Tag Archives: north shore towers

Get your finances and health in top shape


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

The Queens Courier’s Health & Financial Fitness Expo on Friday, May 16, at Towers on the Green in the North Shore Towers, will help keep you keep your body and your bank account in shape.

The featured keynote speaker, William Rockett of Charles Schwab, will discuss fixed income trends for this year and share how to find real return in today’s challenging market. Ronald Fatoullah, Esq. will discuss putting your trust in trusts.

A special guest appearance by Rose A. Scalia, named “Ms. Congeniality” at the Ms. New York Senior America Pageant, will discuss “the chapter of reinvention.”

Comedian and fitness guru Howard Newman will hold a special performance at 10 a.m. to kick-off the event.

There will also be an important discussion panel of experts in elder law, insurance, home care, Medicare, and much more. Information every senior needs to know.

With many new exhibitors seniors have the opportunity to speak one-on-one with representatives. There will also be blood pressure, vestibular disorder and carotid arteries testing, as well as entertainment, free coffee and cake, and the chance to win great raffle prizes.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the North Shore Towers, 272-48 Grand Central Parkway, Floral Park in Towers on the Green.

The event is sponsord by Charles Schwab, Aetna Insurance, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation and Ronald Fatoullah & Associates.

Admission and parking is free. No need to register. Walk-ins welcome.

To attend email aamato@queenscourier.com or call 718-224-5863 ext. 201.

Queens co-op launches e-cycling program


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

North Shore Towers (NST) residents can now safely dispose of old and burnt-out electronics without leaving the building.

The new recycling program, e-cycling, is intended to easily and conveniently recycle electronics, which must be handled separately from traditional recycling.

The program, which was created through a public-private partnership between the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and Electronic Recyclers International (ERI), made its first collection at NST, a Floral Park co-op.

“Everybody has something they want to get rid of,” said NST Board President Bob Ricken. “We’ve already sent several bins to be recycled. We’re filling them up like crazy.”

Buildings with at least 10 units can receive on-site pickup of stored electronic devices. Acceptable electronics include televisions, computers, printers, cell phones, video game consoles and hard drives. Electronic shredders permanently erase all of the devices’ data.

“It’s the stuff you really [have] to make sure is handled properly,” said Ron Gonen, DSNY deputy commissioner for Recycling and Sustainability. “The world is changing. A lot of what we do now is electronic, and that means our waste stream is changing significantly.” There are currently 51 sites citywide enrolled in the free e-cycling program.

“We’re sticking to our mission to be a greener facility,” said board member Mario Carmiciano. “We made a commitment a few years ago to start going as green as we can.”

Ricken credited new board member Maria Termini-Miller, a DSNY Deputy Commissioner, for getting NST to be a part of the program.

For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/ecycle.

 

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Get your money in shape at the Senior Health & Financial Fitness Expo


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

The word fitness is typically used to describe a person’s physical health, but financial fitness is also important for well-being.

The Queens Courier’s Senior Health & Financial Fitness Expo on Friday, November 22 will feature both — and show how you can keep them in top shape.

At the event, sponsored by The Queens Courier, there will be a panel featuring keynote speaker Ronald Fatoullah, Esq., who will discuss “The Five Essential Documents All Seniors Should Have.”

The speakers will be discussing a range of topics concerning elder law, insurance, home care, medicare and much more.

There will also be networking opportunities, over 30 exhibitors, blood pressure, vestibular disorder and carotid arteries testing, entertainment, free coffee and cake, and the chance to win great raffle prizes.

Admission to the Health & Financial Fitness Expo is free, as well as parking, but limited seats are available, so register today.

To attend or for exhibitor opportunities, please call 718-224-5863 ext. 201 or email aamato@queenscourier.com.

The Queens Courier’s Senior Health & Financial Fitness Expo will be held on Friday, November 22 at 10 a.m. at Towers on the Green in the North Shore Towers, 272-48 Grand Central Parkway, Floral Park.

Courier hosts Focus on Queens Forum with BP, public advocate, comptroller candidates


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Maggie Hayes

The Queens Courier held the Focus on Queens Forum at the North Shore Towers on Wednesday, August 21. Borough President, City Comptroller and Public Advocate candidates from various parties attended and spoke on their ideas for the future of their respective offices.

“Too often, people vote right down the Democratic line on the ballot,” said Bob Ricken, Towers’ Board President. “This gives residents an opportunity to get to know the candidates.”

Felice Hannah, board member and chair of the Political Action Committee, organized the event with nearly every candidate for each office.

Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., Melinda Katz and Aurelio “Tony” Arcabascio came out for Borough President. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, John Burnett and Hesham El Meligy for Comptroller, and Cathy Guerriero, Letitia James, Reshma Saujani, Daniel Squadron and Sidique Wai for Public Advocate.

 

BP candidates address Queens-centric issues

Queens Borough President candidates continue to push through campaign season and participated in the Focus on Queens Forum at the North Shore Towers.

The three candidates were asked various borough-centric questions by moderator and NY1 anchor Tamani Wooley.

Aurelio “Tony” Arcabascio came out as the sole Republican candidate and first discussed his history as a businessman, currently working with North Shore LIJ Hospital.

“I thought it was important for the Republican Party to have a voice,” he said.
Democrat Melinda Katz, former assemblymember and city councilmember, said Queens needs a borough president who can “bring equity to this borough.”

Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. said he has spent his life “protecting Queens” and will be the “independent Democratic voice for you.”

Proposals currently floating around the borough were first addressed, namely the United States Tennis Association (USTA) development in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park; a Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium also in the park; and redeveloping Willets Point.

All candidates agreed that first and foremost, parkland needs to be protected.

“I will fight to get money from private companies that make money off of our public spaces,” Arcabascio said.
All candidates support a soccer stadium in Queens.

Katz supports the Willets Point redevelopment and said “hopefully in January we’ll be able to take a fresh look and put a shovel in that ground.” Vallone said we need development there, but he doesn’t support the current plan, and Arcabascio doesn’t think Willets Point is a good site for the project.

Regarding hospitals and health care, all candidates agreed there should be more emergency care, multi-specialty facilities throughout the borough, and that hospital emergency rooms should not be the first go-to place.

“I do believe we need to take a lot of the pressure off of the existing emergency rooms,” Katz said.

Vallone added that if elected he would work with the district attorney and attorney general to reduce fraud and in turn give hospitals the funding needed to stay open.

Next, Wooley, as moderator, brought up the controversial Community Safety Act. Katz supports the bill that would reform the practice.

Vallone said when the bill takes effect, “judges will take over the NYPD.”

“Then we will turn into Detroit,” he said, and called the bill the “most dangerous in the history of New York City.”

Arcabascio took a similar stance and said you “can’t ask the Police Department to not stop someone based on your instinct as a trained police officer.”

During the September 10 primary, voters can decide between Democratic candidates Katz, Vallone or Everly Brown, not present at the forum. Then the Democratic or Republican candidate in the general election on November 5.

 

Public Advocate candidates take the stage

All five Democratic candidates for Public Advocate came to the North Shore Towers to participate in the Focus on Queens Forum.

“People in our city are really suffering,” said Reshma Saujani, current Deputy Public Advocate and recipient of the Queens Democratic Party’s endorsement.

Candidates were each given the opportunity to answer questions by moderator Tamani Wooley of NY1. First, the five answered what sort of legislation they would first propose upon entering office.

Letitia James, a Brooklyn city councilmember and former assistant attorney general, said she would focus on affordable housing, as well as putting a cap on co-op and condo taxes.

Brooklyn State Senator Daniel Squadron said he would create new partnerships for local community education councils, because parent groups need a partnership outside of bureaucracy, while Cathy Guerriero, educator, said she would expand her staff and “put a think tank into the office.”

Saujani, similarly, said she would instate four deputy public advocates for jobs, housing, education, and women and seniors. Sidique Wai, a civilian member of the NYPD, wants to help reform stop-and-frisk and be sure police officers wear cameras on their person.

Wooley then brought up the low grades the city school system just received, and questioned the candidates as to how they would work to improve education.

Guerriero, who has an extensive education background and comes from a family of teachers, said first the mayor should prioritize schooling in the city, and Wai said subjects such as science, math, engineering and math should start at the kindergarten level.

“If you don’t invest in children earlier on and train them to be able to compete for those jobs that are now fast going into the technological field, it’s just not going to work,” he said.

Squadron said schools should become an anchor for students, especially during trying times. He hopes to oversee a different approach to teaching special needs and ESL children as well as give parents a stronger voice.

“We have turned schools into test preps we have taken our tax dollars and invested more in technology than teachers, respecting teachers and reducing classroom size,” James said, who hopes to promote art and physical education courses.

Saujani noted her computer science program for young girls, Girls Who Code, and believes computer science education should be taught in every single high school.

“This job has a vital role to play in a city our size,” Squadron said in closing. “They can make a real difference in people’s lives by focusing on things within its scope and within its power.”
Guerriero said she’s the candidate to “come at your straight, not at angles.”

“I run against a set of politicians. I’m not one. That’s kind of the point,” she said.

James, however, said she recognizes the power of government and knows how to work through it.

“This office has got to do something,” Saujani said. “It’s got to change people’s lives; it’s got to create something.”

 

Comptroller candidates outline plans

Candidates for City Comptroller joined the Focus on Queens Forum at the North Shore Towers and detailed ways they would approach office as the city’s chief financial advisor.

“The economy of the city is going to rest on places like Queens,” said Scott Stringer, Democratic candidate and Manhattan Borough President, at the forum on Wednesday, August 21.

As Comptroller, Stringer said he would put all contracts and subcontracts online for citizens to see.

“It’s time to end this whole notion that the budget is too complicated for New Yorkers to understand,” he said.

Among other ideas, he made note that if elected, he would bring in community people of expertise in a specific area who would review city contract applications, such as seniors and senior housing.

Stringer said he has two skill sets for the job: “somebody who has been able to work collaboratively to get real things accomplished,” as well as being “fiercely independent” in order to hold city agencies accountable.

“You have to root out waste,” he said.

John Burnett, Republican candidate with a heavy financial background, also attended and spoke about various ideas such as unifying the current five-pension system in city finances.

“It’s five redundant costs,” he said. “Each time the pension fund doesn’t earn its discount rate, we have to cut a check with taxpayer money to find it.”

Burnett, who has a 23 years of Wall Street experience at companies such as Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch, said he has the understanding of investments in order to manage the $70 billion annual city budget.

“You have to know how to audit and hold people accountable with respect to the budget,” he said.

Hesham El Meligy is the only Libertarian candidate and also the only accountant, he said. As Comptroller, he would continue current Comptroller John Liu’s participatory budgeting layout as well as take a second look at the MTA, following Liu’s initial audit of the transportation agency.

“It’s taking a look at how the city works,” he said. “The structure of the city itself leads to a lot of waste. We need to put resources in other parts to serve the people better.”

Eliot Spitzer, Democratic candidate, declined to attend the event.

 

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Health & Financial Fitness Expo: Get your finances and health in top shape!


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

The word fitness is typically used to describe a person’s physical health, but financial fitness is also important for well-being.

The Queens Courier’s Health & Financial Fitness Expo on Friday, May 17, will feature both — and show how you can keep them in top shape.

At the event, sponsored by The Queens Courier, there will be a panel featuring keynote speaker Ronald Fatoullah, Esq., as well as ones from Turnpike Orthopedic and Queens County Savings Bank.

The speakers will be discussing a range of topics concerning financial fitness, elder law, podiatry care  and home care planning.

There will also be networking opportunities, free coffee and cake, and exhibitors promoting long-term care insurance, health management, estate planning, financial services and more.

This year Dr. Perry Frankel will be performing health screenings for FREE. These include testings for blood pressure, vestibular disorder, carotid arteries and more.

Admission to the Health & Financial Fitness Expo is free, but limited seats are available, so call today to register.

To attend or for sponsorship or exhibitor opportunities please call 718-224-5863 ext. 201 or email aamato@queenscourier.com.

The Queens Courier’s Health & Financial Fitness Expo  will be held on Friday, May 17 at 10 a.m at Towers on the Green in the North Shore Towers, 272-48 Grand Central Parkway, Floral Park 11005.

 

From ‘All My Children’ to the big screen


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Mauer today

By Fred Chernow

Annette Mauer grew up in Cleveland. After graduating Cleveland Heights High School, she enrolled in Western Reserve University, where she joined the Cleveland Playhouse.

Not long after that, she met and married Irving Mauer. When he became an orthopedic surgeon they moved to New York City. Two little girls completed the family and Annette was involved in the usual routines of that time. Today, her older daughter Judy owns Phantom Audio, a sound studio in Manhattan. Eve is a quilt designer and lives with her husband on Long Island.

Annette had a rather traditional life until she reached age 40. Then, her “inner child” appeared and pointed her, like a compass, to her true passion – acting.

Recalling her days at the Cleveland Playhouse, she asked her husband what he thought of her going to a real acting school. His reply was, “Go for it.”

“And I did.”

“My husband supported me financially and emotionally,” she said. “I didn’t have to wait on tables the way my fellow actors did. I spent three years at the well-regarded HB studio on Bank Street in Manhattan. There I got experience doing light comedies, Shakespeare and everything in between. Upon graduation I acquired an agent, and soon after I got a part on the television soap opera, ‘Guiding Light.’ Not long after that I appeared on ‘All My Children.’ I accepted many different roles on television from that of a housekeeper to a jury member.”

Between episodes she won parts in commercials: Brawny paper towels and Blue Cross-Blue Shield were two of the most popular.

“The fun part was that people would stop me on the street and ask, ‘Aren’t you the lady on the Brawny commercial?’”

Wanting to give back, she heard about the need for support for the families of soldiers fighting overseas. She became involved in running a support group for soldiers and their families at Fort Totten. Not long after she was offered parts in the Woody Allen movies “Broadway Danny Rose” and “Hannah and Her Sisters.”

Her creative juices continued to flow and she became a published poet. This led to her writing lyrics for songs.

“By this time I was living on Long Island and began to teach acting at the Port Washington Senior Center,” Mauer said. While there she wrote a musical comedy, “It’s Not Too Late.”

It was about life at a Manhattan Bridge Club. A popular number began:

“I used to know Diamond from a Heart.

I used to know a Club from a Spade.

Now, all I remember is: ‘I pass.’

I used to be a sexy, glitzy, ‘don’t mess with me lass.’

Now, all I remember is: ‘I pass’”

Through the years Annette became a member of Actors Equity and the Screen Writers’ Guild. Now once again, she wants to give back. She is going to give a course for the new Adult Education classes that are forming now at North Shore Towers.

Health Expo offers tips on staying healthy, financial fitness


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

DSC_0060w

North Shore Towers residents and other guests excitedly ventured around Towers on the Green, visiting each and every vendor offering advice on how to improve their quality of life.

The Queens Courier’s annual Health & Financial Fitness Expo, held Friday, November 30, featured dozens of different business representatives from a variety of industries.

After attendees were able to visit with vendors and talk one-on-one, the program began with a number of speakers covering topics from consumer and bank fraud, to healthy aging, to the importance of a properly fitted shoe.

Jennifer Seery of CHS Home Support Services, a subsidiary of Catholic Home Care, attended the expo and brought along several prototypes of their merchandise, such as a breathing mask. The service focuses on providing the elderly with the care that they may need in order to stay in their home for as long as possible.

“It’s anything you would need outside of a hospital or a nursing home facility,” said Seery of their products. “We have all medical equipment, so if you should need anything to assist you, we can give it to you.”

“[We’re here] to get our name out in the community and let people know that it’s possible to stay home for as long as possible, if that’s what they choose,” Seery said of the event and its networking value.

Also at the expo was New York Community Bank/Queens County Savings Bank; Sinai Chapels; Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation; AgeWell New York; Turnpike Comfort Footwear; Margaret Tietz Center Light Health System; Premier Care; Steadfast Caregivers; Brandywine Senior Living; Robert Lubow; Reverie Spa; Dr. Gail Lowenstein, M.D., Physician Homecare; Genworth Insurance; OKG Jewelry; Comfort Keepers; Life Caller; Home Instead; Bayside Chiropractic, Dr. Vilan; The Lev Group at Morgan Stanley; Carelink, Inc.; REL Business Gazette; Quality Health Care; Best Senior Care; Why Weight?; Dr. Zdenko Beg, P.T.; New York Life Insurance and Fatoullah & Associates.

Ron Fatoullah of Fatoullah & Associates spoke during the event to a crowd of Towers residents and outside guests regarding planning for and securing long-term care.

“Especially in an uncertain time, planning is the most important thing,” said Fatoullah. “People should get their affairs in order now.”

The attorney spoke about the federal gift and estate tax levels that will decrease by January 1, and Fatoullah wants people to be aware of that.

“They need to have essential documents in place,” he said. “Such as last will and testament, living trust and health care proxy. Planning in advance is the key to protecting assets.”

Those who also spoke at the event included Christine A. Feingold of Sinai Chapels; Tara Buoncore-Rut, Executive Director of AgeWell New York; James Christopher, Assistant Vice President of New York Community Bank Corp; Mark Margulies, owner of Comfort Keepers; Dr. Rob Sharma of Premier Care; Susan Cohen of Brandywine Senior Living; Robert Hauer, Manager of Turnpike Comfort Footwear; George Chiungos of Genworth Financial; and Gail Lowenstein, M.D.

Lowenstein, who came to the expo for the first time this year, enjoyed being able to speak to Towers residents about her work.

“The concept of my care is based on the care I give my parents,” she said, regarding her work in geriatrics. “North Shore Towers would be a wonderful locale for us to see patients.”

George Chiungos of Genworth Financial echoed this sentiment.

“It’s always nice to come to these events and see people that you wouldn’t normally interact with,” he said. “We’re here, taking a proactive approach [for our] long term care protection.”

Get your finances in top shape


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

The word fitness is typically used to describe a person’s physical health, but financial fitness is also important for well-being.

The Queens Courier’s Health & Financial Fitness Expo on Friday, November 30, will feature both — and show how you can keep them in top shape.

At the event, sponsored by the North Shore Towers, there will be a panel, “Planning During Uncertain Times: How To Weather The Storm,” featuring keynote speaker Ronald Fatoullah, Esq., as well as ones from Premier Care, Brandywine Assisted Living, Turnpike Orthopedic, Physician Home Care, Genworth Insurance, Comfort Keepers, Sinai Chapels and Queens County Savings Bank.

The speakers will be discussing a range of topics concerning financial fitness, elder law and home care planning.

There will also be networking opportunities, free coffee and cake, and exhibitors promoting long-term care insurance, health management, estate planning, financial services and more.

Admission to the Health & Financial Fitness Expo is free, but limited seats are available, so call today to register.

To attend or for sponsorship or exhibitor opportunities please call 718-224-5863 ext. 201 or email aamato@queenscourier.com.

The Queens Courier’s Health & Financial Fitness Expo will be held on Friday, November 30 at 10 a.m at Towers on the Green in the North Shore Towers, 272-48 Grand Central Parkway, Floral Park.

Get your finances in top shape!


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

The word fitness is typically used to describe a person’s physical health, but financial fitness is also important for well-being.

The Queens Courier’s Health & Financial Fitness Expo on Friday, November 30, will feature both — and show how you can keep them in top shape.

At the event, sponsored by the North Shore Towers, there will be a panel, “Planning During Uncertain Times: How To Weather The Storm,” featuring keynote speaker Ronald Fatoullah, Esq., as well as ones from Premier Care, Brandywine Assisted Living, Turnpike Orthopedic, Physician Home Care, Genworth Insurance, Comfort Keepers, Sinai Chapels and Queens County Savings Bank.

The speakers will be discussing a range of topics concerning financial fitness, elder law and home care planning.

There will also be networking opportunities, free coffee and cake, and exhibitors promoting long-term care insurance, health management, estate planning, financial services and more.

Admission to the Health & Financial Fitness Expo is free, but limited seats are available, so call today to register.

To attend or for sponsorship or exhibitor opportunities please call 718-224-5863 ext. 201 or email aamato@queenscourier.com.

The Queens Courier’s Health & Financial Fitness Expo will be held on Friday, November 30 at 10 a.m at Towers on the Green in the North Shore Towers, 272-48 Grand Central Parkway, Floral Park.

 

Towers power provides shelter


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Superstorm Sandy left millions without power all along Long Island and in Queens, with many residents displaced and seeking solace with friends or family.

At the North Shore Towers, Sandy was no match for the in-house energy, and according to board chair Bob Ricken, nearly 1,000 guests flooded the buildings to take advantage of the Towers’ generators.

“We have no power, the storm was very inconvenient,” said guest Rorri Heller from Woodbury, Long Island, who was staying with her mother Letty Steinberg. “The company here is lovely.”

The storm devastated entire towns, closed schools throughout the region, and left people without heat or lights as the temperatures suddenly plummeted.

“The storm destroyed my friend’s house in Levittown,” said Marion Rose from Dix Hills. As for her own home, she and her daughters were left without power and their street was blocked by a large tree.

While the hundreds of visitors remained without power at home, they enjoyed everything that the Towers has to offer, most notably the indoor pool, gym facilities and of course, a hot shower.

“We just lost electricity, and it’s really cold. I can’t really sleep. It’s more fun here,” said Delli Mizrahi, alongside her mother Daphne, from Syosset. “We’re really lucky because my grandparents just started living here.”

“We have no idea when [the power will come back],” said Stephanie Schwartz, visiting from Searingtown with her four children. “We’ll be here until our power comes back.”

- With additional reporting by Sweetina Kakar

 

Queens Courier to host Senior Health Expo


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Attention all seniors: do you wish there was one place you could have all your questions answered?

That place is Towers on the Green in the North Shore Towers, where, on Friday, August 24 The Queens Courier will be hosting a FREE “Senior Health Expo.”

Beginning at 10 a.m., attendees can network with business, health care professionals and community leaders from across the borough.

Then, a discussion panel will touch on an array of topics, including elder law, estate planning, long-term care, home care planning, health management and pre-planning funerals.

Free coffee and cake will be served.

Towers on the Green is located at 272-48 Grand Central Parkway in Floral Park. Space is limited,so reserve now by calling 718-224-5863, ext 226.

The event is sponsored by The Queens Courier, Ronald Fatoullah & Associates, Selfhelp Community Services, Inc. and the Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation.

Second Courier ‘Power Breakfast’ informs seniors


| mchan@queenscourier.com

DSC_0495

Seniors looking for another leg up in the extensive world of elder law got a second boost of knowledge during a recent Courier-hosted lecture.

During a “Power Breakfast” — the second one hosted by The Courier this year — held on May 4 at North Shore Towers in Floral Park, Ann-Margaret Carrozza, an elder law attorney, equipped seniors with crucial advice on updating their wills, while other leaders in the field armed them with tips on avoiding scams.

“When you hear horror stories that someone’s mother’s brother-in-law lost their assets because of a long-term care illness, it’s because they didn’t have a little mental game plan,” Carrozza said. “Sometimes that’s all that’s necessary.”

According to Carrozza, seniors should consider redoing their wills in the event that an unforeseeable crisis occurs in the family — specifically stating that all assets will be left in a lifetime trust. Doing so, she said, makes sure spouses will be able to benefit from assets without “somebody putting a claim on it for long-term care expenses.”

Jim Morin, a representative from Flushing Bank, also warned seniors to be cautious of an ongoing scam that targets the elderly. Scammers, Morin said, will often send letters in the mail or make phone calls telling unsuspecting victims they won a prize.

“If you get something in the mail like that, it’s dangerous,” he said, adding that recipients should not give the organization any money or personal information.

Guest speaker, Councilmember Leroy Comrie, also addressed the city budget’s recent cuts to senior centers and programs and urged residents to speak up and join the fight against them. Comrie said seniors in northeast Queens could contact Councilmember Mark Weprin at 718-468-0137 to voice their concerns, and those in southern Queens could call his own district office at 718-776-3700.

Before the lecture began, seniors had a chance to mingle with leading businesses in the industry, including vendors Sinai Chapels, Royal Health Care Services, FCE Group, RBC Wealth Management, The Bristal Assisted Living, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation, Oyster Bay Manor and Harbor House Assisted Living, Flushing Bank, Sunrise Senior Living, Dignity Home Care, Riis Financial and Caring People Home Health Care Agency.

Pols argue over whose co-op/condo legislation is best


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A coalition of co-op and condo owners in northeast Queens had one message for its elected officials after arguments erupted over whose bill was best: no more lip service.

“What you see is the dysfunction in Albany. This isn’t a Republican-Democrat issue. It’s about homeowners who don’t want to be pushed out of their homes,” said Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village Owners, Inc. and cofounder of the President’s Co-op Council.

The Council — which represents about 100,000 co-op shareholders — joined close to one dozen elected officials and more than 900 concerned Queens residents at North Shore Towers on April 12 to rally for action against the city for another year of property tax spikes.

While Friedrich said a solution could not be reached without the cooperation of state lawmakers, some electeds — with pointed fingers — turned the meeting into a heated political debate.

“There’s been a little too much lip service tonight. I sat here and got madder and madder as I listened to every speaker,” said Senator Tony Avella. “We had an opportunity last year, and we blew it because of politics on both sides of the aisle.”

Currently, there are three bills on the table in Albany on how to address the issue, which Avella said is a clear sign of disconnect between state leaders who he said may each be pushing for their own legislation to pass.

“It’s not that the Republicans don’t want to move the bill to address this — it’s which bill should they support? Which one gets passed? This has to stop. I don’t care if it’s my bill or somebody else’s bill, but this has got to stop. We’re not working together,” he said.

Avella’s own bill, which he called the “best solution,” would create a new property tax class — called Class 1A — for co-op and condo owners. He said the bill would provide the same protections that exist for Class 1 properties, capping any single yearly tax increase at 6 percent and 20 percent over a five year period.

An earlier law put forth by Assemblymember David Weprin would propose similar provisions, classifying co-ops as Class 1 and capping increases at the same percentage, while other legislation by Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblymember Ed Braunstein would see co-ops paying only 75 percent of their legal fees in a successful certiorari suit. They said the law would also stabilize assessments for two years following a successful challenge, capping spikes at 3 percent to prevent the necessity of an additional proceeding.

Councilmember Mark Weprin fired back, saying each elected official was in fact “working hard” together to create a solution by this year.

“With all due respect, you’re the one who hasn’t been to most of the meetings,” Weprin said. “This is a very delicate situation, but to say that people here are just giving lip service is just nonsense. This is not about whose bill we’re going to sponsor. We’re all trying to solve a problem here, and I think we’re all open to whatever solution we can get adopted that will save co-op owners. That’s the goal here, and that’s why I took a lot of offense.”

Senate and Assembly officials have only until the end of June this year to agree on one single bill and have it passed by both Houses, Weprin said. While the City Council is not directly involved in the legislation process, Weprin said councilmembers have an upper hand in trying to get the mayor on board.

“I’ve seen bills drafted, signed and passed in 12 hours. We just have to work together,” Weprin said. “I thought [the meeting] was a good case of democracy in action.”

Their love is like an ocean


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Melissa Molfetas

Melissa Molfetas and Billy Pardue can never look at a beach in the same way again.

Before the currents of love brought the pair to North Shore Towers (NST), it was on sandy shores, in crashing sapphire waves, where the two began to fall in love.

In 2008, Molfetas and Pardue served in the U.S. Army together. They were both shipped away for basic training but met up shortly after when they were stationed together in an Army base inNorfolk,Virginia.

On an off-duty Saturday afternoon, Molfetas — an inexperienced swimmer — decided to take a dip in the ocean offVirginia Beach, only to be pulled in by a riptide.

“I was swimming as hard as I could, but the water pulled me out and I couldn’t get back,” said the 24 year old.

And just like a romantic-comedy, now-boyfriend Pardue — a licensed lifeguard who was on the beach at the time — swam out and saved her.

“I didn’t think twice. I kind of just went,” said Pardue, 23. “She was out of her mind for being out so far. Now it’s funny, but before it wasn’t funny. It was kind of terrifying. People think we make this stuff up, but it’s really true.”

Molfetas went to thank him for saving her life a day later, but the only payment Pardue wanted was a date.

“He said, ‘If you want to pay me back, let’s get together later,’” Molfetas laughed. “But there was nothing to do there. We were stuck on an army base.”

The duo hit it off after a night of cheesy on-base bowling.

“He’s so charming. It was instant. I was so drawn to him,” Molfetas said, adding that the two had to keep things quiet until their term of service was up. “I had to avoid him at all costs because we couldn’t show any affection in the military. We had to pretend like we didn’t know each other. Everything was like a big secret,” she said.

But once they were back inNew York, “that was it.”

“We couldn’t get enough of each other,” Molfetas said.

Now, the two live together inElmontwith Pardue’s family, with hopes to someday soon own an apartment together. They have an ongoing joke that Molfetas is in debt to him with “a lifetime of servitude.”

They also work together at NST, where Molfetas is a sales marketing director and Pardue works for maintenance.

“He’ll walk by my [office] window, and he’ll wave like Peter Brady — like a dork,” Molfetas said. “I always tell him to get back to work.”

Pardue admitted to being “dorky” and said, “I do it to make her laugh.”

The two — both musicians who play in the same rock band — still like to hit the beach, where they enjoy running. Molfetas said although she refuses to get back in the water, she knows she’s in good hands if she does.

“It was a coincidence but lucky at the same time. He’s my personal hero,” she said.

Towers residents loved the show


| dbeltran@queenscourier.com

Diane Cypkin 2W

“Oy vey!”

It was quite a night in the VIP Room on January 13 as many “yentes” came out to see Dr. Diane Cypkin, professor of media and communication arts atPaceUniversity, salute and sing the songs of Molly Picon —considered by many as the first lady of Yiddish theatre.

The concert, which began at 8 p.m., drew many residents. Tables even had to be moved and extra chairs had to be brought in to accommodate the large audience.

 “It was very enjoyable,” said Towers resident Renee Sanders, who had heard many of the songs before. “Especially since I understand most of what she’s saying.”

Cypkin, who performed the songs in Yiddish and told stories in English, drew many laughs and loud applause from the audience, which contained a large group of residents who understood Yiddish. Even those who didn’t quite understand the language had a good time.

     “I don’t understand Yiddish, but it’s very interesting,” said resident Helaine Matvid. “She’s very good at explaining it.”