Dishing with Dee: Electeds show for Valentino’s on the Green ribbon-cutting

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While the days are getting shorter, the list of events to cover is getting longer. There were a number of notable events this week, but by far the most interesting one was the ribbon-cutting ceremony/cocktail party at Valentino’s on the Green in Bayside, which was formerly known as Caffé on the Green.

The new owners spent a fortune, more than $4 million to be exact, redoing the place, including installing an elevator. That was a wise decision, as the catering facilities are on the second floor and some of the grandpas and grandmas have difficulty handling stairs but still want to take part in celebrations.

The staff includes managing partner Giorgio Kolaj, chief partner Don Pintabona, wine director Don Castaldo, chef Jimmy Canora, pastry chef Lauren Ragone and general manager Michael La Hara, all of whom have been associated with many of the finest eateries in New York City.

The attendees at the ribbon-cutting read like a veritable who’s who of Queens and beyond. We can’t list them all, but some of the most familiar were Adrian Benepe, Dorothy Lewandowski, Betsy Smith and Estelle Cooper, all of the city Parks Department; Cardinal Edward Egan; state Sens. Frank Padavan, Joseph Addabbo and Toby Stavisky; Councilmen Dan Halloran, Peter Koo and Peter Vallone and his brothers Paul and Perry Vallone and dad Peter Vallone Sr.; U.S. Reps. Gary Ackerman and Peter King; and city Comptroller John Liu.

In addition to the above electeds were Claire Shulman, Dolly De Thomas, Debbie Markell, Gene Kelty, Marilyn Bitterman of Community Board 11, Sophia Gianosis and Jack Friedman of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, tennis great Martina Navratilova as well as my good friend Sal Bacarella of Garden Works, who did all the magnificent landscaping. Great job, Sal — the flowers were just beautiful!

It was a lovely evening and the new deck they had installed was a perfect place for the cocktail party and the hors d’oeuvres were to die for. In case you haven’t guessed, I as well as all the other guests really enjoyed a spectacular evening. It looks as though we have all found a new, charming place to meet, eat and greet.

Let’s not neglect all our politicos, both the incumbents and the wannabes. They have been scurrying around with all the last-minute preparations prior to the primaries, which this year were Tuesday. Unfortunately, some of the candidates’ last-minute details include tearing down each others’ posters, removing lawn signs and last-day horrific negative mailers, which may have a grain of truth buried in tons of lies — or should we say gross hyperboles? — to say nothing of interfering with each others’ post office mailings, etc.

Hey, fellas, how about forgetting the schoolyard bully stuff and show us responsible, grown-up behavior which will give us confidence that if we elect or re-elect you, you will be able to competently handle the business of your constituents? What a nice, refreshing change that would be.

Primary Day was Tuesday, so we will have to wait until next week’s paper to discuss the results. From all reports, Primary Day will be a day to remember. It will be the introduction of the new computerized voting machines. I understand in some sectors confusion reigns. How will this affect the results of the election? Perhaps after the fact next week we will have a better handle on things.

This election cycle is one of utmost importance for many reasons. No matter what your party or who you prefer as a candidate, get out and vote. Because if you don’t, you can’t complain about the results, can you?

See you at the polls!

Last Thursday, the Jefferson Democratic Club celebrated its 100th anniversary at the Douglaston Manor. The honorees were James J. Wyrnn Jr., Cathy Nolan, Rosemary Kelly and Freddie Delligatti. Congratulations to all.

Also last Thursday, Albert Baldeo held a buffet dinner at the Villa Russo honoring cricket great Clive Lloyd. It, too, was a fun evening.

That’s it for this week.

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

I like receiving your voice mails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at

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

Till next week, Dee.

Updated 6:20 pm, October 10, 2011
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