Dishing with Dee: New Year’s revelers pack house at Flushing eatery

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Good friend and Eastern Queens Democratic District leader Chet Szarejko was in the North Shore Hospital in Manhasset awaiting a triple-bypass operation. His wife, Marion, said it was to be last Thursday or Friday. Say a prayer for Chet. He will appreciate it. Get well soon, Chet. We love and miss you.

The downtown Flushing Asian community held a large Lunar New Year celebration at Gum Fung Restaurant honoring the Year the Monkey. The place was packed to the rafters.

Some of the Asian politicians, activists and business people there were Fred Fu, Flushing Chinese Business Association president; Wellington Chen, a consultant at F&T International; Ethel Chen, a Democratic district leader; Ellen Young, who works in City Councilman John Liu’s office; Thomas Chen of Crystal Windows and Doors; Mabel Law, executive director of the Flushing Business Improvement District; partners at F&T International Michael Lee and Sunny Chiu, as well as Jennifer Chiu and Pauline Chiu.

Some of the non-Asian guests were New York Secretary of State Randy Daniels; state Sens. Serf Maltese and Toby Stavisky; state Assemblyman Barry Grodenchik; City Councilmen Liu and Hiram Monserrate; Bill Egan of the Queens Chamber of Commerce; Eduardo Marti, president of Queensborough Community College; and James Muyskens, president of Queens College.

Former Borough President Claire Shulman also showed up, as did Gene Kelty, chairman of Community Board 7; Myra Baird Herce and Chuck Wade of the Flushing Chamber of Commerce; Debbie Markell of the Mayor’s Community Assistance Unit; Janet Malone of the Northeast Queens Republican Club and Detective Frank Seabrook of the 109th Precinct.

All the Queens weekly community publications were well represented. They included the TimesLedger Newspapers, the Tribune, the Courier and the Chronicle. It was fun seeing lots of old friends again.

In all, more than 300 guests attended. The food was good and the entertainment was rather special. And, of course, there were the mandatory dragon and lion dances. I never considered break dancing an Asian art, but the dancers that night were spectacular.

The group also unveiled the model for the Queens Crossing complex, which will be on the site of the old Queens County Savings Bank on Main Street and 39th Avenue. At the risk of sounding like a wet blanket, what about parking? It truly is a beautiful building and will be the centerpiece of downtown Flushing.

The same situation came up last week at the Flushing Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Sheraton LaGuardia East. Guest speaker Stavisky said she has seen the plans for the RKO Keith’s Theater renovations. That building will also be beautiful when it is completed. But again, the bane of all builders, where are the tenants and their visitors going to park?

Sometime soon someone is going to have to buy a parcel of land just for parking. They could make three levels underground and at least six above ground, but I guess the land is too scarce and valuable to waste on just parking facilities, at least from a builder’s point of view.

The reason for the proliferation of suburban shopping malls is that they provide huge parking lots and an enclosed facility heated in the winter and air-conditioned in the summer in a convenient, enclosed environment. They had severe parking problems — even back then.

Another interesting event that took place Jan. 30 was the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new Law and Order High School on Guy R. Brewer Boulevard in Jamaica. The concept is original and innovative. Students must adhere to a dress code and become aware of the interaction of all areas of education and how their choices affect the rest of their lives. The school has many well-rounded offerings, with more to come as it evolves.

As part of the ceremony, the students performed a musical rendition of an excerpt from “Othello.” It was great. Truly a professional performance.

During the day the building will be used as a high school and at night it will be used by they Police Athletic League.

All the VIPs were there to show support for the project. Some included NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly; former NYPD Commissioner Howard Safir; Queens Borough President Helen Marshall; Queens District Attorney Richard Brown; state Sens. Ada Smith and Malcolm Smith; Shulman; and Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.

A thank you to Claire for telling me about the event and a double thank you to Dominick Totino for giving Claire and me a lift to the event. Without Dominick it would have been tough to find the place, let alone a parking spot. Thank you, Dominick, I owe you and Claire a luncheon, my treat.

Claire said the High School of Law and Order was a combined effort of her and Morganthau’s offices. The idea for the school was talked about six years ago and put into effect about four years ago. Morgenthau is the chairman of the PAL and is delighted.

Don’t forget to call me on my voice mail at 718-767-6484, fax me at 718-746-0066 or e-mail me at

Till next week,


Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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