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Riverdale’s ONLY Locally Owned Newspaper!

Volume XVIII • Number 50 • December 8 - 14, 2011 •


New ‘dinky rink’ plan bypasses the public By BRENDAN McHUGH After months of delays and Community Board 8 bending over backwards to accommodate the city, the Department of Parks and Recreation has announced they have scrapped the plan for a full ice-skating rink this year and will attempt to implement a smaller rink that doesn’t require any public input. The new rink, at the same site adjacent to the Van Cortlandt Park Stadium, will be about 45 percent the size of a regulation hockey rink. The rink itself, seating, a “minimal” snack bar, a Zamboni shed and a skate rental area will all fit within the fenced-in defunct tennis courts near Broadway and West 242nd Street in the park. Portable restrooms will be located on the outskirts of the courts. This new plan comes after the parks department has struggled to work with a private company to build a seasonal ice rink for a 15-year period. Parks representative Davita Mabourakh said negotiations were going on “a lot longer than we hoped” with concessionaire Ice Rink Events, so they decided to work with the group on a temporary project just to give the community an idea of what they might look forward to. Ice Rink Events, a Houston, Texas-based company, was the only bidder for the project earlier this year. CB8 board members were irked at the new project though, because it doesn’t call for any sort of com-

munity approval. The parks department can proceed without much community input because the rink would be a one-time-only seasonal permitted project, like a circus or street fair. However, parks committee chairman Bob Bender promised to have a lengthy discussion about this rink at the community board’s general meeting on December13 and to deliver comments to Mabourakh the following day. Bender warned Mabourakh not to make the temporary rink a yearly thing, otherwise “that would clearly constitute an intent to avoid the process.” Mabourakh promised that this permitted rink is a one-time-only event. “Final answer,” she said. The plan for the long-term rink is a 15-year contract that would run every winter and needs approval by the Franchise and Concessions Review Committee, but this plan does not. Even before the temporary rink can be installed, Con Edison needs to upgrade the electrical infrastructure of the area. “The new skating rink will require significant power, more than a park typically does,” Con Edison spokesman Allan Drury said. “There will need to be upgrades to Con Edison’s electrical delivery infrastructure and the infrastructure within the park. We are working with the parks department on their plans for the rink to make sure there is adequate power supply.” He did not give a timeline for the work. Ma-

bourakh said Con Edison has told the parks department that they are behind schedule and that it could take some time to get the work done. She conceded that if Con Edison can’t complete the work in time, even the temporary rink might not happen this year. Con Edison’s work would meet requirements for increased lighting, power to ice chillers and other items required not only for the temporary rink, but the long-term rink as well. Smaller rink or not, some of the same issues still concerned the community members. “It’s no longer a public park,” board member Robert Press said after the meeting. “This is similar to the first presentation by [Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy chairman] Mr. [Anthony Perez] Cassino, where there were no answers. We still don’t have any answers.” Questions such as skate rental costs, operating hours and detailed food options were not available at the meeting. A representative for Ice Rink Events did not return requests for comment. Board member Steven Balicer warned the parks department about the noise from the neighboring elevated train. “The noise from the subway is beyond a healthy range,” he said. The temporary rink will not affect the handball courts. The 15-year rink could take up two of the courts during the winter months.

Pedestrian killed by school bus in early morning accident By BRENDAN McHUGH A pedestrian was struck and dragged by a school bus at the corner of Mosholu Avenue and Broadway Tuesday morning. Milo Montivilla, 57, later died of cardiac arrest. Montivilla was crossing Broadway, with the light, just after 6 a.m. when a Reliant Transportation bus making a right turn from Mosholu Avenue hit him. Witnesses said Montivilla was dragged for several feet and was stuck under the bus for about 10 minutes. He was transported by EMS in traumatic arrest to St. John’s Riverside Hospital in Yonkers, where he was pronounced dead. The bus driver stayed on the scene to speak with police and was overheard by multiple reporters telling his supervisor over the phone that he did not see Montivilla because it was dark. It was also raining on and off at the time of the accident. Police have yet to file charges,

and it is unclear whether they will. No children were on the bus at the time. A Department of Education representative said the bus was just beginning its route, which delivers children to several local schools. MV Transportation, the parent company for Reliant Transportation, is conducting an internal investigation of the incident and is cooperating fully with the authorities, MV Transportation spokeswoman Christina Russell said. “The operator involved in the accident is an experienced driver and has transported students in New York City for several years,” Russell said in a statement. “The operator has been removed from service—which is standard procedure—pending the results of the investigation. We take the safety of our passengers and communities we serve very seriously and are saddened by this regrettable incident.”

A man was struck and killed by a school bus Tuesday morning. Milo Montivilla, 57, was crossing Broadway at Mosholu Ave. when he was hit and dragged for about 10 feet before the bus driver stopped. No charges have been filed against the driver as of press time.

Thursday, December 8, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Skateboarders seek park here By BRENDAN McHUGH In an effort to get themselves off the streets, four skateboarders came to the parks committee of Community Board 8 last week asking for the area’s first skateboarding park. “We’d have a place to skate and we’d be out of your way,” said Michael Roberts, a Riverdale-Kingsbridge Academy graduate. They offered the committee pictures of themselves skating at public places as evidence. One was outside the Bronx County Courthouse, another in front of RKA, yet another down the block from two of the community board members, and even one right outside the board office. They managed to win over support from the board fairly easily with discussions of skate park aesthetics, safety concerns and revenue for the community. “Skaters need to eat,” chimed in Michael Alfano, an eleventh grader at RKA, saying putting a skateboarding park in the neighborhood will help out the local businesses. Two areas stood out to the community board as possible locations. One was Bailey Playground near the Major Deegan Expressway, far from residential buildings so noise from the skateboards wouldn’t be a problem. The other option is in the southwest corner of Van Cortlandt Park. With the elevated No. 1 train right nearby and a busy intersection at Broadway and Van Cortlandt Park South, noise again wouldn’t be a factor. Both options also provide commercial corridors for the hungry skateboarders. In terms of safety, which the parks committee was concerned about, the four boarders made it very simple. Either they’re spread out through the community in random places getting hurt, or they’re always in the same place around dozens of other skateboards who can call 9-1-1 if need be. Van Cortlandt Park administrator Margot Perron added that skate parks without supervision—and this one is initially planned as such—are created with safer, less steep ramps. The skateboarders said they’d like to see a plaza design because plazas are “aesthetically pleasing” and more readily usable for them. With trees, benches, grass and other parks elements intertwined with the concrete ramps and other skateboarding elements, “plaza designs incorporate the best of both worlds,” said Wilfredo Suarez of Mosaic Skate Gallery in Riverdale. Parks committee chairman Bob Bender made note that this is just the first of many discussions the community will have before a skate park is up and running, but he offered his support. Christina Taylor, the executive director for the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park, said she had a past intern collect thousands of signatures from the community in support of a skate park. She added that City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell has offered to allocate funds for the construction of a park. According to his office, Koppell has allocated $650,000 to $850,000, depending on the size of the park. That would include equipment, safety surfacing, fencing, a drinking fountain and upgrade of the comfort station, if Bailey Playground is the venue. The money has already been allocated, so whenever the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation decides to move forward with the project, some funds are already in place.

The skateboarders also discussed national organizations that bring in money to skate parks, including foundations by pro skateboarders Tony Hawk and Rob Dyrdek and national chains such as Target and Subway. “We don’t care if it’s called McDonalds Park. As long as it’s built right, we’ll be fine with it,” Roberts said. Thomas Durham, a board member, applauded the idea, noting that teenagers have fewer and fewer options in the community. “We’re losing things to do for teens in the area,” he said, noting the continual decrease in funding and services for community centers in Riverdale and Kingsbridge.

By BRENDAN McHUGH Former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion has been fined $10,000 by the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board. For the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s regional director for New York and New Jersey, who previously served as President Barack Obama’s “urban czar,” the hefty fine stems from a 2006 incident where Carrion dealt with an architect who helped him on the renovation of his City Island home. That same architect was looking for approval from Carrion’s office on a separate public project at the same time. Carrion acknowledged in a deposition released Thursday that he broke the city’s conflict of interest law and agreed to the settlement with the city. In 2006, Carrion hired Hugo Subotovsky to design a porch and deck on his Victorian home. At the same time, Subotovsky was seeking approval of a development called Boricua Village, which included a 14-story college building and 679 units of housing. Carrion recommended approval of the project in 2007 and it went to the city Planning Commission, which approved the necessary zoning changes.

“As a city official, I was chargeable with exercising reasonable care in ascertaining the relevant facts, about which I should have known, that could create a conflict of interest,” Carrion said in the five-page deposition. Carrion also said in the deposition that at the time he hired Subotovsky, he didn’t know the architect was involved in the Boricua Village project. Still, he said, “I knew that he was an architect associated with similar projects that had previously come before my office seeking the city’s approval.” He also said Subotovsky hadn’t billed him because the project wasn’t formally completed until Carrion scheduled a final inspection of the porch, which he did only after the New York Daily News broke the story two years after the initial work began. Carrion said his wife had sent the architect an email asking how much they owed him back in 2007 but never got a response. In March 2009, Carrion left the borough president’s office to work at the White House. Days later, the Daily News reported on the project. At the time, Carrion defended the project’s honesty, and a month later paid Subotovsky about $4,250 for the work. During his tenure as Bronx borough president, real estate developers were

among Carrion’s biggest campaign donors, and campaign finance records showed that Subotovsky and the team behind Boricua Village gave Carrion tens of thousands of dollars. The city Department of Investigation and the Bronx District Attorney launched probes in response to the Daily News article, and the district attorney’s office said they found no criminal wrongdoing. The city Conflicts of Interest Board used the DOI probe to work out the deposition with Carrion. Carrion admitted he contacted Subotovsky through his “friend,” Peter Fine, a local Bronx developer, who suggested the architect. Fine, co-owner of Atlantic Development Group, was a major developer in

The Bronx whose projects frequently required Carrion’s support. “Although I was not aware of it at the time, I now acknowledge that, by asking Mr. Subotovsky to provide me with architectural services for my residence while he was part of a team seeking the City’s approval for the Boricua Village project, and by failing to undertake and complete the additional tasks necessary for the conclusion of the porch construction project, I violated the City of New York’s conflicts of interest law,” Carrion said in the deposition. And Carrion, who was said to have been pondering a return to elective politics, now has some very heavy baggage to take with him should he decide to pursue that course.

Fear for future of postal service prescription drug deliveries. The USPS said first-class mail volume has dropped from 98 billion in 2006 to less than 78 billion and is expected to drop by half by 2020. “The U.S. Postal Service must reduce its operating costs by $20 billion by 2015 in order to return to profitability,” David Williams, vice president of Network Operations, said in a statement. “The proposed changes to service standards will allow for significant consolidation of the postal network in terms of facilities, processing equipment, vehicles and employee workforce and will generate projected net annual savings of approximately $2.1 billion.” This is part of the overall savings expected from the network optimization initiative, which is projected to save up to $3 billion by 2015, officials said. The Postal Service faces default this month on a $5.5 billion annual payment to the federal government for retiree health benefits. “This is a business plan doomed for failure,” said Engel, who is supporting a bill in Congress that will allow for the USPS to restructure their budget to help pay off debt. “They should be looking at inefficiencies Continued on Page 19

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By BRENDAN McHUGH Even worse postal service is coming to The Bronx. The U.S. Postal Service announced the elimination of overnight service for FirstClass mail beginning this spring. Currently, 41.5 percent of First-Class mail arrives the next day, but with the post office’s proposed changes, that percentage will go to zero. To get overnight service under the new regulations, the public would have to spend $13 to overnight a letter. The Bronx Processing and Distribution Center was closed earlier this year, already slowing down mail service for some Bronxites. “It is a self-fulfilling prophecy—you provide inferior service, and you drive away business,” condemned U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel in a statement. “This gives them another excuse to curtail even more services, and all of a sudden it’s a downward spiral to poorer service.” The planned cuts include terminating 250 postal centers and laying off nearly 30,000 workers nationwide. The ax would virtually eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day, officials conceded. The proposed changes would slow everything from check payments to Netflix to mail-order

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3 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, December 8, 2011

Carrion guilty in ‘conflict of interest’ probe; fined $10,000, career seen at risk

Thursday, December 8, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Around the schools... P.S. 24

The Holiday Bazaar is scheduled for this Saturday, December 10, from noon through 4 p.m. Kids can engage in workshops like Science Fair Mystery, Dinosaur Dig, Fashion Academy, Cupcake Camp and Pirate Party while their parents stock up on jewelry, clothing and holiday gifts from a variety of vendors and from student entrepreneurs selling their own handmade products. Local restaurants will set up refreshment stands. Admission is free, but the workshops have fees.

P.S. 81

This weekend is the annual holiday tree and wreath sale—Saturday, December 10, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, December 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the corner of Riverdale Avenue and West 256th Street. Offerings will include Douglas, Fraser and balsam fir trees in sizes ranging from 5 to 8 feet tall and decorated or undecorated balsam wreaths in sizes ranging from 10 to 16 inches in diameter. On Saturday, baked goods and hot drinks will be on sale. All proceeds will directly benefit P.S. 81 students.

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

Winterfest is next Thursday, December 15, at 7 p.m. The holiday-themed presentation will include performances by RKA’s middle school band, dancers and vocalists. Tickets are $5.00 and will be available at the door. 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

St. Margaret Of Cortona

State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein invited the students to create ornaments and decorate a Christmas tree at the New York Botanical Garden. Eighth-graders were scheduled for the mission on Wednesday, December 7, accompanied by their teacher, Miss Catherine Peterson, and their principal, Mr. Hugh Keenan. Elementary schools are chosen by elected officials throughout The Bronx to participate in the annual Children’s Holiday Tree Garden decorating event, and each tree will bear a plaque identifying the name of the school involved. After their work is done, the students will enjoy hot chocolate, treats and a walk-through of the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden.

Horace Mann School

Senior James Ruben has been named the 2011 national winner of the Cum Laude Society Paper contest. The society aims to “recognize and celebrate outstanding academic achievement” by seeking the submission of “a paper or other class assignment that gives evidence of superior scholarship and original thought.” Judging of papers from more than 360 Cum Laude chapters is conducted at the district and national level by the Cum Laude Regents and Officers. Ruben was first selected as the winner of District 3, and then selected from among the eight

districts as the National Winner for his paper entitled “The Prisoner’s Dilemma: a Mathematical Analysis.” According to math department chair Chris Jones, “It was a superb piece of work in which James analyzed the mathematical structure of two-party, decision making strategies (known famously as The Prisoner’s Dilemma). His explanation of the mathematics was first-rate, but what made the paper special was his original work. He crafted a set of three carefully-worded survey questions that asked for the responder to explain what decisions he/she would make in various scenarios…. He received 226 responses (from classmates and teachers) that he then analyzed in wonderful detail. It was great fun reading his work. James’ excitement about doing what amounted to actual research jumped right off the page. He turned my open-ended assignment into a memorable learning experience. I was so impressed with his work that I submitted the paper as our school’s representative in the National Cum Laude Paper Competition.”

Riverdale Country School

Middle School students showcased their knowledge of the world at a Geography Bee on Wednesday. A jazz ensemble composed of students in grades 9 through 12 performed on Tuesday evening, and an Orchestra and Middle School Strings concert will take place on Thursday, December 8, at 7:30 p.m. in Jeslo Harris Theater.

Kinneret Day School

Seventh-graders over the years have been meeting with Rabbi Levi Shemtov of Riverdale’s Chabad Lubavitch center to discuss questions of value and morality. It has become a tradition for the rabbi to invite these students, when they become eighth graders, to spend a Sabbath in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. A group of eight-graders followed this tradition last weekend. Escorted by Rabbi Shemtov, they stayed with various families, ate meals together and prayed at the Lubavitch Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway. The visit continued through late Saturday night with pizza and ice skating at Rockefeller Center.

Great Music at Christ Church G. F. HANDEL’S

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� Talise Trevigne, ������� Alice Conde-Leuenhagen, ������� Megan Friar, ���� David Ossenfort, ����� Michael Reder, ����

Choir of Christ Church Riverdale Joined by members of the Riverdale Choral Society Choir of Riverdale Presbyterian Church

Timothy Brumfield, ����������������� Andrew Yeargin, �������� 7:30 PM $20 Adults; $15 Students/Seniors

� CHRIST CHURCH RIVERD ALE Join us as we present our Christmas Concert featuring Part I of George Frederick Handel’s � � � � � � � , followed by the sounds of Christmas including music by John Rutter, James Bassi, and Timothy Brumfield.

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By MIAWLING LAM Brace yourself, because the traffic snarls, gridlock and congested sidewalks of Kingsbridge could become a whole lot worse next year. Community members fear the addition of Tech International Charter School, a new middle school scheduled to open at 3120 Corlear Avenue in fall 2012, will exacerbate traffic along the West 231st Street corridor. Officials have revealed they will initially accept at least 88 sixth-graders before adding another grade of around 100 students in each subsequent year. Depending on their success, the school plans to then seek approval to evolve into a high school from 2013. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz met with TI officials earlier this week and said he was concerned about sending hundreds of additional middle school children into an already overcrowded hub. “We already have a huge number of schools within a three-block radius,” he said. “We have all the schools on the John F. Kennedy campus, we have M.S/H.S 368, P.S. 37, P.S. 7, P.S. 207 and St. John’s School. “An additional school would certainly increase congestion in the area. It’s a serious concern that I’m sure a lot of people will have.” However, TI co-founder and principal Adjowah K. Scott hosed down claims the area was not large enough for another school. She said unlike nearby public schools, TI would not have a yellow bus service. “We foresee that most of our children will be taking public transportation, so that shouldn’t interfere too much with anything,” she told the Riverdale Review. “We won’t know until it happens, and I un-

derstand that the area is congested. But what’s more important, parking spaces or a school? “We’ll do the best that we can. We’ll just try to work with our parents and be as considerate to our neighbors as possible.” But some are suggesting that the school cap its enrollment at no more than 66 students per grade, in order to minimize the efforts on already overburdened public transportation, so crowded that police are often required to maintain order, According to its mission statement, TI will instill a mastery of academics and work habits in its students and equip them with the lifelong skills necessary for college. “[The school] will offer its students a rigorous, technology enhanced, internationally focused education that develops critical thinking skills, and builds outstanding academic achievements using a combination of traditional and innovative pedagogies.” School hours will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and students will be encouraged to build international connections through technology and family involvement. The school, whose charter was approved by the City University of New York in June, was originally slated to open on the corner of East 184th Street and Webster Avenue. However, TI co-founder and executive director Steve Bergen said he was compelled to inspect the 10-story mixed-use building on Corlear Avenue after the space suddenly became available following the collapse of a neighboring charter school. Bergen said he was mindful of the area’s checkered history with charter schools but vowed to make TI a resounding success. “We have a lot of work to do,” he said. “We don’t want to be shut down. We want to make a difference.”

5 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, December 8, 2011

Concern over charter school traffic woes

Thursday, December 8, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


December Theater Party at the Folksbeine Theater

The Simon Senior Center located at the Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Ave is planning a theater party to the Folksbeine Theater on Wednesday December 14th. The group will be seeing Shlemiel the First, a klezmer musical and comedy written by Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel Prize Laureate. Tickets are $55 which includes roundtrip transportation and a hot kosher lunch at the Y. The bus will be leaving the Riverdale YM-YWHA @ 12:30pm and returning @ 5:00pm. For further information and tickets please call Toby @ 718-548-8200.

JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center events in December

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 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 an exciting day trip to 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.

Lunchtime Holiday Concerts at the Hutch Metro Café

The Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA) and the Hutchinson Metro Center present three free, Thursday lunchtime holiday concerts at the Hutch Metro Café: On December 8th, a Jazz Fusion Performance by the Ray Martinez Legacy; on December 15th, a holiday concert by Sinfonietta of Riverdale; and on December 22nd, Holiday Music by students of the Celia Cruz High School of Music. Each concert includes two performances, at 12:15 and 1:15pm. The Hutch Metro Center is located at 1200 Waters Place (between Eastchester Road and Westchester Avenue). This series is sponsored by the Bronx Council on the Arts and the Hutchinson Metro Center and is open to the public. Admission is free and all are welcome. On December 8th, join us for a Jazz Fusion Performance by the Ray Martinez Legacy. Born out of the multi-cultural dynamics of New York, Legacy was created with the idea of connecting musical concepts of both Africa and the African Diaspora. This musical innovation fuses Afro-Jazz (Latin Jazz), the Blues, Funk and Folkloric rhythms of the Caribbean to create a familiar yet new sound. Known for his melodic and percussive style, Ray Martinez has been considered one of the most gifted and prominent bassist/arranger in the contemporary Latin and Salsa music scenes. December 15th features a concert by the Sinfonietta of Riverdale, a professional classical music ensemble that juxtaposes music from different periods and styles in each performance. They are large enough to perform chamber symphonies and small enough that each of its world-class musicians can be a featured soloist, with a repertoire that extends from the era of Bach to the present day. On December 22nd enjoy Holiday Music by Students of the Celia Cruz High School

of Music who are back for their sophomore performance with this concert series. Enjoy the delightful sounds of these incredibly talented students whose choir won the 2012 title ‘Best Choir in New York City’ after winning the Bronx Zoo’s inaugural SING! For Wildlife competition which featured 250 students from seven schools. During the lunchtime series, you can shop for some unique holiday gift items at the bronxArtworks Holiday Trunk Show and Craft Sale. BCA’s bronxArtworks Artisans display and sell their imaginative creations in all price ranges. Items include crocheted hats, ethnic masks, illustrations, jewelry, knitwear, note cards, paintings, paper mache masks, post cards, sculpture, vases, and more. Directions by Subway: #6 to Westchester Square stop, then take our courtesy shuttle bus to Hutchinson Metro Center. Directions by Bus: Bx21 to Waters Place & Hutchinson Parkway or Bx8 or Bx14 to Westchester Ave & Middletown Road or Bx40 or Bx42 to East Tremont Ave & Hutchinson River Parkway. For additional information about these concerts or other programs and activities of the Bronx Council on the Arts, visit BCA’s website at or call 718-931-9500, x19 or x33.

Riv. Temple Nursery School registering

Riverdale Temple Nursery School is currently registering children for the 2012-2013 school year We offer classes for two, three and four year olds. Extended day programs are available for three and four year olds in addition to New York City’s Universal Prekindergarten program for four year olds. For further information about our program or to schedule an appointment to visit the school, please call Frana Mills, School Director at 796-0335.

Koppell on A-List in human rights report card

Council Member Oliver Koppell is pleased to announce that he is one of nine Council Members who received an A grade on the ‘2011 New York City Council Human Rights Report Card,’ which was released by the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center on November 14, 2011. The goal of the annual Human Rights Report Card is to provide reliable and accessible information on the performance of City Council representatives in protecting and advancing the human rights of New Yorkers in 2011. Council Members were graded based on their sponsorship of, and votes on, legislation to advance human rights, as well as their responses to the Human Rights Questionnaire sent to each Council Member in June. The Human Rights Project highlighted Koppell’s legislative priorities including the ‘Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act,’ the ‘Accessible Taxi Mandate’ and improving Department of Buildings access to illegal residential housing conversions as the basis for its rating. The project also noted Koppell’s advocacy on behalf of these measures, as well as his budget priorities, which included the ‘ Children Under Five Mental Health Initiative’, the ‘Geriatric Mental Health Initiative’ and helping ensure that teachers were not laid off. ‘I am very proud to have received an A grade on the NYC Council Human Rights Report Card based on my legislative record at the City Council, and I look forward to continuing to advocate on behalf of this vital issue,’ Koppell said.

Hebrew Institute of Riverdale at 718-7964730 ext. 101.

RCT presents ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’

Opening Saturday December 10th. Based on the characters created by cartoonist Charles M. Schulz in his comic strip “Peanuts,” the beloved 1967 musical-comedy has won fans for its heart-warming, and deceptively insightful, portrayal of life and interpersonal relationships, as told through the openness of early childhood. RCT is presenting the revised 1999 version of the show which helped make a star of Kristin Chenoweth. The original score features music by Clark Gesner and has been updated by composer Andrew Lippa (THE WILD PARTY) This truly is a brand new look at the wildly popular show and it will be PEANUTS entertainment the whole family can enjoy. The cast features local youth ages 10-13 including Ben Markbreiter, Liv Weinstein, Lily Cohen, Tim Markbreiter, Ben Rosenn, Olivia Schneider, Noah Parnes, Tamar Cohen, Ariana Kazansky, Coral Aquino, Harry Gale, Haddas Spivack, Deena Danishefsky, Avigail Maayan, Ryan Staunton, Cesar Aquino, Dara Burke, Hannah Davis, Gal Benyamin, Joshua Bautista, Olivia Eve Gonzalez, Hannah Chait, Sarah Egan and is Directed by Becky Lillie Woods with Musical Direction by Eric Johnston, Choreography by Krystal Hall Glass, Costumes by Anna Dropiewska, Set design by Daniel Krause and Video Design by Derek Woods. So come celebrate the holidays with Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the PEANUTS Gang! Performances of “You’re a Good Man,

Charlie Brown” are Saturday December 10th and 17th at 8pm and Sunday’s December 11th and 18th at 2pm and 6pm.. All performances will take at the Riverdale Kingsbridge Auditorium located at 660 West 237th Street. Tickets are available online at www. or at the door. Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $12 for students. For additional information, visit or call 646-436-3045.

Christ Christ Choir to perform Handel’s ‘Messiah’

On Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m., the Christ Church Choir, together with guest artists, will present Part I of the magnificent Sacred Oratorio, Messiah. Music Director Timothy Brumfield was motivated by a desire to offer the Riverdale community an opportunity to witness a sterling performance without the need to travel into the city. The choir, well known to many Riverdalians for its fine performances, will be joined by guest artists, Talise Trevigne, soprano; Megan Friar, alto; David Ossenfort, tenor; and Michael Reder, bass. Alice Conde-Leuenhagen, soprano, a choir member is also featured. Brumfield, who will conduct, has chosen Michael Yeargin, to be the organist. Tickets, which may be purchased at the door, are $10 for adults, and $15 for seniors and students. Christ Church is located at 5030 Henry

Hudson Parkway. For more information, call 718-543-1011.

Benefit music and art festival at HIR

A day-long Benefit Music and Art Festival will be held on Sunday, December 11, at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, 3700 Henry Hudson Parkway. The festival will feature live music ranging from classical to classic rock, opera to Celtic Traditional and Israeli Traditional to reggae. Doors will open at 9:30 a.m., the first act will be at 1 a.m. Performances will run until 9 p.m. Music performers include renowned classical guitarist Anthony Purdy, born and raised in Kenya, Irish born Mary Courtney, a renowned traditional Celtic singer and songwriter, American/Israeli Classic Rock Singer songwriter Jeremy Bar-Illan, American Reggae Rocky and the Pressers and more. Artists include world renowned Justin Love and Nicky Enright, Riverdale favorite Kayle Nochomovitz, Ceramics genius Joel Neff and many more. Other activities will include: multiple food vendors; face painting, dancing, singing, drumming; artists will be displaying and selling their work. Tickets are valid for all day access and are available online at $10 for individual tickets and $30 for family tickets. For more information, contact the

Pianist Mas Ikemiya will perform a piano recital with commentary on Sunday, Dec. 11, from 2 to 4 p.m., in the ballroom of the Riverdale Temple, 4545 Independence Avenue. The recital will feature music from Classics to Ragtime. The first half of the program will include Chopin’s old time favorites - ‘Raindrop’ Prelude, ‘Heroic’ Polonaise, and a Ballade. The lighthearted second half will include American popular Ragtime selections such as Maple Leaf Rag and the Entertainer from the movie ‘The Sting.’ He will also play humorous Ragtime pieces based on familiar classical themes. Throughout the concert, Mas will be making informative commentary on the music. Fro more information, contact the Temple office at 718-548-3800, ext. 1.

Riverdale artists performing at Watercolor Cafe

Riverdale jazz pianist Marilynn Seits will be performing at the Watercolor Cafe on December 14 & 21 at 7:30 PM Join in for two fun evenings of jazz & holiday music at The Watercolor Cafe, located at 2094 Boston Post Road, Larchmont, NY, between Chatsworth & Larchmont Ave., telephone (914) 834-2213. Vocalist Sandra Benedetto is joined by Marilynn Seits on piano, Les Harper on bass & Ramon Torrero on congas at this charming cafe in downtown Larchomont. She will be singing standards & favorite holiday songs of the season. Come on out to help support live music in Westchester and have a great time too.

Chabad of Riverdale invites you to a Shabbaton with

Rabbi Dov


DECEMBER 16-17, 2011 KISLEV 20-21, 5772


The Chassidic Revolution

THE 19TH OF KISLEV IS CALLED THE "NEW YEAR" OF CHASSIDUT. The liberation of Rabbi Schneur Zalman on this day signified much more than his release from prison. It heralded in a new era -- one that would revolutionize the way we see ourselves, society and the world at large. Come discover how Chassidut created a paradigm shift that has the power to impact and transform our lives today.


If you cannot join us for the meals, feel free to join us for the lectures:

Friday Night: 7:15 pm & Shabbat Afternoon: 1:30 pm SUPERVISED CHILDREN'S PROGRAM DURING THE LECTURES

This Shabbaton welcomes the entire Jewish Community and will take place at

Chabad Lubavitch Of Riverdale, 535 West 246th St., Riverdale, NY 10471. To co-sponsor this event in honor or in memory of a loved one & for more information please call us at

718-549-1100 Ext.10 or email:

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, December 8, 2011

Riv. Temple features pianist Mas Ikemiya


Thursday, December 8, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Thursday, December 8 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.

Bedford Park

CONCERT 7 p.m. Lehman College Lovinger Theatre 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. The free concert will be followed by a Q&A with the artists. For more information about this performance or to reserve tickets, please call the Office of Alumni Relations at 718-960-2416 or email

Friday, December 9 Kingsbridge

TEEN ADVISORY GROUP 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street 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 10 Kingsbridge

FLEA MARKET 9 a.m. Old St. John’s School 3030 Godwin Terrace Clothes, jewelry, accessories and bric-a-brac will be sold at bargain prices. Free parking will also be available so get there early and snare yourself a great find. For more information, please call 718-43-3003.


HANDEL’S MESSIAH 7:30 p.m. Christ Church Riverdale 5030 Henry Hudson Parkway The Christ Church Choir, together with guest artists, will present Part I of the magnificent Sacred Oratorio, Messiah. For more information, call 718-543-1011.

Sunday, December 11 Riverdale

HOLIDAY GIFT SALE 10 a.m. Riverdale YM-YWHA 5625 Arlington Avenue Bead for Life holiday gift sale. The jewelry items, made from recycled paper by women in Uganda, are more than a holiday gift – they are a beautiful way to give a holiday gift AND change a life! You can find more information at www.


PIANO RECITAL 2 p.m. Riverdale Temple 4545 Independence Avenue Piano recital with commentary, featuring Mas Ikemiya. Music from Classics to Ragtime. For more information, call 718-548-3800, ext. 1 or visit

Monday, December 12 Riverdale

DISCUSSION ON HISTORY 3 p.m. Atria Senior Living 3718 Henry Hudson Parkway Arthur Gottlieb is a local historian who will discuss he history of Ellis Island and the mass immigration of Europeans through Ellis Island. RSVP to Jane Kennedy 718 432 2448 or e mail


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 more information, call 718-548-5656.

Kingsbridge PJ NIGHT

5 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Stories, Craft and Refreshments will be served. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Tuesday, December 13 Riverdale

HADASSAH MEETING 1:30 p.m. Atria Media Room 3718 Henry Hudson Parkway East The Bronx Chapter of Hadassah will meet. Miriam Pappo, Director of Clinical Nutrition of Montefiore Hospital, will share her expertise about how important good nutrition is to our well being.


HOLIDAY ORNAMENT 4 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Get festive at the library. Make a special ornament for your family, friends, or certain someone to show your holiday wishes. All materials will be provided. For ages 12 to 18 years. old. For more information, call 718-549-1212.


SAT TEST SECRETS 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Test smarter! In this 1 hour session, a Kaplan representative will guide you through test-taking strategies and cover the format of today’s standardized tests. Get a study plan for success! For more information, call 718-548-5656.


AESOP FABLE 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street The Tortoise and the Hare. An adaptation of the classic Aesop fable about a great race between a loveable tortoise and an arrogant hare. Presented by Puppets to Go for children ages 3 and older. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Wednesday, December 14 Kingsbridge

OPEN COMPUTER LAB 9:30 a.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Are you having trouble with your email? Don’t know how to cut and paste? Curious about Facebook? Bring your technology questions and get one on one assistance! Space is limited, registration is required. Please sign up by phone or in person. For more information, call 718-548-5656.


HOLIDAY PARTY 11:30 a.m. Riverdale Senior Services 2600 Netherland Avenue Enjoy appetizers followed by a festive meal, then join us for music and dancing with Cory Morgenstern and bingo immediately afterward. Seating is limited so tickets are required and they can be obtained at the Center. For more information contact the center at 718-884-5900.


BRANDEIS GROUP MEETING 11:30 a.m. Riverdale Temple West 246th St. & Independence Ave. The Riverdale Chapter of The Brandeis National Committee cordially invites its members and their friends to its Pre-Chanukah Card and Game Party. The guests are asked to bring their own equipment to enjoy Bridge, Canasta, Scrabble, Mah Jongg or other games of their choice. Bingo will be offered for those who prefer it.


TOASTMASTERS CLUB MEETING 7 p.m. Riverdale Neighborhood House 5521 Mosholu Avenue Bronx Toastmasters Club of Riverdale invites new members to join in at their free meeting. They meet every second and fourth Wednesday of the month. For further information, visit their website or call 718-796-6671.


LECTURE 7:45 p.m. Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel 475 West 250th Street Kenneth Jacobson, of the Anti-Defamation League, will talk on the topic ‘Upheaval in the Middle East—Good or Bad for Israel.” For info, call 718-543-8400 or visit


The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, December 8, 2011

Local teen writes her way to the top

By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER Dalia Wolfson understands that even an accomplished writer needs to seek out opportunities for recognition. So she checks the bulletin boards at school, picks up brochures in the guidance counselor’s office and even searches online for writing competitions she can enter. “If I have written work available that I think I can submit and it will get me somewhere, why not?” said the 18-year-old Riverdalian, a senior at Hunter College High school. Her proactive strategy is paying off. Lately, she’s won the Norman Mailer High School Writing Award and a spot in the YoungArts Program of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. For the $5,000 Mailer award in creative nonfiction, Wolfson submitted a colorful childhood memoir focused on ballroom dancing lessons in the basement of the Whitehall. For YoungArts Week in January, Wolfson will experience master classes, interdisciplinary activities, performances and exhibitions—all in South Beach, Florida. She’s one of 150 students selected from 7,000 applicants across nine artistic disciplines. “I’ve been seeing the brochures for a while, but I couldn’t apply until this year,” she said. “So it was like an opportunity for the future. And this year came.” She brushed off a short story and sent it in. Wolfson and her twin brother, Ben, were five years old when the family emigrated here from Israel, where her parents had settled after leaving their native Russia. This heritage left the youngsters fluent in Russian and Hebrew, and bilingual teachers at Kinneret Day School eased the transition to English. The staff there made its mark. “Miss Kellner was really great,” Wolfson enthused about a veteran first-grade teacher. “It was a good pace of learning. I still remember my phonics books and the different stories that were in there.” Another kind of teacher guided the twins into Hunter—a babysitter who’d been a math and physics professor in Russia. “He would walk us home from Kinneret telling us math stories,” Wolfson recalled. “He also had us memorize the multiplication tables when we were in third grade, and the capitals of Europe.” When the time came, he prepped them for the Hunter entrance exam, and

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Dalia Wolfson they entered the prestigious school in seventh grade. Wolfson admitted that it’s not so easy to remain la crème de la crème. “At Hunter, you have to work really hard to stand out,” she said. “This kid’s numberone fencing champion in America, that girl interned in Congress. I speak to these people, and I’m friends with them. There are newspapers writing about them.” Easy or not, both siblings earned Bronfman Youth Fellowships last summer and were recently nominated by Hunter for the Jefferson Scholarship. Their extracurricular choices reflect their choice to keep the Jewish Sabbath. “What we do is find activities that we can participate in,” Wolfson said. “Since I’m observant, some things are closed to me scheduling-wise. I can do newspaper, I can do school clubs, he’s on the bowling team. The thing is, I’m forced into being resourceful because it’s not as easy for me to pick and choose my extracurriculars. I have to find ones that fit into my schedule.” Scheduling didn’t prevented Wolfson from a stint as political intern—starting with last year’s Brumberg for Congress campaign against Carolyn Maloney on the east side of Manhattan. Sure, she stuffed some envelopes, but because of the district’s Eastern European population, she got to use her Russia language skills. She also got to write the candidate’s position paper on the Middle East.

YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN. A lively crowd of nearly 150 filled the Horace Mann School Dining Commons at last Saturday evening’s Riverdale Children’s Theatre Starry Night Gala. There were cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction featuring useful items, and stellar entertainment by Broadway performers as well as RCT staff artists and troupe members. Casts performed solo and ensemble selections from “The Little Mermaid Jr.,” “Annie,” and “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” which opens Saturday, December 10, at the Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy. For tickets, visit or call 646-436-3045.

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The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Much anticipated gourmet destination prepares for opening By MIAWLING LAM Curious to see what Riverdale’s newest restaurant will look like? Here are the first published photographs of Oregano Bar & Bistro, the highly anticipated French-Latin restaurant due to open its doors on Johnson Avenue later this month. Finishing touches are still being put on the dining room, but the Riverdale Review secured an exclusive sneak-peek of the space, along with a tasting preview, at a special event last week. Celebrity chef Ricardo Cardona debuted four canapés—duck confit, steak tartare, escargot with pâte choux and sliders with foie gras—and said it was the type of fare that diners could expect. The executive chef has composed around 30 new dishes for Oregano, each of which fuses traditional French cuisine with bold Latin Spanish flavors. The menu will eventually be narrowed down by a third, Cardona said, but the food will be inspired by the taste and flavors from Spain and France. “When I did the menu, my biggest influence was the south of France,” he said. “To me, the biggest lesson was that they really concentrate on the food. They use whatever ingredients are available in the markets, and everything is fresh. They even know what their cows eat. It’s unbelievable. It’s very challenging for chefs here in New York to do the same.” The invite-only preview event was held as the restaurant enters its seventh month of construction. White subway tiles line the walls, ornate antique lighting fixtures hang from above, while an imposing 20-foot wooden bar dominates the 3,000-square-foot dining room. A raised indoor light-filled garden at the

rear of the restaurant is near completion, with the living wall and water feature to be installed in the coming weeks. When the project was first announced, the restaurant was expected to open in the fall, but a series of delays kept pushing that date back. The restaurant is now working toward opening later this month or early January. Restaurateur Erick A. Caceres attributed the latest setback to the city’s bureaucrats and said he was currently waiting for an official to conduct a final inspection of the A/C and heating unit. Until the city gives the go-ahead, the restaurant cannot install their state-ofthe-art kitchen. Despite the community’s growing impatience, Caceres said the restaurant was “85 percent complete” and that numerous delays were part and parcel of the industry. “I’ve been in other projects where it’s taken a year, and it’s mostly due to the system,” he said. “The city, the regulations and the inspections really back you up because you never have a way of telling their schedule.” Meanwhile, the Review can also reveal the restaurant’s wine list will feature up to 40 boutique drops that have been carefully selected to match the food. Sommelier Vladimir Garcia Encarnacion, who has 12 years’ experience, said wines would be sourced from France, Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Brazil and that he was looking forward to sharing his knowledge with diners. “Our wine list will be in tune with what a bistro is—very quaffable wines with structure, acidity and balance, wines that aren’t going to overwhelm your palate and wines that are going to be affordable and perform for the money.”

A sneak peek of the new Oregano Restaurant soon to open on Johnson Avenue. “We just want people to enjoy the space and get a chance to demystify these wines. I think Spanish and South American wines

are usually looked upon as fruit bombs, but there’s a lot of terroir and dedication to viticulture there.”


RSS is celebrating the holidays with a party on Wednesday, December 14th from 11:30 - 4. Enjoy appetizers followed by a festive meal, then join us for music and dancing with Cory Morgenstern and bingo immediately afterward. Seating is limited so tickets are required and they can be obtained at the Center. RSS is located at 2600 Netherland. Tuesday, December 20th join us for a holiday sing-a-long with Gil Willis at 10:30 a.m. RSS is funded by the NYC Department for the Aging and offers a wide range of activities, Monday - Friday from 9 - 5. New members are always welcome. For more information contact the center at 718-884-5900.

Open Sunday at the Riverdale YM-YWHA

The Simon Senior Center located at the Riverdale YM-YWHA, 5625 Arlington Ave., is pleased to present an original comedy/play reading on Sunday December 11th. The play was written by Ira Ben Wiseman, a local resident and takes place on the upper Westside today. There will be an open morning of cards and games in the lounge followed by a nutritious kosher lunch of. Suggested donation for lunch is $2.25. The entire community is welcome to attend. Tickets for seniors are $10 each and $15 for those under 60. For further information please call 718548-8200 Toby or Vicki x223 or 224.

Riverdale Hadassah to meet at Atria

The Bronx Chapter of Hadassah will meet on Tuesday, December 13, 1:30 p.m., in The Atria Media Room, 3718 Henry Hudson Parkway. Miriam Pappo, Director of Clinical Nutrition of Montefiore Hospital, has graciously accepted to share her expertise about how important good nutrition is to our well being. How it helps us to feel better, stronger and sharper in our senior years. We are sure this will be a most informative afternoon. Looking forward to seeing all of you. Reminder: You can still take advantage of Hadassah’s Special Membership Offer. Life membership only $100.00. Available till December 31, 2011. Come join us.

Engel demands release of Alan Gross from Cuban prison

Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) today demanded the Cuban government release Alan Gross from his wrongful imprisonment on what is the second anniversary of his incarceration. Rep. Engel is the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. ‘The Cuban government needs to release Alan Gross. This is beyond politics, beyond diplomacy. This is a matter of human rights. In addition to my role in Congress, I call on the leadership in Cuba as a father and husband to do the right thing at long last. Alan Gross’s health continues to deteriorate. His daughter’s battle with cancer is ongoing and he is missing these crucial moments with his loved one. I have a daughter around the same age, and it is heartbreaking to

think of the loss this family is feeling. Alan Gross has nothing to do with the decades of frosty relations between our nations - his only crime was passion for the Cuban Jewish community, and being an American. ‘This has gone on long enough. It is time to return Alan Gross to his loving wife, Judy. Bring him back to tend to his daughter and his 89-year-old mother.’

CSAIR to present author Lucette Lagnado

The Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale (CSAIR) will present a Lunch and Learn with best-selling author Lucette Lagnado following Shabbat services on Saturday, Dec. 17. Lagnado’s topic will be: ‘From Pashas to Pariahs-The Rise and Fall of Egypt’s Jewish Community.’ She will draw on her two memoirs, ‘The Man in the White Sharkskin’ and the recently-published companion volume, ‘The Arrogant Years.’ Lagnado was born in Cairo, Egypt. She and her family were forced to flee as refugees when she was a small child, eventually coming to New York City. She joined the Wall Street Journal in 1996 and currently serves as senior special writer and cultural reporter. This program is cosponsored by CSAIR’s Adult Education Committee and by the CSAIR Havurah. It is free and open to the entire community. Babysitting will be available. CSAIR is located at 475 West 250th Street. For additional information, call the synagogue office at 718-543-8400 or visit

Friends of Woodlawn free annual holiday concert

Friends of Woodlawn is proud to announce their annual holiday concert on Sunday, December 11 @ 12:30 p.m., at the Woolworth Chapel (just inside the Jerome Avenue entrance @ Bainbridge Avenue). With seasonal song and dance classics performed by Children’s Choir of Woodlawn, McGough and Haggerty Academy of Irish Dance, Girl Scouts of America Woodlawn Division. Admission: FREE. Donations welcomed. For more information, contact Brian Sahd, Executive Director, Friends of Woodlawn (718) 920-1470 or email

Holiday music at BartowPell Mansion Museum

Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum continues A Storybook Christmas, this year’s holiday theme, with free concerts by the Bronx Arts Ensemble, and candlelight mansion tours featuring docents and Victorian carolers in period dress. The Bronx Arts Ensemble Holiday Concerts will be held on Saturday, December 10 and Sunday, December 11, at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The Bronx Arts Ensemble and Singers will perform Music for St. Nicholas. The concert is free, but space is limited and tickets are required. Call the Bronx Arts Ensemble at 718-601-7399 for tickets. The museum will not be open for regularly scheduled afternoon tours on Saturday or Sunday.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, December 8, 2011

RSS celebrates the Holidays

Thursday, December 8, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



St. John’s Church will host a flea market on Saturday, December 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The sale will be held at the Old St. John’s School located at 3030 Godwin Terrace in the Bronx. Clothes, jewelry, accessories and brica-brac will be sold at bargain prices. Free parking will also be available so get there early and snare yourself a great find. For more information, please call 718-43-3003.

Bead for Life Holiday Gift Sale at the Y

The Riverdale Y will hold a Bead for Life holiday gift sale on Sunday, December 11 from 10 am - 3 pm. The jewelry items, made from recycled paper by women in Uganda, are more than a holiday gift they are a beautiful way to give a holiday gift AND change a life! BeadforLife works to eradicate extreme poverty by creating bridges of understanding between impoverished Africans and concerned world citizens. Ugandan women turn colorful recycled paper into beautiful beads. Women in Northern Uganda gather shea nuts and press them into shea butter for cosmetics and soaps. And people who care open their hearts, homes and communi-

ties to buy and sell both products. The beads and shea butter become income, food, medicine, school fees and hope. It is a small miracle that enriches us all. The Riverdale Y staff regularly runs Bead for Life sales as part of its ‘mitzvah’ (good deed) projects. All proceeds go directly to the Bead for Life organization. You can find more information at www. The Riverdale Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue (off 256 Street).

Toastmasters Club invites new members

Bronx Toastmasters Club of Riverdale invites new members to join in at their free meeting on December 14 at 7:00 p.m. at the Riverdale Neighborhood House, 5521 Mosholu Avenue. Wouldn’t you like to communicate effectively? Now you can! Toastmasters will show you how to listen effectively, think on your feet, and speak confidently. You will learn valuable leadership skillsall in a supportive, non-intimidating environment. Come as a guest and witness for yourself what they accomplish. They meet every second and fourth Wednesday of the month. For further information, visit

their website or call 718-796-6671.

Chabad hosts author of Holocaust Survivor Cookbook

Do you need some delectable dessert inspiration for this upcoming holiday season? If you do, you will get that - and so much more - at the Jewish Women’s Circle pre-Chanukah event with Joanne Caras, creator of The Holocaust Survivor Cookbook. This morning event promises to delight and inspire women, through sharing delicious recipes for the whole family to enjoy, as well as incredible stories that will never be forgotten. Women and teens are invited to get together for this event on Sunday morning, December 11, 2011, at 4684 Grosvenor Ave., Bronx, NY. Coffee and desserts (using recipes from the cookbook) will be served at 10:30 am, which will be followed by a Chanukah message by Sorah Shemtov and Joanne Caras speaking about her book. Autographed cookbooks will be available for purchase - the perfect gift for the holidays. All proceeds from cookbook sales benefit Carmei Ha’ir Soup Kitchen in Jerusalem. Admission for this event is $18-36, and $10 for teens who come with an adult. For more information, to reserve a cookbook or to RSVP, please call Suzanne

at 914-720-4634. For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Rabbi Levi Y. Shemtov at Chabad of Riverdale at 718-549-1100 ext. 10 or email

CSAIR presents ‘Upheaval in Middle East’

The Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale (CSAIR) will present Kenneth Jacobson, Deputy National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 7:45 p.m. Jacobson’s topic will be ‘Upheaval in the Middle East - Good or Bad for Israel.’ Natan Sharansky, Benjamin Netanyahu, and George W. Bush all argued that peace between Israel and the Arabs could only happen when democracy came to the Arab world. Now that change is afoot in the region, how does it affect Israel’s policies, strategic position, and the chances for peace? And how does U.S. policy toward Middle East upheaval impact on Israel? This thought-provoking program is presented by CSAIR’s Adult Education Committee. CSAIR is located at 475 West 250th Street. For additional information, call the synagogue office at 718-543-8400 or visit

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, December 8, 2011

Flea market at St. John’s Church

Thursday, December 8, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Dinky, Dinky Rink Requires Big, Big Protest

Just when you thought that the awful and insulting “dinky rink” project was dead, the city administration, following the lead of the clueless and political Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy, has made things even worse. Recognizing that even the tiny, temporary “dinky rink” previously proposed would never get built in time for this season, despite assurances to the contrary from the Conservancy and the Bloomberg administration, they have now come up with something even worse, an even tinier “dinky, dinky rink,” designed for use for this year only. Aside from the fact that this is an even worse proposal, an insult to the people of The Bronx who deserve a serious skating facility in the best possible location, the most egregious part of this latest offering is the bald-faced effort to skirt any legitimate public review. This is, after all, public parkland. Under the original proposal it was to be reviewed only by the city’s Franchise and Concessions Review Committee. The local community board could hold a hearing to advise the citywide panel, once the item was placed on the calendar, but that advice would have been non-binding. But even that pathetically low bar was apparently too high for the city fathers. On five separate occasions, the community board scheduled the hearing in anticipation of the rink being placed on the calendar. And on five separate occasions, the city inexplicably cancelled the Franchise Board hearing. Now they’re trying to sneak the new “dinky, dinky rink” plan through without subjecting itself even this extremely low level of public review. The city says that a project this small needn’t be reviewed. We say that this plan requires even more review, because it is clearly designed to skirt the review requirements. Now it may be that the city will, disgracefully, try to get away without involving so much as a word from the public. And they may well succeed in their effort. But that doesn’t change the fact that allowing such a dangerous precedent to be set must be resisted at all costs. Members of Community Board 8 must realize that this is a full-frontal attack on the democratic process established nearly a half century ago to protect our public land. If this project is allowed to proceed without review, it could well be a precursor to the eventual disestablishment of the community board system. If you don’t believe that this can happen, just remember how the mayor destroyed the community school board system, which, for all its faults, involved the public in an important and intimate way, greatly missed today in a public school system that now ignores the public it is supposed to serve. Michael Bloomberg simply does not believe in democracy So even if the community board needs to vote merely as a protest against the high-handed anti-democratic actions of the Bloomberg administration, they would perform a vital public service by making the statement that it is the public, not the mayor that owns the parks, that we will resist privatization of park facilities without proper public oversight. As for city’s Franchise and Concessions Review Committee, it would be perfectly appropriate for them, or one of their members, to take the Bloomberg administration to court over this matter. A deliberate effort to skirt the law is underway, and it requires aggressive response to both protect our parks and our democracy from an administration intent on destruction.

Reduced senior RMD taxes would spur employment To The Editor: The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax is a payroll, or employment, tax imposed by the federal government on both employees and employers to fund Social Security and Medicare. The total FICA withholding tax rate for 2011 and for 2012 is 7.65% which includes the Social Security rate of 6.2%, and 1.45% for Medicare, and is levied on earnings up to a certain maximum amount. For the year 2011, Congress had instituted a temporary cut of 2% in the Social Security tax (for employees only) so that only 4.2% was withheld from their pay. The rationale for this increased take home pay was that hopefully this additional money would be used for spending and would stimulate the economy through the increased purchases of goods and services, thus causing employers to hire additional workers to cope with this increased demand. This 2% tax break is due to expire in several weeks on December 31. However, there is

currently an effort being made in Congress by Democrats not only to extend this tax cut through 2012 but to increase it to 3.1% (or half of the regular rate) with the hope that this larger cut would stimulate even greater demand, which would translate into even more jobs. With this line of reasoning, why stop with only 3.1%? Why not go all the way and get rid of the entire 6.2%? Think of all the jobs that might create! And as for the ensuing Social Security trust fund shortfall — Let some future Congress deal with it. Well, if that’s the way Congress really wants to go, why not stimulate the economy even further by also giving a tax break to the many millions of older seniors who now, upon reaching the age of 70 1/2 (seventy and one-half), have to pay taxes on their Required Minimum Distributions (RMD). Many years ago, the federal government, in an attempt to induce people to save for their old age, created various tax-deferred investment instruments such as

ANDREW WOLF, Editor and Publisher

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the 401(K), 403(B), and IRA plans. Monies were voluntary taken out of employees’ paychecks, and invested in these plans subject to certain rules and regulations. Because the monies taken out were not taxed at the time (they were tax-deferred), the government made it mandatory that once a person reached the age of 70 1/2, a Required Minimum Distribution had to be withdrawn each year. That amount would be added to that year’s income and taxes would thus be paid on it. In the year 2009, the federal government declared a one-year tax holiday for RMDs. Why not do the same thing now, or at least reduce the RMD by a certain percentage? Why not, in addition to giving a tax break to workers paying Social Security taxes, also give a tax break to older seniors? Unlike the reduced Social Security taxes, which will never be recovered, the lost RMD taxes will always be recovered since the beneficiaries of any of these tax-deferred accounts have to pay taxes on them. I strongly suggest that the older seniors subject to RMD taxes discuss this letter at their senior center meetings and, if they agree with my thoughts, contact their local Bronx congressmen. Let Congressman Engel, Congressman Serrano, and Congressman Crowley know how you feel. We older seniors aren’t chopped liver. We, too, should get a tax break. Let us use that money to help create jobs. Alvin Gordon

Continued from Page 3 and finding ways to cut waste rather than eliminating jobs and reducing access to facilities. It is almost as if they want people to use the private carriers instead.” Local leaders are distraught over the cuts. “It almost sounds like the post office is closing down shop all together,” Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said, stressing all the different plans the USPS has to rollback service. “When you cut service, you drive out customers, and you don’t save as much money as you think,” he said, recalling cuts to public transportation in the 1970s that pushed away customers. “Service cuts don’t necessarily save the amount of money they’re suggesting,” Dinowitz said. “Two-day mail delivery instead of one-day will undoubtedly drive

Plan to pave Putnam Trail costing taxpayers already

To The Editor: The NYC Parks Department plans to pave the historic Putnam nature trail in Van Cortlandt Park with asphalt and increase the width from eight feet to 15 feet. The City is only required to fund $290,000 (20% of a $1,450,000) of a Federal Earmark to improve this bucolic and historic nature trail. Because of the excessive and irresponsible proposal by Parks Dept., the proposed costs of this project have gone from $1,740,000 up to $2,419,000. Guess who has to pay for this added cost of asphalt pavement and excessive 15-foot-width? You, the NYC taxpayer! You have to pay an extra $679,000 so that the Parks Dept. can pave asphalt and double the width of a historic nature trail in Van Cortlandt Park. A stone dust pathway still serves all users including cyclists, hikers, walkers, wheelchairs and more, and by keeping the trail at its current eight-foot-width, the costs of this project would decrease dramatically. The Parks Dept. has made false claims that they are paving asphalt because only asphalt is wheelchair accessible. Stone dust on the Putnam Trail will completely meet ADA wheelchair requirements. If the Parks Dept. truly cares about wheelchair access they should improve the Putnam Trail with stone dust and keep the trail at eight feet. Parks should then spend all of the extra funds which would have gone into paving the Putnam Trail on creating wheelchair accessible bathrooms and improving wheelchair access on current pathways in Van Cortlandt Park which are in disrepair. Mayor Bloomberg, please listen to your constituents. We have spoken to the community and an overwhelming majority of them do not want to see the Putnam Trail paved with asphalt. Spending $969,000 of NYC taxpayer funds in good economic times to pave asphalt on a historic nature trail is a terrible idea. To spend that money in our current economic environment is pure madness! Please tell the Mayor and the Parks Dept. to stop the madness! In these dire economic times our tax money should be spent to keep teachers, firefighters and police; and not be wasted on paving asphalt on a historic nature trail! Please contact Mayor Bloomberg and demand he redirect these NYC taxpayer funds to a service or project the community is actually asking for. http://www. Michael Oliva


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The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, December 8, 2011

Post office

people to the Internet.” Bronx community activist Robert Gratz was appalled at the loss of jobs. “Twenty-eight thousand jobs are going to be lost—that’s huge,” said Gratz, who helped lead a rally to save the Fieldston post office. “Our differences with the post office are not that they have to make cuts,” he said, highlighting some ideas he thinks the post office needs to adopt. “They are doing some experimentation, but it’s not enough,” he noted. The USPS has 200,000 vehicles to deliver mail. The USPS put 17 Bronx post offices up for consideration to close. Throughout the city, 34 in all were being studied. The agency took heat this fall from community leaders and elected officials for their lack of effort in notifying local communities about public hearings to discuss possible closures.

Thursday, December 8, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Riverdale Review, December 8, 2011  

Weekly newspaper published in Riverdale, NY 10471