Tag Archives: St. John’s University

St. John’s University selects new president

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Miami University

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After a major scandal that rocked the school and a year-long search for a new leader, the St. John’s University Board of Trustees announced Dr. Conrado Gempesaw as its 17th president on Thursday.

Gempesaw, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Miami University in Ohio, has over three decades of academic experience and will start July 1, replacing Interim President Rev. Joseph Levesque.

“In Dr. Gempesaw, we have found a visionary leader who understands and embraces St. John’s mission as a Catholic and vincentian university, and has the skills necessary to realize our goals for the future,” the Board said in a letter. “We are confident he will help St. John’s continue its remarkable transformation from a commuter school into a global educational institution with enhanced and expanded facilities and new academic initiatives, while maintaining its mission of providing a world-class affordable education.”

Former president of 24 years, Father Donald Harrington, announced he would step down last year as the head of St. John’s in May, following immense media pressure over gifts he received from former dean Cecilia Chang, who was facing charges of embezzling $1 million from the school. Chang ultimately committed suicide before the end of her trial, increasing the attention on Harrington and his chief of staff, Robert Wile, who also resigned.


Rowdy college bar ‘behaves’ as awaits license decision

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The sobering news of its last call has at least temporarily tamed a problematic college bar in Queens.

Cheap Shots, at 149-05 Union Tpke. passed a recent multi-agency checkup with “flying colors” and received no summonses, police and local leaders said.

“They have been behaving,” said Carolann Foley, president of the 107th Precinct Community Council.

The once-rowdy bar near St. John’s University has been under fire since it opened in March 2010. Residents said unruly customers constantly break out in fights outside. Some have even been spotted urinating and vomiting on the street.

Community Board 8’s Liquor License Committee unanimously rejected the bar’s liquor license renewal application in January.

But the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) has not cut the bar off yet.

It fined Cheap Shots $15,000 on March 25 for numerous complaints and at least 10 violations, mostly for disorderly conduct and alleged underage drinking, officials said, but has not reviewed its liquor license application yet, a spokesman said.

Bar owner Louis Abreu, who has hired more security detail to hush up weekend commotions, said a decision will likely not be made until a court date in two weeks.

Foley said she’s skeptical the state agency would close the tab on Cheap Shots.

“I don’t know what to think,” she said. “The SLA is just so hot and cold.”



OKCupid date steals Queens college student’s cell phone, alters profile: report

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


A Brooklyn man took revenge on a Queens college student by stealing her cell phone and altering her online dating profile after she refused his advances on an OKCupid date, according to a published report.

The woman, a 22-year-old St. John’s University student, told the New York Post, that they spoke for two weeks before meeting in-person. Everything was going well during their date near Union Square one evening until they had a few drinks and he allegedly tried to get her to go back with him to his Williamsburg apartment, the publication said.

She refused and things turned ugly, according to the publication. He allegedly followed her to the subway, threw a water bottle at the woman, then took her phone.

Though she escaped, the man texted her friends pretending to be her, and changed her profile by uploading photos of the woman and writing “I’m available for threesomes,” she told the Post.

Police are reportedly investigating the incident.



Cambria Heights high school scholar set to graduate in three years

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Rosmary Reyes

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While most high school students are happy to leave school when the bell rings, Rosmary Reyes takes extra classes, which sometimes keep her as late as 6 p.m.

Now that extra time is about to pay off.

Reyes, a student at Business, Computer Applications & Entrepreneurship High School in Cambria Heights, is set to graduate after just three years.

“I feel like as soon as I get out of high school, I can get into the real world and closer to my dream of being a lawyer,” Reyes said. “The faster the better.”

Reyes, 16, maintains a 91 percent average in school, is a member of Arista, the National Honor Society, and is in the running to be her school’s valedictorian or salutatorian. She speaks fluent Spanish, and also knows American Sign Language, which Reyes learned so she could communicate with her deaf cousins.

Besides her academics, Reyes participates in a great deal of extracurricular activities and volunteer work.

She is president of the school’s student government, editor of the yearbook, a member of the journalism and the recycling clubs, and she also tutors students who need help in specific subjects. Reyes volunteers at the annual high school fair for eighth-graders and the college fair.

Outside school, Reyes is a New York Cares team leader and has volunteered to help many causes, including working in a soup kitchen and taking part in a coat drive for a senior citizens home.

“It’s not just for academic achievement or looking better for my resume,” Reyes said. “I like [volunteering] because I want to do it. I like helping people and being in leadership roles.”

Even before high school, Reyes was an exceptional student. She received student of the month and student of the year awards from M.S. 61. Reyes pushes herself to do more, because of her philosophy to stay motivated.

“When you are tired and just want to give up, you should just stop for a moment and imagine what you can achieve if you try just a little bit more,” Reyes said.

But her ideals aside, Reyes recognized that she wouldn’t have been able to achieve all of her accomplishments without her family as a backbone of support.

“[I] give thanks to my parents for always giving me the resources I need, and my sister for always giving me the push I need to achieve my goals.”

Reyes is now waiting to hear from St. John’s University, where she plans to continue her education. She then wants to go to law school to become a civil litigator or human rights lawyer.

“I always found a true passion in it,” Reyes said. “The thing I like about lawyers is that they get to help people who may not be able to help themselves.”



BOLD & BALD: St. John’s loses locks for cancer research

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Ana Santos only flinched once as all her hair fell to the ground. 

The 30-year-old former St. John’s University student was one of nine women and 47 men to shave their heads Thursday during a child cancer research fundraiser in the school’s student center.

“Hair is nothing,” the East Meadow speech pathologist said. “We’ve lost a lot of people in my family to cancer. There’s nothing more important than health and their lives.”

Santos donated a foot of hair and went bald for the first time to mirror her loved ones still battling the disease.

“Everyone in my family with cancer is bald right now,” she said. “I was crying before I got here. I’m trying to give them all my strength to let them know they can get through it.”

Santos held her tears back, periodically checking out her new do on her phone.

But 21-year-old Jackie Herro opened up the floodgates, when flashbacks of her boyfriend Chris, who succumbed to cancer in 2011, raced through her mind.

“It was very emotional knowing I was doing it for Chris,” the Red Storm senior said. “I cried even more when I looked down in the crowd and saw how many people were there to support me. They were happy tears.”

Herro had more than a foot of her bleached blonde hair snipped off, raising more than $7,000 for the cause.

“I would go up and do it again,” she said. “There’s no other feeling like it.”

The Johnnies, in the event’s fifth year, raised more than $35,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. And 26 others chopped off at least eight inches of hair to donate to Locks of Love.

“All these students are learning at a young age what adults take a lifetime to learn,” former St. Baldrick’s chairman John Bender said, “the importance of giving back and being involved in something larger than yourself.”

“They’ll take this experience with them,” he said.



Sports Star: Robyn Francis, junior guard, Francis Lewis HS girls basketball team

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

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Name: Robyn Francis
School: Francis Lewis
Grade: Junior
Sport: Basketball
position: Guard


Robyn is a junior guard on the Francis Lewis High School girls basketball team. Francis scored 8.9 points, grabbed 6.9 rebounds and added 4.4 assists per game this season for the Lady Patriots, and contributed to the team’s recent PSAL Division AA city championship title. Francis is also part of the school’s outdoor track team. In her spare time Francis volunteers to mentor young basketball players around ages 7 to 10 in a local league. She oversees practices and helps with drills.

Off the court and track, Francis maintains a 92 percent average, and has applied to be a member of Arista, the National Honor Society. Her favorite subject is math and she would like to study accounting in college. Although she is not completely sure yet where she will continue her education, St. John’s University in Jamaica is at the top of her list. Francis is also hoping to join the women’s basketball team at St. John’s.

Why is it important to do well both academically and athletically?
“It’s hard, but it’s also worth it. If I can get a half basketball scholarship and a half academic scholarship, that would be great. I want to go to go college for free, and I want to focus on my education.”

Why do you want to major in accounting?
“Because I’m good at math, and I want to do math as a career. Accounting involves math, and it’s a good paying job.”

Why do you like teaching young children to play basketball?
“Since I have a great talent in basketball, I want to share that with others. Also, when I stop playing, I want to see the younger generation playing at a higher level of basketball than me.”

Why would St. John’s University be a good fit for you?
“I think St. John’s is convenient because it’s close to home, it has accounting and I like how the girls [basketball team]plays.”



Robert Morris upsets St. John’s in first round of NIT

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

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An unsatisfying season for the St. John’s men’s basketball team ended with a sour taste.

Despite being a No. 1 seed, the Red Storm were upset by the Robert Morris University Colonials in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), 89-78, in front of a small crowd of 1,027 fans at Carnesecca Arena on Tuesday, crushing the Johnnieshopes of making a deep postseason run. 

The Colonials, which also defeated top-seeded University of Kentucky in last year’s NIT initial round, opened the game with a 19-2 run in the first five minutes, led by Northeast Conference player of the year Karvel Anderson, who finished with a game-high 38-points, and teammate Lucky Jones, who had 25 points.

St. John’s never led or tied the game once Robert Morris started scoring, and seemed as though the team was still down about not being selected to play in the Big Dance.

“I mean we were pretty upset about the fact that we didn’t make the [NCAA] tournament, but they just started hot and everything that went up, seem like it went in,” junior guard Jamal Branch said.

Branch wasn’t joking. The Colonials shot 48.2 percent from the field for the game and 50 percent (16 of 32) for three.

But in the second half, trailing by 26 points with nine minutes remaining, St. John’s executed a 24-6 run for the following six minutes that chopped the Colonials’ lead down to just eight points. The overly silent crowd turned on like a switch during the comeback and possibility of a win.

St. John’s rifle squad, three point specialists Max Hooper and Marco Bourgault, paced the Red Storm’s surge. Hooper finished with a career-high 18 points, shooting 6 of 12 from behind the arc.

And with under a minute remaining, Branch hit four three pointers to draw the Red Storm within seven points, but the Johnnies had run out of time.

St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin hinted maybe things could have been different if the freshman star point guard Rysheed Jordan, who was out suffering from tonsillitis, was available, but said he told the team to focus on next season.

“Tonight was disappointing because we didn’t bring forth the effort or purposefully play that would have allowed us to be competitive,” Lavin said. “Next season we’ll be the veteran group, probably returning as many lettermen as any team in the league. Next year obviously the goals, aspirations will be ratcheted up, because of what we return.”



Cardozo wrestling city champs set sights on national tourney

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

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Before Benjamin Cardozo senior Douglas Chau joined the wrestling team, he was, as he put it, a “boring kid.”

Chau, 17, didn’t play any sports, wasn’t in any clubs, didn’t interact with many of his peers and maintained average grades (about 80 percent), before his freshman year in high school.

But wrestling became the catalyst of change for the Bayside resident.

He joined at the recommendation of his older sister, who had friends on the team. And Chau said the first time he trained on the mat, he enjoyed the camaraderie and discipline the sport taught. Since then he said he’s become a more social person, and Chau is set to graduate at the end of this semester with an 89 percent average.

“It made me dedicated to everything that I do,” Chau said. “I found myself more disciplined than I was ever before. I can’t exactly say the reason why I like wrestling, but I can feel it.”

After four years of hard work on the team, Chau won the PSAL Division I wrestling individual city championship at 113 pounds last month, his first city-wide title. A city championship was the goal, but this summer he hopes to win a national championship at the Fargo Wrestling Tournament in North Dakota to complete the mission.

Chau’s teammate and training partner, Steve Kim, a junior at Benjamin Cardozo, is also looking to win a national championship at the Fargo tournament. Kim won the PSAL Division I individual city championships at 145 pounds, and before the summer tournament he’ll compete in a national event in Virginia Beach on March 24 as well.

Unlike Chau, Kim has been wrestling since he was a young child. His older brother taught his techniques at home and in the past he was fond of the WWE, the professional wrestling show.

Kim, 17, has designed a special diet to go with his training that emphasizes natural foods, such as fruits, vegetables and water, and he eats few carbs. It’s a testament to his dedication and desire to win a medal at the next level.

“That would be just beyond my dreams, that’s something unexplainable and unimaginable, to become a national champ,” Kim said.

The pair train about five days a week for two hours a day, sometimes conditioning in the weight room, and other times wrestling each other.

Chau said his Fargo appearance will be his last time on the mat because he’ll focus on studying pre-law at St. John’s University.

But after his personal wrestling experience comes to an end, he plans to start a brand new journey with another goal.

“My plan is to join the coaching staff at Cardozo,” Chau said. “My next mission is to help Cardozo move on and get another city champion.”



St. John’s women’s basketball falls short in Big East tourney final

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of St. John’s Athletic Communications

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Despite a tremendous effort by St. John’s sophomore guard Aliyyah Handford, the Red Storm women’s basketball team lost to the DePaul Blue Demons, 65-57, in its first Big East Conference tournament championship game since 1988.

Handford, who is an All-Big East First Team selection, led the Johnnies with 13 points, six rebounds, five steals and three assists. Senior captain Briana Brown added 12 points and four rebounds.

“Obviously we’re disappointed to not be able to come away with a win,” St. John’s head coach Joe Tartamella said. “To do something that our university hasn’t done in a long time, since 1988, says something. They know they want to get this opportunity again in the future.”

The Johnnies (22-10, 13-5 Big East) hung with the regular conference champions in the Blue Demons (27-6, 15-3 Big East) through most of the match, but couldn’t find the offensive down the stretch to win the game.

St. John’s will now wait for Selection Monday (March 17) to learn if they will make a fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.



Cheap Shots on the rocks: SLA to vote on liquor license

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) will vote next Tuesday to either cut off a problematic college bar in Queens or let the drinks keep flowing.

Cheap Shots, at 149-05 Union Tpke., has racked up numerous noise complaints and at least 10 violations since it opened in March 2010, mostly for disorderly conduct and alleged underage drinking, SLA records show.

Rowdy customers constantly break out in fights outside, and some have even been spotted urinating and vomiting on the street, 107th Precinct Community Council President Carolann Foley said.

The SLA’s licensing bureau will decide the bar’s fate on March 11 — either approving or rejecting Cheap Shots’ request for a license renewal — after a full board meeting, an authority spokesperson said. Its current liquor license expired Feb. 28.

“I fully expect the SLA to protect our community and revoke Cheap Shots’ liquor license,” said Councilmember Rory Lancman, who called the site near St. John’s University a “magnet for criminal activity.”

In January, Community Board 8’s Liquor License Committee unanimously shut down Cheap Shots’ renewal application during a heated meeting with bar owners. The advisory vote was meant to urge the SLA to follow suit.

Bar boss Louis Abreu said he has since hired another security guard to keep a handle on commotions on weekends, bumping the total detail to five.

“I’m a small business owner trying to do the best I can,” he said. “We’ve been keeping the noise down. I’m still willing to work with the neighborhood.”



J. Cole returns to Queens following Grammy Awards

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo


St. John’s University graduate and former Queens Courier employee Jermaine Lamarr Cole, better known as J. Cole, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration Sunday night, but unfortunately lost out to mentor Jay Z.

He returns to the borough Monday night, where he will be performing at Queens College for the VH1 Super Bowl Blitz.

J. Cole first received recognition in 2007 with the mix tape “The Come Up,” which was followed by two more mix tapes in 2009 and 2010; “The Warm Up,” and “Friday Night Lights.” In 2009 J. Cole was signed onto the Roc Nation Label, under the guidance of Jay Z.  The Roc Nation rapper’s debut album, “Cole World: The Sideline Story,” sold over 200,000 units in its first week.

In a 2011 interview with Courier sister publication Aspire magazine, J. Cole praised Jay Z.

“His advice is the best advice. Every time he gives advice, I realize why he is where he is. It wasn’t an accident—he really did study the game and he really knows what he’s talking about,” he said.

His most recent album, “Born Sinner,” released in 2013, was nominated for a Grammy for the song Power Trip featuring Miguel, for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Unfortunately J. Cole lost to Jay Z for his collaboration with Justin Timberlake for Holy Grail.

J. Cole is currently touring the world, promoting the “Born Sinner” album.

Before making it big, J.Cole worked at The Queens Courier in 2008 as a part-time sales telemarketer selling classified ads.

“It was the only job I could find that was real flexible with the hours; so I could go to the recording studio and be up real late and then go in to work at, like, 1 p.m,” J. Cole told Aspire.




Cheap Shots bar near St. John’s University may soon go dry

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A problematic bar near St. John’s University is facing its last call after a local community board voted against renewing its liquor license.

Community Board 8’s Liquor License Committee rejected Cheap Shots’ renewal application Monday, citing numerous complaints the 149-05 Union Tpke. bar has racked up since it opened in March 2010.

“This is the most I’ve heard about any establishment,” Committee Chair Michael Hannibal said. “There’s a concern.”

Rowdy customers break out in fights, repeatedly robbing neighbors in a residential area of a good night’s sleep, board members said.

Some have also been spotted urinating and vomiting in front of the bar, according to 107th Precinct Community Council President Carolann Foley.

“It appears to me your business is a cancer to the community,” said board member Marc Haken. “It is decaying the community. You have to be cut out of the community.”

Bar representatives have had multiple meetings with local civic leaders, but to no avail, the board said.

“It’s pretty serious,” said Councilmember Rory Lancman, calling the bar a “magnet for criminal activity” and the site of four arrests in the last year.

“Cheap Shots has failed to clean up its act and has instead remained a blight on our community,” he said.

The committee unanimously voted to shut down the renewal and urged the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) to follow suit.

The sobering news means Cheap Shots could be forced to close if it loses its ability to serve alcohol.

Its current liquor license expires Feb. 28. SLA officials did not immediately comment.

“Right now, we don’t know what this means for us. It’s basically in jeopardy,” said Louis Abreu, the bar’s owner. “I’m trying my best to fit in. It’s not easy, but I’m not throwing in the towel.”

The bar boss said he shells out at least $800 on security detail on weekends to keep a handle on commotions and often calls the police himself when fights erupt.

“What happened at the meeting was a lynch mob,” Abreu said.



Man of the Year: Joseph M. Mattone Sr.

| CShanahan@queenscourier.com


When Joseph M. Mattone Sr.’s grandparents arrived in New York from Italy after the American Civil War in 1875, it was with the hope of a better life for their children and generations of their family to come.

Mattone’s father was forced into adulthood at a young age, and therefore developed a strong work ethic that was passed down to his children.

It was this work ethic, coupled with a dedication to education, that provided the foundation for Mattone’s successful career.

Born in the height of the Great Depression in 1931, Mattone worked his way through New York City’s public school system and eventually landed at St. John’s University, where he earned his undergraduate and law degrees.

“I’ve known Joe Mattone since I met him in grammar school,” said former Governor Mario Cuomo. “He was a quiet, hardworking and highly intelligent student, who has grown steadily in those directions ever since. His intelligence and hard work made him an extremely successful entrepreneur, helping his family flourish and do well. Joe also shared his success and other good fortunes with many of his friends and his numerous great causes. He is still shy, with a sense of humor and humility that has made him popular with hundreds of people. He is Queens’ ‘Person of the Year,’ but for many of us, his close friends, and those hundreds of people who know him too, Joe will continue and always be ‘Person of the Year’ for years to come.”

Opening his first law office, located in a home built by his maternal grandfather in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, Mattone served as legal counsel for various local businesses.

“My father was the only one in his family to graduate from college and law school,” said Mattone’s son, Michael X. Mattone, chief financial officer of the Mattone Group. “All of that was made possible by the sacrifices of his parents and his siblings, all of whom took jobs at young ages to help with the family’s finances. My father was the baby and it was incredibly important to them that he achieve his goals.”

Mattone’s real estate development career began in 1955. At the urging of his older brother, Carl, Mattone had earned his Certificate of Appraisal at Columbia and took his first steps into the real estate industry by working on the trial of condemnation issues in both Brooklyn and Queens.

With wife Mary Ann and Pope Benedict after mass at the Vatican.

A very successful endeavor, this work got Mattone noticed by the major real estate developers he was representing at the time. These developers retained Mattone’s legal counsel to negotiate leases purchased on their behalf. For Mattone, what would become a lifelong passion for and commitment to real estate development was born.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Mattone worked on developing over 1 million square feet of commercial and industrial properties in Brooklyn and Queens.

By 1962, the young mogul branched out and began to develop real estate on his own. Some of his earliest independent endeavors included the development of service stations and fast food locations. He built and leased facilities to McDonald’s, Burger King, Texaco, Exxon and Mobil. In addition, Mattone built for and leased to Chemical Bank and Home Federal Savings and Loan.

                        Yearbook photo from St. John’s                                

At this same time, Mattone began to delve into residential properties, most notably, the Harway Terrace. The Terrace consisted of two 19-story, 360-unit apartment buildings in Brooklyn.

Today, Mattone sits as chairman and chief executive officer of the Mattone Group, a Queens-based development and construction company that handles commercial, residential and industrial properties.

A true testament to the scope and scale of the Mattone Group, the company currently manages over 1.5 million square feet of property in New York, Georgia and Florida. Under Mattone’s guidance, the group manages its property portfolio with professionalism, financial expertise and a dedication to providing clients with the very best service in the industry.

“Joe Mattone is a business leader of great integrity who cares deeply for his family, his friends, and his community,” said Aaron Fleishaker, Senior Vice President of Fairway Market.

  Brother Carl

In an always-evolving commercial real estate market, Mattone’s leadership has allowed the company to stay abreast of changes and new developments, and respond effectively. This has allowed the Mattone Group to maintain its high-quality, diversified portfolio.

Among the most important ways that Mattone has achieved the company’s mission is maintaining a conservative investment profile to continue the company’s 45-year history of successful investment.

The Mattone Group also focuses on creating value by utilizing the best resources of both the public and private sectors, acquiring assets within the New York metropolitan area, diversifying equity into office, retail, residential and industrial assets, and diversifying equity contributions to include the purchase of assets, with either triple net leases or value added development and renovation opportunities.

Since the Mattone Group was founded, its dedicated chairman has placed strong emphasis on successful commercial, residential and industrial development and management. This includes working closely with clients to develop properties that fit their criteria, right down to the smallest details. With Mattone at the head, he and his team handle all aspects of commercial property development and management, from cost analysis and site selection to construction oversight and occupant recruitment.

In fact, one of Mattone’s most notable properties in Queens is the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District, located in the heart of Jamaica.

“Queens is the home of the underdog … the place where the American Dream is still very much alive,” Michael Mattone said. “I think my father epitomizes that.”

In addition to his property development work, Mattone is also a senior partner in the law firm of Mattone, Mattone, Mattone, Mattone, Mattone, Megna and Todd, which is a full-service, Queens-based law firm. The firm represents several financial institutions as outside counsel for their residential mortgage closings, including Citi Mortgage, BNY Mortgage Co., LLC, Washington Mutual, HSBC Mortgage Corp, Emigrant Savings Bank, Wells Fargo, and GreenPoint Mortgage Company.

Joe celebrates his birthday surrounded by his seven children

Stemming from Mattone’s family history, the Mattone Group and members of the Mattone family have maintained a dedication to education throughout the years. A testament to his continued dedication, Mattone sits on the board of directors for Futures in Education and the Queens Chamber of Commerce.
He is currently a board member of St. John’s University and has been a trustee of the institution for many years.

“He has an incredible fondness for St. John’s University and St. John’s Law,” Michael Mattone said. “The Vincentian fathers allowed his family to pay tuition when they could, and he has never forgotten that.”
As a true display of his commitment to education, Mattone has been quoted as saying, “As the expression goes, it’s either the book or the gun. Choose the book.”

Mattone has spent his life and career instilling values of charity, service to the less fortunate and commitment to the community into the lives of his seven children and 27 grandchildren.

“My father’s success has enabled him to help so many people along the way,” said Michael Mattone. “He sees it as his obligation to give back, like the many people who helped him along his path to success.”

In fact, Mattone has been an active philanthropist since early in his career. In the 1970s, he was honored for his services as chairman of the St. Vincent’s Home, Queens Division.

With Governor Andrew Cuomo

In 1983, he was selected as “Man of the Year” by the Italian Charities of America for his commitment to the organization and the people that it serves.
From 1983 to 1987, Mattone served as general chairman of the annual dinner of the Order of Sons of Italy.

His fundraising did not stop there, as he served as the general ticket chairman for the Coalition of Italian American Organizations from 1984 through 1995.

“In the 35 years I’ve known him, despite the complexity of his life, he has always been able to maintain relationships and always has time for everyone,” said son-in-law, Dr. Gaetano Bello. “He has been so generous and philanthropic and is the best example of what a real father, husband and businessman should be. He is honorable and upstanding. Everyone who knows him admires him.”

Throughout his career, much to the honor and delight of his children, grandchildren and loving wife Mary Ann, Mattone has been the recipient of the Good Scout Award from the Queens Council Boy Scouts of America, the Progress of People’s Achievement Award from the Catholic Charities, the Community Leader Award from the Queens Symphony Orchestra and the Spirit of Service Award from St. John’s University.

The acknowledgement from St. John’s holds particular significance due to Mattone’s personal and professional involvement with the university, where he met his first wife, Irene.

And this year, the Columbus Citizens Foundation’s annual fundraising event paid tribute to Mattone.

Late wife Irene at top left, with daughters, Teresa, Fran, Irene and Julie

In describing his father’s long career, Michael Mattone fondly says, “His success inspires me not because of the material aspects, but because of how it has enabled him to help so many people along the way. When I talk to my kids about success, I use their grandfather as the perfect example of how being successful gives you the ability to help others.”

“It is not enough to simply call Joe the ‘Person of the Year’,” says Mattone’s longtime friend, Judge Joseph Golia. “He is respectful, a regular church attendee, intelligent, humorous, charitable. These are just a few of the many accolades that encompass Joe’s character. He’s committed to young people. He contributes to many Catholic charities that support education, which is a testament to his sincere concern for education.

He is just a very honest, upfront, truthful person. It’s hard to find someone with all these traits.”

Bruce Ratner, Executive Chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies, echoed the sentiment: “Joe Mattone is one of the finest, most giving individuals that I have ever met. We go back many years as both friends and business partners. I am grateful for the many years that I have had the honor to know him and experience first-hand his integrity, his business acumen, his humanity and his wonderful family. I congratulate Joe and the whole Mattone family on this well-deserved honor.”




SNOW DAY: NYC public schools closed Friday

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

All New York City public schools are closed Friday due to Snowstorm Hercules, education officials announced.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña made the call to give city kids a snow day Jan. 3 shortly after 5 a.m. Friday field trips, PSAL games and after-school activities are also called off.

St. John’s University and Queensborough Community College has closed, as well, university officials said.

The first major snowstorm of 2014 so far has forced the temporary shutdown of the Long Island Expressway from the Queens/Nassau County border to Riverhead.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the ban on commercial and passenger vehicles will be extended until 8 a.m.

A winter storm warning has been issued until 1 p.m. Friday. About five to nine inches of snow are expected, with winds up to 35 mph, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Kew Gardens and South Ozone Park had accumulated more than 5 inches of snow as of 4 a.m., according to NWS. 



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Thursday: Overcast. High of 48. Winds from the East at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the South in the afternoon. Thursday night: Overcast. Low of 45. Winds from the SSW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: CabaNOIR: The 15th Annual Cabaret For Charity

Come to St. John’s University Little Theatre for a fabulous night of music and dancing set in the classic era of film noir. It’s cops versus gangsters “Under Pressure” in this tale that you won’t soon forget and would be “Crazy” to miss! The Cabaret is an annual production of the St. John’s University Chappell Players Theatre Group. All proceeds go to the St. John’s Bread and Life Program in their tireless efforts against poverty and hunger in the five boroughs of New York City. Thursday, November 21, – Saturday, November 23. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Police arrest Flushing attempted rape suspect

Cops have arrested a man and charged him with the attempted rape of a woman in Flushing, said police. Read more: The Queens Courier

De Blasio meets with Bratton, Banks, Pineiro

Bill Bratton, who served as New York’s police commissioner from 1994 to 1996, met at length yesterday with Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio. Read more: Fox New York

NYC council members make their pitches to be next speaker

The race is on to succeed Christine Quinn as the New York City Council speaker. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Toll hikes kicking in over Thanksgiving weekend

The Port Authority will be stuffing its coffers with holiday travelers’ cash. Read more: New York Post

President Obama presents freedom medals to Clinton, others

President Barack Obama bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on former President Bill Clinton and a dozen other prominent Americans 50 years after the death of the award’s founder, President John F. Kennedy. Read more: AP