At the 8th Annual Luke Adams Sunnysider of the Year “Blue Moon Ball,” at Tangra Ballroom, Tuesday, January 23, 6pm, the festivities will be awards to some very interesting people, described below. Click here for ticket link. Call Kris Czerniachowicz, Event Coordinator, for more information at 646-552-8165.
Tony Tang’s modesty, generosity to the community, wonderful personality, unfailing courtesy to all, and work ethic have been a 30-year example of small town success, industry and quiet perseverance. His wife, Leena Tang, has worked by his side for their often 7-day, 12-hour schedules.
Tony is an accomplished man and is a “pillar of the community,” providing excellent service, jobs, honest dealing, good cheer, loyalty, consistency and constancy. When he gives his word, he means it. He races around like a young man. He does not brag, nor seek attention. He does not expect more from any worker than he does from himself, and his staffers look after his business as though their own.
Tony is our local living example of the American dream, where hard work and determination mean more than “connections.” He looks 50, tops, but is 64. He has had five different stores in NYC, the first a deli, then Video Connection at 84th St, then Flagship Video, and now two UPS Stores. His outlets were recognized in November as the fastest growing UPS Stores in the region. Like many successful business owners, he tends to ignore physical ailments and skip vacations. He has sailed through serious financial rough waters, which instead of discouragement, served as it does with a special people, to reinforce his will to succeed.
Tony was born near Bangkok, Thailand, as was his wife, Leena. He is oldest of three brothers and one sister. Tony and Leena have one son, Michael, who runs the LIC store. By a previous marriage, Tony has two children, a son at Carnegie Mellon, and a daughter, who is an emergency room physician in San Francisco. Tony has financed not only his children’s educations, but also those of others, and assisted family members. For fun, he likes running and hiking.
Tony and Leena’s family attend church at Wat Buddha Thai Thavorn Varanam in Elmhurst. They speak Siamese as well as English, and grieved with all of Thailand when in 2016 when the populist-leaning king, Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away after a 70-year reign. About the only thing most of us know about Thailand we learned from “The King and I,” set in Siam (Thailand) in 1862. But unlike the king, Tony likes to dance, has plenty of hair and a wonderful sense of humor.
Tony has been a board member of the Chamber for eight years, and he has helped the NYPD, fledgling businesses, and neighborhood non-profits. He is the definition of “stand up guy,” and it is privilege for all of us to recognize him for lifetime of hard work. Tony Tang is smart, good, and stouthearted.
QUEENS IMPACT AWARD:
Manny Gomez has worked in state licensed insurance sales for a decade (if you need Medicare Supplemental Insurance, talk to him). He moved to Queens at age 15 from Colombia and graduated from Frances Lewis High School and received his BS in Business Administration from Baruch College. His first job was at Sunnyside’s Ben’s Meat-O-Mat near the arch, talking his way in with a skeptical owner who rejected him three times, to becoming a stock boy, then manager and butcher.
A formative experience was almost losing his leg in 2011 on a trampoline, and with a will of iron, made sure that did not happen despite medical opinion, and with some help from Phyzique Gym. Gomez enjoys renovating/flipping apartments, cooking, and a long-term goal is to open an arts & performance café here.
Manny has served five years on the Queen of Angels Parish Council, was Director of Young Adults, “Magnificat,” is a steering committee member of Access Queens, is president of Sunnyside Artists and president of Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, and like Luke Adams, had to be persuaded to accept this award. He does not take “no” for an answer, and helps everyone he can.
QUEENS IMPACT AWARD:
Meridith Maskara is busy. If there is something around needing to be run, she runs it. The last three years, she has been with the Girl Scouts of Greater NY and a year ago was named CEO, with 8200 volunteers and 29,000 scouts over five boroughs. In 2017, Maskara, with Councilman Van Bramer, DHO, and Giselle Aida Burgess, founded the groundbreaking first Girl Scout troop for homeless girls. Before that she was COO and VP during her 17 years at Max Merchandizing, the industry leader. She secured the contract for the 2008 Papal visit, among many branding coups.
In the community, she has served on Queen of Angels Parish Council and president of St. Sebastian’s School’s Parent’s Association, and brings her scouts to the St. Pat’s for All parade. She is married to Dan Maskara, known for winning the “Spookiest House” in the Sunnysidepost 2013 popular vote. They have five daughters, Natalie, Dorothy, Vivien, Veronica and Marlene. As a 3rd generation scout herself, she won the Girl Scout’s top honor, the Gold Award for starting a troop for five-year olds.
Meridith grew up in Maine, and got her degree at NYC’s American Musical and Dramatic Academy.
One of the family interests is camping, and Meridith been known to be at the campfire with the gang within three days after giving birth. When asked how that is possible, Meridith said, “I find it relaxing.”
QUEENS IMPACT AWARD: Ramiro Mendez of DeMole Mexican Restaurant creates local firsts. DeMole was the first here to be honored by Michelin Guide, the most prestigious restaurant recognition in the world. He was the first with no-egg, no-meat, no dairy, no-gluten dishes, tamarind, hibiscus juices, and grilled cactus, He was the first here to suggest a Taste event before the Chamber and BID. He said, “Why don’t we all get together and whatever we make, donate it to the food pantries?”
Ramiro was born in Santa Inés, Ahuatempan, Puebla, the more rural area the middle of Mexico. He grew up with a grandfather who raised cattle, and his branding iron, an “M” for Mendez, is now exhibited in a recess in the wall of DeMole, which while modest and reasonable, is destination restaurant in Woodside. He says, “My wife, Mireya, taught me to cook.”
Mendez spent a decade at the trendy El Teddy’s, also at China Grill, and then opened up El Jarro Café, which became DeMole a year later. He ceded his Astoria branch to his brother, Antonio. Ramiro is about to add a branch in Brooklyn. But at present, his first grandchild, Maya, under a year old, daughter of of Luis and Laura Mendez, has captivated his heart.
QUEENS IMPACT AWARD: Melissa Orlando is founder & Executive Director of Access Queens, a transit and infrastructure advocacy organization working at both the grassroots level, in media, and with government agencies to improve immediate and future mass transit in Queens. Access Queens sprang from Orlando’s “7 Train Blues,” an almost-3000-strong social media group, the only real-time information exchange for and by commuters in Queens. Among recent milestones, AQ’s recent proposed L-Train shutdown mitigation plan is the only Queens-focused treatise currently under consideration by the MTA and DOT. Orlando’s first love is dance, and she is an American Ballet Theatre certified teacher for levels Pre-ballet to Level III of the National Training Curriculum. She has taught children, adults and students with special needs at Sunnyside Ballet Studio over the past 6 years, and most loves SBS’ annual production of the Nutcracker.
For nearly two decades, Orlando has worked in the non-profit sector, focusing on social justice and health care, most recently at a community health system in the Hudson Valley. She is an officer of Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, and sits on the board of Sunnyside Artists. She has a degree in Political Science from Purchase College, State University of New York. Melissa lives in Sunnyside with her 12-year-old son, Diego, a guitar student and rock aficionado like his mother.
QUEENS IMPACT AWARD
Sherilyn Jo Sabba has been editor of the Woodside Herald for nine years, a local mom & pop since 1934, and amazingly kept it relevant when newspapers worldwide were going out of business. She took over at age 32 in 2009, after the sudden death of her father, Buster, at 61. Buster’s father, Joseph, founded the paper, and was a key figure in local traditions including Kiwanis Flag Day Parade and Sunnyside Drum Corps. Joseph Sabba and Buster Sabba were integral to the small town feeling that attracts so many to stay here and to move here. “Sabba Park” with the Vet’s Triangle is named for her family.
She says, “I did not want the connection to my family paper to die with my dad and grandfather, who considered the Herald and the community as their lives. I was in awe of it when I used to visit my grandfather’s office on Skillman Avenue.” She continues the vital tradition of helping new non-profits survive with coverage, and publishes diverse points of view where even major media fear to tread. Sherilyn has a degree in Criminal Justice, is married to Robert, 15 years on Valentine’s Day, and they have two sons, Brody, 5, and Brayden, 2.
• Melissa Orlando by Mitch Waxman
• Tony Tang, Tony & Leena, Manny Gomez, Meridith Maskara, Ramiro Mendez by Patricia Dorfman
• Link to Luke Adams Way video by board member Matt Carlson, whose own filmmaker website is here.
YOUR PEEPER CARE NEWS: New member C Clearly, Optometrist Dr. Christa Cavallaro, 18 yrs. at Pearle Vision on QB, now hangs up her shingle at 48-14 Skillman Ave. with lovely space where you can get your eyes examined & pick out new eyewear. Maria from Pearle joins her, too! 347-848-0982. Grand Opening, Sat., Sept. 30, 2-5PM! That makes three amazing eye care experts here, Dr. Veronica Chan at Sunny Sight, and long-time member, the gifted Debra Guthrie, M.D.
RESTAURANT WEEK from Sunnyside Shines, Oct. 1-7, $25 prix fixe 3-course dinners! Dine out 3x and collect stickers & win a dinner for 4 worth $250. 30 restaurants are setting the table for you, including Ariyoshi, Arriba Arriba, Bliss 46 Bistro, Boon by Moldova, Claret Wine Bar, Copper Kettle, Cumbia y Sabor, Dazies, deMole, the Dog and Duck, Don Pollo, I Love Paraguay, Jack’s Fire Dept., Los Verdes, Lowery Bar & Kitchen, Mangal Kebab, Pete’s Grill, Punda Tibetan, Quaint, Riko Peruvian, Cafe Express, Riko Peruvian, Saffron Garden, Sidetracks, SoleLuna, Sotto le Stelle, Takesushi, Tibetan Dumpling Cafe, & Tito Rad’s Grill.
3rd Annual SUNNYSIDE POST MILE & SKILLMAN DASH for Kids: Sat., Oct. 14. Race Directors are Woodside Sunnyside Runners with proceeds to benefit Sunnyside Community Services. Click for info! This year, why not win?
HELPING OUR SMALL BIZ: The Chamber, with guidance from Chairperson Denise Keehan Smith, & District Mrg. Debra Markell Kleinert, is formally asking for a “Small Business Committee” to be created in Community Board 2. We are also grateful to Smith and CB2 for reaching out to the DOT and spending hours on their nonofficial survey of the 12-hr. parking used by “outer borough” Manhattan commuters between 32nd St. & 39th in the QB viaduct. 2-4 hr. is needed for most use to locals, like Artist & Craftsman Supply (a wonderland) on 34th north of QB, and at 33rd & QB, the best physical therapist in Queens, Regie Tiu! (photo: Kamila Harris Toole)
THIS JUST IN! Sept. 22 – Oct.8, Fri. – Sat. 8PM, Sun. 4PM, $35.from Thalia Spanish Theatre: Queen of Spanish Comedy 1-woman show celebrates dancing, singing, comedy goddesses of yesteryear in Divas de España by & starring Inma Heredia, directed by Adolfo Vazquez, about Sara Montiel, Lola Flores, Rocio Jurado and Charo. 718-729-3880. (Photo is of Charo.) See att’d.
“LILY GAVIN WAY” date for dual street renaming of QB between 39th Pl. & 40th St. is not 9/30. Date TBD. Gavin rose to be a civic giant, with the still family-run & elegant Dazies, a turnstile for the movers and shakers. She is an inspiration to all local entrepreneurs. Congratulations to Lily’s son Raymond on his marriage! L-R: Kenny, Keri, bride Erica, Raymond & Alceria.
Sad news: Funeral services for TERRI ADAMS, Pres. of Hunters Point Cmty Dev. & CB2 Board Member:
Visiting: 9/21 Thurs. 2-5, 7-9PM
Thomas M. Quinn Funeral Home
35-20 Broadway, Astoria 11106
Mass: 9/22 Fri. 10:30 AM
St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church
10-08 49th Ave. LIC 11101
Burial following mass:
4902 Laurel Hill Blvd.
Woodside, N.Y. 11377
FLOWERS were scarce last week, due to weather stopping flights through Miami. Avalon Florist’s Peter Contegiacomo reported, “Dutch flowers were coming in, but none from Colombia.” But posies are now back and fully stocked are Avalon, Sunnyside Florist and Flowers by Giorgie.
Coming Events: Sabba Lighting, Holiday Dinner on Nov. 28 | Real Estate Forum Date TBD | Luke Adams Awards Jan. 9, 2018 | Monthly Showcases last Tuesdays of the month | Exec. Board third Thursdays.
Shana Tovah, & see you Tues., Sept. 26 at Côté Soleil!