Star Of Queens

By Queens Courier Staff |

Vince Tabone
Friend of Oakland Lake, District
Education Council member

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Vincent (“call me ‘Vince’, please”) Tabone is the newest member of Community District Education Council (CDEC26), which gives voice to parents in the district to the New York City Department of Education. He is also general counsel to “Friends of Oakland Lake,” a local environmental group and a member of the 111th Precinct Community Council (“It’s just up the block from my home.”)

PERSONAL: He has been married for 16 years to Saida Rodriguez-Tabone and they have three children: two girls aged 13 and seven, and a four-month-old son. Saida has been an educator “for over 17 years, so education is table talk in our home.” They moved to Bayside “because of School District 26, which is the jewel of the system,” although he laments, “not everything the current administration is doing re-enforces that.”

JOB: Tabone is general counsel to Red Apple Group, a Manhattan-based company best known for owning Red Apple and Gristede’s supermarkets “although they’re a small fraction of the business.” Before that, he served as vice president for economic development with the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the Queens EDC under then-Borough President Claire Shulman. He was also a project manager with the city’s Housing and Preservation Department, working with Abyssinian Development Corp. in Harlem.

PROUDEST MOMENT: “Passing the bar exam on the first try,” he admits. “My friend called in the middle of the night to tell me the results had been posted on the internet. I woke up Saida - she thought it was too late to call my folks in Astoria, but they didn’t mind.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Aside from deciphering the alphabet-soup jargon of the Department of Education,” that he sits through during the CDEC26 meetings, “it’s juggling the time to be a good father, a good husband, a good counsel and a good member of the community.”

FAVORITE MEMORY: Tabone ticks off the births of his children “Sabrina, Victoria and Vincent. “I was walking on air every time, but you know, the first is the most overwhelming.”

INSPIRATION: He immediately mentions his parents, but concedes he’s also inspired by his current boss “bazillionaire” John Catsimatidis. “He’s a guy who really started with nothing, made ‘a bazillion dollars’ as he says, and wants to give back to the community.”

- Victor G. Mimoni