Photo courtesy Tony Avella
By Phil Corso

There were some new kinds of presents under the tree at this year’s holiday celebration for the Bayside Historical Society.

During the group’s annual party, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) presented three northeast Queens community leaders Janice Melnick, Paul Graziano, and Michael Genovese with Senate proclamations to recognize them for their civic contributions to the borough.

Melnick, a former northeast Queens city park administrator, was recently named an administrator for Flushing Meadows Corona Park and has been an active member of the borough community, Avella said.

“As northeast Queens park administrator, Ms. Melnick was responsible for almost 900 acres of parkland, including Little Bay Park, Joe Michael’s Mile, Crocheron Park, John Golden Park, Udall’s Cove Park Preserve, and Alley Pond Park,” Avella said.

Melnick also played a key role in the development of Fort Totten from a military base to a public park, Avella said.

The senator also gave a Senate proclamation to Graziano, a lifelong North Flushing native and founder of the Associated Cultural Resource Consultants management firm. Throughout his service in northeast Queens, Graziano helped establish reputable organizations like the North Flushing Civic Association, the North East Flushing Civic Association, and the Waldheim Neighborhood Association.

“Paul is an expert in the fields of land use, zoning and planning and historic preservation,” Avella said. “While Paul has consulted regularly in four states, including New York, he has concentrated much of his efforts towards advocating the protection and preservation of neighborhoods in Queens.”

Genovese, a teacher at Holy Cross High School on Francis Lewis Boulevard, also received the honor at the annual holiday event. Since he first started teaching 43 years ago, Genovese has been named director of Service Learning, a program he founded, where he has worked on the mayor’s Task Force for Student Volunteers through the mayor’s voluntary action center during the tenures of Mayors Ed Koch, David Dinkins and Rudolph Giuliani.

Genovese also served on the governor’s task force under Mario Cuomo’s administration.

“Through the auspices of Mr. Genovese, the Bayside Historical Society has benefited from his commitment to instilling the merits of volunteerism into the students at Holy Cross High School and has been supplied with a steady stream of willing, dedicated and enthusiastic young men who have assisted them with a multitude of tasks and assignments,” Avella said.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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