Queens College gives President’s Medal to alumnus Ricardo L. Cortez

Ricardo Cortez headshotQueens College President Frank Wu has awarded his first Presidential Medal to distinguished alumnus Ricardo L. Cortez.

Cortez, a financier and asset management specialist, was honored at the college’s annual Academic Excellence Award Ceremony, where he gave the keynote address.

He graduated cum laude from Queens College in 1972 with a degree in mathematics. Cortez went on to be certified as an Investment Management Analyst at the Wharton School in 1993.

Cortez is now the co-chief executive officer of Broadmark Asset Management.

“I graduated from Bayside High School in 1967, and perhaps like some Queens College students, I was the first in my family to go to college,” he said.

He applied to three schools: Columbia, St. John’s and Queens College.

“I was accepted at all three, but my parents, who did not have a lot of money, thought Queens College was by far the best choice,” Cortez said. “They turned out to be right.”

Participate in this year’s Halloween Essay and Poetry Contest

Mother's Day Essay Contest 2019

Don’t miss this year’s Halloween Essay & Poetry Contest, sponsored annually by Assemblyman Edward Braunstein.

Students from grades two through five are invited to participate.

The essay or poem submission should have a Halloween theme, such as favorite trick-or-treat experience or a short story related to Halloween.

If interested in participating, print your full name, grade and school on the entry.

Essays and poems can be submitted to Braunstein’s office by mail (213-33 39th Avenue, Suite 238 Bayside, NY 11361) or email (braunsteine@nyassembly.gov).

District-wide prizes will be awarded to a winner in each grade. Certificates of Merit will be given to all students who participate.

The contest deadline is Thursday, November 5.

For any questions, contact Braunstein’s office at 718-357-3588.

Get your free flu shot at Queens Botanical Garden

flu shots 2020-page-001

On Wednesday, Councilman Peter Koo is teaming up with the Chinese Community Partnership for Health, NY Presbyterian and Queens Botanical Garden to offer free flu shots to the Flushing community.

Those interested in the free flu shots must be over 10 years old, live in Council District 20, and be in relatively good health, meaning no cold or fevers at the time).

You must also register before coming in for the flu shot. Shots will be administered at Queens Botanical Garden, located at 43-40 Main Street, between 3 and 6 p.m.

There are a limited number of shots available, so the priority will be given to residents of District 20 over 50 years, without insurance and/or chronic illness.

“The pandemic has highlighted just how important it is to be conscious of our health and get vaccinated,” Koo said. “An annual seasonal flu vaccine is a great way to boost your immune system and stay healthy.”

School of Rock location to open along Francis Lewis Blvd

Screen shot via Google Maps.
Screen shot via Google Maps.

School of Rock is opening its Bayside location, located at 34-43 Francis Lewis Boulevard, this Saturday.

The grand opening will take place from noon to 6 p.m. The afternoon will feature a ribbon-cutting ceremony, live music and free trial lessons.

Of course, there will be precautions like social distancing and masks to keep everyone saef.

School of Rock provides students of all ages music lessons, including guitar, singing, drum and piano lessons. Students learn theory and techniques through songs from legends like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Frank Zappa.

Learn more about School of Rock and its Bayside location here.

Sign taken down at local “troublesome” club


Local elected officials are cheering after the sign outside a “troublesome” club came down in Oakland Gardens.

Lavoo, located at 224-13 Union Turnpike, has been the site of a series of issues, including drunken behavior, incidents of violence and other disruptions to quality of life, according to local pols.

Earlier this year, pre-pandemic, a brawl and gunshots broke out in front of the club.

Those incidents spurred Councilman Barry Grodenchik, State Senator John Liu, Assemblyman David Weprin and Congresswoman Grace Meng to act. They attended a series of community meetings with the community board, police precinct and residents, as well as a press conference in early March.

The club’s liquor license renewal application expired in April.

“The business was disruptive and harmful to the neighborhood and to the seniors and families who live here,” Grodenchik said. “Safety and security are always of utmost importance.”

Howie Mandel to host celebration in honor of St. Mary’s Hospital

St_Marys_150_4 copy

Actor, producer and television personality Howie Mandel is hosting “The Big Night In For St. Mary’s Kids,” a virtual celebration to honor the hospital’s 150th anniversary.

The celebration will take place on Wednesday, November 18th on Looped, a virtual venue that gives fans front row access to their favorite events.

The night will feature musical performances and speeches to help raise funds for the patients at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Earlier this month, State Senator John Liu, Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, and other local lawmakers honored St. Mary’s with a citation for its 150th anniversary.

“For New York’s most critically ill and injured children, this is truly a haven unlike any other,” said Mandel. “The ability of St. Mary’s to continue providing innovative therapies and specialized rehabilitation programs depends on support from the community, and we are grateful for everyone who is helping to fund this essential work.”

Seniors go behind the scenes at Queens County Farm


A group of 30 local seniors got to enjoy the fresh air and sights of the Queens County Farm on September 24.

Guided by Councilman Barry Grodenchik, the tour of the Queens farm was conducted while all visitors were masked and socially distanced.

The tour of the 47-acre farm in Glen Oaks was part of a month-long schedule of events for Senior Appreciation Month.

Seniors learned about the farm’s planting fields, historic buildings, greenhouse complex, and its livestock, including chickens, goats and steer. The seniors also enjoyed a fun hayride.

“Queens County Farm Museum, the premiere cultural institution in eastern Queens, is truly a gem,” Grodenchik said. “It was my honor to bring a few dozen local seniors for a socially distanced tour of the farm on this beautiful autumn morning.”

Kim visits CPC community center’s pre-k program

unnamed (21)

Assemblyman Ron Kim and former Assemblywoman Ellen Young visited the Flushing headquarters of the Chinese-American Planning Council last week.

They met with educators and staff of the site, and stayed to observe a session with pre-k students who were practicing social distancing.

After greeting the children and teachers, Kim praised CPC for meeting the challenges of the pandemic and ensuring students continue to receive services.

“The most critical needs of our neighborhoods cannot be perpetually delayed or ignored in the hopes that everything will be back to how it was before,” he said.

“It’s time to rise to the occasion and adapt in whichever ways we must to take care of everyday New Yorkers and our most vulnerable communities.”