THE CHEYENNE DINER, one of the last original railcar-style diners in Manhattan, has closed its doors at 33rd Street and Ninth Avenue to make way for a nine-story residential and commercial development, reported AmNewYork’s Urbanite. Instead of being slated for demolition, however, the neon-lit, chrome trimmed diner will be starting a new chapter in Red Hook, thanks in large part to the dedication of the preservationists at the Committee To Save The Cheyenne Diner.
MIKE O’CONNELL, son of Red Hook developer Greg O’Connell, has purchased the 68-year-old diner for $5,000 and is currently working to obtain permits to move the historic building to its new site. He is also talking with Ohio-based professional diner refurbisher Steve Harwin, who may come to NY to help restore and move the Cheyenne. Prefabricated diners built between the ‘30s and ‘50s are Harwin’s specialty.
“I can’t begin to tell you how many people are excited about it in Red Hook,” said Greg O’Connell. “It’s a great thing, and my son is so excited over this.”
Preservationists Michael Perlman of Queens, founder of the Committee To Save The Cheyenne Diner, and Kyle Supley of Brooklyn were the driving forces behind the Cheyenne’s rescue. (Both also helped to ensure that the Moondance diner was spared last summer, and it is on track to open this summer in LaBarge, Wyo.) After property owner George Papas announced two weeks ago that the Cheyenne was closing to make way for construction, Perlman presented Papas with a proposal regarding his desire to find a buyer who would keep the diner within the boroughs. He is delighted with the outcome. “It will gain a new lease on life in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and contribute to the appeal of an up and coming neighborhood,” said Perlman. “Keeping it within the five boroughs, especially in a time when NYC is losing its history, emphasizes how progress can be in the ideal sense. We take pride that Papas was sensitive to our proposal and extend our thanks, and also thank Mike O’Connell for taking on a noble cause.”
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JUNE JOHNSON, chairperson of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights, and Dr. Anna V. Sarubbi of Maimonides Medical Center were honored April 10 by Bay Ridge Business and Professional Women’s Club (BPW) for their respective work in the community.
Johnson was given the honor for her dedication to helping cancer patients for the past 23 years. Sarubbi was honored for her various works. She has worked at Maimonides since 1998 as a primary care physician and in 2007 was named one of the top physicians in the US by AMICO. She has also lectured on a number of topics including child health and diagnosing and treating tuberculosis.
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LESTER PETRACCA, president of Triangle Equities, and Professor Rex Nettleford, founder and artistic director of National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica (NDTC), will be honored at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts’ Ovation Awards Gala on May 1. Petracca will receive the Brooklyn Corporate Leadership Award for his dedication to transforming neighborhoods and improving the quality of life for residents throughout NYC.
Gala Co-Chairs Michael Flanigan, Citibank director of community relations, and Karl Rodney, president and CEO of New York CaribNews, will be joined by Board Chair Dr. Christoph M. Kimmich, Board President Antonia Yuille Williams, Managing Director Frank L. Sonntag, Artistic Director Seth Soloway, and a benefit committee of distinguished community leaders.
The event will be held at The Palm House at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. For ticket information, contact Sonntag at (718) 951-4600, ext. 20.
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Dyker Heights native and current Pace University Pforzheimer Honors College junior STEFANIA SAINATO was recently awarded The Ruth Whitney Scholarship from Glamour magazine. Sainato, double-majoring in English and communication studies with a minor in journalism, is currently an editorial intern at CosmoGIRL! magazine. Sainato was recognized for this honor at the New York Women in Communications 2008 Matrix Awards earlier this month, and she also appeared on NBC’s Today Show to discuss her achievement.
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Brooklyn’s CORA SHILLINGFORD was honored earlier this month as the “Health Care Professionals Member of the Year” by New York State United Teachers union. Thirty years ago Shillingford decided to study nursing after being well cared for by a nurse when she was gravely ill. Her goal as a registered nurse, she says, is to offer an individualized plan of care for each and every person, helping each to attain a better quality of life. Shillingford was presented with the award at the union’s 36th Representative Assembly in New York City on April 16.
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Brooklyn District Attorney CHARLES J. HYNES will be honored at the Brooklyn branch of the NAACP on April 24 at the Third Annual Freedom Awards. Hynes will be receiving the Legal Leadership Award; he is now in his fifth term, after being first elected to office in 1989.
The ceremony will be held at the New York Marriott Hotel at 333 Adams St. Daily News columnist Errol Lewis will serve as master of ceremonies.
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Local eighth-grader KAITLIN KARCHER of Our Lady of Grace School in Howard Beach and fifth-grader Christopher Jordan of Divine Mercy Catholic Academy in Ozone Park were selected to hand Pope Benedict XVI flowers as he arrived at JFK Airport on the morning of April 18, reported Other New York officials helped the pair to welcome the Pope.
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Middle school students BERNARDO CACERES, JESUS RIVER, STEPHEN LUONG and VICTOR LOPEZ from Beginning with Children Charter School in Williamsburg recently swept at an NYC charter school math competition. Led by math teacher Craig Garber, the team competed against 100 other students at Democracy Prep Charter School’s Annual Math Competition to place first in the overall team competition. Team member Lopez won the individual competition.
Three of the four students will compete in the individual finals and the entire BwCCS team will proceed to team finals, both set to take place in June at New Heights Academy Charter School in Manhattan.
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The Green-Wood Historic Fund unveiled a gravestone for THOMAS FRANCIS MEAGHER on April 19, reported NY1. The Irish patriot and Civil War general disappeared in the Missouri River in 1867 and his body was never found. General Meagher commanded troops in the Fighting 69th and Irish Brigades during the American Civil War. Relatives said the stone, which was placed next to the gravestone of his wife Elizabeth, represents some measure of closure to the general’s life.
Brooklyn Heights resident BRIEN MILESI is performing in the St. Bart’s Players production of the Tony winning Stephen Sondheim/James Goldman musical “Follies” at Wings Theatre in the West Village. The 1971 Broadway hit won seven Tony Awards including Best Score. The show will run April 26 through May 4.
Milesi is president of the Greenwich Village-based Village Light Opera Group, a decades-old non-profit company formed to produce Gilbert & Sullivan hits, which now has a much expanded repertoire.
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Brooklyn may be the most concentrated blogger community in the country and LOUISE CRAWFORD, the woman behind, wants them to meet offline for the third annual Brooklyn Blogfest at Brooklyn Lyceum on May 8 at 8 p.m. Several of last year’s presenters were popular local bloggers who spoke about the impact blogging has on the community, including Lumi Michelle Rolley of, dedicated to Atlantic Yards coverage, Robert Guskind of, Jonathan Butler of real estate and architecture blog, and Norman Oder of
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High School senior KENNETH MARTINEZ of Bushwick placed first in the local level of the “Life is Better with Art in It” poster design competition from The Art Institute and Americans for the Arts. As the winner, he will receive a $3,000 tuition scholarship to attend The Art Institute of NYC. His design will now be entered into the national level of the competition, of which the grand prize winner will receive $25,000 to study at The Art Institute. The competition was open to graduating high school seniors interested in pursuing an education in graphic design.
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MARK STATMAN and PABLO MEDINA will read from their new translation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s poems, Poeta en Nueva York (Poet in New York), written about the city during Lorca’s studies at Columbia University. The translators are also poets, novelists and associate professors of writing at The New School. The reading will take place April 27 at 4 p.m. in the Brooklyn Public Library’s Dweck Center.
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Local artist KARIN PERSAN will be hosting an intimate craft fair at her downtown Brooklyn home on May 17, reported NYC Tech Events. Thirteen local artists and designers who met on the handmade vending site will display and sell their handmade goods in what will be the second Brooklyn Homeshow (the first was in March). Goods will vary from home décor, art and prints to beauty products and toys.
“We are all very proud to be working together to create this unique show, where you can personally meet with buyers, and have a really fun time!” said Persan. Refreshments will be served, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 170 Tillary St., Suite 706.
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On April 20 at the Brooklyn Historical Society, Puerto Rican community historian RALPH MENDEZ presented his collection of steamship artifacts and research about early-20th century migration from Puerto Rico to Brooklyn. Folklorist Elena Martinez shared audio clips from BHS’s Puerto Rican Oral History Project collected in the early 1970s with narrators telling their steamship migration stories. The presentations were part of the Mayor’s Immigrant Heritage Week. Accompanying the presenters was an exhibit of portraits of pioñeros by Brooklyn photographer Tony Velez.
Brooklyn residents MINDY MORGENSTERN and CHARLES L. WINSLOW II have earned their Bachelor of Science degrees from Excelsior College of Albany, NY. Excelsior College is a private, nonprofit institution founded in 1971, and is one of the oldest distance learning and online colleges.
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Brooklyn’s Eastern District High School graduate Army Reserve Pvt. JAIME VARGAS has graduated from Basic Combat training at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla. During the nine weeks of training Vargas received instruction and training exercises in Army history, military courtesy, physical fitness, first aid, map reading and land navigation and armed and unarmed combat.
Bay Ridge resident BILLY LOESCH is working towards the highest Boy Scout rank of Eagle Scout. For his eagle project, Loesch is collecting donations of working DVDs and $10-20 AT&T Global phone cards to send to American troops overseas via the non-profit Soldier’s Angels. He will be collecting these materials until May 3.
“This community has long been one who has wholeheartedly supported our troops,” said Senator Marty Golden. “In this instance, with our support, we will see a fine neighborhood student, Billy Loesch, become an Eagle Scout, and at the same time, we will be sending our support to our troops overseas. I hope many will support this great project.” Sen. Golden’s district office will be the main drop point for donations, at 7408 5th Ave.
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MARISA CATALINA CASEY, founder/executive director of Starting Artists, is looking for volunteers of all ages to help paint a mural at the organization’s building at 211 Smith St. this week. Starting Artists is a non-profit that provides Brooklyn teens with free after school arts and business classes. The mural will be painted during two sessions each day April 22 through 24, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Those interested in painting should contact Casey at with the times and dates of planned attendance.
Congressman VITO FOSSELLA and Councilmen JAMES ODDO have joined Brooklynites’ fight to keep their water bill from increasing again by 14.5 percent next month. While The Water Board says it needs to raise rates to compensate for an expected $118 million increase in compulsory operations and maintenance costs, many residents already feel stretched after last year’s 11.5 percent rate increase, which at the time was the biggest rate jump in 15 years.
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US Representative ANTHONY D. WEINER (D – Brooklyn and Queens) joined with Brooklyn residents April 20 to salute the Bedford-Stuyvesant Little League Opening Parade and Ceremonies on Saturday. The Little League, sponsored by Inner City Sports, serves over 500 Bedford-Stuyvesant children each year.
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New York State Assemblyman KARIM CAMARA (D) of the 43rd Assembly District will be honoring notable individuals of the Crown Heights community at his second State of the District Address on May 1 at 6:30 p.m. at SUNY Downstate Alumni Auditorium. Honorees include Principal Shimon Waronker of MS 22, who was featured on the Today Show for his innovative approach to education, Larry Jason of Brooklyn Housing and Family Services, a tenant-rights advocate, Richard Green, a long-time community activist and president of Crown Heights Youth Collective, and Sarah Keys Evans, a civil rights activist.
Camara will also outline his vision and goals for education, housing, and employment in the district and discuss his new legislative agenda, which includes tighter gun control. Last year the Assemblyman was the first in Central Brooklyn to hold an event of this kind.
On April 18, Assemblywoman JOAN L. MILLMAN presented a $250,000 check to the Center for the Urban Environment for its new state-of-the-art “green” headquarters in Gowanus. The center is an urban environmental educator to NYC, and the new space will also function as a public meeting space for the community to engage in discussions pertaining to sustainability and community development.
“We are so thankful for the help of Assemblymember Millman and other supporters in the public and private sector who helped make this wonderful building a reality,” said Sandi Franklin, executive director of the center. “With their help, we join this great city’s push for sustainability and help put the borough of Brooklyn solidly on the map as a national leader in the emergent green movement.”
The center’s grand opening on May 1 will feature tours of the building and the growing neighborhood. For more information visit
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MARILYN GELBER, executive director of the Independence Community Foundation, and Toya Williford, ICF Program Director, recently played key roles in securing a $25,000 grant for St. Joseph’s College from the ICF. The grant will be used to create a curriculum library that will compile the college’s child study materials into a centralized location on the Brooklyn campus.
The IFC is a private foundation, created in 1998 through an endowment from the former Independence Community Bank, focused on community development, education, culture and the arts, and economic and workforce development issues in the New York metropolitan area.
Brooklyn-based emergency medical technician and photographer ROBERT DOMINGO from Station 57 visited Oklahoma City this April 15, as he has done each year since 1995, for the anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, reported the Enid News. This year he stopped into Monroe Elementary School in Enid to talk with Lori Painter’s sixth-grade students about his assistance during the Sept. 11 attacks and other events.
Painter said her students know about 9/11, but were tiny when the Oklahoma City bombing took place. She believes that working on projects concerning the connection between Oklahoma City and NYC, and visits from people like Domingo, help make history more real for her students.
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Brooklyn native MATTHEW BROWN, who dedicated his life and 38-year career to flight and spacecraft development, has passed away at age 81, reported to the Huntsville Times. Brown died April 16 in Huntsville, Ala., after a bout with cancer.
“He grew up poor in Brooklyn,” his wife of 59 years, Lois Brown, said. “He collected scraps of balsa wood and built model airplanes.”
Brown dropped out of high school and joined the US Navy in 1943 at age 17. He was almost part of the assault on Japan’s beach, but the atom bomb was dropped first. Brown returned to New York to complete high school before enrolling at the Academy of Aeronautics. He went on to graduate from the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering in Baltimore, Md. His career took him to Texas, California, Baltimore and finally Alabama.
Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat” character may have a following, and certainly has imitators, among three young Bay Ridge filmmakers, MICHAEL RIZZO, MIKE STRANDBERG and JAY LIQUORI, reported the Daily News. Like the lampooning journalist, the troupe has been making movies in their neighborhood to the result that some observers are entertained and others are peeved. While the trio says it just wants to bring humor to local controversy, not everyone was pleased when Rizzo banged a pot and spoon and screamed “We need to save the church” at a recent rally to save the 100-year-old United Methodist Church, which is slated for destruction. The group’s videos recently found an audience on YouTube.