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CaffÉ on the Green rang in new year on somber note

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New Year’s Eve was bittersweet, as we had planned on going to a friend’s house early in the evening and later join revelers at Il Bacco in Little Neck to welcome in the new year. It was to be a dual celebration, as it was Joe Oppedisano’s 50th birthday, too. Happy birthday, Joe! Joe is, of course, the proprietor of Il Bacco.

We were aware that Jan. 31 was to be the last day of Joe Franco’s CaffÉ on the Green at its present location. We had planned on having a few “girls’ night out” dinners during January. But suddenly, we were informed that New Year’s Eve was to be CaffÉ on the Green’s last night. We decided to join Joe Franco for New Year’s Eve.

Nine of us went: Myra Baird−Herce; Chuck Wade; Debbie Markell; Barry Kleinert; Nettie Mayersohn and her friend, Roz Edelstein; Joanne De Martino; Jim Darmos; and myself. Joanne Ariola was scheduled to join us, but at the last minute had a change of plans.

Joe joined us at the end of the evening. He was his usual charming self — the ultimate host. He will be sorely missed. Anyone can pour a drink or serve a meal, but not everyone can exude the charisma and concern Joe did for his guests. Joe also gave back to the community and also gave his support to the many organizations that held their events at his establishment.

Joe told us that CaffÉ on the Green will be relocating to an area locally and that we could check on the progress on the restaurant’s Web site.

Joe, we all love you and will be regulars at whatever location you relocate to. This is what I meant earlier by a bittersweet celebration.

On New Year’s Day, we attended the annual at−home reception of a powerful Queens resident at his Bayside home. Both he and his wife prefer to be anonymous. An invitation to their event is to be coveted.

What a great way to start the new year. One of the guests was former U.S. Sen. Al D’Amato, his wife and their new, beautiful baby. U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman and his wife, Rita, were also there. He reminded me that the “Ackerbus” leaves for Washington, D.C. Jan. 6 at 5 a.m.

Not being a morning person, these are words every night owl loves to hear. This must be at least, if not more, my 10th trip. It is a long, exhausting day, but not to be missed. I will tell you all about it next week.

On Saturday, Eric Ulrich had a fund−raising luncheon at Villa Russo in Richmond Hill. Eric is running in the Howard Beach special election to fill state Sen. Joe Addabbo’s City Council seat. They have 12 days to gather their petition signatures. The official kick−off was Jan. 3 and they planned on starting after the luncheon. From what I understand, Feb. 24 is the special election, which does not give them much time to get all their ducks in a row.

Later Saturday evening, we stopped by Molly Honigsfeld’s apartment. Molly was having a holiday cocktail party. Congratulations, Molly, on being promoted to chairwoman of the Queens Independence Party. I have known Molly for years and she deserves the promotion.

I met attorney Angel Del Villar at Molly’s party. It seems Angel is one of the candidates for state Sen. Hiram Monserrate’s Council seat. That seat will also be decided in the special election.

On Sunday, Lois Marback and Chet Szarejko held their annual luncheon at the Jade King Restaurant in Flushing. Their club, the Queens County Progressive Democratic Club, is endorsing Julissa Ferreras, Monserrate’s chief of staff, for his Council seat, which is the same one Del Villar has his eye on. This should be interesting.

That’s it for this week.

I look forward to hearing from you with information on people, parties and politics or gossip.

I look forward to receiving your voice mails at 718−767−6484, faxes at 718−746−0066 and e−mails at deerrichard@aol.com.

Don’t forget to check out the “Focus on Queens” page.

Till next week, Dee.

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