Thursday, December 27, 2012

WHERE TO CELEBRATE NEW YEAR’S EVE!

CULINARY ROAD 
By Morris Gut
BRONX, NEW YORK, December 27- Ready or not, here it comes! 2013 is upon us, so whether you’ve been naughty or nice its time to make plans with friends and family. If you are planning to go out, here are some dining suggestions for every palate, each offering a good dose of New Year’s cheer…
MULINO’S HOLIDAY CELEBRATION!
It is over-the-top during the holidays and it begins with the bright lights and smell of chestnuts roasting at the entranceway. Take home a bag of them. The annual Christmas Holiday Fest at Mulino’s, White Plains, lasts right thru the season and it’s a sight to behold! The fountain garden is beautiful as is the lavish dining room and bar/ lounge. General Manager Gimmy Cavagna and his staff are keeping the premises spiffy as ever: gesticulating Christmas decorations galore, holiday carolers, life size toy soldiers, the bursting colorful floral displays, the sparkling grappa and glassware collection, the handsome multilevel seating area. The Cold Seafood Platter is a wonder and fine to share as is their decadent version of Linguine Carbonara; plump tender Rack of Lamb served on the long bone; delicate Dover Sole finished off in the dining room; and perhaps for dessert have the wait staff whip up warm Zabaglione with fresh ripe berries tableside. And, oh that smooth Italian cheesecake. Open 7 days thru the Holiday Fest. Bring the whole family. The place sparkles! Valet parking. Reservations advised. Mulino’s of Westchester, 99 Court Street, White Plains 914-761-1818  www.mulinosny.com
DINE WITH PANORAMIC VIEWS OF THE SOUND!
Lou and Rose Promuto have re-opened The Marina Grille Waterfront Restaurant & Bar located at Wright Island Marina in New Rochelle surrounded by boat clubs and L.I. Sound. It had formerly been The Sea Breeze. The Promutos also own Valentino’s Cucina Italiana and Sunset Grille both in Norwalk, CT. Chef is seasoned Sergio Dechiara, a graduate of the New York Restaurant School, who is not bound by culinary borders. His menu offers such comforting dishes as: New England Clam Chowder; Artichoke Crab Dip; Coconut Shrimp; a massive Paella Valenciana, served with mixed seafood with chorizo-chicken rice; Buttermilk Fried Chicken served with broccoli, mashed potatoes and brown gravy; Porterhouse for two; and an occasional tender hunk of Short Rib on the bone with all its delicious juices. Complete Dinners served Monday thru Thursday: $18.95. Daily happy hours in the bar/lounge. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday thru Sunday. Ample free parking. The Marina Grille, 290 Drake Ave., New Rochelle. 914-365-1860.
DINE AMONGST VINTAGE PHOTOS OF ITALY!
Proprietor Michael Vivolo and his wife Margaret of La Riserva, 2382 Boston Post Road, Larchmont (914-834-5584), have been serving ‘the Italian classics’ here for 34 years and the refreshing atmosphere and friendly ambiance keep it a treat. Be seated in the lovely refurbished dining room, now part vintage photo gallery, and let veteran manager Ellie Cucino suggest such specialties as: flavorful Polenta al Gorgonzola with shrimp; Angel Hair Abissi Marini, thin egg noodles in a light cream sauce with shrimp and mushrooms; Veal Chop alla Griglia, with mushrooms and roasted potatoes; or the Branzino Mediterraneo. Michael’s son Dean operates Trattoria Vivolo in Harrison. Private party facilities. Open 7 days for lunch and dinner. Free parking. www.lariservarestaurant.com
TITILLATING PASTA AND CANNOLI!
Chef Anna Catalano of Agostino’s, 336 Pelham Road, New Rochelle (914-235-6019), prepares everything in her regional Italian kitchen from scratch: her sauces, the pastas, right down to the fresh cannoli shells and desserts. Be seated and let Anna, her husband Antonio and brother Gasperino Di Fabio serve you such home style favorites as: Portobello e Polenta alla Griglia con Gorgonzola; Spaghetti alla Chitarra alla Pescarese con Frutti di Mare,  seafood in a light marinara sauce; homemade Ravioli di Aragosta in Salsa Rosa, with lobster in a light cream sauce with touch of tomato; classic Zuppa di Pesce all Mamma Lucia, with clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari, scallops, octopus and fish of the day with linguini; Pollo alla Scarpariello prepared here on the bone sautéed with garlic in a white wine sauce; or Involtini di Anna alla Fantasia, stuffed with provolone and shitake mushrooms. And, oh those wonderful cannolis! Fresh pasta for take home by advanced order. Cozy bar/cocktails. Open 7 days a week. Free parking. Valet evenings. www.agostinositalianristorante.org
THE QUARRY’S COMFORTING FARE!
Owner Dominic Cesarini of The Quarry, 106 Main Street, Tuckahoe (914-337-0311), has settled into new larger quarters in downtown Tuckahoe, a handsomely renovated bi-level 70-seat dining room and bustling bar/lounge that is always engaged in spirited networking. There are artsy exposed pipes and vents on the ceiling. A lovely area rug and acoustics temper the noise level. Handsome brown wood and clay tone walls, warm lighting fixtures and modern sturdy dark brown butcher block type chairs and tables highlight the floor with large picture windows with seating spilling out onto Main. The staff here is most friendly, efficient and eager to please. Cesarini, a ‘local grill man’ himself whose family owned and operated several cafes and grills in the Bronx-Tuckahoe-Eastchester area, has kicked it up a notch with a good mix of reasonably priced American tavern comfort fare with a good dose of broccoli rabe to go around. Good salads, burgers, Prime Rib and Short Ribs on weekends. Open 7 days. www.thequarryrestaurantandlounge.com
CELEBRATE BIG AT CHIANTI!
Here’s a big guy who likes to cook big! Chef/proprietor Paul Caputo of Chianti, 174 Marbledale Road, Tuckahoe (914-346-8844), opened a bustling ode to Italian-American cuisine served in generous style. He previously operated Gina Marie’s Bella Vita in Mt. Vernon and the former Bella Vita in Mahopac. Over the years he has worked for a storied cast of kitchens from Rigoletto’s and Amici’s on Arthur Ave. in the Bronx to the original Valentino’s in Yonkers to the former Gregory’s in White Plains. Over on one wall in the dining room is inscribed: “chi mangia bene, viva bene” (if you eat well, you live well), and that’s the overriding philosophy here. Chef Caputo has a history of serving big portions of fresh made-to-order food; ‘family style’ some call it. Check out such specialties as: Spiedini ala Romana; his amazing Garlic Bread Paoliccimo with chopped broccoli rabe; Zuppa Di Pesce over Capellini; Steak Compagniola; or giant Veal Chop De Benedictis. Don’t worry; there are always plenty of doggie bags on hand for take home. Complete lunch and dinners available daily. On and off-premise catering.
(Morris Gut, restaurant consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor, has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in the Bronx and Westchester area for over 25 years. He may be reached at: 914-235-6591.
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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Murdered Teen Laid to Rest

By David Greene
 
BRONX, NEW YORK, December 4- The 15-year-old girl who was mysteriously found near death in the hallway of a relatives home, was laid to rest at St. Raymond's Cemetery on Monday, December 3.
 
The body of Destiny Sanchez, 15, was discovered lying in the hallway of 632 Barretto Street, in the Hunts Point section, on November 23. Police say the popular teen had been strangled.
 
Friends and family of Sanchez paid their final respects to her during a memorial mass at Saint Ansel Parish on Tinton Avenue, that was followed by her burial at St. Raymond's Cemetery in Throgs Neck.
 Luis Vega, the victim's 34-year-old step-uncle was charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, for allowing the teen to drink alcohol, while in his care, just hours before her death.
 
Police continue to investigate her death.
 
Sanchez was a 9th grader at the Academy for Scholarship and Entrepreneurship, who dreamed of becoming a lawyer.  
 
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Arrest made but questions remain in teen murder

 
 
By David Greene
 
BRONX, NEW YORK, November 27- A popular teenager was strangled and left for dead in the hallway of a Hunts Point building, hours after she celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday with relatives.
 
Police were called to 632 Barretto Street at just after 8 a.m., on November 23. Family members say 15-year old Destiny Sanchez was semiconscious when she was found by her brother inside the hallway of the three-family home.
 
According to the victim’s step-sister Felicity Lopez, 13, Sanchez was found by her brother Keith. Lopez tearfully recalled, "I slapped her and she was waking up."
 
Family members say Sanchez' face and tongue were swollen and the victim had reportedly been doused in bleach. The killer may have used it to cover the crime and remove any trace of DNA evidence, sparking speculation that the pretty teen may have been the victim of a sexual assault.
 
Crime scene investigators worked for hours in and around the building and removed potential evidence from the hallway and focused on the first-floor apartment that had been vacant for the last two weeks.
 
An unidentified cousin whose eyes were bloodshot from crying, stated, "We had heard that Hector Camacho had died, the legend, and we were already crying, and we didn't know him."
Family members say Sanchez, who lived in Wakefield, but often stayed with relatives on nearby Spofford Avenue, was a 9th grader at the Academy for Scholarship and Entrepreneurship and dreamed of becoming a lawyer.
 
One resident of the block claimed drugs and prostitution have plagued the block for more than a decade. The resident added, "For the most part it's quiet here. The block isn't like some blocks where you see the drug dealers outside."
 
The resident added, "You know the murder and suicide rate always goes up around Christmas time, it's terrible."
 
The following day the Office of the City's Medical Examiner determined that Sanchez had been strangled.
 
Police questioned and later arrested Luis Vega, 34, the brother of Sanchez' step-mother. Vega reportedly allowed Sanchez to drink alcohol in his presence. Vega was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and one police source stated that Vega remains a suspect in the murder.  
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

To Give Thanks

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COMMUNITY BOARD
NEWS N’ VIEWS
By
Father Richard F. Gorman
Chairman
Community Board #12 (The Bronx)
BRONX, NEW YORK, November 21- I suspect that by the time you have the opportunity to see this column, you might well be feeling a bit tired, a touch full in the stomach, and, perhaps, a tad out of sorts.  
This is quite understandable, as you will be reading my words subsequent to our annual “GOBBLEFEST.” Of course, I am making light of our beloved national holiday, Thanksgiving Day.  However, I refer to it as “GOBBLEFEST” not only because of this holiday’s signature tradition of enjoying a turkey dinner, but likewise because Thanksgiving is all too frequently a busy and bustling day upon which one contends with “I,” “C,” “I”  --  i.e., “Irritation” with preparing for visiting relatives and guests, “Congestion” on the highways, and “Indigestion” after eating and drinking too much! Too many of us, “Yours Truly” included, “gobble” down a little more than we should in the course of commemorating this yearly event.
Nonetheless, in spite of the aforementioned, Thanksgiving is a day to take stock of life and to take the time to be grateful for whatever blessings with which we have been gifted. As we sit round and about our Thanksgiving dinner tables, we can plainly and immediately see right in front of our nose the most significant and precious of these graces and good fortunes  --  viz., family, friends, health, happiness, and the means with which to provide for ourselves. In these gifts, hopefully, we are prompted and prodded to celebrate those two fundamental realities that underlie and underwrite them  --  first of all, the God who gives us life and who redeems it and, secondly, a free country with its open, democratic society that affords us the opportunity to enjoy and to exercise our God-given human rights and dignity. For God and for nation, and for all those blessings that issue forth from them, we need to be humbly appreciative for who we are and for all that we have.
On this Thanksgiving week in the Year of Our Lord 2012, I write to give public thanks for, ironically enough, for that what was recently not given to us  --  i.e., the same magnitude of devastation that Hurricane Sandy inflicted on our less fortunate fellow New Yorkers in other parts of our City and our State.  True, there were many residents of our own neighborhood that were adversely impacted by the recent extreme weather.  Nonetheless, Bronx Community District #12 was spared the horror of what happened in areas such as Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island, a grace for which I am deeply grateful. 
I am equally as thankful for the privilege of serving as the Chairman of Community Board #12 (The Bronx). It has been, and remains, an awesome honor that I neither take for granted nor fail to be grateful for each and every day of my tenure and my service as Chairman. Notice here that I utilize the expression “to give thanks” for, to my mind, there is a big distinction between merely “SAYING THANKS” and really and actually “GIVING THANKS.” The distinction between them is neither superficial nor simply stylistic or terminological. There is a bona fide dichotomy that is best defined and highlighted by the wisdom contained in the familiar, old adage “ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.” I am further reminded of the insightful admonition that words are oftentimes cheap. The values that we truly cherish and that form the basis for how we think and live are best manifested by our actions, not by our words. More importantly than maintaining that I am a grateful person is the upholding and the daily observance of a way of life that exhibits thankfulness and gratitude. The undertaking of such a lifestyle, in my humble estimation, is the genuine test of Thanksgiving and all for which it stands. Thanksgiving is not just a day. Thanksgiving should be, and MUST be, a way of life! 
This avowal naturally should lead a thoughtful individual to inquire what a “Thanksgiving” way of living entails. For what it is worth, I believe it requires one to live in peaceful, respectful, and civil concord with others. Scripture instructs us that gratefulness to God is best demonstrated by esteem and regard without distinction for all of God’s children, icons of the Divine Image and Presence in whose Holy Image we have been created.  Appreciation for the blessings of our magnificent land is preeminently displayed in facilitating and protecting the exercise of those God-given and constitutional liberties that we claim for our loved ones and ourselves. A most excellent fashion in which to proclaim our appreciation of family, friends, home, and the ability to support them is to enable others to realize and to have the benefit of these blessings as well. Such is the challenge of a genuinely thankful person, not only on the Thursday that is called “Thanksgiving Day,” but on each and every day in each and every year.  May it be an endeavor that we all accept with relish and in which we succeed beyond all expectations.
On behalf of myself, my District Manager, Miss Carmen L. Rosa; our staff members, Mrs. Ursula D. Cruz-Greene, Ms. LaShieka Williams and Ms. Jakira Torres; our Associates, Mrs. Joyce Anthony and Mrs. Verna Smith; and all of my colleagues on Community Board #12 (The Bronx), I convey best wishes for this holiday and for the others soon to follow, along with the hope that our gracious and grateful way of living will redound to the benefit of our neighborhood, our Borough, our City, our, State, and our Nation, and, indeed, all the world.
Happy Thanksgiving!
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

FreshDirect to give away turkeys

BRONX, NEW YORK, November 20- FreshDirect is donating a total of 1,900 turkeys this week to various groups throughout New York City and Philadelphia in anticipation of the Thanksgiving holiday.
The schools and charitable organizations receiving the turkeys are the Brooklyn Anti-Violence Coalition, the East River Development Alliance, Project H.O.M.E., and Public School 209 in the Bronx. The offices of State Senator José Peralta, Bronx Borough President Rubin Diaz Jr., and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz will help distribute the donated turkeys. FreshDirect is also providing 200 turkeys to victims of Hurricane Sandy in Far Rockaway through the Church of the Nazarene in Queens.
“Thanksgiving is a time for families to come together and enjoy a warm, fresh and high-quality meal,” said FreshDirect CEO and co-founder Jason Ackerman. “We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to help provide part of that meal for those who need it most.”
Due to a shortage of delivery trucks caused by Hurricane Sandy, the company is enlisting the help of Bronx-based small business FarmFresh Trucking to aid in its donation deliveries.
“We work hard to give the Bronx community a helping hand during the holiday season. Assistance from private sector companies like FreshDirect is invaluable to our efforts,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.
State Senator José Peralta, who represents District 13, added, “Queens has been through a lot in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  Many of our residents are struggling and need a helping hand.  FreshDirect’s donation will help some of them get a good meal on Thanksgiving.”
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said, “Bravo to FreshDirect for its generous donation to the Brooklyn Anti-Violence Coalition and for helping to make this Thanksgiving a little brighter for those in need. But let’s not forget that for many struggling to recover after Hurricane Sandy – and for thousands of residents in our area every year – the issue of hunger will be around long after the last light is turned back on and the final home is rebuilt. So as we count our blessings and give thanks for all we have, remember to support individuals and organizations like FreshDirect who are dedicated to putting healthy food on the tables of Brooklynites and New Yorkers throughout the year.”
Reverend Leslie Mullings of the Church of the Nazarene in Queens said, “Many areas in Far Rockaway were devastated by the recent storm.  As we work with residents to rebuild our community, we are glad to have FreshDirect pitch in during this difficult time.”
P.S. 209 Principal Anne Keegan added, “I know there’s been some concern about how FreshDirect will fit into the Bronx, but this company is letting their actions do the talking. They’re actually following through on their promise to be a good neighbor, and I look forward to welcoming them to our community.”
Bishop Mitchell Taylor, President and Founder of the East River Development Alliance, said, “Seeing charitable donations being given to those in need, especially during the holidays, is a beautiful thing. Residents all over Queens will be grateful to receive the 400 turkeys that FreshDirect is providing.”
Reverend W. Taharka Robinson, founder of the Brooklyn Anti-Violence Coalition, said, “I would like to thank FreshDirect for their support for the Brooklyn Anti-Violence Coalition and the surrounding communities here in Brooklyn. FreshDirect has been a great community partner and we look forward to their continuing success and productivity in the community.”
FreshDirect is not limiting its contributions to New York City. The company will also make a donation to Philadelphia’s Project H.O.M.E, an organization devoted to ending homelessness in the area, where it will distribute 100 turkeys.
“As an organization dedicated to alleviating poverty, Project H.O.M.E. is proud to be working with FreshDirect and others to makesure everyone in our city is able to feed their families this Thanksgiving,” said S. Mary Scullion, executive director of Project H.O.M.E.
FreshDirect began distributing the turkeys this past Saturday, November 17th and will continue to do so through Wednesday, November 21th.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hunts Point News: BP, Zoo Collects Toys for Needy Kids

Hunts Point News: BP, Zoo Collects Toys for Needy Kids: Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined officials from the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo and  students from PS 2...

BP, Zoo Collects Toys for Needy Kids

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined officials from the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo and  students from PS 205 at the Zoo Center to kick-off Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s holiday toy drive.
The partnership between the Bronx Zoo and the Borough President on the toy drive has become an annual tradition. The Bronx Zoo will serve as a collection point for new, unwrapped toys donated by members of the community. Toys will be collected through the end of December and will be distributed by the Borough President’s office to local veterans and active-duty members of the military and their families.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

FREE Pizza giveaway

BRONX, NEW YORK, November 14- CiCi’s Pizza in the Bronx is keeping its doors open on Thanksgiving this year and will give away its famous endless buffet for adults and children for free all day while supplies last. No purchase is necessary, but drinks are not included and will be available at regular price.
“We’re new to the Bronx community and want to say thank you to our great neighbors for making us feel so welcome,” said CiCi’s Pizza Franchisee Nabeel Ansari. “As part of this community still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, we also wanted to invite people affected by the storm to come enjoy a meal on us this Thanksgiving.”
CiCi’s Pizza offers more than 28 pizzas in rotation on its endless pizza buffet in addition to pasta, salad, soup and dessert. Every CiCi’s restaurant makes each pizza by hand using house-made dough, sauce made in small batches with special herbs and seasonings, freshly grated cheese and crisp vegetables. Guests are limited to one free visit on Thanksgiving. CiCi’s will offer hot, made-to-order carryout pizzas at regular price throughout the day.
The restaurant hours of operation for dine-in and carryout are Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Helping Hurricane Victims

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, November 1- Many millions of Americans living on the Atlantic coast had their lives disrupted, if not much worse, by the power of Hurricane Sandy during the past few days. Double figures of lives were lost, homes were demolished, large numbers of people were stranded in their homes, millions lost power, public transportation in the tri--state area could not run.

Those fortunate to have power have watched the mesmerizing story of the unwelcome visit on TV or look at the photos on this website or in this week’s Bronx News.
First responders who work in the metropolitan area, members of the National Guard and volunteers from other sections of the nation are working to better the lives of local residents and repair the damaged infrastructure.
Individuals and organizations make also being looking for ways to aid the relief effort. Those who do can follow the example of the New York Yankees. The Bronx sports franchise donated $500,000 to the American Red Cross, which is trying to assist the victims of the super storm.
The Yankees Managing Partner Hal Steinbrenner made a statement regarding the natural disaster, “The damage and destruction to the Tri-State area caused by Hurricane Sandy is daunting, but we have seen the great resiliency of this region before. As a neighbor and community member, the Yankees embrace our role of stepping forward and assisting the American Red Cross, which comes to the aid of so many people through their tireless efforts.”
This is not the first time the Yankees under the Steinbrenner ownership have become involved in charitable undertakings. The organization as a unit as well as individual players has formed foundations to aid a variety of causes. The organization today is setting an example that hopefully that hopefully will be followed by other sports organizations and businesses of all types.
The easiest way to donate $10 to the Red Cross is texting RedCross to 90999. The money will be used to benefit, family, friends and neighbors in a time of need.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Picking up the pieces from Hurricane Sandy

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