Schneps Media celebrates the 2024 Bethpage Best of the Boro winners at Terrace on the Park

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2024 Best of the Boro winners celebrate at Terrace on The Park
Courtesy of Athena Dawson

The 2024 Bethpage Best of the Boro winners gathered on Wednesday, April 10th, for a night of celebrations at the Penthouse at Terrace in The Park, a Flushing Meadows—Corona Park venue boasting beautiful views of the city’s famous skyline. 

This year, over 400 businesses won the coveted Bethpage Best of the Boro title. The annual contest began 13 years ago, and over time, the program has become one of the most exclusive honors for Queens’ standout businesses. Thousands of local businesses are nominated every year, and residents do their part with over 150,000 votes cast, for their favorite local businesses to earn the Best of the Boro title. 

Joshua Schneps, CEO and co-publisher of Schneps Media, hosted the event along with Celeste Alamin, VP of Best of Programs and the Best of Team.

Schneps explained that the annual event is an incredible opportunity to support standout local businesses. “It’s a great night to celebrate winners across a diverse range of industries and businesses, to bring them together in one room to celebrate and network,” he said. “This program is a great advantage for them because they know that people in the local community are the ones who voted for them, and it helps them to promote their businesses to the community to share that they are the best at what they do,” he said.

The annual event is made possible with the support of naming sponsor Bethpage Federal Credit Union, a non-profit financial organization that has been serving its members and local community for over 80 years. Bethpage Federal Credit Union recently opened two branches in Queens, Astoria and Ozone Park, with others to open shortly in the borough.

Anthony Ruggiero, Business Development Representative with Bethpage Federal Credit Union, took the time to speak with QNS about Wednesday’s momentous event.

“Schneps is one of our amazing partners that we get the pleasure to work with all the time in covering events like this. It’s really the community that brings us together. It’s really special to have things like this, a beautiful partnership where we get to come together and celebrate the hardworking people of the five boroughs of our community,” he said. 

Robert Suarez, Assistant Vice President of Bethpage Federal Credit Union (left) with Met tickets raffle winner Justin Yue. Courtesy of Ralph Depas

Robert Suarez, Assistant Vice President of Bethpage Federal Credit Union, explained how important it is for his organization to support local businesses like the ones showcased at Best of the Boro. “We like to work with small businesses to really have them be able to excel. They are the ones that are creating the jobs in the local communities. Anything that we can do to support our local communities, especially where we have a footprint is ideal,” he said.

Some of the Best of the Boro’s long-standing winners—Parker Jewish Institute, Queens Long Island Renal Institute (QLRI), and the Performing Arts Conservatory of NY—displayed their awards on tables throughout the venue. 

Edyta Maselbas (left) with Opulence Glamour Skin Clinic gift basket raffle winner Anthony Gelo (center) and Robert Suarez, Assistant Vice President of Bethpage Federal Credit Union (right). Courtesy of Ralph Depas

Muriel Donnelly, vice president of PR and marketing with Parker Jewish Institute, explained how impactful this year’s win is for her organization. “There are a lot of various organizations and competitions out there, so for us to actually get this award is a real big deal. It lets people know who we are and what we do, and it’s a great recognition for Parker to have,” she said. Parker Jewish Institute is a nationally recognized non-profit center for the health care and rehabilitation of adults.

Geraldine Ramos, director of patient care services at QLRI, was all smiles as she celebrated at the event. “We deserve to be here; we provide the best dialysis services, and it emphasizes our commitment to providing great services to the people who come to us,” she said. 

Teresa Marin Rishik, executive director of the Performing Arts Conservatory of NY, spoke about how honored she was to receive the recognition over the past eight years. “It has been an enormously important experience for the music school. As one of the best businesses in the borough of Queens, we get more interest, as our mission is to expand the music in our communities of Jackson Heights, Corona, and Elmhurst,” she said.

Teresa Marin Rishik executive director of Performing Arts Conservatory of NY (right), with Maria Murillo the organization’s head of parents association. Courtesy of Athena Dawson

Paul Halvatzis hails from a family-owned and operated realtor group based in Astoria. For the past eight years, Amorelli Realty has been selected as Best in the Boro for real estate. This year, Halvatzis is celebrating a new milestone as the ‘Best Real Estate Broker’ in Queens. 

Halvatzis is also sharing the spotlight with his son Nicholas Halvatzis, who won his first award this year as the ‘Best Real Estate Agent’ in Queens. Paul Halvatzis said that the Best of the Boro nomination has aided in building a close, trusted reputation with his local client base. “ We found that the Best of the Boro has been a catalyst for recognition for our office. People make the assumption that if the office is being voted in that we must know what we are doing, and we do,”  he said.

Paul Halvatzis and his son Nicholas Halvatzis celebrate at Wednesday’s event. Courtesy of Athena Dawson

Noe Canales, one of the founders of Soccer Kids NYC, also shared how it felt to be recognized for the impact the soccer club has had on the local community for the past eight years.  “When we get families on the phone, that’s one of the things they bring up. It’s also a good feeling to know that consistently our program gets voted year after year as the best soccer club. We are very impressed and thankful that the families take time out of their day to vote,” he said.

Noe Canales co-founder of Soccer Kids NYC (left) with Ramona Ciobanu, director of Soccer Kids NYC. Courtesy of Athena Dawson

The crowd was treated to a dazzling performance by Giuseppe Caszio, known as “JC Keys.”  Keys donned the stage wearing a bedazzled Dodgers outfit as he wowed the crowd during his solo performance of Elton John’s greatest hits. Keys is a 5-time winner of the Best of the Boro with his White Wedding Cover Band. 2024 marks the first year he won under his business ‘JC and the Crocodiles.’ Keys said that the recognition has helped his business grow over the years.

JC Keys performs an Elton John tribute at the 2024 Bethpage Best of the Boro awards celebration. Courtesy of Athena Dawson

Long-time Best of the Boro winner and animal lover Randy Klein owns Whisker Holistic Pet Care, a business specializing in natural remedies for pets with varying conditions. Klein was honored that the community continued to vote for her and trust her business to care for their furry companions. “Everything we do is with the best intention to make sure your pets remain healthy and give preventative care as well,” she said.

Randy Klein, owner of Whisker Holistic Pet Care. Courtesy of Athena Dawson                                                                 

One of the winners emphasized the impact he felt Schneps Media’s papers have had on bringing together the borough of Queens. “What’s important is the community newspaper. The Queens Courier, the Bayside Times… the newspapers are important as we learn what’s going on in our communities. It’s so important to support our local papers,” said  John Ciafone, a Queens attorney and 6-year running Best of the Boro recipient. Ciafone said the Best of the Boro event highlights the local community and shows local businesses’ dedication to their communities.

Pictured is John J. Ciafone Esq.Courtesy of Athena Dawson

Another long-standing winner, Dr. Daniel Levitt, said he was proud that his dental practice has an ongoing legacy of being voted Best of the Boro. “It’s great for small businesses like us. We’ve grown over the years, and Best of the Boro has been very positive for our patient base,” he said.

Many of Wednesday’s winners expressed gratitude for being recognized for their hard work serving their communities. Best of the Boro newcomers, like Justin Yuen, felt honored that their customers participated in the voting process. “As much as we support our client base, they have supported me and our business goals. I’m the only one who won the best personal trainer in my area of Queens. It’s good to see some recognition of some of the work that we do,” he said. Yuen owns Here We Go Fitness, in Forest Hills and took home this year’s ‘Best Personal Trainer Award.’

As the night came to a close, the best DJ winner, Anthony Gelo of Good Times Production, took everyone to the dance floor to celebrate and show off their moves. 

Learn more about the program by following @bestoftheboro on social media where LeSelfie photos from the celebration will be posted and all winners can be found at bestof.qns.com