BY PAULINA TAM
The great men of Queens convened at Terrace on the Park where they were crowned as kings during The Queens Courier’s seventh annual “Kings of Queens Awards & Networking Event.”
It was a night of revelry worthy of royalty.
Thirty-nine Kings of Queens were honored on Sept. 18 for their continual financial, medical or cultural contributions.
Courier publisher and CEO Victoria Schneps hosted the event alongside two emcees from Fox 5 News, anchor Antwan Lewis and reporter Teresa Priolo.
“We’re going to have fun and we’re going to meet great people,” Schneps said. “And that is what this evening is all about — networking and meeting great people.”
The Queens Courier also raised $3,500 to be donated to the charities New York Families for Autistic Children and Independence Residences Inc.
The “Kings” were first led to the VIP room where they conversed with one another and partook in the traditional group photo where all honorees donned their crowns and red robes. They later participated in a networking event, where they met with vendors from businesses like Charles Schwab, Flushing Bank and Broadway Stages.
Councilman Paul Vallone and his family, including former Speaker Peter F. Vallone Sr., former Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr., Perry Vallone and Joseph Vallone, received the “Men of Honor” awards. The current councilman said his family members were very honored to have received it.
“I think what is happening in Queens is this growth as a county, which is quite amazing because of all these years we had separate neighborhoods,” the councilman said. “Now all of a sudden there is a focus beyond your ZIP code and it’s a progression. Queens is becoming that worldwide hub for people to say, ‘We want to go to Queens and that’s where the future is.’”
A special Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Max Kupferberg, a philanthropist and retired chairman of the board of KEPCO Inc., a business dedicated to manufacturing electronic power materials for military and commercial needs.
But what made this year’s Kings of Queens event particularly special was that eight exceptional men were inducted into the first ever Hall of Fame. They included Joseph M. Mattone, Sr., chairman and CEO, Mattone Group; John R. Buran, president and CEO, Flushing Bank; Michael Dowling, president and CEO, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System; Joseph R. Ficalora, president and CEO, NYCB Family of Banks; Michael Meyer, president, F&T Group; Peter M. Meyer, market president New York City, TD Bank; Al Pennisi, attorney, president, Queens Chamber of Commerce; and Hal G. Rosenbluth, president, Kaufman Astoria Studios.
The complete list of Queens of Kings honorees also includes Michael Albarella, VP, market manager, People’s United Bank; Kevin Alexander, president and CEO, Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation; Phil Andrews, president, L.I. African American Chamber of Commerce; Jugal Agarwal, CFO, Atlantic Dialysis Management Services; Andrew Baumann, president and CEO, NY Families For Autistic Children; Peter Bonet, SVP relationship manager, Citibank; John J. Ciafone, attorney at law, The Law Office of John J. Ciafone; Tom Clarke, president/CFO, Clarke Restaurant Group; Raymond J. DeNatale, IRI executive director, Independence Residences Inc.; Dr. Arthur Flug, executive director The Kupferberg Holocaust Center at Queensborough Community College; Dr. Conn Foley, senior vice president, Parker Jewish Institute; Peter Frantzis, manager, TD Bank; Robert Gaskin, principal, RCGA Architects – Interior Designers; Dan Hendrick, vice president, New York League of Conservation Voters; Dr. Viren Jhaveri, director, Prestige Dental Care; Father Walter Jenkins, president, Holy Cross High School; Sushil Kumar, president, Trinity Tax & Financial Solutions Inc.; Leon Y. Lee, president/chairman of the board, Long Island Business Institute, Rob MacKay, director of public relations, Queens Economic Development Corp.; Alfred Magliano CLF senior partner, New York Life Insurance Company; Steven L. Mendelsohn, M.D., CEO, Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology; Albert Perna, founder, Perna Foundation For Kids; Juan (Rick) Rosa, executive VP and managing director, Douglas Elliman; Dennis Weinstein, director of advertising, Touro College; and Christopher Woods, director of DBE Preconstruction Services, McKissack & McKissack.