Ridgewood/Glendale honors Veterans on Memorial Day

Residents of Ridgewood, Glendale, and neighboring communities showed up for the long awaited 84th annual Ridgewood/Glendale Memorial Day Parade on Monday.
Veterans, active military personnel, community groups, elected officials, and locals alike gathered to honor and remember the men and women who died in service to their country.

“Today, we remember those that gave their lives in service to this country. This is not the day to be barbecuing and going to sales, you can do that any time,” Russell Goeller, parade chairman and committee member, said.
“This is the day where everyone who had a loved one has been touched by loss in any of these great wars in places some of us haven’t even heard of ,” he continued. “We have to remember them.”

He honored the men in Marine Corps uniforms who led the parade, thanking them, and encouraging each individual in attendance to do the same.
The group also celebrated this year’s Grand Marshal, Paul J. Schottenhamel, who served in the Vietnam War, and is a member of the Joseph B. Garity Post No. 562, American Legion.

Assembly Candidate Brent O’Leary at the Glendale/Ridgewood Memorial Day Parade

Several local elected officials shared words of support and gratitude, including Congresswoman Grace Meng, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, Glenda Garcia, deputy commissioner at the NYC Department of Veterans Services, NY State Senator Joseph Addabbo, and City Councilman Robert Holden. State Assembly hopeful, Brent O’Leary, also made an appearance at the parade.

“Memorial Day is one of the most important days in American culture, as we celebrate the people who paid the ultimate sacrifice to enjoy the freedoms that our country gives,” O’Leary said. “My father was in the Navy in World War II, and thankfully he came home. But I know every day that even if you look at what’s happening in the Ukraine, if it wasn’t without these people who are willing to sacrifice, we would not have the country that we are in.”

Glendale Kiwanis marched in the annual Memorial Day Parade.

Ridgewood Property Owners Association at the parade.

US Marines marching in the parade.
(Photos by Jessica Meditz)

“Borough Boxing” brings fight night to St. John’s

People filled the Carnesecca Arena at St. John’s University on Saturday night, to watch and cheer as some of the toughest professional boxers from NYC stepped into the ring. Hosted by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, “Borough Boxing,” featured five back-to-back match-ups, including the main event between Woodhaven local Danny “El Gallo” Gonzalez (20-4-1 7 KO’s) and Brazilian welterweight Paulo Galdino (12-5 8 KO’s).

Danny “El Gallo” Gonzalez went the distance in an 8 round bout against Brazilian welterweight Paulo Galdino

Gonzalez came out the gate early, landing a flurry of punches, keeping Galdino unsteady on his feet. Gonzalez was looking to close the show early, but Galdino managed to survive the round. The thrilling action continued throughout the entire bout. Gonzalez appeared to have Galdino’s number several times throughout the match, picking his spot and unleashing strong bursts of jabs against the southpaw Galdino, who managed to hold his own through all eight rounds. The fight was a memorable one, as the two fighters went back and forth, exchanging impressive and brutal blows to the body of their opponent.

In the end, it all came down to the final bell, as ringside judges were left with a difficult decision to make. In the end, it was Galdino who pulled it off, winning in a razor-thin split decision upset right in Gonzalez’s own backyard.

Maureen “The Real Million Dollar Baby” Shea wins her bout.

Maureen “The Real Million Dollar Baby” Shea (30-2-1 13 KO’s) extended her win streak in a super bantamweight showdown against Calista “Cali” Silgado (19-14-1 13 KO’s), who showed remarkable resolve, trading blows and body shots with the heavy-handed Bronx-native. But in the end, it would be Shea’s superior boxing ability that would prove the difference, winning by unanimous decision. She is now poised to make a title run at 118-122 lbs.

The undercard matches were just as thrilling as the Bronx-based “The Nigerian Nightmare” Afunwa King (4-1 1 KO) won in the cross-borough matchup, besting Brooklyn-born and raised Kamron Humphrey (3-1 2 KO’s). King managed to knock down Humphrey in the second round, to go on to win in a unanimous decision.

Glendale’s own Mat “The Future” Castro wins his bout against Angelo Thompson

Glendale’s own Mat “The Future” Castro got hometown fans riled up in his match-up against Angelo Thompson (0-3), as they went the full 4-rounds in this super welterweight fight. Thompson kept Castro on his toes, but in the end, it was not enough to triumph over Castro’s boxing skills, which made all the difference. Castro won by unanimous decision.

The opening bout of the night got fans out of their seats to see NYPD officer Emmanuel Etienne (2-0 1 KO) face off against Tunde Fatiregun (0-2) from Elizabeth, NJ. The first two rounds were intense as both fighters switched up from the body to the head. However, in the third round, Fatiregun was deducted a point for two separate occasions where he pressed down on the head and held Etienne. In the end, the referee called the fight off for the same reason, giving Etienne the win by DQ in the fourth round.

“What an excellent night of boxing for the first-ever show in Carnesecca Arena history,” Joe DeGuardia, CEO of Star Boxing, said. “The fights emulated the grit and determination of the history and quality of Borough Boxing. Maureen Shea bit down against a tough opponent and got the job done. Paulo Galdino and Danny Gonzalez put on a thrilling fight for the fans, as did all combatants. Thank you to everyone involved in the show and the fans who came out to support their fighters and the show. We look forward to returning to St. John’s University and will announce our future events schedule soon.”

Afunwa King of The Bronx and Kamron Humphrey of Brooklyn step into the ring for an interborough match-up.

Pizza Dance to hold family day at Atlas Park

Org to raise funds for trade school scholarships

By Jessica Meditz

Founded in 1997 by Tony Modica, owner of Prima Pasta & Cafe in Howard Beach, the Pizza Dance Foundation prides itself on giving back to the community in various ways.

This Sunday, the foundation will host a family day at the Shops at Atlas Park from 2-6 p.m.

The event will take place in the beer garden area of Manor Oktoberfest, where there will be food, music, giveaways, henna tattoos, and face painting.

Guests will also be provided with entertainment for the afternoon, including the East Coast Classic Car Show, magic by Stephen Roberts, and music by Emilio and Kathy Leon featuring Modica and other musical guests.

Tony Modica, founder of Pizza Dance Foundation and owner of Prima Pasta in Howard Beach.

Local elected officials NYS Senator Joseph Addabbo, Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar and Councilman Robert Holden are expected to attend the event to show their support.

Leon, administrator of the Pizza Dance Foundation, said the group aims to do at least three fundraisers per year for different community causes.

The family day at Atlas Park seeks to raise $2,500 for trade school scholarships and the Back to School Supplies Distribution in August, which they participate in annually.

“The basis of the foundation is to go from community to community and spread love, peace, and unity to everyone,” Leon said.

Being a professional singer herself, Leon said that a large part of their mission is to provide fun and entertainment to people in the community to bring joy to their lives.

“We just try to bring everyone together,” she continued. “I’ve gone everywhere, from community centers to nursing homes to perform, and it just makes people so much happier.”

Leon said that anyone who believes in the Pizza Dance Foundation’s mission and would like to get involved can contact her via email at, or by phone 1 (833) 422-8522.

Accidents in Glendale strike up safety conversations

By Jessica Meditz

Two accidents in Glendale during the month of February have caused a stir in the tightly knit community. Shocking video of a 57-year-old man who was struck by two motorists while crossing the intersection at Cypress and Cooper Avenues went viral following the accident on Feb. 12.
Shortly thereafter two teenagers on a moped scooter were hospitalized after colliding with a vehicle that was turning onto Cooper Avenue from 88th Street. .
City Councilman Robert Holden held a press conference to address street safety concerns at Cypress and Cooper Avenues, where the man was struck, on Feb. 22.
DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez along with other elected officials and safer street advocates were in attendance. The event was originally scheduled for the Friday prior to the crash at Cooper Avenue and 88th Street.
Holden said that the DOT has previously denied requests for a leading pedestrian interval at the notorious intersection and called for the DOT and NYPD to instate safety measures for pedestrians.
“Our request for an LPI for this very intersection was denied last June. I’m very hopeful that the new Commissioner will change things and take action to make our intersections safe,” Holden said.
“Crosswalks are the single most dangerous place for pedestrians in NYC to be. We need the DOT to make changes and we need enforcement from the NYPD,” he continued. “I was hit by a car when I was 8 years old and it’s not something anyone should have to go through. There’s a general sense of lawlessness on our streets.”
Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar also expressed the hazardous thoroughfare, echoing Holden’s sentiment.
“We stand here in a danger zone. Over the past eight years at this very intersection, there were 153 reported crashes, which injured 56 motorists, 10 pedestrians and seven cyclists,” she said.
“We watched in horror as our neighbor was run over twice at this dangerous intersection,” she continued. “Would you believe that in the time between when we announced this press conference and today’s event, two more teens were critically injured in a crash. This has to stop.”
Under NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ administration, the DOT pledged to make safety improvements to 1,000 intersections this year.
Rodriguez assured elected officials and community members that “help is on the way,” and promised that changes would be made to the intersection within the next few days.
“New York City has to be the safest city for pedestrians and cyclists, he said.
“Traffic violence is a solvable crisis. Safety is a top priority for myself and Mayor Eric Adams.”
Days after the press conference, residents like Mollie Lauffer noticed the changes made to Cypress and Cooper Avenues, including an all pedestrian phase and delayed green signage.
“The new intersection at Cooper and Cypress is absolute bliss for anyone on foot, because all traffic stops so anyone can cross in any direction. Much less stressful for drivers as well,” she said.
Although pleased with the new measures, Lauffer called on the DOT to expand on the changes made to benefit the surrounding community.
“DOT has shown that they can act quickly, so why wait? Make streets safe everywhere, right now, instead of prioritizing the movement and storage of vehicles,” Lauffer said.
“Ridgewood is a great pilot neighborhood for these types of ‘scramble crossings’ with its diagonal grid and multi-street intersections. I’d love to see one at Myrtle and Forest next, and Cypress Hills/Central/Otto/64th Street.”
She added that Highland Park is the closest large park to the area, yet the walk there is “a nightmare” for pedestrians.
“It’s shameful that people can’t walk to the park without feeling scared simply because dangerous cars dominate the streets. We have zero protected bike lanes and zero open streets,” she said.
“When residents complain, it’s like these suggestions, these needs repeatedly go ignored by whoever’s making decisions. When is that going to change?”

Glendale Kiwanis welcome club governor

On August 29, the Queens West Division of Kiwanis International held a dinner at the West Side Tennis Club hosting Kiwanis International New York State Governor Brenda Leigh Johnson, the granddaughter of the late Dale Carnegie.
The Queens West Division consists of 17 Kiwanis Clubs, and guests consisted primarily of members of the Forest Hills and Glendale clubs.
Missouri native Dale Carnegie, who passed away in 1955, lived at 27 Wendover Road, a charming 1920 Forest Hills Gardens house.
He was a lecturer and writer who developed courses in public speaking, self-improvement, corporate training, and salesmanship. “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” published in 1936, is his signature book.
An underlying theme of his work was the potential for changing other people’s behavior by changing one’s behavior towards them. He founded the Dale Carnegie Institute in 1912, which today operates as a business training firm with over 200 locations in over 85 countries.
“Leadership is not something that we are born with, it’s a skill that needs to be practiced often,” Johnson, who founded the Long Island Alzheimer’s Association, told the crowd. “Leadership is not a job title, it is a way of thinking and we are all leaders in some way. Every day we make decisions, small or large, that affect people around us.”
Johnson’s mother Rosemary was Carnegie’s stepdaughter.
“Although I have no memories of Dale, he is alive through his books, letters, and photos, and I think he was a most humble man who loved Forest Hills and embraced all it had to offer,” said Johnson.
Carnegie enjoyed tending to rose gardens down the street from his Wendover home.
“As a child, it was a special place to walk to and was filled with varieties of roses,” she said.
Although the Wendover property was sold in the late 1960s, Johnson recalls visiting it often.
“There were always cocktail parties and lots of fun and laughter,” she said. “For Christmas dinner, there were lots of toasts and cheers.”
Her grandma added a sun room and maintained a home office overlooking a back garden.
“There seemed to be a robin singing every time I would go in there,” Johnson said. “It was filled with books and a couple of easy chairs, making creative thought something that was easy to do.”
Johnson began working for Dale Carnegie & Associates while in high school.
“I knew from the time I was a young child that I wanted to work for the family business,” she said. “During my breaks and after work, I would pour over files. I helped my sister-in-law create a room for the archives to be enjoyed by visitors.”
Today the international headquarters is in Melville.
“I created ‘Dale’s office,’ as if Dale just stepped away for a few minutes,” she said. “His desk, books, favorite pictures and, of course, the original manuscript, of ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People,’ is there.”
Eleven years ago, Lieutenant Governor Kerrie Hansen was inducted into the Kiwanis Club of Glendale, along with her husband Steve, eventually serving as president before being elevated to her current position.
“Our Kiwanis family offered opportunities to do service and enjoy fellowship,” she said. “I found a global family, who wished to improve the world one child and one community at a time.”
Hansen called Johnson a hands-on governor and amazing leader, mentor, and navigator who traveled statewide during a very complicated time of the pandemic.
“She is akin to the Dale Carnegie legacy, but also as a leader teaching people how to use their skills to make their reach more powerful and impactful,” she said. “Even during challenging times, our 17 clubs commit their service, make generous donations, and fundraise for their communities.
“It may not have been in the traditional ways we accomplished these achievements, but each club, which has a different personality and spirit, succeeded with some creative thinking,” Hansen added.

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