx, 10463. Applications are available in Koppell's district office, in the Community Board offices, or on line at For more information, call Koppell's office, (718) 549-7300.

Dinowitz sponsors canned food and turkey drive

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz has kicked off his annual canned food and turkey drive with the students of P.S. 7, P.S. 24, P.S. 81, and the Riverdale-Kingsbridge Academy, and the Knolls Co-op Section 2. The drive is already a tremendous success with a terrific early haul. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz is accepting donations at his district office until December 14. Food will be donated to the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center and the food pantry at Saint Francis of Rome Church in Wakefield for families in need during the Thanksgiving, Chanukah, and Christmas holiday seasons. The following canned and nonperishable food items are accepted: canned fruits and vegetables, cereals, dried beans, pasta, rice, tuna, coffee, teas, canned juices, powdered milk, jell-o, and soups. No glass jars are acceptable except for baby food. For more information, call (718) 796-5345.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, November 17, 2011

Café Europa meeting for Holocaust survivors

Thursday, November 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


The Outrage at P.S. 24

The politically motivated thugs who are running the parents association at P.S. 24, those who want to end your right to read about what is really going in our schools, are at it again. They are blaming The Riverdale Review for the recent mandated removal of a second grade teacher by the Department of Education. It turns out that this teacher lacked the special education certification necessary to legally hold the job. But truth be told, we never even got the chance to write about this matter! As soon as the Department of Education learned that there was a class being led by an uncertified teacher, they ordered her immediate removal. We had not yet even run a story about this matter when the teacher, Ms. Anne Mokris, was replaced. It was merely an inquiry, made in response to information provided by concerned members of the P.S. 24 community, which forced the removal of Ms. Mokris. The Department of Education simply had no choice but to remove her once they learned that this was going on. Our call to the Department of Education’s public relations office was not in the nature of a complaint, but a request for information necessitated by the fact that Principal Donna Connelly refused to take our legitimate calls for information. Had we gotten an answer from her, and a credible explanation of why the law was not followed, we might have put the matter to rest. But Ms. Connelly, unlike her counterparts in other local schools, doesn’t have the guts or strength of character to respond and defend her position. Even Lori O’Mara, the principal of the Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy, a school we have been and continue to be most critical of, usually returns our calls and we respect her for that. This matter was brought to our attention by teachers at P.S. 24, disgusted that such a clear infraction of the rules and the law could be permitted. And, in fact, Ms. Mokris angrily acknowledged that it was her colleagues that blew the whistle. But knowing the situation, how could a responsible member of the school community do otherwise? The rules requiring a certified teacher were put in place to protect children from those who might be unqualified, and the taxpayers from having their schools made into political patronage mills. After all, the other teachers in the school had to follow these same laws in order to assume their positions. This incident was an inexcusable abuse of power by the principal, knowingly attempting to subvert the laws governing teacher certification. These laws exist to protect our children and do not permit the subjective application of “flexibility.” This whole matter is reflected by the sad fact that a large percentage of teachers at P.S. 24 have expressed that they do not trust their principal at her word in the annual school environment survey administered by the Department. We certainly sympathize with Ms. Mokris, who lost her job, and the children in the class who lost one of their teachers. But let’s put the blame squarely where it belongs, with Ms. Connelly. Once again she made up her own rules, got caught, and put the children, her staff and the school’s reputation at risk. Ms. Connelly is already the subject of another investigation into the “warehousing” of a vacant assistant principal position for more than a year, so that her close friend Emanuelle Verdi, could get the certification he lacked for this position and win appointment. Sound familiar? We are told that the intent is to position Mr. Verdi for the principalship of the school should Ms. Connelly, as some expect, retire next year. It seems like there is a toxic political climate here, and it is the parents association, instead of insisting on high standards and performing a cleansing role, is at the root of the problem. They, not us, should be holding the principal’s feet to the fire, recognizing that it is the institution of the school that needs protection from the kinds of abuses of law we have seen. But the clique that runs the parents association has abdicated their responsibility, so deep are they into their political agenda. One of our readers, writing elsewhere on this page, suggests that this matter be the subject of an investigation. We concur. Chancellor Walcott, the ball is in your court.

Parents, principal share blame for P.S. 24 scandal To The Editor: The Parents of P.S. 24’s Room 2-202 have misplaced their priorities with respect to the removal of an uncertified teacher. The law is clear: The Department of Education certifies teachers, not principals. Make no mistake, this was a conspiracy! Anne Mokris came to the school without proper certification, and with the collusion of the principal, and then the payroll

secretary, was put on the payroll. How they managed to do that should also be investigated! This was not a question of gee whiz, I couldn’t get my car started because of the nameless hurricane. This was an attempt to defraud the children and the people of the city. Instead of excusing this treachery, they should have been the first to expose it. Shame on them! Rhoda Alben-Aronson

Who controls Occupy Wall Street? Follow the money!

To The Editor: For those of your readers who only depend on the New York Times, “The Paper of (D)record,” for their news, the following information (that never appeared in that paper) relating to the radical leftist, Occupy Wall Street protest movement might be of interest. To this date, there has been an inflow of cash donations to OWS that reportedly has amounted to somewhere in the neighborhood of $750,000 (seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars). A radical group called the Alliance for Global Justice (AFGJ) based in Washington, DC is legally spon-

soring the protest and in return for lending its tax-exempt status to OWS is receiving a seven percent cut of all donations. This tax-exempt status allows those who donate to “grassroots non-profits” like OWS to deduct these contributions from their federal income taxes. And for the seven percent fee, AFGJ also provides payroll services, liability insurance, and prepares federal tax forms. It also offers “activist training” which (according to columnist Michael Goodwin of the New York Post) is “like job training without an actual job.” AFGJ’s history is that of a hot-

ANDREW WOLF, Editor and Publisher

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

JOEL PAL Production Manager ROBERT NILVA Marketing Director

CECILIA McNALLY Office Manager MIAWLING LAM Associate Editor

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

bed of far-left causes that range from backing hunger strikes in California prisons to denouncing the CIA and oil companies. Its website states that the group sponsors operations in the Gaza Strip, with Hamas, and boasts of an alliance with Anarchists Against The Wall, an organization which contests Israel’s security barriers in the West Bank. AFGJ in the past supported the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua and currently expresses solidarity with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez against the United States. I constantly keep reading in various publications that Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless organization and that no particular individual or group is in charge. If that is really the truth (which defies belief), then the following questions come to mind: 1) Who arranged this financial deal with AFGJ? 2) What gave that person, or persons, the legal authority to do so? 3) How did that deal come about? 4) Who has the power to Continued on Page 19

Continued from Page 1 Lloyd Ultan, the Bronx borough historian, said the Memorial Grove is unusual and special because it’s a living memorial. "This is life itself. The trees live," he said at the ceremony, highlighting that the men who gave their lives for the freedoms that Americans have today are celebrated by living things rather than inanimate objects like a bell tower. Also, he added, memorials weren’t built to honor WWII veterans as often as they were in previous wars, so to have a WWII memorial in the area is an honor. "This more than just memorializes the people here," Ultan said. "They memorialize what we stand for." City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell, who allocated some of his discretionary funds to the restoration, said he un-

derstands firsthand the importance of remembering war veterans. The son of immigrants who fled the Nazis in WWII, Koppell said he understands the importance of the memorial. "I am particularly mindful of our debt of gratitude to our veterans," he said. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz emphasized the unyielding persistence of Barret and Tannen. "The grove was not maintained. Finally, it will be," Dinowitz said. "Their dream will be a reality." Dinowitz said that since most people his age and younger are not veterans, Veterans Day can sometimes slip by without its proper due. "Everything we enjoy, in a large part, is due to veterans protecting our freedoms.

If it weren’t for them, where would be today?" he said. Rep. Eliot Engel was unable to make it, but he gave the Restoration Group an American flag that was flown above the Capitol building specifically for them. At the beginning of the ceremony, Rev. William G. Kalaidjian, the Chaplin of the James J. Peters VA Medical Center for more than 30 years, gave the invocation. The Jewish War Veterans’ Neumann Goldman, Post 69, awarded his wife, Valerie, a plaque for her dedication to serving the troops by sending more than 10,500 handwritten letters to soldiers overseas, devoting more than 7,000 hours of her time. Manhattan College, Fordham University and SUNY Maritime each had members of their ROTC present for the opening ceremonies. Local Boy Scout troop 240 and Riverdale’s Girl Scout Brownies were also present.

Community goes postal over closings of two local offices Continued from Page 3 meeting. “It's a disservice to the people who live in this community, and it becomes a selffulfilling prophecy because if you're not

‘Dinky Rink’ Continued from Page 1 us 30 days' notice.” The FCRC’s vote will be the only formal approval of the rink. Community Board 8 will hold their own vote, but it will serve only as a recommendation to be given to the FCRC. The planned skating rink was originally scheduled to open early this winter on the defunct tennis courts near the West 242nd Street elevated subway station. While it is known the rink will run on a 15-year contract, other details such as skate rental fees, time limits, and food and drink vendors have yet to be revealed because they were left up to each prospective bidder to decide. The viability of the project may depend on whether the small open rink can compete with other larger rinks within easy travel distance, especially as to price. A vendor charging more than the Murray Rink in nearby Yonkers may well be doomed to failure.

giving notices out to people, then how are people supposed to come out? “The whole process needs to be examined, and I say until you fix that problem, we shouldn't be closing any of these post offices.” USPS consolidation coordinator LaTrayer Sumter-Moreau initially said more than 10,000 surveys were sent out to customers in the 10463 zip code informing them of the latest meeting However, when told there were more than 75,000 residents in the area, she was forced to backtrack and said, “Well, it was more than 75,000 then.” Before a station can be closed, officials must first collect extensive data concerning office workload, customer demand, total operating expenses and public input. The evidence is then reviewed, and if a business case for closure is deemed feasible, a formal proposal is sent to postal service headquarters. A panel including the postmaster general then makes a final determination. All decisions are subject to review by the Postal Regulatory Commission. The whole process takes a minimum of four months. In order to avoid mass post office closures, Congressman Eliot L. Engel has

co-sponsored a bill that would allow USPS to use its $6.9 billion pension surplus to stave off the action. However, Richard Fedderman of Engel's office said partisan politics was stalling the legislation’s passage. “We're continuing to work every day both with the assemblyman's office, with Councilman Koppell's office and with the community board, to try and make sure both of these stations don't close,” he said. Riverdale resident Robert S. Gratz said he would stage a "senior power rally" on Friday noon to protest the closures. He implored the crowd to bring their signs, wheelchairs, canes and walkers and join him as he pickets the Fieldston station.

Engel: Court to provide closure on Health Care Act Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) issued the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will hear arguments in the cases opposing the Obama Health Care Act. Rep. Engel is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health, and is a staunch supporter of the law. 'I hope that once the Supreme Court rules in this case that we can finally turn the page and move on to the many other issues facing our nation. I am confident they will see that these lawsuits were politically motivated and rule the Affordable Care Act constitutional. The long history of the Supreme Court has produced a litany of cases which followed the rule of law rather than political ideology. Unfortunately, recent years have produced cases such as Bush v. Gore and Citizens United which were filled with partisan politics. I am hopeful the Court will eschew the rhetoric and false rumors about the Affordable Care Act and follow the rule of law. 'The Republican Majority has spent hundreds of hours during the past year on repealing the law and returning to an era where insurance companies dictated Americans' health care. They have spent ample time attempting to roll back coverage to tens of millions of people, and to increase the amount of money seniors pay for prescription drugs. If the same efforts were put into job creation, millions more Americans would be back to work already. 'I am certain that if viewed solely upon its merits, the Affordable Care Act will be upheld as being constitutional. I think it would be unfortunate for the entire nation if the Court chose politics over the Constitution.'

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Notes from underground To The Editor: I was delighted to see your front-page article on the importance of running new underground power lines in the Bronx. Unfortunately, this delight turned to disgust at the end of the article, as I read that Con Ed would require local residents to pay thousands of dollars each to install new lines and connections, while Con Ed would presumably immediately reap the benefits from the new lines in the form of lower maintenance. As long as Con Ed has no compelling economic reason to do the work, they will choose to delay it

forever. As a start, I would suggest that all households effected by any power outages immediately ask Con Ed to reimburse our losses. However, some genius in our government in its infinite wisdom has allowed Con Ed to avoid this, as claimed on their web site. "Regrettably, Con Edison cannot provide reimbursement for losses sustained as a result of power outages caused by storms." Assemblyman Dinowitz, the ball is in your court. Where will you take it, and how can we help? Polly Gregor

Who controls ‘Occupy Wall Street’? Continued from Page 18 withdraw the $750,000 (or more) that has been donated? 5) Who determines how that money is spent? Since our federal income tax code is subsidizing OWS, shouldn’t some city, state and/or federal government agency be involved in making certain that everything is on the up and up, and that all of this substantial amount of money is

legally accounted for and not going into anyone’s pocket? For all we know, OWS may turn out to be a money making scam morphing some of these radical protestors into filthy, capitalist pigs. All of the above are legitimate questions and deserve answers. I suggest that our elected officials look into this matter and provide those answers. Alvin Gordon





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19 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, November 17, 2011

Veterans Grove will have to wait ‘til 2012

Thursday, November 17, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Riverdale Review, November 17, 2011  

Weekly newspaper published in Riverdale, NY 10471