Archive for December 4th, 2017

Rino’s Restaurant serves lasting memories

By Robert Wirsing

Bronx Times

After more than three decades of serving traditional Italian fare an iconic Bronx restaurant has closed its doors.

Saturday, August 27 marked the final day for Rino’s Italian Restaurant, but it was just like any other day for the well-known East Tremont Avenue eatery.

Many customers patronized Rino’s on Friday, August 26 to dine with family and friends and wish the restaurant’s staff well.

Popular Italian music and laughter filled the air.

This same day, Fr. Robert Dunn, Jeanne Jugan Residence chaplain, celebrated his birthday at the restaurant with his family and blessed the staff.

Rino’s co-owners Gaspar D’Rendi and Carmine Fardella, grew up in the restaurant business which served as the catalyst for their careers.

Both were employed at other restaurants before they ventured out on their own.

D’Rendi and Fardella’s dream became reality when they first opened Rino’s in Morris Park on February 12, 1983.

Rino’s would relocate to Throggs Neck in 1990 where it became a neighborhood staple.

The old-fashioned restaurant specialized in heaping portions of familiar Italian American classics such as chicken marsala, linguine Rino’s and fried calamari among others leading to its 333 years of success.

D’Rendi and Fardella sold the business so they could enjoy retirement.

Fardella said a Japanese hibachi restaurant is in the works for Rino’s location.

“We’ve been packed since this past Monday,” said D’Rendi. “A lot of people come here with their families telling us how much this restaurant has meant to them.”

The partners said they look forward to spending time with their family and grandchildren.

Michael Bernard, Ring 10 vice president, said Ring 10 would meet at Rino’s the second Tuesday of every month with police officers, lawyers, local politicians and residents to discuss event and fundraising ideas for retired boxers in need.

Lifelong Throggs Neck resident and Ring 10 member, John Marano has been going to Rino’s since he was six-years-old.

Marano celebrated many milestones at his favorite eatery throughout the years including his St. Frances de Chantal School 25th Reunion, family and friends’ birthdays and First Holy Communions.

“It’s a cozy restaurant with great food and friends,” he said. “Gaspar and Carmine treat everyone like family and we hope they will stay in touch with us.”

Rino’s was one of many local businesses that participated in the Throggs Neck Merchants Association’s inaugural Throggs Neck Restaurant Week.

“Rino’s has been a neighborhood institution for many years and have always been an active participant in many of our events,” said Stephen Kaufman, TNMA president.

He added, Rino’s allowed TNMA to host many meetings at the eatery.

“We wish Gaspar and Carmine tremendous happiness on their retirement. They’ve worked very hard and deserve it,” Kaufman said.

The former log cabin at 3938 E. Tremont Avenue has been the home to many restaurants.

For decades it was the Neck Inn and later it featured big band music as Buster Long’s.

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Source: Bronx Times Reporter

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Throggs Neck Restaurant Week offers cool deals during dog days of summer


By Arthur Cusano

Bronx Times

The Throggs Neck Merchant Association’s Summer Restaurant Week kicked off Thursday, August 18 at Rosy’s Manor Hall on East Tremont Avenue.

Merchant association president Stephen Kaufman said the event, which runs from August 19 to September 14, is aimed at boosting business in what is often seen as a quiet time for neighborhood eateries, and as a way to draw attention to what he considered a burgeoning dining destination.

“I think we’re becoming a real restaurant row,” Kaufman said. “The restaurants are great and we want them to develop a relationship where customers can dine on great food and not have it cost a fortune.”

The association held a restaurant week in January, which Kaufman said was very successful

“It was brutal outside, but a lot of the restaurants did great, they made money,” he said.

Yamada Japanese restaurant manager Kelly Chen was one of the merchants serving samples of dishes to guests.

She said the event was a good way to bring neighborhood merchants together and help build community.

“I hope this gets even better as more and more restaurants join,” she said.

Yamada was the first in the area to offer sushi in Throggs Neck before it caught on in the outer boroughs.

“Before us, a lot of our customers would go to Manhattan to eat sushi,” she said. “When we opened they were so happy.”

Yamada is offering a special prix fixe deal through September 4: an appetizer, main course and dessert for $25.

In addition to sushi, Yamada also offers a wide variety of Japanese dishes like hibachi and teriyaki.

They recently renovated the restaurant to accommodate more customers and a full bar, offering a large selection of sake.

“Sushi and sake go perfect together,” she said.

Cabo Mexican restaurant general manager Rubin Ramos has operated the eatery for eight months

He said publicity from merchant’s association events like restaurant week go a long way in boosting awareness of neighborhood eateries like his.

“We have good food there, but people walk by the restaurant and they have no knowledge of our food,” Ramos said.

Cabo executive chef Fernando Avelino will offer up a new three-course prix fixe menu special every night for restaurant week, in addition to the regular menu, Ramos added.

“We have pork chops, we have churrasco skirt steaks, we have salmon a la plancha, a lot of stuff – not just tacos and burritos.”

Association technology director Hussein Nouri said the official poster featuring participants would soon be all over the neighborhood.

“We’re going to start putting them out in all the neighborhoods and putting them in windows,” he said. “We advertise on Facebook and so far we have over 2,000 people who have signed up for our updates.”

For a complete list of participating restaurants, go to

Reach Reporter Arthur Cusano at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at

Source: Bronx Times Reporter

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Ribbon cut on $2 million in renovations at Morris Heights Health Center

By Patrick Rocchio

Bronx Times

Morris Heights Health Center celebrated the completion of $2 million in renovations that should help in its delivery of community-based health care.

The community-based health center had a lot to celebrate at a ceremony on Thursday, August 11.

Councilman Fernando Cabrera was on hand to cut the ribbon.

The renovations were funded by $1.5 million in NYC Council Bronx delegation money and over $500,000 from Cabrera in capital improvement funding, according to the councilman.

Gabriel Vonleh, MHHC president, said that Cabrera was instrumental in securing funding from the city council, and said the councilman had come to the aid of the medical center when MHHC asked for help.

“What they have done is to change the entire look and feel of the atrium and some of our exam rooms, and Vonleh. “They have brought positive success to this community, bringing (MHHC) to the level of any high end medical center.”

In the ceremony celebrating the occasion, Cabrera said that MHHC was a beacon of hope in the community.

“It (now) looks like a very welcoming, inviting family health center right here on Burnside,” said the councilman.

He added: “These upgrades greatly improve the quality of care provided to this community.”

Among the improvements to MHHC was second and third floor upgrades to all patient exam rooms, renovations to an atrium, as well as new ceiling tiles, flooring and sinks.

They also include a new waiting area and fire alarm system, as well as improved air conditioning and ventilation, energy efficient lighting and asbestos abatement.

The celebration of the upgrades coincided with National Health Center Week, which was recognized at several points in the program.

As part of the week dedicated to recognizing the contributions of community based healthcare providers, Senator Gustavo Rivera presented a proclamation celebrating MHHC as part of the weeklong celebration.

The senator said that MHHC is a long-standing community center that is federally qualified to provide health care, and that the organization is “engrained in the community.”

“The difference between (MHHC) and other types of organizations like hospitals, for example, is that they are based in the community, they are operated by people in the community, (and) they understand community issues,” said Rivera, adding that people can get affordable and quality health care at MHHC.

Orlando Roboredo gave MHHC a proclamation from the mayor’s office. Roboredo is Americorps program manager for the Community Health Care Association of New York State.

MHHC’s LEAP Awards were presented to employees who exemplify the community health center movement.

Award winners were Merril Alexander, Jonelle Chang, Tommy Chen, Justine Flores, Heidi Kolman, Kay-Ann Lawrence, Kimberly Lopez, Dr. N’Gadie Kamara-Taylor, Johnny Urena and Amy Xu.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260?4597. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

Source: Bronx Times Reporter

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De Blasio holds Town Hall meeting


By Robert Christie

Bronx Times

Bronx community leaders and residents got a chance to speak to Mayor Bill de Blasio during a Town Hall at Villa Barone Manor on Wednesday, August 10.

The mayor touched on issues such as homelessness, Councilman James Vacca’s ‘road diet’ plan and the Rodman’s Neck police shooting range.

Lisa Soren, executive director of the Westchester Square Business Improvement District, asked Mayor de Blasio to address the influx of mentally ill homeless people into the shopping area

She wondered if there was a way to make sure patients coming from state mental health facilities were not left on the street.

She also accused the city of having a “hands off” approach when it comes to addressing homelessness in the Bronx.

De Blasio took issue with Soren’s “hands off” comments and said the NYPD and the mayor’s office are working on the Bronx’ homeless issue.

The mayor pointed specifically to the NYPD’s commitment to removing encampments in the Bronx.

Bronx Commander Larry W. Nikunen said as recently as April the NYPD removed an encampment in Pelham Bay Park.

He said 45th Precinct captain Danielle Raia led her officers as they they addressed a homeless encampment, offered them residence and substance abuse help, then dislodged them.

Nikunen said this is the process for every encampment the NYPD encounters.

In addition, once they clear an encampment, officers return to the location to make sure there are no stragglers.

If people return, the NYPD will repeat the process.

Monique Johnson, president of the Throggs Neck Houses Residents Association, expressed concern about formally homeless families living in NYC Housing Authority apartments.

She said some of these families behave like they are still on the street.

Johnson said this causes problems for residents in adjoining apartments.

De Blasio said many homeless New Yorkers are stable people who just fell on hard times.

He said sometimes it is difficult for them to adjust to life outside a shelter.

In addition, the mayor said if anyone “knows a homeless family … that can’t hack it” then they should reach out to the NYC Human Resources Association.

De Blasio also talked about Councilman Vacca’s ‘road diet’ plan which appeared to be the most contentious part of the meeting.

The plan calls for the removal of a lane in each direction on East Tremont Avenue – from Waterbury Avenue to Bruckner Boulevard.

The idea is to slow down motorists on the main roadway that has claimed the lives of two pedestrians in hit and run accidents over the last three years.

John Cerini, member of the Throggs Neck Merchants Association and a vocal critic of Vacca’s plan, challenged de Blasio.

Cerini said the public voted for both Vacca and de Blasio and they were not listening to their constituents on the issue.

Cerini’s message has been the plan will create more traffic jams and force motorists to detour onto nearby residential streets.

The ‘road diet’ plan is apart of the mayor’s ‘Vision Zero’ initiative to decrease motorists/cyclist/pedestrian fatalities in the city.

De Blasio told Cerini that Vision Zero has “saved many dozens of lives” and helped to “avoid crashes that cause undue harm.”

He also stood by the lane reduction plan, saying elected officials are called to use their judgement and have “a sacred obligation” to save lives.

Vacca reminded residents the road adjustments will be “done in paint” so they can be undone if necessary.

Discussion was a little less contentious when the mayor responded to City Island Civic Association president Barbara Dolensek’s request for help with the ongoing noise at Rodman’s Neck.

Communities around Eastchester Bay have complained for years about the noise coming from the NYPD shooting range.

De Blasio promised that a new 10-year capital budget – expected to be released in January 2017 – will include funds for an upgrade to the police training facility which will include soundproofing.

The mayor also addressed the construction of the westbound side of Pelham Parkway.

Tony Vitaliano, chair of Community Board 11, asked that while the city is working on the reconstruction of the parkway they consider keeping open a small access roadway.

The city engineers suggested returning the road to parkland, but Vitaliano said he would like the access road retained and named Mother Theresa Lane.

In addition, Vitaliano asked that a Civil War-era tree, which is scheduled for removal, be left alone.

“I love the Mother Theresa idea,” said de Blasio.

He also said he is a proponent of saving trees, however he added if his staff determines they cannot save the tree then he would have to listen to them.

Andrea Siegel, president of the Pelham Parkway Association, asked for an update on the city’s progress in creating a better outdoor experience around the Pelham Parkway Mall.

The project includes walking and bicycle paths, lawn restoration and seating areas, however Siegel, who lives in Pelham Parkway South, said the construction is at a standstill.

De Blasio instructed Iris Rodriguez, Bronx commissioner for the NYC Parks, to personally go down to the site and report back her findings.

The meeting left some residents dissatisfied.

Andrew Chirico, vice president of the Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association, felt “members of the Waterbury LaSalle community were deliberately passed over by Mr. Vacca during the question and answer session because he knew we would give him the toughest arguments about the traffic on East Tremont Avenue.”

In addition, he took issue with the fact the expansion of P.S. 14 was not discussed.

The organization is opposed to the size of the project.

Vacca said after the meeting that he called on approximately 90 percent of the people present during the three-hour session.

In addition, he said he never saw Chirico raise his hand.

Vacca also pointed out that Cerini, who was against his traffic plan, was one of the first speakers called upon.

Vacca said overall he felt the residents took advantage of the opportunity to bring their concerns before the mayor and he thought the meeting was a success.

Photo spread of the Town Hall meeting can bee seen on page 36.

Reach Reporter Robert Christie at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at

Source: Bronx Times Reporter

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[THROGGS NECK] Throggs Neck Christmas Tree Lighting Brightens Spirits


By Robert Wirsing

Bronx Times

The Throggs Neck community had a merry time celebrating the holiday season with a Christmas tree lighting sponsored by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto on Sunday, December 4 at DeRosa and O’Boyle Triangle.

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus traveled all the way from the North Pole to meet local children and help distribute gifts supplied by the Throggs Neck Merchants Association.

Source: Bronx Times Reporter

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