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Riverdale’s ONLY Locally Owned Newspaper!

Volume XVIII • Number 48 • November 24 - 30, 2011 •


Angry crowd protests postal closings By MIAWLING LAM Armed with American flags, colorful homemade posters and catchy chants, more than 30 passionate residents rallied to protest the planned closure of two Riverdale post offices. The vocal crowd braved near-freezing conditions and picketed outside the Fieldston station last Friday to express their concerns over the proposed shrinkage strategy. The Fieldston Station at 444 West 238th Street and the Spuyten Duyvil station at 562 Kappock Street are two of up to 3,700 branches nationwide that the United States Postal Service has flagged for closure. Of the 29 branches in New York City currently being studied, 17 are located in The Bronx. Riverdale resident Robert S. Gratz said he was compelled to arrange the “senior power rally” because the community was being stripped of an essential service. Waving a small American flag and standing on a soapbox, Gratz led the crowd with chants of “Postmaster General USA, here’s what Riverdale has to say. We rock. We rock. Keep our post office on the block.” The war veteran and community activist said the closure of either station would cut seniors off from postal services and force those without cars to rely on unpredictable public transportation. “We feel that the postal service is looking in the wrong place to make these cuts,” he said. “Senior citizens have arrived at a place in their lives where they deserve a break and not have to go down to Broadway on a bus in the middle of winter. It is

Community activist Robert Gratz leads a crowd demanding that the United States Postal Service keeps the Fieldston Post Office, on West 238th Street, open. It is one of 17 Bronx offices that are being studied for possible closure. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz also attended the rally. a stupid decision and we need to make more noise.” During the hour-long rally, Gratz encouraged attendees to write to the postmaster in Washington and express their dissatisfaction, prompting Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz to suggest emailing their concerns as well, “in case they can’t get it delivered on time.”

Repeating the testimony he delivered at both public hearings, Dinowitz said the cost-savings plan would disproportionately affect seniors and disabled residents in the community. He also said it was unreasonable for USPS officials to nominate the Kingsbridge branch, located on Broadway and West 230th Street, as an alternate access point.

“I avoid that place like the plague,” he said. “They have terribly long lines, they never have enough windows open.... I can only imagine how much more crowded that place would be if they add the people who use this post office and the one on Kappock Street.” Andrew Sandler of Councilman G. Continued on Page 18

P.S. 24 teachers vow: ‘We will not be pressured into silence by parent group’

By MIAWLING LAM The parent association leadership at P.S. 24 have ordered their children’s teachers to stop leaking information to the press, insisting that any differences can be solved internally. The school’s parents association fired off a terse letter to staff members earlier this month pleading them to cease and desist from blowing the whistle on questionable school operations. However, in an ironic twist, it was the Riverdale Review that last week received multiple copies of the letter after outraged staff members interpreted the memo as a veiled threat. The one-page correspondence, dated November 7, was dispatched a couple of days after the Review revealed that an uncertified teacher was illegally assigned to a class with special education students and had been replaced on orders of the Department of Education.

The teacher was removed prior to any story appearing in the newspaper. A number of teachers felt compelled to notify the media about the issue only because principal Donna Connelly refuses to address their concerns. However, the school’s elected PA officers implored staff to maintain a code of secrecy. “On behalf of the parents of P.S. 24, who hold our school’s administration, and its staff, in the highest regard, we ask that whoever is responsible for these leaks, to cease and desist immediately,” the letter states. Members then make mention of Boo Bash, one of the school’s most profitable fundraising campaigns, and note that monies raised helped teachers do their job. “Over 100 parents volunteered. They gave up their valuable time so that additional funds could go into the classroom for enrichment,” the letter continues. “This gives us the right and the responsibility to

request that whatever differences we have—with each other, or with the administration—that they stay within our school walls, and be dealt with via the appropriate channels.” A person at P.S. 24, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said the letter garnered a hostile response among staff. “It was insulting—just the nerve of the PA to raise anything like this,” the source said. “Many of the teachers were quite upset about the letter. If you read between the lines, it’s sort of a veiled threat in there about the money.” It is understood that several staff members have deposited the letters into the PA’s mailbox as a silent protest. Another whistleblower at the school, who anonymously sent in an annotated version of the letter, also Continued on Page 19

Thursday, November 24, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Espaillat prepares for Israel trip By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER Senator Adriano Espaillat doesn’t want to arrive empty-handed when he travels to Israel later this month, so he met with Riverdale constituents to ask for some advice on what to bring. Espaillat is part of a group of legislators seeking opportunities in Israel for mutual support. “The purpose of this trip is to listen, learn, and exchange ideas about how Americans and Israelis can continue to work together and strengthen our bond,” he said. “I would be delighted to speak with each of you individually and listen to your suggestions and advice on how I can make my Israeli tour as productive as possible, as well as any general issues you wish to discuss with me,” the senator said. “I would be remiss if I came here tonight and did not ask for your advice on how I can best support the Jewish community both here and abroad.” One audience suggestion was to continue a B’nai Brith-sponsored program of providing English-language books to students in Israel. Other suggestions dealt with exchanges of technology and educational opportunities. When Espaillat took office as state senator this year, Riverdale became new territory for him. “Up until last year, I used to represent Washington Heights and Inwood in the state Assembly,” he said. “When I won the Senate seat and began representing Riverdale, I didn’t just get new constituents. I believe I got a new family—a family I am so very proud of.” In reaching out to the family, the senator expressed concern over the current wave of anti-Semitic episodes. “Whether it’s the most recent incidents in Brooklyn and Long Island or the disturbing pattern of anti-Semitism around the country, when it comes to eradicating anti-Semitism, we are far from the finish line,” he said. “That’s why it is so important that we work together and continue to take a bold stand against discrimination in all its forms, particularly when it targets a group that has historically suffered the most extreme forms of bigotry.” He also stated his commitment to promote divestment from all commerce with Iran. “We must punish companies that do business with Iran and send a clear message that we stand with our friends.” “I am 100 percent committed to supporting the State of Israel,” he continued. “We must respect Israel’s sovereignty and support its efforts to achieve a long-lasting peace while addressing its very real security needs.” On the issue of security, one souvenir

he hopes to return with is some insight into how Israelis cope with the constant threat of terrorist attacks. On a recent visit there, he discovered the severity of the problem and the challenge of defending against attacks from within. “With its long and successful track record of taking on terrorism, Israel is an excellent model for the United States to follow in boosting our own homeland security.” Senator Espaillat, a state-certified conflict resolution mediator, has helped to bring about peace hundreds of times at the Washington Heights Inwood Conflict Resolution and Mediation Center. Who knows what his involvement in Israel could lead to?

New answer for school traffic woes?

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, November 24, 2011

By BRENDAN McHUGH Last month, elected officials requested lower speed limits, new signage and speed bumps for the area around P.S. 24 and M.S./H.S. 141. As it turns out, the city has a new program for doing just that. On Monday, the Department of Transportation announced its first-ever Neighborhood Slow Zone in Claremont. The slow zone reduces the speed limit in the quarter-square-mile neighborhood from 30 mph to 20 mph, adds nine new speed bumps and more than 50 new signs in the area—both on poles and stenciled onto the road—alerting drivers to the speed limit. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, one of three legislators who wrote to DOT in October, says Independence Avenue is a model candidate for the new traffic safety program. “Given the area’s proximity to several schools, a public library, and houses of worship, I believe this stretch of Independence Avenue would be an ideal location for a Neighborhood Slow Zone,” he wrote in a letter to DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan earlier this week. “The Neighborhood Slow Zone program includes many of the traffic changes we had requested for Independence Avenue, such as additional speed humps and a 20-miles-per-hour speed zone for the corridor from West 232nd Street to West 246th Street.” Along with Dinowitz, state Senator Adriano Espaillat and City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell requested the changes in October. Among the requests were stop signs at West 235th Street and Independence Avenue, a 20 mph zone through the entire 14-block corridor, adjusted traffic signals at the Henry Hudson Parkway overpasses at West 232nd, 239th and 246th streets, and speed bumps on Independence Avenue. “We didn’t refer to it as a particular name, but that’s what’s being requested,” Dinowitz said. “Now that we know that’s what the city is doing, we certainly can’t be told ‘we don’t do that.’” He plans on filing a formal request with DOT soon. The city is urging community boards, politicians and community groups to request zones. The local community board must approve any slow zone. Potential locations for the zones are evaluated by criteria such as severity of crashes per mile, the number of schools, senior and day care centers, and consideration of truck and bus routes and roadway types.


“I’m pleased about this because the city recognized that in certain locations this can be very helpful in increasing safety for pedestrians and drivers as well,” Dinowitz said. He highlighted the number of institutions that cater to the young and old, both of which are demographics particularly vulnerable to traffic safety. “This corridor is an ideal candidate for the program due to the proximity of several schools, including P.S. 24, P.S. 24 Annex, M.S./H.S. 141, and Riverdale Temple Nursery School, the Spuyten Duyvil Public Library, Riverdale Temple, and the Riverdale Jewish Center,” Dinowitz, Espaillat and Koppell wrote in the first letter. In announcing the program, SadikKhan said avoiding a deadly accident is as simple as slowing down drivers. “Local neighborhood streets are not highways, they are not shortcuts. They are where New Yorkers live,” she said. “A pedestrian struck by a car going 40 mph has a 70 percent chance of dying while a pedestrian stuck by a car going 20 mph has a 95 percent chance of surviving. Making neighborhoods safer can be as simple as reducing the speed on our residential streets.”

Engel calls Balanced Budget amendment ‘fantasy’ Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) criticized the House Republican Majority for wasting more time on a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, instead of focusing on creating jobs and other more pressing issues. The measure failed to generate the two-thirds majority needed for passage. To view his remarks from the House floor - ‘The Balanced Budget Amendment sounds like good rhetoric, but we live in the real world and this is just political fantasy. Congress would be severely limited to respond to changing fiscal conditions, and it would dramatically hinder federal responses to high unemployment, wars, other fiscal crises or even helping communities with natural disaster relief. It would also require a super-majority to fix inequities in our tax code, thus protecting the lucrative tax breaks currently enjoyed by hedgefund operators and Big Oil, who pay far less taxes than middle class families. ‘It is a short-sighted vote which sends the country through a time machine back Continued on Page 12

At Montefiore, inspiration starts with our patients. And stops at nothing. Montefiore is more than a proud Bronx hospital. Our nationally renowned Centers of Excellence and our partnership with Albert Einstein College of Medicine are bringing the world to our door. Our outcomes are outperforming national averages, and our patient satisfaction scores are among the highest in the New York City area. But although we are recognized for delivering world-class treatment, we will never compromise our heritage of providing strong, compassionate care to the people of our communities first.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Around the schools... P.S. 81

Wednesday, November 30, is school spirit day. Students are encouraged to wear their P.S. 81 gear to school. To stock up on logo shirts or sweats, contact parent coordinator Nina Velazquez at nvelazquez@

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

A 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 gov. 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

Horace Mann School

The Caring In Action Day event is on Saturday, December 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Lower Division cafeteria. It is an opportunity for Lower Division students and their families to participate in community service projects that benefit The Bronx community and beyond. Projects will include decorating and stuffing holiday stockings with donated items, gift-wrapping new toy donations, writing letters to deployed troops, sorting and packing canned food for local food pantries, making holiday cards for children in a hospital, sorting coins, and creating a mural for the Lower Division community. The Middle Division’s Eighth-Grade Service Learning Team will assist. A bake

sale will be held in the cafeteria and pizza will be served for lunch. The day will culminate the coin, coat and new toy drives that begin on Monday, November 28.

Kinneret Day School

Seventh- and eighth-graders got a visit from Arizona Iced Tea staff members—owners Joe and Dana Jacober, the company’s scientist and the marketing coordinator. The students tried their hands at the process of mixing chemicals before they got to taste the final product. They were given a tour of the company’s various facilities via a Smartboard in the science lab. In a question-and-answer session, they posed intriguing thoughts regarding both the scientific aspect of the drink and the marketing angle of the business.

St. Margaret of Cortona School

The school will build upon its success by expanding a pilot project started last April that provided students in kindergarten through second grade with iPads. Now, students in grades three, five, six, seven and eight will receive the devices for use during the school day. Pre-kindergarteners will also get some iPads for their classroom. In expanding the program, St. Margaret’s will become one of the few schools in the state to provide almost every student with an iPad. The main goal is to eliminate the need for carrying heavy textbooks, a practice that causes serious health issues. Using private donations, the school also purchased 80 firstgeneration iPads and 14 second-generation iPads for use by teachers and administrators, who are seeking textbook publishers geared toward iPad compatibility.

P.S. 24 videographers snag prize at STEM summit By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER P.S. 24 first-graders, under the guidance of instructional technology director Nick Dembowski, have created an award-winning documentary video using a cast of LEGO characters. “When Curious George Came to P.S. 24” earned a prize in the LEGO Smart Creativity Contest for P.S. 24 in the lowerelementary K-2 segment. The contest winners were announced at last week’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Summit in St. Louis. The video’s plot involves the misadventures of the famous monkey as he encounters school staff members—a teacher, the nurse, cafeteria workers, the guidance counselor. A catchy percussion-only soundtrack adds to the excitement. Interim acting assistant principal Manuele Verdi enthused about the win and lauded Dembowski’s efforts. “He’s really happy,” he said. “To my knowledge, it is the first time that we’ve entered this contest.” Verdi noted students will now benefit from the prize pool—$2,500 in LEGO supplies, which the 10-year veteran teacher will share. To make the video, students performed research, built the sets, recorded the voice-overs and employed stop-motion techniques to animate their characters. “This got the kids super-excited for literacy and social studies,” Dembowski narrates.

The national contest provides a platform where teachers can demonstrate their classes’ creativity in a project using LEGO sets. Requirements called for video submissions no more than 150 seconds in duration. Content could include students telling the story, deploying the materials and accomplishing the animation. “These videos really show how handson, minds-on learning help today’s student understand subjects across the curriculum—not only in technology, science, engineering and math concepts, but literature, grammar and social studies as well,” said Stephan Turnipseed, LEGO Education North America president. A link to the fast-moving, engaging video is available through the school’s website,

FAX education news to:

The Riverdale Review (718) 543-4206 or email to

5752 Fieldston Road Bronx • New York, 10471

By MIAWLING LAM Seniors from Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy passed 55 percent of their Advanced Placement exams this year, new figures reveal. Data recently released by the College Board, which administers the AP tests, shows slightly more H.S. 141 students enrolled in the rigorous program in 2011. Despite the spike in students completing the challenging college-level courses, RKA’s passing rates have plateaued. Figures reveal that the high school’s students were deemed proficient in 108 of the nearly 200 exams they took this year, equating to a 54.5 percent success rate. In comparison, of the 133 pupils who took 184 AP exams last year, 119 came back with a score of three or higher, translating also to a 54.5 percent passing rate. Under the unorthodox AP scoring system, students must record a score of three or higher on a point scale of one to five to be considered proficient in the subject they are tested on. The school’s performance means RKA is ranked 38th out of more than 240 city high schools. Among public schools in The Bronx, RKA is ranked sixth out of 64 schools and, unsurprisingly, trail their peers in the borough’s two flagship specialized high schools. Bronx High School of Science, widely considered the nation’s leading science school, recorded a pass rate of 88.9 percent on their AP exams, while High School of American Studies registered an 81.4 percent success rate. As of press time, calls to the school were not returned. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said he was pleased with RKA’s overall standing. “There’s always room for improvement but the fact that they’ve ranked high amongst the city as a whole is very good news,” he said. “Hopefully things will continue to move in that direction.” Once the hallmark of elite, collegebound high-school graduates, the AP program has exploded in popularity in recent years on the back of higher student aspirations and teacher encouragement. Depending on a college’s criteria, students may earn early college credits on the back of their AP results. But figures suggest the citywide rise in test-takers has failed to translate in a lift in overall student performance. According to the Department of Education, the number of city high school students taking AP exams jumped by seven percent, to 29,767, this year. The percentage of seniors passing these tests also rose by the same figure, thereby erasing any improvements. Black students were among a few ethnicities that bucked the trend, with 12.7 percent more scoring a passing grade of 3, 4 or 5 in 2011 than last year. Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott trumpeted the figures and said that participation on AP exams has increased by more than 31 percent since 2006, while passing rates have climbed 31.5 percent. “The more our students are exposed to college-level tests and courses, the better prepared they will be for life after

high school,” he said in a statement last month. “In a year when so many students took these tests for the first time, I’m proud of their impressive gains on the APs…” High schools in Manhattan dominate the list of top-performing schools, accounting for nine of the 20 highest ranks. Stuyvesant High School, a highly competitive selective school in Battery Park, topped the table with an AP passing rate of 96.2 percent. Staten Island Technical High School ranked second with their 90.5 passing rate, followed by Bronx High School of Science, Millennium High School and Manhattan Bridges High School rounding off the top five.

Peter & The Wolf

5 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, November 24, 2011

Over half at RKA gain AP credit

Thursday, November 24, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Simon Center’s program of Thanksgiving memories

The Simon Senior Center located at the Riverdale YM-YWHA at 5625 Arlington Avenue is pleased to present a special program@ 10:30am on Friday November 25th with Margalit Schwartz , social work intern from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. Ms. Schwartz will lead an interactive discussion on Thanksgiving Memories and attendees will recall their favorites Thanksgivings of yesteryear. Following the session @ 12noon a kosher lunch will be served in the dining hall. Suggested donation is $2.25. The entire community is welcome. For further information and registration please call Toby or Vicki @ 718-5488200 x223/224.

RCS invites singers for 2012 concert season

The Riverdale Choral Society invites singers to join them in the second of three concerts of their 2011-2012 concert season. This concert, entitled ‘Northern Lights - Music of Northern Europe’, features pieces by such composers as Norway’s Edvard Grieg, Rachmaninoff, Estonia’s Arvo Paart and others. Music Director John Lettieri will begin rehearsals for the March 18, 2012 concert on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. Since 1964, the Riverdale Choral

Society has been bringing joy to the community through performances of high-quality choral music. Our welcoming, diverse group of men and women rehearses weekly under professional artistic direction, singing both traditional and adventuresome repertoire. Through live concerts and community outreach, the chorus enriches the cultural life of the greater Riverdale area. If you are an experienced sight-reader or even if you do not sight-read but have a good musical ear you can schedule an informal audition with Music Director John Lettieri by sending an e-mail to riverdalechoral@gmail. com, or calling 718-543-2219. Or you may sign up for an informal audition at our open rehearsal on Wednesday, November 30th at 7:30 PM. Choral rehearsals will be held every Wednesday from 7:30 to 9:45 PM at Christ Church Riverdale, 252 St. and Henry Hudson Parkway East, where there is street parking available and easy access to public transportation. Additional information can be obtained at the RCS web site:

Chabad of Riverdale announces activities

For the past 17 years, Chabad Lubavitch of Riverdale’s Toys for Tots Campaign has distributed toys, games and gifts to hospitalized children during the holiday season. Donations of unwrapped toys or checks payable to Chabad of Riverdale

T.H.C. Campaign are welcome. They are also looking for volunteers to distribute the toys at the hospitals on December 21st, 22nd & 26th. Please call Deborah at 718-549-1100 ext. 10 to register. They will be hitting the ice on Chanukah at Central Park’s Trump Wollman Rink. The public is invited on the first night of Chanukah, Tuesday, December 20th, from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Register online at Online admission is $22 for adults, $18 for children ages 3 - 14. At the door, admission is $25 for adults, $20 for children ages 3 - 14. Special group rates are available. Jewish Women’s Circle Invites Women & Teens to a pre-Chanukah morning with Joanne Caras, creator of the Holocaust Survivor Cookbook. Joanne’s cookbook is a collection of recipes and stories of over 120 Holocaust survivors. She will share the incredible story of how the cookbook was created, and relate several of the most moving and miraculous stories that appear in the book. This event will be held on Sunday, December 11, 2011 from 10:30 am - 12:00 pm at 4684 Grosvenor Ave. Admission will be $36 to participate as a donor, $25 as a sponsor, $18 as a couvert and $10 for teens who are accompanied by an adult. Autographed cookbooks will be available for purchase. All proceeds from cookbook sales benefit Carmei Ha’ir Soup Kitchen in Jerusalem. For more information, to reserve a cookbook or RSVP, call Suzanne: 914-709-0308 For more information on Chabad of Riverdale and details of Chanukah events log on to or call (718) 549-1100 ext 10.

Montefiore ranked among best hospitals in the Northeast in key areas

Montefiore Medical Center was honored yesterday as a top provider of outstanding patient care and safety by The Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH), a network of employers, providers and insurers working to improve the quality and reduce the cost of healthcare in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts and The Leapfrog Group, an employer-backed health advocacy organization. This honor was based on a rigorous review of participating hospitals in the New York metropolitan area and is a prestigious, nationally-recognized seal

of approval. Montefiore was one of only two area hospitals that received this distinction. “Montefiore is honored to be recognized as a leader in delivering the best quality of care in the region,” said Steven M. Safyer, MD, President and CEO of Montefiore Medical Center. “The NEBGH award reflects our success in implementing innovative practices focused solely on delivering the highest quality of care, having exceptional results and ensuring the best experience for our patients, their families and communities.” This award was based on a rigorous review of participating area hospitals conducted by The Leapfrog Group, a coalition of public and private purchasers of employee health coverage dedicated to improving healthcare safety, quality and affordability. Leapfrog assesses hospitals on a range of quality and safety practices including Computerized Physician Order Entry to prevent medication errors, ICU staffing models and measures of quality of care for a number of complex conditions and procedures. Leapfrog also benchmarks hospitals on over 30 practices that reduce the risk of medical errors and hospitalacquired infections, and improve patient outcomes. This data-driven approach is the most comprehensive measure of hospital quality available today. “Since 1996, Montefiore has been a pioneer in electronic health records, medication safety, innovative ICU staffing and safe interdisciplinary team care practices. Our accomplishments in these areas have been instrumental in preventing errors and delivering high quality care,” said Rohit Bhalla, MD, MPH, Chief Quality Officer at Montefiore Medical Center. “As healthcare costs rise and our population ages,” said Laurel Pickering, President and CEO of NEBGH, “our nation is looking to hospitals, such as Montefiore Medical Center to develop new ways of providing better care, greater value, and the highest levels of patient safety.” “Every year, more people die in hospitals from preventable mistakes, than from vehicle accidents, breast cancer and AIDS,” said Leah Binder, CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “Montefiore Medical Center is a leader - in the region and across the nation - in its commitment to patient safety and better health for employees, retirees and their families.”

Visitation School to hold holiday sale

Visitation School’s Parents Association will hold a Holiday Sale on Sunday, Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 160 Van Cortlandt Park South. Local vendors from the Bronx, Manhattan and Westchester offering a variety of gift and everyday items have signed on for this special sale event. Food and refreshments sold. Free admission and parking.

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 Kelly @ 718-543-0237.

On Tuesday, November 29th the Simon Senior Center located at the Riverdale Y at 5625 Arlington Ave, will present Mark Tobak in concert at 1:00 pm. Mr. Tobak, a renown pianist, and has given piano concerts throughout the NY metropolitan area. He will entertain the audience with a program of classical music and popular Broadway show tunes. All are invited to enjoy a kosher luncheon preceding the concert. Please register in advance before 11:45 am. Suggested luncheon donation is $2.25. For further information please contact Vicki or Leora @ 718-548-8200 x224 or 204.

and How to Pay For It.’ Rabbi Steven Exler of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale will be giving an introduction. The presentation will focus on caring for those with severe memory impairment. The speakers will be followed by a vendor fair featuring organizations and individuals who specialize in the area of aging/elderly care. Richard Langer, executive director of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, said: ‘The Hebrew Institute is excited to serve as a community resource and to bring this vital information to our members and the entire Bronx community.’ For more information, contact the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale at 718-7964730 ext. 101 or

Workshop on caring for aging loved ones

CSAIR presents ‘Muslim Perspectives on the Judaism’

On Sunday, Dec. 4, from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale (3700 Henry Hudson Parkway) will host a workshop entitled, ‘Caring for Our Aging Loved Ones.’ Keynote speaker Anna Kirshblum of the Jewish board of Family Services will give a presentation entitled, ‘Letting Go, Holding On: Caring for People with Memory Impairment.’ Special guest speaker Debra Drelich of the New York Elder Care Consultants will give a presentation entitled,, ‘Caring for Aging Loved Ones: What Help is Available

Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, director of the Manhattan College Holocaust Center, will speak at the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale on Wednesday, December 7, at 7:45 p.m. Her topic will be ‘Muslim Perspectives on the Holocaust, Jews and Judaism.’ Dr. Afridi will discuss the lack of education in the Muslim world of the Holocaust and Judaism and why the Holocaust is not as significant - and at times denied - in the Muslim world. She will also explore the history of modern Jewish-Muslim relations, the new anti-Semitism and Is-

lamophobia, and will present next steps and hope for Jewish-Muslim relations. This program is presented by the CSAIR Adult Education Committee. It is free and open to the entire community. CSAIR is located at 475 West 250th Street. For more information, call the synagogue office at 718-543-8400 or visit

Van Cortlandt Senior Center upcoming activities

Dancing Crane Georgian Performing Arts ensemble will present a stunning program of ethnic dance on Sun. Dec. 11th at 1:15 PM. A festive lunch will be served at 12:15 PM followed by the performance. Georgian dance has a style all its own containing strength, elegance and graceful movement. The company presents dances and songs in authentic costumes from all regions of Georgia including mountain dances with swords, elegant court dances, refined women’s dances and regional folk dances. Dancing Crane Georgian Performing Arts aims to convey a sense of living art to all ages and to serve as a bridge between Georgian traditions and American cultural life. The senior contribution for the meal is $2.00 and $2.00 for the entertainment. All ages are welcome. To reserve for lunch, call the center office 718-549-4700 by Wed. Dec. 7th. On Thurs. Dec. 8th at 11:15 AM, FDNY will provide an educational presentation

7 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, November 24, 2011

Free concert at the Riverdale YM-YWHA

on Fire Safety. Ari Leshans, international keyboard/ vocals, will entertain at our Nov./Dec. birthday party on Thurs. Dec. 15th at 1:00 PM. Senior contribution for the meal is $2.00 and $1.00 for the entertainment. Hudson Pointe at Riverdale will sponsor a Ginger Bread House Party on Tues. Dec. 20th at 1:00 PM. Lunch is served at 12:15 PM. Yale Strom Klezmer Trio will usher in Hanukkah at JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center on Thurs. Dec. 22nd at 1:15 PM. Yale Strom is an accomplished klezmer violinist who has devoted his life to collecting and preserving music and culture of Eastern Europe from the Yiddish and Roma (gypsy) traditions. A holiday meal will be served at 12:15 PM. Suggested contribution for lunch is $2.00 and $2.00 for the entertainment. We are offering two exciting day trips to China Town on Dec. 7th and Rockefeller Center on Dec. 21st . For information and reservations, please contact Maritza Silva at 718-549-4700. Classes in Fitness, Movement, Tai Chi, Yoga, Tone & Stretch, Painting, Knitting, Current Events and Short Stories, Indoor Gardening, Line Dancing, Jewelry Making, sing-along, computer lab and more are offered at JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center. We are 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. We are nonsectarian. Seniors age 60+ may register for free. For more information, please call the center office at 718-549-4700. JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center is funded by NYC Dept. for the Aging, UJAFederation of NY and by special grants from Council Member Oliver Koppell and other NYS representatives.


Thursday, November 24, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


BUDGETING FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Do you dread the holiday season? Never fear, we have some holiday saving tips that may reduce your holiday stress. This program helps participants plan ahead and budget for holiday expenses. Let’s bring the joy back into the holiday season. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Sunday, December 4 Van Cortlandt

Friday, Nov. 25 Riverdale

THANKSGIVING MEMORIES 10:30 a.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue Margalit Schwartz will lead an interactive discussion on Thanksgiving Memories and attendees will recall their favorites Thanksgivings of yesteryear. Following the session @ 12noon a kosher lunch will be served in the dining hall. Suggested donation is $2.25. The entire community is welcome. For further information and registration please call Toby or Vicki @ 718-548-8200 x223/224.

Monday, Nov. 28 Riverdale

COFFEE HOUR 10 a.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Start off your week with a cup of coffee at the Riverdale Branch. Read newspapers , catch up on current events, or just enjoy a friendly game of Chess. All in our Community Room. For more information, call 718-549-1212.

Spuyten Duyvil

KNITTING & CROCHET 11 a.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street A get-together for knitters and crocheters at all skill levels to work on a current project, learn new techniques, or even to begin a new craft. All skill levels are welcomed. Pre-registration not required. For more information, call 718-796-1202.

Spuyten Duyvil

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 info, call 718-796-1202.


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 to 18. For more information, call 718-548-5656.


CB8 MEETING 19:30:00 Community Board 8 5676 Riverdale Avenue Meeting of the Housing Committee of Community Board 8. For more information, call 718-884-3959.

Tuesday, Nov. 29 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 718-792-1202.


BABY STORY TIME 11:30 a.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Babies from birth to 18 months old and their parents/caregivers can enjoy great books, lively songs, and rhymes, and meet other babies in the neighborhood. For more information, call 718-549-1212.


FREE CONCERT 1 p.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue the Simon Senior Center will present pianist Mark Tobak in concert. He will entertain the audience with a program of classical music and popular Broadway show tunes. All are invited to enjoy a kosher luncheon preceding the concert. Please register in advance before 11:45 am. Suggested luncheon donation is $2.25. For further information please contact Vicki or Leora @ 718-548-8200 x224 or 204.


YOGA EXERCISE 3 p.m. Atria of Riverdale

3718 Henry Hudson Parkway Yoga Exercise to the music of the Big Band Era with Ellen Cooper. RSVP: Jane Kennedy 718 432 2448

Wednesday, Nov. 30 Kingsbridge

TODDLER STORY TIME 11 a.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Stories, Songs, Fingeplays Flannelboard Illustrations for toddlers ages 18-36 months for parents/caregivers. For more information, call 718-548-5656.


LUNCH AND LEARN 12 p.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue Professor Saul Silas Fathi will give a presentation on the world’s trouble spots including Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan with insights to the future of US relations with these countries. All are welcome to attend but advance reservations are required. Admission is $5.00 per person which includes a kosher lunch. For info please contact Toby or Vicki at the Y @ 718-548-8200 x223/224.


CB8 MEETING 1 p.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue Meeting of the Youth Committee of Community Board 8. For more information, call 718-884-3959.

Van Cortlandt

FALL ARTS & CRAFTS 15:30:00 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.


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.

Thursday, December 1 Spuyten Duyvil

TODDLER STORY TIME 10:30 a.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street Toddlers from 18 months to 3 years old and their parents/caregivers can enjoy interactive stories, action songs, and fingerplays, and spend time with other toddlers in the neighborhood. For more information, call 718-796-1202.


BABY LAPSIT 10:30 a.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Stories, Songs, Fingerplays, Puppets for babies ages birth - 36 months for parents and caregivers. For info, call 718-548-5656.


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

Friday, December 2 Kingsbridge

TEEN ADVISORY GROUP 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Let your voice be heard in the Kingsbridge Library’s Teen Advisory Group! TAG meetings will be held on Friday afternoons from 4-5 pm. If you are a 7th -12th grade student, you are eligible to join. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Saturday, December 3 Kingsbridge

READING HOUR 1 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Youngsters 3-12 years old are invited to a reading program sponsored by the Rotary Club. For more information, call Karen Pesce at 718-549-4469.

HOLIDAY SALE 9 a.m. Visitation School 160 Van Cortlandt Park South Featuring gifts, household items, books, home decor, jewelry, perfume, and more. Food and refreshments sold. Free admission and parking.


WORKSHOP 10 a.m. Hebrew Institute of Riverdale 3700 Henry Hudson Parkway A workshop entitled, “Caring for Our Aging Loved Ones,” will focus on caring for those with severe memory impairment. For more information, contact the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale at 718-796-4730 ext. 101 or

By MIAWLING LAM More than 30 children are being crammed into classrooms as local schools battle overcrowding and devastating budget cuts. Preliminary class size data, released by the Department of Education last week, shows student numbers have ballooned across the city this year. P.S. 24 fared the worst among Riverdale’s three public schools and recorded the highest student-teacher ratio of 16.8. Figures shows a fifth-grade class at the Spuyten Duyvil school has as many as 32 students on its books, while the average Kindergarten class houses 24.8 students – right at the legal limit. In comparison, P.S. 81 enjoys a lower student-teacher ratio at 14.8, as well as smaller classes. According to the city’s figures, the largest class at the Robert J Christen school is a fourth-grade one, which has 30 children on its registers. On average, there are also 22.5 students assigned to each P.S. 81 Kindergarten room, while first-graders enjoy a mean of 27 children in their classes. Meanwhile, Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy recorded an overall studentteacher ratio of 16.3. Average class sizes at M.S/H.S 141 range from 31.3 students in sixth-grade to 23.7 teenagers in chemistry and 32 in each of the 10 living environment classes. One of the school’s global history and geography class even boasts 35 students, Under the UFT’s contract, Kindergar-

ten class sizes are limited to 25 students, 32 in grades one through six, and up to 34 in the upper grades. As of press time, calls to each of the three schools were not returned. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz blamed the super-sized classes on systemic austerity measures. “The increase in class size is solely a function of funding, or lack thereof,” he said. “If there was more money for the schools, we would be able to prevent the increase in class size.” Dinowitz said extending the millionaire’s tax would boost funding but Mayor Michael Bloomberg remains staunchly opposed to the idea. “The administration is very good at pointing fingers elsewhere,” he said. “One of the places the administration might want to point its finger at is in the mirror, specifically the Mayor. I strongly urge him to reconsider his opposition to the millionaire’s tax, which would continue to help generate significant revenue for the state and therefore the city.” Citywide, class sizes rose by nearly one student per class. Officials said the average elementary class size rose nearly three percent this year, from 23.7 to 24.4 students. In middle school, classes spiked to 27.1 students, from 26.8, while high school classes increased to 26.8 students, up from 26.4. In real terms, it means there are now, on average, two more Kindergarteners per class than there were in 2008, and roughly three more third graders in each Continued on Page 11

9 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, November 24, 2011

Class sizes increase at local schools

Thursday, November 24, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


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By MIAWLING LAM Straphangers who ride the Bx7 and Bx10 buses could soon face an easier evening commute. The MTA has vowed to examine ridership volumes on both lines after residents complained about gross overcrowding and the lengthy wait at the West 231st Street and Broadway bus stop. Community Board 8 land use chair Charles Moerdler, who also sits on the MTA Board, announced the latest win for Bronx commuters at a general board meeting on November 9. “At the request of Assemblyman [Jeffrey] Dinowitz, the president of the bus division of the MTA has put a study in motion,” he said. “My hunch is that if they can show with the checkers that this is a concern, we should be okay.” Dinowitz welcomed the news and said he was optimistic that additional buses will run during the peak rush hour from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. “I’m hopeful that we can get some extra runs during the evening rush hour, certainly from 231st Street up to the Yonkers city line,” he said. “If you had just a couple more buses, it would significantly alleviate both the length of the wait and the overcrowding. I think it’ll make a world of difference for a lot of people.” Although he conceded the cashstrapped agency wasn’t in the best economic shape, Dinowitz said the situation was out of control and had to be addressed.

“If you’ve ever seen the evening rush hour, it’s a mob scene. The waits are very long and it’s very crowded,” he said. “We understand there are cutbacks. But nonetheless, the idea of mass transit is to provide a service to people so they can move from one place to another.” Typically, nearly 50 straphangers can wait as long as 15 minutes for the Bx7 and Bx10 buses at the already busy intersection during the evening commute. The queue often reaches the Popeye’s on West 231st Street, about 15 to 20 yards down the block. Once a bus finally arrives, it takes commuters at least another five minutes just to board.

Class sizes

Continued from Page 9 class than four years ago. Department of Education spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said the increase was a direct result of $1.7 billion in state and federal budget cuts. “We fully anticipated that class sizes would rise modestly and we are pleased that the increase is below what we initially projected,” she said. Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott predicted last May that average class sizes would jump by two students this year. A UFT survey released in September also revealed that nearly 7,000 city classes were bursting at the seams and that 355 elementary and middle schools in The Bronx were overcrowded.

11 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, November 24, 2011

Relief in sight for local bus commuters

Thursday, November 24, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Public recycling bin program to be expanded here

By BRENDAN McHUGH A popular city recycling program is expanding in Riverdale. The Public Space Recycling program run by the city’s Department of Sanitation asks businesses, nonprofits and local groups to manage recycling cans on the streets of New York.

Engel Continued from Page 3 to 1995, not-so-coincidentally the last time a radical Republican majority was in power. This amendment effectively ties the hands of the Congress and renders it helpless to protect our citizens when hurricanes, such as Irene, destroy homes. It leaves Congress on the sidelines when Americans are out of work, such as they are today. It stifles many options to respond to international crises which could threaten our national security. It would also lead to trillions of dollars of Draconian cuts to our social safety net - Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and significant tax hikes on the middle class. ‘This is not the proper course for our country and I urge my Republican colleagues to stop listening to the Tea Party radicals whispering in their ear and instead work with Democrats to find responsible solutions to the problems facing our country.’

More than 200 of these cans are placed throughout Manhattan, but only 70 are in The Bronx, with just six in the Community Board 8 area. The good news for local residents is that at least two more are coming to the neighborhood, and the city will be looking for more volunteers to manage them. Sanitation’s chief of collection and recycling operations Peter McKeon says the Riverdale Neighborhood House and Gary Wartels of Skyview Wines & Spirits are “adopting” bins. Both are part of the North Riverdale Merchants Association. “We’d like to get as many as we can in the outer boroughs,” McKeon said. “But with this program, we need partners.” The program operates without funding. The business or organization that adopts a public space recycling receptacle, or PSR, sets up a time and place for the sanitation department to come pick up the bags of items to be recycled—for free. The only cost to the group is finding a place to store the bags between pickups. The department even provides the bags. The receptacles available are for bottles and cans and for paper. McKeon said that some bins have to be emptied each and every day, but many of them need to be emptied only once or twice a week. Sanitation picks up

the recycling at the same time as they normally would for the organization. If an organization is interested in adopting a PSR, they can contact Community Board 8 or the sanitation department and someone will “come right out,” McKeon said. “We work with everybody individually,” he added, saying he’s worked with business imprvement districts, colleges, residential buildings and even other city agencies. The existing bins in Community Board 8 are located in Van Cortlandt Park and are managed by the parks department. The PSR bins have a 90 percent purity rate, which means it’s rare that garbage is thrown into the recycling bins. At the time of collection, if the bag looks like it’s mostly garbage, Sanitation will treat it like garbage so the managing organization doesn’t have to sort the contents. Thomas Durham, a member of the community board, said this program will be great for keeping Riverdale clean, allowing residents to discard cans and paper into a receptacle rather than on the streets. “It’s better to control it at the source, rather than the delta,” he said. McKeon said the cans are light enough to be moved from one block to the next but heavy enough to avoid getting stolen.

He said they’ve had only one receptacle stolen—by the production company that produced the television show “Ugly Betty.” The show denied the accidental theft, he added. The program involves a lot of

trial and error because, according to the sanitation department, businesses sometimes get lazy about maintenance and cans sometimes need to be moved to a new location for better use or convenience.



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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 more information, 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.

Friday, December 2 Elmsford

ENERGY CONSERVATION 9 a.m. Greenburgh Public Library Route 119 A panel of experts will discuss the successes and challenges of engaging a community to conserve energy during the Conservation Café ‘Energy Conservation: Overcoming Resistance.” For more information, call 914-864-7326.

Saturday, December 3 Yonkers

BIRDS, BIRDS, BIRDS 10 a.m. Lenoir Preserve Dudley Street An introduction to bird identification. Join us as we view images of common and some uncommon birds of our area. Learn to use size, shape, and color in identifying birds. We will use our new skills as we sit indoors to watch and identify birds at Lenoir’s feeders. Make a journal to record your observations. Bring binoculars if you have them. For more information, call 914-968-5851.

1 p.m. Trailside Nature Museum Ward Pound Ridge Reservation In a program designed for children, we will discuss how the flora and fauna of Westchester County deal with the cold temperatures and short daylight hours. Through a craft project we will also create our own creatures with unique wintering techniques. For more information, call 914-864-7322.


THEATRE 2 p.m. Riverfront Library One Larkin Center Bring the whole family for a live performance of The Brave Calf, a bi-lingual theatre piece presented by Hamm & Clov Stage Company and performed by Teatro IATI. For more information, call 914-963-6222 or visit


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.

Sunday, December 4 Somers

HOLIDAY DECORATIONS 1 p.m. Muscoot Farm Route 100 Adults and children of all ages are invited to create their own holiday cards and decorations. For more information, call 914-864-7282.


SURVIVAL AT THE SANCTUARY 2 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 The naturalist will show you some hands-on techniques on what to do if you “get stuck in the woods”. For more information, call 914-835-4466.


WINTER AT THE SALT MARSH 2 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 The salt marsh is anything but dead in winter. You’ll get a perspective of the searing sound of the tide crashing into the ice along the frozen shoreline. Please bring binoculars and dress for the weather. For more information, call 914-835-4466.


CARING FOR HOLIDAY PLANTS 2 p.m. Lasdon Park Route 35 Join Lasdon’s horticulturist in the Garden Shop. Bring your questions about care of holiday plants as well as any other indoor plants. For more information, call 914-864-7268.

Mt. Kisco

HIKE OFF THE TURKEY 10 a.m. Croton Point Nature Center Croton Point Avenue Get out and move this winter. Join us as we explore the beauty of the Hudson. For more information, call 914-862-5297.

MURDER, MAYHEM & THE MALL 3 p.m. Merestead 455 Byram Lake Road Featuring The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Robert Convery and Before Breakfast by Thomas Pasatieri, with soprano Lauren Flanigan. Includes meet-the-artist. For more information, call 914-788-4659.


Thursday, December 8


VOLUNTEER WORK 1 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 Preparing the Trails for the Winter: This is a volunteer work project. We will clear woody debris, apply gravel and remove any trash (if neccessary). Great for community service hours and school credit. Please bring work gloves. Hand tools provided. Meet at the visitors center. For more information, call 914-835-4466.


North White Plains

Saturday, December 10

HOLIDAY NATURE CRAFTS 1 p.m. Cranberry Lake Preserve Old Orchard Street Grandparents love homemade gifts from their grandchildren (or so they say). We’ll make creating these presents much easier using materials provided by nature. Stop by anytime between 1 and 3 p.m. For more information, call 914-428-1005.

Cross River


MEET THE AUTHOR 6 p.m. Riverfront Library One Larkin Center Join Yonkers-raised author Nicholas DiGiovanni as he reads from his hot-off-the-presses book Rip, a modern-day satirical retelling of Washington Irving’s classic Rip Van Winkle tale. For additional information, contact Anne Campbell at 914-375-7966.


GENEALOGY 10 a.m. Westchester County Archives 2199 Saw Mill River Road The Westchester County Genealogical Society welcomes back Patrick Raftery with a talk on “The Cemeteries of Westchester County.” WCGS welcomes all interested in searching their family roots. There will be refreshments and genealogical networking starting at 9:30 a.m. For more information, call Philomena Dunn at 914-953-9173.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, November 24, 2011

Friday, Nov. 25

Thursday, November 24, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



Youngsters 3-12 years old are invited to participate in the Reading Program on Saturday, December 3, at the NEW Kingsbridge Library, 291 West 231st Street, from 1 to 1:45 p.m. Readers will be grouped by skill level and encouraged to read, helped with pronunciation and word understanding, and for those without reading skills, interpret pictures. There is no charge for participation. The Rotary Club of Riverdale is part of Rotary International and sponsors the library reading project as a local community service. Adult volunteers who are interested in participating are asked to contact Karen Pesce, Secretary: (718) 549-4469.

Lehman Chorus to present Winter Concert, Dec. 4

The Lehman College and Community Chorus will present its annual free Winter Concert on Sunday, December 4, at 2:30 p.m. in the Lehman Concert Hall. Complimentary tickets will be available at the Box Office beginning at 1 p.m. on the day of the performance. The major work on the program will be Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass. Directed by Lehman Professor Diana Mittler-Battipaglia and accompanied by the Lehman Sym-

phony Orchestra, the 140-member chorus will also perform shorter works by Mendelssohn, Bruckner, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Handel and multicultural selections. In addition, the program will feature Telemann’s Concerto in G major for Two Violas, a polka by Johann Strauss and a sing-along for the audience. Members of the chorus and soloists include Lehman students, alumni, faculty, staff and a broad selection of residents from many communities in the Bronx and the greater New York area. A senior college of the City University of New York, Lehman is located at Goulden Avenue and Bedford Park Boulevard in the northwest Bronx and is accessible by bus as well as the 4 and ‘D’ subway lines. Free attended parking is available. For reservations, call the Music Department at 718-960-8247 or e-mail music.

Lunch and Learn at the Riverdale Y

The Simon Senior Center located at the Riverdale YM-YWHA at 5625 Arlington Ave invites all seniors from the community and surrounding neighborhoods to a very special lecture and luncheon with Professor Saul Silas Fathi, author and historian on Wednesday, November 30th at 12noon.

Professor Fathi will give a presentation on the world’s trouble spots including Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan with insights to the future of US relations with these countries. All are welcome to attend but advance reservations are required. Admission is $5.00 per person which includes a kosher lunch. For further information please contact Toby or Vicki at the Y @ 718-5488200 x223/224.

Theater (kid friendly). Enjoy interactive Chanukah games, doughnut baking and decorating, face painting, Chanukah candle making and arts and crafts. So come along with your friends and family and join the fun! The cost is $12 per Child/Family Rate $30. * CELC Preschool families discount-$10 per Child/Family Rate $25. For more information please call Fraidy at (718) 549-1100 x30.

Celebrate Chanukah with Chabad of Riverdale

Winter event for baby boomers and young seniors

The Giant Menorah will be lit on the 6th night of Chanukah Sunday, December 25, 4:00pm at the Bell Tower Monument. Join us for dancing, live music, hot latkes, donuts and balloons. We will also light the Chanukah menorah on Tuesday, December 20th & Wednesday, December 21st at 4:00pm, Thursday, December 22nd at 5:15pm, Friday, December 23rd at 3:00pm, Saturday, December 24th at 6:30pm, Monday, December 26th and Tuesday, December 27th at 4:00pm. This event is co-sponsored by Chabad Lubavitch of Riverdale and Con Edison. Sunday, December 18th from 10:30am12:30pm, bring the family to Chanukah Wonderland. Join us at P.S. 24 (entrance on W. 235th St.) for a performance by the CELC Preschool Children! Plus a Spectacular Puppet Show by the Small Wonder

Forever Young is proud to introduce our first Wonderful Winter Warmer event. This will take place at The Riverdale Y located at: 5625 Arlington Avenue. On December 4th from 1:00pm-2:30pm, glaze your own mug ( perfect for a holiday gift) while enjoying pastries and coffee with great company. Price: Early Bird Special: $20 after November 28: $25. Forever Young is a new program at the Riverdale Y created for the baby boomer generation. Once a month there are special events and along with ongoing courses that include: Introduction to Hebrew, The Jewish Calendar’s Rich Culture, Everyone Has an Opinion and more. Please call Leora Garritano for more information at 718-548-8200 ext. 204 or email

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, November 24, 2011

Rotary Club to sponsor reading hour

Thursday, November 24, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


What is going on at P.S. 24?

When an uncertified teacher was illegally assigned to teach a special education class by the principal, many teachers at P.S. 24 were shocked and dismayed. So why didn’t they take their objections to the principal and talk them out? Fear. Teachers were concerned that if they blew the whistle, or merely complained, the principal would get back at them in one of the many ways that an administrator has at his or her disposal. An unfavorable class assignment, an inconvenient schedule for preparation periods, letters in their files, perhaps even an unfair and undeserved unsatisfactory rating or denial or delay of tenure. At P.S. 24 those fears may not be unfounded. For the past two years around half of the teachers, when completing the official Department of Education school survey forms, stated that they do not trust the principal at her word. This is the reason that last year the school received an “F” in the School Environment section of the school report card, which barely improved to a “D” this year. This is one of the worst rankings in the entire city. So despite what some members of the politically-connected leadership of the Parents Association might tell you, there is serious tension between the principal and many of the most senior and respected teachers in the school. Now some minor things may be better off swept under the rug. But when uncertified teachers are knowingly placed in sensitive classroom situations, in clear violation of both state and federal laws – laws designed to protect our children – a line may have been crossed. Understand that we never wrote so much as a word about this matter. We merely inquired about it as a result of conversations with teachers. And the fact that the questions had to be asked at a level above the school, is a reflection of the lack of cooperation we have had from the school since Donna Connelly became principal. If there was any mitigating circumstance that would have prevented further inquiry, that was the time Dr. Connelly should have responded. Once the Department of Education got wind of this incident, they moved immediately to remove the teacher from the classroom. We suspect that the zeal with which the city acted had to do with concern for legal liability. This was all unfortunate. Certainly for the teacher and surely for the children. But it is the climate of secrecy and the open contempt for the rules that dictated the result, certainly not an article never published. Parents have a right to know who is teaching their children, and the public has a right to expect education officials to fully comply with the law. Teachers here, acting in good faith and concern for the children who feel that they can’t go through channels with their information, value the fact that they can approach the two local newspapers, and maintain their anonymity. That the politically-compromised parent leadership of the P.S. 24 Parents Association has the chutzpah to order the staff not to talk to the press, threatens to remove a basic right of free speech and free expression that all Americans should enjoy. But then again this is the same clique that wants to remove your right to read the Riverdale Review! In truth, these clubhouse-connected parents have another agenda. They blame the Riverdale Review for the shellacking of their political leader, Anthony Perez Cassino, in the last City Council election. So they desperately want to get us out of the way before Cassino’s planned 2013 campaign for the seat he lost last time out. They are sacrificing the well being of the children on the altar of political ambition. Standing in their way are the dedicated teachers of P.S. 24, who value the tradition of excellence at the school. They deserve better than the threats they are getting from those with other agendas. We are pleased that due to the efforts of some fair-minded parents, we have gotten a response to an inquiry on a prize that the school won. This is a positive development that could benefit the children of the school. On our end, we apologize to the parents at the school uninvolved with the politics and the censorship campaign leveled against us. They are not the thugs we referred to in our editorial last week. The thugs are the ones who want to take away your right to read this paper, and are attempting to shake down our advertisers to cooperate with them – or else.

Angry crowd protest postal closings Continued from Page 1 Oliver Koppell’s office told the crowd that he believed the decision was being railroaded through. He noted that despite being located less than a block away from the Fieldston branch, the councilman’s office never received a survey for that station. “It’s a shell game. They’re trying to sneak this in and say it’s a study,” Sandler said. “The study is wrong and it needs to be re-evaluated. Notices were not given out, and we didn’t get a survey. The whole process is flawed.” Former postal service worker and Riverdale resident Sue McAnanama spoke out against the plan and said people had a right to expect reliable mail delivery. “A postal service should deliver mail. It’s part of what we expect as taxpayers,” she said. “A civilized country like the United States must provide that service to its citizens. If it makes money, great, but if it doesn’t, tough. It’s still a service. It is not meant to be a profit-making institution.” However, fellow resident Rita Freed believed it was pointless

to write letters protesting the move. She said people’s concerns would fall on deaf ears and advocated instead for a more dynamic approach. “The only way that we’re going to make an impact is if we have a class-wide mobilization using the social power of the working class,” she said. “We have to strike and occupy, and resist the cutbacks.” Meanwhile, Congressman Eliot L. Engel said he was puzzled by the USPS plan. In a statement circulated by staffers at the event, Engel said

Opera stars come to Lehman College Two of the Metropolitan Opera’s most promising young stars, mezzo-soprano Renée Tatum and bass-baritone Keith Miller, will be appearing at Lehman College on Dec. 8. The free concert, which will be followed by a Q&A with the artists, will be held at the Lovinger Theatre in the College’s Music Building at 7 p.m. The event is part of the College’s yearlong celebration of the 80th anniversary of Lehman’s historic campus. Bass-baritone Keith Miller re-

ANDREW WOLF, Editor and Publisher

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it didn’t make sense that officials were charging more for services while making access more difficult and inconvenient. “I am fed up with continued bumbling from the Postal Service, who are pinning their financial woes on seniors and working families in New York and around the nation rather than looking at the real reasons why they have lost money,” he said. “The post office needs to find ways to be more efficient, not be more secluded. It needs to waste less, not deliver less often…the post office needs an overhaul, not U-Hauls.”

CECILIA McNALLY Office Manager MIAWLING LAM Associate Editor

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

turns to the Metropolitan Opera this season for a new production of Anna Bolena and Billy Budd, and will make his debuts at the Colorado Opera as Riolobo in Florencia en Amazonas and at the Utah Symphony in performances of Berlioz’ L’Enfance du Christ. Over the last several seasons Miller has appeared in Metropolitan Opera productions of Carmen, Armida, Tosca, Salome, Madama Butterfly, and Macbeth-each of which were part of the The Met: Live in HD series. He was also a featured soloist in their inaugural Summer Recital Series in New York City. An ex-pro football player, Miller studied voice at the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts, and was an Olympic Torch Bearer for the 1996 Games in Atlanta. For more information about this performance or to reserve tickets, please call the Office of Alumni Relations at 718-960-2416 or email

By BRENDAN McHUGH and MIAWLING LAM There is a battle brewing in the Bronx between residents and the United States Postal Service. The USPS wants to close 34 post offices throughout New York City, 17 of which are located in the Bronx, in a bid to close their $5.7 billion budget black hole. We say go ahead and close a few of them, but not before making the technological advances that will keep services at their current level. Bronxites—many of them senior citizens—are concerned they will not be able to easily get to a different office further away. It’s true. If certain post offices close, residents of certain neighborhoods will be forced to cross highways, travel around large parks, and rely on infrequent and spotty buses and subways to take care of their mailing needs. Some will have to travel uphill, both ways. Over 100 Co-Op City residents rallied outside the Einstein Loop Post Office earlier this week, all of them fearing that if the USPS closes that office and the nearby Dreiser Loop office, they’ll be forced to travel nearly two miles to the north end of the neighborhood to the much larger Conner Street Post Office. Many of them said they are on fixed incomes and tight schedules and aren’t sure how they will make it there and back and still be able to tend to day-to-day activities. The more offices they close, the more people will begin to rely on companies like FedEx and UPS, thus dwindling the need

for post offices further. Or, those seniors may one day finally ask their grandkids to teach them email and Facebook. And therein lies the solution. While the rest of the country is attempting to adjust to the technological age—newspapers heavily included—the postal service seems to lag behind. The USPS needs to do a better job adapting to the digital age. Whether that be through a more advanced online presence or more advance equipment, something needs to change. Simply eliminating offices won’t suffice in the long run. When a post office closes, the USPS finds a nearby retail store to pick up part of the slack, allowing the business to sell stamps. That’s not enough. It’s time we look at different solutions, like using of

the army of postal workers who canvas the streets of New York each and every day to provide more services to the people; services such as picking up outgoing packages and selling stamps. If meter maids can hand out parking tickets like they’re candy, certainly postal workers can do the same, but with stamps. The postal service also needs to make better use of the retail facilities, turning them into lite versions of the post office, and not just a point of sale facility. Allow these facilities to do many of the services a normal post office does, if only to speed up the long lines when you finally do make it the post office. The USPS had a net loss of $3.1 billion in the third quarter this year and relies only on sales of postage, products and

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P.S. 24

Continued from Page 1

raised objections with the tone. The person underlined the sentence, “This is not the first time we have discussed with you the threat to our school posed by the Riverdale Review, but we do hope it’s the last,” and commented, “We are not children.” The source also disputes the PA’s assertions that internal school issues can be solved internally, arguing that Connelly rules autocratically. “There are no channels, only ‘I am the principal. I am the principal,’” the person commented. As of press time, school officials would not discuss the matter. In total, nine parent representatives, including co-presidents Cori Worchel and Stephanie Brooks, signed the letter. Despite ordering staff to hush up, the PA officers were careful to take the opportunity to thank teachers for their efforts. “P.S. 24 is a great school. Many smart, hard-working adults are responsible for its success. You are one of them,” the letter states. “But that hard-work is being undone by a few individuals, who for reasons we cannot fathom, would prefer to see P.S. 24’s hard-earned reputation damaged. “We…firmly believe that an attack on one school constituency is an attack on us all. We know that most staff members believe this to be true as well.” But this doesn’t hold water with many teachers, who noted that on the “Learning Environment” results on the school report card issued by the Department of Education, 49 percent of the staff noted that they don’t “trust the principal at his/her word,” slightly down from the 56 percent that expressed that same opinion last year.

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19 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, November 24, 2011

USPS must adapt to new era of mail service

services to fund its operations. Total mail volume declined to 39.8 billion pieces compared to the same time last year which was 40.9 billion pieces, a decrease of 2.6 percent. The Bronx is taking an unfair share of the burden with this post office shrinkage strategy. Half of the 34 offices set for possible closure are in our borough. The Feds, for some reason, always want to dump on the Bronx, whether it be eliminating post offices or adding homeless facilities. At least with post offices, they can make certain efforts to ensure Bronxites aren’t totally left high and dry. Looking to the future, as the world becomes more technologically advanced, the postal services will become less and less important. Now is the time for finding ways to redefine the role of the postal service rather than trying to hold on to a stagnant institution.

Thursday, November 24, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Riverdale Review, November 24, 2011  

Weekly newspaper published in Riverdale, NY 10471