By Dee Richard
The Queens Flag Day Committee held its ninth annual dinner dance, hosted by Tony Corbisiero of Ricardo’s in Astoria last week. The Man of the Year Award went to Dennis Tortora, vice president and comptroller of Steinway & Sons Piano Co. The Woman of the Year Award went to Dee Richard, columnist and photographer at the award-winning TimesLedger Newspapers.
The Community Service Award went to Chet Szarejko, Democratic district leader and vice chair of the Queens County Democratic Organization. The Community Appreciation Award went to John Jager, executive director of the New York City chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Queens Borough President Helen Marshall was honorary chairwoman, and the Kings Point USMMA were the Color Guard.
The Rev. Peter Song was the spiritual director. Dr. John Farrell, executive director of the Queens Flag Day Committee, was pleased with the turnout. “It gets bigger and better every year,” he said.
Had lunch on Friday at Papazzio in Bayside with Roz Liston, editor of the TimesLedger Newspapers. Judge Clabby and his wife were seated across from us and were soon joined by the judge’s niece, Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza. Ann-Margaret told us her baby boy is now 18 months old. It’s hard to believe time flies by so quickly. Papazzio’s owner, Dominic Bucelleri, joined in the conversation and said his baby boy is now 2 years old.
Roz and I felt left out of the conversation, as neither of us had any baby boys to brag about. Dominic also said that things were moving along nicely on his newest restaurant, 39 East, on Bell Boulevard. He expects to open it sometime in May, and if the food at the new restaurant is as good as the food at Papazzios, he has a sure-fire winner.
Chet Szarejko, John Farrell and I attended the 46th Annual Dinner Dance of the Pulaski Association of the New York Police Department at Antun’s in Queens Village. The Pulaski Association has a membership of more than 1,000 active and retired Polish police officers, and it seemed as if all 1,000 were there Friday night.
Marek Skulimowski, vice counsel of the Republic of Poland, was present, as was Michal Preisler, a survivor of Auschwitz. He still had his number, “22213,” tattooed on his arm. “Never Again!”
We all toddled off home with our goody bags filled with mini-bottles of Polish vodka made with real potatoes. I have to remember to go back again next year. It was lots of fun. The three of us watched the polkas, but none of us was up to joining in — though looking us over, I think the exercise would have done us all a world of good.
Saturday morning, bright and early, Andrew Kim, president of the Korean-American Association of Greater New York, invited all his friends to a breakfast at Brunos on the Boulevard in Jackson Heights. Mr. Kim’s tenure as president is over in May. Helen Marshall presented him with a proclamation for all the good work he has done for his community and Queens County.
Some of the notables who attended were Councilman Hiram Monserrate, Councilwoman Helen Sears, Assemblyman Jeff Aubrey, Police Chief James Tuller, Dolly DeThomas and many more guests.
Saturday morning’s second event was at the General Motors Center in Long Island City. It was the annual Queens Flag Day Committee’s service in memory of those who had given their lives in the line of duty from the Police Department, Fire Department, Department of Sanitation, the New York State Police, the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and the Merchant Marine.
The solemn ceremony was followed by a reception and luncheon. Although it poured rain, the place was packed to overflowing. The memorial service ended with a 21-gun salute, courtesy of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. As long as John Farrell is alive, patriotism will never die.
Late Saturday afternoon caught the tail end of the Probini Association luncheon at Flavor of India in Floral Park. Neeta Bhasin, international TV star and producer, was there as well as Democratic district leader Uma Sengupta, Councilman Jim Gennaro, Corey Bearak and other members of the Southeast Asian community organizations. One of the young women said she was forming a women’s empowerment group. It doesn’t take long to become Americanized.
Sunday morning Jim Gennaro held a rally on the steps of the Hillcrest Jewish Center, where he denounced anti-Semitic hate crimes in Hillcrest. Both he and Councilman David Weprin offered a joint $5,000 reward for apprehension of the perpetrators.
There were three separate incidents, two automobiles had swastikas scrawled on them and the third incident was the defacing of a garage door of a Jewish family’s home. Both a swastika and the words “All Jews Must Die” were scrawled on the garage door.
Anyone with information should contact Detective DellValle of the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force at 646-610-5267. There was a tremendous turnout at the rally, aside from Councilmen Jim and David. U.S. Rep. Anthony Wiener, state Sen. Toby Stavisky, Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin, Ken Cohen, Mike Nussbaum, Corey Bearack, Uma Sengupta, Rory Lanceman, Florence Fisher and David Reich were there.
David said he is running for the 24th Councilmatic seat. So move over, Jim and Florence, and make room for one more contender for the throne. David said he has not been around lately due to his father’s death. After his period of mourning, he will start his campaign in earnest. Marsha Lipson said she is David’s campaign manager, so expect some action soon.
That’s it for this week, but I have lots more in the hopper for you next week.
If you have anything you would care to share, or invitations to events, etc., call me at 718-767-6484 or fax me at 718-746-0066.
Till next week, Dee.