These Brooklyn high schoolers and scholarship recipients are going on to big things

See this story at BrooklynDaily.com.

By Joanna DelBuono

Brooklyn Daily

Fort Greene

Cheers and kudos to the seven super-smart seniors at Brooklyn Technical High School who were this year’s recipients of the UFT-Albert Shanker College Scholarships.

The outstanding grads from the borough of churches included Krishna Roy of Kensington, Bing Chen of Sunset Park, Sandy Jean-Charles of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, and Jimmy Xie of Bensonhurst. The other three students, Emily Cheng, Tamanna Hussein, and Mirna Nashed, hail from the outer boroughs.

In order to be eligible for the honors, the students had to exhibit academic excellence, outstanding community service, and have impeccable personal values. They also had a winning team of advisors in the college office that included Raquel Maysonet-Sigler, college office coordinator; Robin Scherman-Levitt, scholarship director; and Paula McKinnon, college office advisor.

The students shared a word to the wise to next year’s hopefuls:

“Everything will be fine … It’s hard to believe that everything will be fine, but at the end of the road I realized there is nothing to be scared about,” said Bing, who will attend the Macaulay Honors College at City College/CUNY in the fall.

Sandy added, “I learned that grades and scores are not the most integral part of a college application. Also, going to a ‘no-name’ school does not mean that you will not succeed in the future; only hard work and determination determines that.” Sandy will be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a likely double-major in math and physics with a concentration in African-American studies.

Standing O wishes all the recipients good luck in their future endeavors and can’t wait to offer congrats on college commencement day.

Brooklyn Technical High School [29 Fort Greene Pl. and S. Elliott Place Fort Greene, (718) 804–6400].

Read Standing O every Thursday on BrooklynDaily.com!

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Bomba-astic! Sunset Park parade celebrates Puerto Rican pride

See this story at BrooklynDaily.com.

By Caroline Spivack

Brooklyn Daily

Talk about a celebración!

Brooklyn Boricuas celebrated their island roots at the Sunset Park Puerto Rican Day Parade on June 11. The Caribbean celebration reached its three-year milestone — after a 20-year drought of processions without permits — with a watershed moment for the borough’s Puerto Rican community, said one parade volunteer.

“It’s definitely legitimizing to the Puerto Ricans in the community and unites our community,” said Junior Allende, the neighborhood flag fanatic who peppered his flag installation inside Sunset Park with Puerto Rican ensigns to mark the day.

“The whole avenue was full of red, white, and blue flags. It was beautiful to see that star — a beautiful day.”

But among the vibrant colors at this year’s Fifth Avenue march were black and white flags to show support for the island’s dire financial straits.

“It’s really hurtful to know that the people in our origin are suffering and we wanted to show solidarity all the way from Sunset Park, all the way from Brooklyn with the flags,” said Allende.

Drummers with Afro-Puerto Rican percussion groups lead the parade along the thoroughfare — pounding their traditional bomba y plena beats and setting a vivacious tone for the parade. Scores of classic cars and low-riders tricked out with hydraulic suspensions bopped down the main drag. And the neighborhood was a veritable flood of locals draped in red, white, and blue, and traditional Taíno Indian garb.

Some proud Puerto Ricans even trekked from across the borough to partake in the festivities and celebrate their heritage.

“We came all the way from Coney Island to be a part of the parade,” said Maria Roman, who joined in the procession with her husband and two daughters. “I felt it was important to be there because I want our kids to know our heritage and known our culture. I think it helped connect people from our culture.”

In fact, the parade worked to unite Sunset Park and the borough as a whole with locals from a variety of cultures coming out to show their love for their Boricua neighbors, said Allende.

“A lot of people who weren’t Puerto Rican joined with us — Mexican, Colombian, Trinidadian, Chinese — all waving our flag,” he said. “That was amazing because that’s what it’s really all about — uniting everyone.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.

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Non-kissing cousins! Deutsch fighting chellenge from family member!

See this story at BrooklynDaily.com.

By Julianne Cuba

Brooklyn Daily

Well, at least it’s all in the family.

Community Board 14 member Kalman Yeger, who announced last week he is running for the Council, is slamming his cousin-in-law and competitor for the seat, incumbent Councilman Chaim Deutsch, claiming he makes too much money from his private real estate to be an effective member of the city’s legislative body.

“He’s one of the few council members who earns an outside income … while we are paying him to do a job,” said Yeger during a phone call on June 13. “It’s an outrage we are being ripped off.”

The well-connected Yeger is backed by Councilman David Greenfield (D–Borough Park), Councilman Alan Maisel (D–Marine Park) and former Councilman Lew Fidler. Yeger held a fund-raiser last month and has $84,615 in the bank for his campaign to oust the man who is married to Yeger’s cousin Sara.

In 2012, Yeger worked on Simcha Felder’s campaign for the state Senate, and was the executive director Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer campaign for mayor in 2005. His wife, Jennie Berger, works for Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Right now, Yeger is as an attorney, and manages Greenfield’s two campaign accounts, one for city elections and another for state, but he pledged to quit his job if elected.

“I am giving up my outside income, 100 percent,” he said.

Deutsch, who has so far raised $73,640, according to city records, said he isn’t worried about his cousin’s run, and is confident his record as councilman will get him reelected.

“We live in a democracy where anyone is entitled to run for public office,” he said. “I have a proven record of results and I look forward to continuing to work for the 48th district in my second term.”

Ortiz eyes Council

Veteran Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D–Sunset Park) is angling to give up his more than 20 years in Albany and his gig as Assistant Speaker for a pay raise in the Council — eyeing freshman Councilman Carlos Menchaca’s (D–Sunset Park) seat, registering as a candidate on June 7, city records show.

Ortiz, who wouldn’t comment for this article, claiming he would speak to us when he is back from Albany on Friday, joins a hotly contested race which also includes former Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez, the former Assemblyman Javier Nieves (whom Ortiz succeeded), and Sunset Park attorney Delvis Valdes.

Menchaca — who has drawn ire from a handful of pols for what they claim are his anti-Israel positions — has the most in campaign coffers with $83,439, Gonzalez has $49,145, Valdes has $31,842, Nieves has $4,270, and Ortiz has not filed any contributions yet, according to city records.

If it comes down to Ortiz verses Menchaca, one insider says Ortiz would put up a tough fight — even for an incumbent.

“If two of them drop out for Felix, that would be a real challenge for Carlos,” said district leader Nick Rizzo. “Felix has certainly been around the district longer than Carlos has.”

But Menchaca’s record in the community as a supporter for immigrant and working class families is unmatched, said his campaign spokesman.

“After a decade of dysfunction, Councilmember Menchaca is giving a voice to working families, immigrants, and seniors in City Hall and delivering the resources we need,” said Matthew Rey. “Carlos has been unafraid to stand up to real estate developers and wealthy special interests, and is proud to have secured three new public elementary schools and Universal pre-K.”

Red scare

The local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America — who have endorsed Khader El-Yateem for Councilman Vincent Gentile’s Bay Ridge seat — accused his Republican opponent Bob Capano of igniting a red scare after he charged that El-Yateem’s radical views “are out of touch with Brooklyn and the nation.”

About 100 Democratic Socialists canvassed for El-Yateem last weekend, and a few days later, Capano sent out a press release calling on El-Yateem’s fellow Democrats to denounce his “socialist beliefs.”

But leaders of the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America fired back, accusing Capano of communist fear mongering and of being out of touch with the needs of voters — noting that Bay Ridgites voted for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton 3,986 to 3,441 in the April Democratic primary.

“These comments, in a district that democratic socialist Bernie Sanders won in 2016, show just how out of touch Trump’s Republicans are with the residents of South Brooklyn,” said the group’s co-chairman Zelig Stern. “Capano should turn off Fox News and step into the real world — anyone who thinks that the status quo is working is delusional.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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Mer-made to party: Where to go after the Mermaid Parade

See this story at BrooklynDaily.com.

By Julianne Cuba

Brooklyn Daily

The sirens will be going all night!

Brooklyn’s beloved Mermaid Parade will launch this Saturday afternoon at 1 pm — but once it wraps up three hours later, the party is not over! Once the floats, marching bands, antique cars, Queen Mermaid Deborah Harry, and more than 1,000 mer-men and women have traveled down Surf Avenue for the 35th Annual Mermaid Parade, the many participants and watchers will all want a place to party and show off their outfits. So save some energy for one of the many after parties around the borough.

It’s official!

You can start your party moments after finishing the parade — the Official Party of the Mermaid Parade is just a few steps away, at the open-air art museum Coney Art Walls. You can dance to disc jockey Jonathan Toubin’s world famous soul vinyls and fuel up with snacks provided by Chick-N-Cone, Coney Shack, and Neapolitan Express.

Coney Art Walls (3050 Stillwell Ave. between Bowery Street and the Boardwalk in Coney Island, www.coneyartwalls.com) June 17, noon–10 pm. Free.

Scurvy sea dogs!

Swim over to Freddy’s Bar in Park Slope right after the parade for an afternoon of beer and Nathan’s hot dog combos for $5 — assuming you didn’t get your fill while you were at the original frankfurter stand. Bartenders will fill up your first drink for free if you show up decked out in mermaid attire. And starting at 10:30 pm, local rock band Sea Kelp — a perfect musical fit for the evening — will take the stage.

Freddy’s Bar (627 Fifth Ave. between 17th and 18th streets in Park Slope, www.freddysbar.com). June 17 at 4 pm. Free.

Creature feature

Shake your mermaid tail-feather at the fifth annual Sea Creature Stomp Mermaid Parade After Party at Gemini and Scorpio Loft in Gowanus. Special guest disc jockey Boogiemeister is flying in from Hawaii to provide the best tunes all night long, and there will be ice cream and cheap drinks to keep you cool once you leave the dance floor.

Gemini and Scorpio (255 Douglass St. between Third Avenue and Nevins Street in Gowanus, www.geminiandscorpio.com). June 17, 8 pm–2 am. $10–$20 suggested donation.

Sea shanties

Boerum Hill watering hole Hank’s Saloon will host a Mer-Lives Matter party after the parade, featuring deep-sea down-home bands all night, including Americana act Dan Montgomery Band, Thigh Highs, Heap, and Meticulous Woman.

Hank’s Saloon (46 Third Ave. at Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill, www.hankssaloon.com). June 17, 7:30 pm–1 am. $7.

Swing of the sea

Explore an ancient kingdom at the Atlantis party at Bushwick’s House of Yes — where all underwater species are welcome, and costumes are mandatory! Whether you appear as ill-tempered god of the sea Poseidon, or as a gentle sea horse, you can float into a photo booth, spend the night dancing to tunes from Sirens of Sea and a trio of disc jockeys, and exploring a bioluminescent lagoon, aquatic aerial spectacles, and bursting bubbles.

House of Yes (2 Wyckoff Ave. between Jefferson and Troutman streets in Bushwick, www.houseofyes.org). June 17, 10 pm–4 am. $15–$25.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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Bomba-astic! Sunset Park parade celebrates Puerto Rican pride

See this story at BrooklynDaily.com.

By Caroline Spivack

Brooklyn Daily

Talk about a celebración!

Brooklyn Boricuas celebrated their island roots at the Sunset Park Puerto Rican Day Parade on June 11. The Caribbean celebration reached its three-year milestone — after a 20-year drought of processions without permits — with a watershed moment for the borough’s Puerto Rican community, said one parade volunteer.

“It’s definitely legitimizing to the Puerto Ricans in the community and unites our community,” said Junior Allende, the neighborhood flag fanatic who peppered his flag installation inside Sunset Park with Puerto Rican ensigns to mark the day.

“The whole avenue was full of red, white, and blue flags. It was beautiful to see that star — a beautiful day.”

But among the vibrant colors at this year’s Fifth Avenue march were black and white flags to show support for the island’s dire financial straits.

“It’s really hurtful to know that the people in our origin are suffering and we wanted to show solidarity all the way from Sunset Park, all the way from Brooklyn with the flags,” said Allende.

Drummers with Afro-Puerto Rican percussion groups lead the parade along the thoroughfare — pounding their traditional bomba y plena beats and setting a vivacious tone for the parade. Scores of classic cars and low-riders tricked out with hydraulic suspensions bopped down the main drag. And the neighborhood was a veritable flood of locals draped in red, white, and blue, and traditional Taíno Indian garb.

Some proud Puerto Ricans even trekked from across the borough to partake in the festivities and celebrate their heritage.

“We came all the way from Coney Island to be a part of the parade,” said Maria Roman, who joined in the procession with her husband and two daughters. “I felt it was important to be there because I want our kids to know our heritage and known our culture. I think it helped connect people from our culture.”

In fact, the parade worked to unite Sunset Park and the borough as a whole with locals from a variety of cultures coming out to show their love for their Boricua neighbors, said Allende.

“A lot of people who weren’t Puerto Rican joined with us — Mexican, Colombian, Trinidadian, Chinese — all waving our flag,” he said. “That was amazing because that’s what it’s really all about — uniting everyone.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.

Comment on this story.

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Non-kissing cousins! Deutsch fighting chellenge from family member!

See this story at BrooklynDaily.com.

By Julianne Cuba

Brooklyn Daily

Well, at least it’s all in the family.

Community Board 14 member Kalman Yeger, who announced last week he is running for the Council, is slamming his cousin-in-law and competitor for the seat, incumbent Councilman Chaim Deutsch, claiming he makes too much money from his private real estate to be an effective member of the city’s legislative body.

“He’s one of the few council members who earns an outside income … while we are paying him to do a job,” said Yeger during a phone call on June 13. “It’s an outrage we are being ripped off.”

The well-connected Yeger is backed by Councilman David Greenfield (D–Borough Park), Councilman Alan Maisel (D–Marine Park) and former Councilman Lew Fidler. Yeger held a fund-raiser last month and has $84,615 in the bank for his campaign to oust the man who is married to Yeger’s cousin Sara.

In 2012, Yeger worked on Simcha Felder’s campaign for the state Senate, and was the executive director Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer campaign for mayor in 2005. His wife, Jennie Berger, works for Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Right now, Yeger is as an attorney, and manages Greenfield’s two campaign accounts, one for city elections and another for state, but he pledged to quit his job if elected.

“I am giving up my outside income, 100 percent,” he said.

Deutsch, who has so far raised $73,640, according to city records, said he isn’t worried about his cousin’s run, and is confident his record as councilman will get him reelected.

“We live in a democracy where anyone is entitled to run for public office,” he said. “I have a proven record of results and I look forward to continuing to work for the 48th district in my second term.”

Ortiz eyes Council

Veteran Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D–Sunset Park) is angling to give up his more than 20 years in Albany and his gig as Assistant Speaker for a pay raise in the Council — eyeing freshman Councilman Carlos Menchaca’s (D–Sunset Park) seat, registering as a candidate on June 7, city records show.

Ortiz, who wouldn’t comment for this article, claiming he would speak to us when he is back from Albany on Friday, joins a hotly contested race which also includes former Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez, the former Assemblyman Javier Nieves (whom Ortiz succeeded), and Sunset Park attorney Delvis Valdes.

Menchaca — who has drawn ire from a handful of pols for what they claim are his anti-Israel positions — has the most in campaign coffers with $83,439, Gonzalez has $49,145, Valdes has $31,842, Nieves has $4,270, and Ortiz has not filed any contributions yet, according to city records.

If it comes down to Ortiz verses Menchaca, one insider says Ortiz would put up a tough fight — even for an incumbent.

“If two of them drop out for Felix, that would be a real challenge for Carlos,” said district leader Nick Rizzo. “Felix has certainly been around the district longer than Carlos has.”

But Menchaca’s record in the community as a supporter for immigrant and working class families is unmatched, said his campaign spokesman.

“After a decade of dysfunction, Councilmember Menchaca is giving a voice to working families, immigrants, and seniors in City Hall and delivering the resources we need,” said Matthew Rey. “Carlos has been unafraid to stand up to real estate developers and wealthy special interests, and is proud to have secured three new public elementary schools and Universal pre-K.”

Red scare

The local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America — who have endorsed Khader El-Yateem for Councilman Vincent Gentile’s Bay Ridge seat — accused his Republican opponent Bob Capano of igniting a red scare after he charged that El-Yateem’s radical views “are out of touch with Brooklyn and the nation.”

About 100 Democratic Socialists canvassed for El-Yateem last weekend, and a few days later, Capano sent out a press release calling on El-Yateem’s fellow Democrats to denounce his “socialist beliefs.”

But leaders of the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America fired back, accusing Capano of communist fear mongering and of being out of touch with the needs of voters — noting that Bay Ridgites voted for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton 3,986 to 3,441 in the April Democratic primary.

“These comments, in a district that democratic socialist Bernie Sanders won in 2016, show just how out of touch Trump’s Republicans are with the residents of South Brooklyn,” said the group’s co-chairman Zelig Stern. “Capano should turn off Fox News and step into the real world — anyone who thinks that the status quo is working is delusional.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

Comment on this story.

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These Brooklyn high schoolers and scholarship recipients are goign on to big things

See this story at BrooklynDaily.com.

By Joanna DelBuono

Brooklyn Daily

Fort Greene

Cheers and kudos to the seven super-smart seniors at Brooklyn Technical High School who were this year’s recipients of the UFT-Albert Shanker College Scholarships.

The outstanding grads from the borough of churches included Krishna Roy of Kensington, Bing Chen of Sunset Park, Sandy Jean-Charles of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, and Jimmy Xie of Bensonhurst. The other three students, Emily Cheng, Tamanna Hussein, and Mirna Nashed, hail from the outer boroughs.

In order to be eligible for the honors, the students had to exhibit academic excellence, outstanding community service, and have impeccable personal values. They also had a winning team of advisors in the college office that included Raquel Maysonet-Sigler, college office coordinator; Robin Scherman-Levitt, scholarship director; and Paula McKinnon, college office advisor.

The students shared a word to the wise to next year’s hopefuls:

“Everything will be fine … It’s hard to believe that everything will be fine, but at the end of the road I realized there is nothing to be scared about,” said Bing, who will attend the Macaulay Honors College at City College/CUNY in the fall.

Sandy added, “I learned that grades and scores are not the most integral part of a college application. Also, going to a ‘no-name’ school does not mean that you will not succeed in the future; only hard work and determination determines that.” Sandy will be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a likely double-major in math and physics with a concentration in African-American studies.

Standing O wishes all the recipients good luck in their future endeavors and can’t wait to offer congrats on college commencement day.

Brooklyn Technical High School [29 Fort Greene Pl. and S. Elliott Place Fort Greene, (718) 804–6400].

Read Standing O every Thursday on BrooklynDaily.com!

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Kids at IS 218 create better tomorrow with science fair

See this story at BrooklynDaily.com.

By Joanna DelBuono

Brooklyn Daily

East New York

Cheers to the children at the Police Athletic League Beacon IS 218 after-school program for participating in the seventh annual Science Fair.

More than 100 fourth-through-eighth-grade students from league centers from around the city explored the theme “Creating a Better Tomorrow” by conducting experiments and sharing their findings on ways to conserve the Earth. Topics included the science behind decomposition, conservation, sustainability, agriculture, and recycling.

The students at IS 218, with help from their mentors, turned their attention to recycling.

Prizes were awarded in the first, second, and third places categories.

The O says, “Recycle, reuse, reclaim.”

James P. Sinnott, Junior HS 218 Beacon Center [370 Fountain Ave. at Pitkin Avenue in East New York, (718) 277–1928].

Fort Greene

Yippee for the Ippies

Kudos to BRIC TV, the borough’s non-profit cable channel and digital network, for receiving two Ippies Awards for Best Video.
The Center for Community and Ethnic Media, an initiative of The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, awarded the two prestigious accolades at the 15th annual ceremony held at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism on May 18.

The Ippies are the only journalism awards in the city to honor reporting in English and in languages other than English by the ethnic and community press. Judges for the Ippies Awards are comprised of CUNY Graduate School of Journalism faculty and staff members as well as other independent prominent journalists.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by a talented group of journalists and storytellers that truly reflect the diversity of the city that we’re lucky to call home,” said Aziz Isham, executive producer of BRIC TV.

BRIC’s main venue offers a public media center, a major contemporary art exhibition space, two performance spaces, a glass-walled TV studio, and artist work spaces.

BRIC [647 Fulton St. at Rockwell Place in Fort Greene, (718) 855–7882].

Manhattan Beach

Welcome to Brooklyn

Hip, hip, hooray to High School Youth Ambassadors from Trinidad & Tobago on their visit to Kingsborough Community College for the International College Exploration Initiative sponsored by the local charitable organization En ToTo’s International College Exploration Initiative. The students spent a day with faculty, staff, students, and administrators who shared positive stories and experiences.

Students from six high schools were selected based on their academic performance and En ToTo membership and were accompanied by five chaperones, including En ToTo president JoAnne Harroo-Blackman, teachers, counselors, and parents, as they completed the organization’s first-ever International College Exploration Initiative.

Organized in part by Trinidad & Tobago native Kirt Bowen, assistant professor at Kingsborough and paramedic program director, the one-week program allowed the students to explore New York City while enjoying new social and cultural experiences, as well as participating in similar exchanges at Kingsborough.

“This was a very positive experience for the visiting group,” said Bowen. “Many of the students agreed that the trip made all the difference as they are now exploring college opportunities.”

Kingsborough Community College [2001 Oriental Blvd. in Manhattan Beach, (718) 368–5000].

Read Standing O every Thursday on BrooklynDaily.com!

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Ruff competition! Dolled up doggies compete in Coney costume contest

See this story at BrooklynDaily.com.

By Caroline Spivack

Brooklyn Daily

The whole competition went to the dogs — but that was the plan!

A pack of two dozen pampered pups strutted their stuff at the 7th-annual Pet Day at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and Pet Costume Contest on June 10. Dapper doggies donned elaborate looks inspired by the People’s Playground, but in the end it was a classic tropical get up of Hawaiian shirts and hula skirts that took the crown.

“We went all out. I got my boyfriend and I matching Hawaiian outfits and then I found matching Hawaiian shirts for the dogs,” said Cree Carrico, who won first place along with her parent’s pups — Faelan the Pomeranian and a Maltese aptly named Falcon. “Just thought it would be a silly, fun thing to do. I’m still kind of shocked we won.”

The Carrico’s snagged a season pass for Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and an $150 gift certificate to Petco for their creativity.

Other fluff balls squeezed into mermaid costumes, strapped on a set of wings, and figuratively and literally became hot dogs under the sweltering Boardwalk sun.

Second prize went to the fantastical duo 12-year-old Mason Leibowitz dressed as a wolf with her garden fairy sidekick, Chuchi the Chihuahua. And third place went to a costume inspired by trips to the People’s Playground as a youngster, said Barbara Serrano who dressed as classic Coney fare with her pup Malibu and her daughter’s doggy Benji.

“It was really inspired by the nostalgia of going to Nathan’s,” said Serrano, whose daughter dressed Benji last year as a lobster in a pot. “My dad would always take me to Coney Island and those were good memories. So I said, ‘Everybody goes to Nathan’s for a hot dog. Let’s make it about that.’ ”

Serrano donned a checkered table cloth with condiments and plastic baskets of grub, while her canine compatriots filled out corn and hot dog costumes. Serrano may not have taken the grand prize, but competing with her dolled up doggies was its own reward, she said.

“It was beautiful,” said Serrano. “No matter how big or small the costume, just that people were able to participate with their fur babies made it all wonderful.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.

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Sheepshead Bay kids dazzle in ‘Aladdin’

See this story at BrooklynDaily.com.

By Julianne Cuba

Brooklyn Daily

It was a magical world!

Pint-sized actors from PS 52 transported the audience to the exotic, fictional city of Agrabah during their production of the Disney musical “Aladdin” on June 9. The future Broadway stars also helped design the set and the costumes, and made sure everything went on without a hitch from the moment the curtains went up — they all really shined on stage, said the show’s director.

“It was awesome, the kids were all really fantastic. They really built the production from the ground up,” said Naomi Avadanei, who worked with the school’s arts department to put on the show. “It’s all in the hands of the students, so it really becomes their production. They were fantastic, they truly brought the community together and blew everyone away.”

The Sheepshead Bay elementary school won the Disney Musicals in School contest last year, which offers support and assistance to schools creating musical theater programs. The three-year grant also helps budding thespian teachers by providing professional development through Disney teaching artists. Last year, the third-through-fifth graders did an excellent job in “The Lion King,” and this year wowed the audience with “Aladdin.” But directors are still deciding what show to do for the last year of the grant so as to go out with a bang, said Avadanei.

The grant program allows the school to expose its students to the arts through Disney shows and musicals, but it also gives them an opportunity to experience the world of theater right in their own city, said Avadanei.

“We want to try to take our kids to see the shows on Broadway, to expose them to as much theater as we can,” she said. “We are in New York City, there’s a world class theater several subway stops away.”

And the students had stars in their eyes when they got to see the Broadway production of “Aladdin” a few months ago — but it was just as memorable for the youngsters as it was for the teachers, said Avadanei.

“They loved it — it was magical,” she said. “For me as their theater teacher, it’s as engaging to watch them as it is to watch the show because for many of them it’s the first time they are ever seeing a show on Broadway.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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