Dishing with Dee: K of C raises $10K for a boro Memorial Day parade

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June 26 was the day of the birth of a new Queens tradition to be known as “Whitestone Family Appreciation Day.” It was a day of great fun in the sun with camaraderie involved among the many diverse groups participating in the event.

The origin’s founders are Monsignor Francis J. Dillon of Council No. 5872 of the Knights of Columbus, the Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association and the North Queens United Group.

The event was held in Francis Lewis Park on 3rd Avenue both next to and under the Whitestone Bridge. Weather-wise it was a lovely, warm summer day. It lasted from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. We arrived there around 1:30 p.m. and left around 4:30 p.m. By the time we left, everything was still going strong. Everyone was having so much fun it seemed as though they wanted to stretch the fun out to the last minute.

There was so much to see and do it was difficult to decide where to start. There was a live, four-piece band that played all day to the delight of those who got up and danced — including our state Sen. Frank Padavan. For the children there were pony rides, face painting, basketball and several types of inflatable entertainment games, rides and slides. For the adults there were all-day bocce tournaments conducted on the two new bocci courts that had just been installed.

There were free hot dogs supplied by the Knights of Columbus, bottles of Poland Spring water courtesy of Elio Forcina and Albert ´╗┐Maimone, free Ralph’s Italian Ices and free pizza from the original Cascarino’s in College Point. All the tables had 5-gallon empty water bottles so you could make a donation — in fact, $10,000 was raised. The proceeds from the raffles and donations for the food and rides will go to the Whitestone Veterans Memorial Association, earmarked to help fund its annual Memorial Day parade. It was a win-win for everyone.

Of course, a public event would not be complete without the presence of our local politicians — both elected and those wanting to be elected. The two elected officials present while we were there were Padavan and City Councilman Dan Halloran. The posse of wannabes were Republicans Rob Speranza and Vinny Tabone, who are running for state Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza’s seat and on the Democratic side of the aisle those running for the same seat are Forcina and Steve Behar. Behar informed me that while his dad is Jewish, his mom is Italian, so he believes he should also be considered as part of the large number of Italian candidates running in the district. Ed Braunstein is a third Democrat running for Carrozza’s seat, but while we were there, he was not present.

Candidates for the 16th Senate District seat, held by Sen. Toby Stavisky, were present. Those present were Bob Schwartz and John Messer. The third Democratic challenger, Isaac Sasson, was not available since he was observing the sabbath.

All the opposition candidates believe the current public attitude is anti-incumbent. The results of a number of recent elections seem to substantiate that belief. Thus they feel Stavisky is vulnerable. If the race were Stavisky pitted against one opponent, it would seem they have a point. But when it’s three against one it seems they would divide the vote, thereby making it easier for Stavisky to win, as there are no Republicans running in the 16th Senate seat race. I guess whoever wins the September primary will be the November winner.

I just had a conversation with Schwartz and he said he is running on the Conservative line. If that is true, there will be a candidate running against her in the general election. Does this change the equation?

We also understand Anthony Como has entered the race against Sen. Joseph Addabbo. The only problem is it’s rather late in the game. Is there enough time to orchestrate a creditable and winning race? I guess it all boils down to how much money you can raise and how strong a sizable support team you can muster up. Under the right circumstances anything is doable but requires connecting all the dots.

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

Till next week, Dee.

Updated 5:58 pm, October 10, 2011
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