If the BBQ at Smokin’ Aces in Douglaston were any more authentic, it would be illegal in New York City. But here it is, in view of the platform at the Douglaston LIRR station.
Executive pit master Brian Tolsano and staff serve up an outstanding American menu, in a smart space with a great old bar, at prices that won’t make you lose your appetite.
The appetizer menu adds to the familiar bar food with a couple of outstanding shrimp selections, Philly cheese steak egg rolls, Mexican street corn and savory interpretations of various chip/dip offerings. Try the buffalo shrimp instead of the usual wings.
Portions of sticky baby back or peppery Memphis style ribs, Texas style brisket, pulled beef, pork or chicken are expertly prepared and very substantial. The lamb or beef burgers are juicy and satisfying. Their double burger – a large beef patty stuffed with smoked brisket and topped with smoked bacon, cheese, crispy onions and BBQ sauce — is hard to stop eating and hard to finish.
There are enough chicken, fish, shrimp and entrée salad selections to satisfy those who aren’t BBQ addicts, and in the true sense of the word hospitality, you can get substitutions. Want a steamed vegetable instead of fries? Not a problem. No smoked bacon in your Cobb salad, you say? Okay.
If you have any room for dessert, the praline caramel cheesecake features a crumbled brownie crust and, no, you can’t have the recipe. Excellent pecan pie, chocolate lava cake and banana pudding round out the finishers.
Smokin’ Aces has been honing the menu by actually listening to regular patrons. The result is one of the best three-cheese mac and cheese offerings to be had; the diet-busting stuffed baked potato will seduce spud seekers. Few things are more satisfying to a foodie than suggesting something to a restaurateur and then actually have them listen. I’m very satisfied with the attention to detail here.
The bar – beautiful focal point for the room – was old when first installed in this neighborhood hideaway years ago, back when Madonna was renting a room nearby and frequented the place. It’s well stocked with wines, draft and bottled beers, all the necessary ingredients for fancy cocktails and a selection of upscale whiskeys. Regulars greet each other while they dine and drink in their appointed spots, as in any good “Cheers” bar.
This may be the secret which has eluded previous owners. Smokin’ Aces is a bit of country hospitality in the city. Just head north, up Douglaston Parkway and when you get to the fork in the road (country enough for you?) take it to the left. You’ll leave Aces – full.
Smokin’ Aces BBQ
41-25 235th Street, Douglaston
pen 4 p.m. to midnight Monday-Thursday; Friday 3 p.m. to midnight; Saturday noon to 1 a.m.; noon to 10 p.m. Sunday
Queens preservationists and a local community board want the city to save some of the last remaining parcels of Udalls Cove Park from development.
Several acres of privately owned wetlands and wooded uplands in the park’s ravine have come under new threat, according to Community Board 11 and the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee.
“This week we have learned that the owner of most of that land now seeks to sell it,” said Walter Mugdan, the committee’s president. “That means the threat of development within the park boundary has arisen once more.”
Advocates say the cove’s salt water marshes and freshwater wetlands are a sanctuary for wildlife in the city.
An inlet of Little Neck Bay between Douglaston and Great Neck, it is home to a variety of animals including salamanders, muskrats and the occasional fox, nearby residents said.
“It’s one of the last salt marshes in the city of New York at least on the north shore,” said CB 11 chair Jerry Iannece.
Neighbors of the city and state owned portion of Udalls Cove at Virginia Point said they fear development near the deep-wooded ravine will ultimately spread to other parts of the park.
“Everything is connected, like in nature,” said resident Chris DeGeorge. “Once one property is developed, it’s like Pandora’s box. I don’t want it to have a cascading effect.”
Mugdan and CB 11 sent letters to the mayor, calling for the city to buy five of the last remaining privately owned 15 parcels. The five connected lots total to about 1.4 acres.
“It just makes sense that we go out there and try to buy this property before a developer goes out there and puts houses on it,” Iannece said.
More than 80 percent of the ravine’s 14.25 acres has already been bought and saved from development since the 1980s, according to the groups.
Several acres were almost developed into 18 houses in 2004, Mugdan said, until the city bought and put the land into its Udalls Cove Wildlife Preserve.
The city’s Parks Department, which manages the preserve, said it wants to work with the community and its elected officials to complete the purchase of the rest of the property.
“Strengthening Udall’s Cove Park is a priority for the administration and we are exploring every possible means of preserving these parcels,” a department spokesperson said.
Supporters said Udalls Cove Park should remain a “unique” part of the borough.
“That separates us,” said DeGeorge, who likes to kayak in his backyard salt marshes. “When I have people over, they never believe this is Queens.”
The property owner did not return calls for comment as of press time.
“You need to preserve all of it to keep it in its pristine condition,” Iannece said, “and let nature do what nature does best.”
Bellerose residents say they live in a forgotten land when it comes to the city’s efforts to eliminate mosquitoes.
“You can’t go outside. You can’t make it from your car to your front door,” said Maria Donza.
The bloodsuckers are keeping residents on house arrest and even alert indoors, said Donza, who added she sits with a bottle of bug spray at home.
The city has not sprayed the area since before 2011.
Pesticide was scheduled for Bellerose in August 2011, but the order was eventually canceled, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DOHMH) website.
The department recently targeted neighborhoods north of Bellerose, spraying parts of Bayside, Douglaston, Douglaston Manor, Glen Oaks, Little Neck and Oakland Gardens on July 25 and early the next day.
“Everywhere else in Queens has been mostly getting sprayed,” said resident AJ Sonnick. “I don’t understand why Bellerose has been forgotten.”
The 20-year-old said he was bitten four times in the 20 minutes he was in his backyard the other day.
“This is a beautiful neighborhood. It’s a great neighborhood to live,” Sonnick said. “It’s a shame that we just can’t sit outside.”
A DOHMH spokesperson said Bellerose has not been sprayed because no West Nile Virus activity has been detected there.
The virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause encephalitis and meningitis.
Insects carrying the potentially fatal virus were recently found in Auburndale, College Point, Holliswood, Middle Village, Pomonok and the areas north of Bellerose sprayed last week.
The pesticide is taken as a last resort in areas where there is a high risk of West Nile Virus transmission, the department said.
Catch basins in Bellerose have been treated with larvicide twice this season.
“Though there may be an increase in floodwater mosquitoes citywide, these mosquitoes do not transmit West Nile Virus,” the DOHMH spokesperson said.
However, State Senator Tony Avella said the city should take measures before Bellerose makes the infected list.
“Every year, we have deaths from West Nile Virus. Every year, it resurfaces,” he said. “So why don’t we do a much more proactive spraying to reduce that population rather than wait until it explodes on us?”
Mosquitoes “don’t know what a boundary is on a map” and can fly into new nearby territories, the legislator added.
The city urged residents to call 3-1-1 to report standing water, which can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
On Wednesday, July 24, there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.
The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Thursday, July 25 during the same hours.
Neighborhoods: Parts of Bayside, Douglaston, Douglas Manor, Glen Oaks, Little Neck and Oakland Gardens.
Bordered by: Little Neck Bay and 39th Avenue to the North; Bell Boulevard, Long Island Expressway, Cloverdale Boulevard, 73rd Avenue and Springfield Boulevard to the West; 76th Avenue, 263rd Street and Union Turnpike to the South; and Nassau County border to the East.
Parts of the following zip codes: 11361, 11362, 11363, 11364, 11426, 11427, 11004, 11005
For the sprayings, the Health Department will use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10 a synthetic
pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.
The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:
Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using again.
Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.
Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Queens foodies looking to pig out on a slab of ribs need go no further than Douglaston.
Smokin’ Aces Championship BBQ is slated to open in the first week of June. It will replace Strawberry’s, a popular sports bar at 42-15 235th Street that abruptly closed last October.
“Everything just kind of fell into place. It was a really good opportunity,” said Tricia Capodagli, the smokehouse’s sole owner. “When the universe puts everything in front of you and you’re set up to succeed, you might as well do it.”
Capodagli is an accountant and an independent business manager for more than a dozen Manhattan restaurants. She said the venture marks her first foray outside of Manhattan. It is also the first restaurant she has owned.
“This would be a good start for me. It just worked out very well,” said Capodagli, 39. “I’m seeing a lot of development in Queens. I’m seeing it really being built up.”
The family-friendly barbecue joint will offer fried pickles, pulled pork sandwiches, nachos, chili, mac and cheese, burgers and buckets of sides to share.
With Queens prices and healthy options, Capodagli said diners will not have to break the bank or their belts.
“We’re trying to keep everything under $25,” she said. “These will not be Manhattan prices.”
Strawberry’s Sports Grill — the brainchild of the Mets’ and Yankees’ four-time World Series champ, Darryl Strawberry — was only open for two years before it shuttered up.
Sources close to the eatery told The Courier poor management ran the popular dive to the ground.
Locals said the restaurant’s remote location by the Douglaston Long Island Rail Road station, which gets minimal foot traffic, could have been a factor as well.
Still, Capodagli is optimistic she will have a different fate than her predecessor.
“It’s like everything — if you’re getting a good meal and good service, then it’s not out of the way and it’s worth it,” she said.
Before the grand opening, Capodagli said she must obtain certificates from the city’s Department of Buildings and pass a health department inspection scheduled for later this week.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “You never know where life takes you.”
In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, we are reminded of the importance of reevaluating our security procedures. However, we also must be conscious of another challenge: the threat to our personal information from cyber-attacks.
Cyber intrusions, most recently from hackers with Chinese IP addresses, have compromised the safety of our personal information on our computers. Just the other day, a fake tweet sent by hackers from the Associated Press’ Twitter account was able to briefly send the stock market into a freefall. With all this in mind, I would like to outline a few things you can do on your computers at home to protect your privacy online and make sure that computer hackers and spammers cannot access your personal accounts or information. The following information applies to both your email and social media accounts.
Use a strong password
Your password should be something that isn’t easy to guess. The longer the password, the safer your personal information. Passwords should have upper-case and lowercase characters, numbers and even punctuation and exclamation marks. Some sites will tell you how strong a password is, so you know how well protected your account is.
Connect your mobile device to your accounts
Adding your social media and email accounts to your mobile device will require that any password changes need to be confirmed by you through that device before they become effective. It’s an additional layer of protection that’s worth the extra text message or email you will receive from time to time to confirm changes.
Be careful what you click on and where you enter information
A lot of hackers send emails and messages that look legitimate and ask for your passwords and other personal information. This is called “phishing.” Hackers are very good at making fake websites that look almost identical to the legitimate page, so it’s especially important to be careful what you click on.
Never give up your password
No employee of any company will contact you through phone or email to ask for your password. If this does happen to you, call the company directly and report it.
Download free anti-virus software and scan regularly
Anti-Virus Software is readily available and free online. You should perform a virus scan of your computer every few weeks. One good program is Avast, or AVG, which can be downloaded at www.avast.com and free.avg.com.
Israel represents the 3rd District, including Whitestone, Douglaston, Little Neck, Bayside and Flushing.
The first Republican candidate has thrown his hat in the ring to replace federally-indicted Councilmember Dan Halloran.
Dennis Saffran, 57, said he is running in the 19th Council District to restore “the tradition of integrity and honesty in government.”
The attorney from Douglaston ran for the seat in 2001 and narrowly lost to then-Councilmember Tony Avella.
“I’m the strongest Republican candidate,” Saffran said. “I have a record of citywide and community involvement.
I’ve been active in issues that turned New York City around.”
Saffran is the vice president of the Douglaston Civic Association and works for the Nassau County Attorney’s office.
Halloran faces conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud charges over allegations he helped State Senator Malcolm Smith try to buy his way to the Republican mayoral nomination. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged a number of other state and city officials in the case as well.
“He and I have never seen eye to eye on a lot of issues,” Saffran said of Halloran. “Given his arrest and indictment, he’s presumably not running, as far as I know. Nobody’s going to support him if he does. There’s essentially an open council seat.”
There are also reports a former election foe of Halloran will seek his council spot. All City Council seats along with the mayor’s office will be on the ballot in November. Halloran’s office could be up for special election before then, although Halloran has made no indication he will resign.
The Korea Daily reports Democrat Kevin Kim, who lost a 2009 bid for the district seat to Halloran, has been mulling a run.
Insiders say Republican Rudy S. Giuliani, second cousin to ex-mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and current chief of staff to Councilmember Eric Ulrich, might also be a candidate. Neither he nor Kim have made any official announcements about Halloran’s seat.
Democratic candidates who announced bids for Halloran’s seat prior to his arrest include ex-Assemblymember John Duane, attorney Paul Vallone, former governor’s aide Austin Shafran and urban planner Paul Graziano.
Jack Kirrane took a five year break from the FDNY’s Bravest Boxing team.
From 2007 to 2012, the Queens-born firefighter focused on being a father and doing his normal duty at Ladder 38 in Harlem.
Over the last year, however, Kirrane, 37, has been staging a comeback into the sport he started in as a kid growing up in Douglaston.
“It’s actually probably the best it’s been so far,” Kirrane said of his fighting and conditioning. “Now, being older, I stick more to my training regimen, instead of before when I was younger.”
Kirrane, who joined Bravest Boxing 10 years ago, faced off against John Butler of the London Metro Police department in the latest installment of the “Battle of the Badges” on Friday, April 12 at Resorts World Casino New York City.
Kirrane and Butler, both fighting with a similar orthodox style in the 178 master class, battled for all three of their two-minute rounds. When Kirrane swung, Butler swung. Butler threw a right, Kirrane, expectedly, blocked.
Facing off against a style similar to his own, Kirrane said was “fun when you win. That style can be very punishing at the other end too.”
In the end, the referees deemed Kirrane the winner, giving him a 5-0 record against the Brits, making it three victories stateside; two across the pond.
It was, Kirrane said, a good way to continue his record since coming back last year: 3-0.
Aside from meeting with teammates every Tuesday and Thursday to spar in Brooklyn, Kirrane, like many other firefighters, has to train on his own free time – something that’s a precious commodity.
Because cardio is more important that weight lifting when getting ready for a fight, Kirrane said he’s mapped out a three-and-a-half mile course to run around his Nassau neighborhood. When he’s off, taking care of his children, he will normally put them in a double stroller and bring them along.
“It’s very difficult to find the time to train. Especially [when] you’re getting close to a fight, you’ve got to train more.”
Spending the first 33 years of his life in Queens, Kirrane and his brother were introduced to boxing at a young age by their father, who was a member of the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan. The brothers Kirrane, now both firefighters, trained in the club’s Saturday morning youth program.
But what Kirrane said drove him to shake the rust off relatively quickly was the causes Bravest Boxing fights for.
All monies raised at the April 12 fight, which featured six other men’s bouts and two women’s, went to Building Homes for Heroes, which builds houses for disabled Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Along with this charity, Bravest Boxing in the past has helped other veterans’ charities such as Wounded Warriors.
“Whenever we’re fighting over here it’s for charity,” he said. “It’s definitely very rewarding when you’re boxing for charity. It [training and fighting] makes it a lot easier when you’re doing it for a good cause.”
The newlywed owners of a historic Douglaston house say they have no plans to harm the 19th century remnant after neighbors rallied outside their home last week, The Courier has learned.
Property owner Xiu Jun Zhai and his wife received a partial job permit by the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) on March 4 to change the number of stories in their 38-60 Douglaston Parkway house, according to an application.
The proposal angered neighboring residents, who said construction would destroy the character of the community and ruin a relic.
Plans were not specific but called for “vertical and horizontal enlargement” of the 1,800-square-foot structure and partial demolition that “affects the exterior building envelope,” the application said.
The house dates back to the 1860s, according to preservationists. It is located within the proposed Douglaston Historic District Extension, which was calendared for landmark designation in 2008.
But the couple, who tied the knot last April and purchased the home in September, said they only plan on demolishing two structures in the backyard that were built without permits after 1952. They include a wood deck with a roof and a separate smaller residence to the rear left of the house.
According to a close friend to the property owners, Zhai does not plan on altering the exterior of the main house on the 9,000-square-feet of land.
“The owner is not taking down the house,” the source said. “They want to start family there.”
The DOB did not confirm the plans in time for press.
Zhai bought the property for $660,000, according to State Senator Tony Avella. The building has been vacant for five years.
Women’s History Month marks my third month as an assemblymember. It is a time to recognize the women who have come before to make this world a better place. While we have many great women to celebrate, we have more work ahead. At a time when polarization is defining many of today’s headlines, it is more important than ever to discuss how women’s voices alter the conversation. How can we work together to make our voices stronger? To borrow a phrase from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, how do we make sure that we are all getting off the sidelines? How do we make sure we are not waiting in a never-ending queue or that we are equal partners in the policy and decision making process?
We have made progress in the number of women holding elected office, but women remain severely underrepresented in our political institutions. Women still only make up 21 percent of the New York State Legislature and 18 percent of Congress, so it is clear that something is missing. That gap will be filled by the next generation of female leaders, and we must do what we can to encourage them to get involved.
Women are underrepresented not because we cannot raise the money or talk to voters, but because we are less likely to even run in the first place. On average, a woman is asked to run for office seven times before she decides to run. More role models like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are needed to show young women they can aim high. There have been shining examples of this locally, particularly Congressmember Grace Meng’s historic victory this past November — a huge victory for Queens women!
I ran for office to show young women that they can do it too — that women could wake up every day, look in the mirror and know they can run and win. Mothers, aunts, sisters and daughters are good for our government and our nation.
The fight for equality will not be won simply by having more female legislators. While New York has passed many laws to ensure women’s equality, we still have many steps to take. The Women’s Equality Act proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo will shine a light on many of the problems faced by New York women and take a big step forward on issues of pay equality and reproductive rights. The Women’s Equality Act is an effort that I will continue fighting for, as it is clear that women’s perspectives lead to better understanding, better conversation, and eventually better laws.
There are also many times when women’s issues, such as reproductive rights, are discussed without input from female legislators or a discussion of how women are actually impacted. This scenario played out in Congress as House Republicans attempted to restrict access to birth control under President Barack Obama’s health care reform. Hormonal contraceptives are only available for women, yet there was not one woman on the panel invited to discuss the impact of the legislation. Underrepresentation is not always that obvious, however. The imbalance of women in public office creates a lack of female voices at times they are most needed. The simple act of more women running for office will change this dynamic, and it is important that we encourage young women to run.
Women’s History Month is about empowerment, and nothing is more empowering than knowing that no office is off limits. Politics has long been a field in which women could not imagine themselves participating, and thankfully it is changing. As the youngest female legislator in the New York State Assembly, I see firsthand the contributions that women are making in government.
I also know that as long as we continue to do good work and advocate for common sense policy, young women will play a significant role in helping our communities prosper.
Assemblymember Nily Rozic was elected to the 25th Assembly District in November 2012, representing neighborhoods in northeast Queens, including Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Hillcrest, Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, Bayside and Douglaston.
Neighboring residents of a historic Douglaston house rallied last Friday to save the 19th century remnant from proposed changes.
The new owner of the 38-60 Douglaston Parkway site has submitted plans to the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) to significantly alter the house. The department issued a “partial job” permit to property owner Xiu Jun Zhai on March 4 to change the number of stories in the building, according to an application the DOB approved in February.
The plans were not specific but called for “vertical and horizontal enlargement” of the 1,800-square-foot structure and partial demolition that “affects the exterior building envelope,” the application said.
“We’re talking about saving a tiny bit of history,” said Paul Di Benedetto, president of the Bayside Historical Society. “Once it’s gone, it never ever will be replaced. If you erase the history of an area, then you take away its character and its soul.”
The house, which sits on about 9,000-square-feet of land, dates back to the 1860s. It is located within the proposed Douglaston Historic District Extension, which was calendared for landmark designation in 2008. The approximate 20 homes in the extension mark the area’s transition from its rural origins to smaller farms and suburban estates, preservationists said.
Elisabeth de Bourbon, spokesperson for the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), said the agency is still “actively considering” giving landmark designation to the extension.
Zhai bought the property last October for $660,000, according to State Senator Tony Avella. The building has been vacant for five years.
According to a source who did not want to be named, the property owner plans on making changes only to the inside of the home to make it “livable.” He does not want to alter the building’s exterior, the source said.
But the city allowing the new homeowner to alter the historic home sets a precedent, Avella said.
“It’s like a domino effect,” the legislator said. Before you know it, you’ve lost the character and the historic nature of this very wonderful neighborhood.”
Community Involvement: Three years ago, the building that once was known as St. Anastasia’s School in Douglaston reopened as the Divine Wisdom Catholic Academy. The chairperson of the board of directors for the academy, Suzanne Karl, talked about how she was devastated when she first heard the school was closing.
“My two sons went to St. Anastasia’s and when I heard it was closing it broke my heart,” she said. “I wanted to find a way to keep the school open. It had to close and if it was to reopen it would be as an academy.”
Now, Karl says the academy is growing strong with around 400 students attending and a second campus to reopen in Bayside where St. Robert Bellarmine once held classes.
As chairperson, Karl heads all the financial activities for the academy, such as marketing, advertising and fundraising. “Right now we’re working with Catholic Schools Week and we did all the marketing and advertisements for that,” she said. “We also held open houses and meet with prospective parents and answered any questions they may have.”
Karl also sits on the advisory committee for Preserving the Vision, a program geared to expanding the outreach of Catholic schools in the Brooklyn Diocese, as well as preserving their religious identity. Karl says she is entering her sixth and last year on the committee as members are only allowed two three-year terms.
Personal Background: Karl grew up in Middle Village and has been living in Douglaston for the past 19 years. “I’m a Queens girl.”
Inspiration: Karl says her inspiration came after the tragic events of 9/11, “My brother-in-law was a firefighter who died that day,” she said. “The community embraced my sister and niece and nephew and the caring that came out of that made me want to give back. That taught me how important it is to give back.”
Favorite memory: “In 2009, in September, when the school opened for the first time. Watching the kids coming in and smiling and knowing they didn’t have to go to another Catholic school or a public school. That was the happiest moment of my life, besides the birth of my children.”
Biggest Challenges: “Finances. We’ve put in so many enrichment programs that we always have to find sources to fund them. We have Spanish that starts in kindergarten and we also do art and so we have to hire teachers for that. We’re always looking to raise funds and looking for donors.”
Maria Gentile has driven a school bus for more than 34 years. She knows the name of every student she carries along her route, through Bayside, Douglaston and Oakland Gardens. She’s witnessed the first and last days of school for countless families. When she drops a child off at home, she doesn’t drive away until they’ve made it safely inside.
“Safety is first with the children,” said Gentile, who gathered with dozens of other striking drivers outside a bus depot in Jamaica. Two weeks into the citywide school bus strike, drivers remain firmly behind their demands, calling specifically for job security.
“We just want to keep our jobs. That’s it,” said bus driver Jessica Saltos of Queens Village. “We’re not looking for a raise, healthcare, a pension, nothing at all. We want to keep working. That’s it.”
According to Gentile, drivers are fighting to retain the Employee Protection Provision (EPP), an amendment added in 1979 that guarantees drivers will retain routes, regardless of which company oversees the bid.
Strikers believe Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to instate makeshift drivers could be hazardous for the thousands of children who take buses to school. Certification, which normally takes roughly a year and includes drug testing, fingerprinting and hours of training, will take less than 24 hours for fill-in drivers.
“If the mayor wants to put a child in a vehicle with a driver who has no experience, what does that say?” said Gentile. “They’re going to rush to the school and throw the kid off the bus because they don’t care.”
The substitute bus drivers are set to make $14 an hour, a wage many drivers agreed doesn’t promote job longevity or dedication.
“[Bloomberg] is putting the almighty dollar above children’s safety,” said a driver.
On Monday, January 28, representatives from Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 met with a mediator, Justice Milton Mollen, to discuss drivers’ concerns. While city officials did not attend the meeting, Local 1181 President Michael Cordiello said Bloomberg’s involvement in arbitration is “necessary to move towards a resolution and end this strike.”