Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bronx News Sports: Blitzed in the Bronx

Bronx News Sports: Blitzed in the Bronx: Syracuse Plows Over West Virginia in Snow Bound Bowl (Photos by Gary Quintal) By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, December 30- ...

Blitzed in the Bronx

Syracuse Plows Over West Virginia in Snow Bound Bowl
(Photos by Gary Quintal)
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, December 30- The last week of December and the first week of January are the culmination of the college football season. Those are the weeks in which the final bowl games are played and the final rankings of teams are determined. Since December of 2010, Yankee Stadium in the Bronx has become a bowl venue.
On December 30, 2010, Bronx native Doug Marrone led the Syracuse Orange to a 36-34 victory over Kansas State in the first football contest at Yankee Stadium and the first bowl game at Yankee Stadium since 1962. Last year, Rutgers defeated Iowa State.
This year’s session featured Syracuse, in its last year as a member of the Big East, and West Virginia, in its first season in the Big 12. Both colleges played in Yankee Stadium in 1923, the first year of collegiate football in the original Yankee Stadium. Syracuse defeated Pittsburgh, 3-0, in the first game on the gridiron at the stadium on October 20, 1923. One week later, the Mountaineers took part in the second contest in the first year of the stadium on 161st Street. They battled Penn State to a 13-13 tie.
In addition to both teams place in the history of Yankee Stadium, each also has a strong connection to the other. Their rivalry began in 1945. The football squads have competed on the gridiron in every season since 1955. Defenseman Will Clarke of West Virginia told reporters last Wednesday that neither team expected any surprises as “Both teams are familiar with each other.”
Each team entered the Pinstripe Bowl with a mark of 7-5. Syracuse won five of its last six contests. The Mountaineers did not fare as well in the highly competitive Big 12 as the Orange did in the less dangerous Big East. West Virginia won four of nine in its first Big 12 conference season. Four of its opponents were top 25 ranked at the time they faced the Mountaineers. It ended the regular season with five losses, two by one point, in its last seven contests.
Syracuse, with light snow falling, took an early advantage. The first and only score of the first quarter was a 25-yard field goal kicked by Ross Krautman of Syracuse. The Orange scored the first nine points in the second quarter on a safety by Cameron Smith and a 33 yard touchdown run by Prince Tyson-Gulley.
The first points recorded for West Virginia came at 3:38 of the second quarter on a 32 yard touchdown pass by Geno Smith to Stedman Bailey.
Syracuse continued the offensive onslaught in the second half, outscoring West Virginia 26-7. Tyson-Gulley scored two additional touchdowns, a 67 yard run and a 10 yard reception of a pass by Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib. Tyson-Gulley gained 208 yards on the ground and another 56 yards on five receptions. He earned the game’s MVP award for his outstanding performance. Marrone praised the MVP. “Prince has been a player that really worked hard, played with injury, has really come a long way in our program and I couldn’t be prouder of him…He’s a well-deserved MVP.”
The Orange defense was also major factor. It, along with the weather, stopped arguably the best senior quarterback in college, Geno Smith and also severely limited the West Virginia ground game.
Middle linebacker Siriki Diabate, who moved to the Bronx at the age of 13, spoke for the defense three days before the game, “we want to play against the best. We love that challenge. I think we’re ready for them [Mountaineers].” Diabate made a fine contribution with five tackles.
Diabate’s opinion was reinforced by the words of defensive coordinator Scott Schafer after the game, “I think that our kids were anxious to play this team again. They met the challenge. It’s not easy to win three in a row.” Syracuse has been victorious in the past three games of the lengthy rivalry after losing the previous eight.
West Virginia, seventh in the nation, with 518.6 yards gained per game was held to 285 while the Orange gained 511. Coach Dana Holgorsen of West Virginia admitted, “Anytime you get out-rushed by 330 yards (369-88), you’re going to have some problems.”
Marrone, a Bronx native, whose grandfather was an usher at the original Yankee Stadium, was victorious in both games he coached at the new ballpark. He joked, “I should play more games in the borough of the Bronx.”
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Friday, December 28, 2012

Bronx News Sports: Bronxite to Play Football in Yankee Stadium

Bronx News Sports: Bronxite to Play Football in Yankee Stadium: By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, December 28- On Saturday, Siriki Diabate will be one of more than 100 student-athletes who will be ...

Bronxite to Play Football in Yankee Stadium

By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, December 28- On Saturday, Siriki Diabate will be one of more than 100 student-athletes who will be on the gridiron of Yankee Stadium to participate in the 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl. The significance to the 21 year-old may be more than to any other athlete on the field that day.
In 1991, Diabate was born in the Ivory Coast in Africa. Siriki came to the United States when he was 13 along with his mother and sister to join his father who had arrived years earlier. The family settled at 176th Street and Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx.
The 13 year-old had difficulty in initially adjusting to his new home, “It was really tough. I didn’t speak English.” Another difference between the teenager and his peers in the Bronx was that Siriki played soccer rather than the popular American sports, baseball, basketball and football.
The youngster first learned the fundamentals of football at Roberto Clemente State Park. He joined a youth group coached by the recreation director of the park, Bobby Morris. His skills improved and he further improved as a member of the football squad at Herbert Lehman High School. The defensive lineman showed great versatility in his senior season by making 71 tackles, carrying the ball 47 times, recording two receptions and returning kicks twice. He was team captain that year.
He had great success on the gridiron at Nassau Community College. The team captain led his team to an 11-0 mark during the regular season, fourth place nationally in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) in 2010. His exploits earned him Co-Defensive Player of the year in the Northeast Football Conference.
In January 2011, Diabate transferred to Syracuse University. A visit to the upstate university convinced Diabate that he was in the right place even though he was recruited by several other colleges. Diabate and Syracuse coach Doug Marrone had a lot in common as both were products of the Bronx and both were graduates of Lehman and now both were at Syracuse. On Wednesday, Diabate told reporters, “We joke about that all the time. Coach tells me how much better a player he was at Lehman.”
In his first season at Syracuse, 2011, the lineman recorded 24 tackles. This year, Diabate’s numbers climbed. He had 91 total tackles during the regular season. Five wins in the last six contests earned the Orange a bowl bid at the historic venue on 161st Street.
Diabate expressed his emotional feelings regarding playing his final college game at Yankee Stadium. ”I can’t put into words what it means to me. It’s a blessing. It’s so special.” Diabate never played a football game at Yankee Stadium. When Syracuse competed in the 2010 Pinstripe Bowl, Diabate remembered, “I watched as a fan.” Diabate does have childhood memories of the ballpark, “I watched the Yankees religiously on television. When I came to a game, it was very exciting. I used to take the #4 train.”
Having many friends and family attend the game will increase its meaning to the young man, “Everybody who watched me get to this point will be there. I tried to get as many tickets as possible. I got 14, but close to 50 or 60 will come to see me.”
Weather forecasts are now calling for several inches of snow on Saturday, the day of the game. Diabate dismissed the weather as a factor, “Snow, sleight, rain, bring it on!” He then regaled reporters by telling them of the first time he saw snow as a public school student in the Bronx, “I got in trouble as I ran out of the classroom to look out of the window when I saw the snow.”
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Thursday, December 27, 2012


By Morris Gut
BRONX, NEW YORK, December 27- Ready or not, here it comes! 2013 is upon us, so whether you’ve been naughty or nice its time to make plans with friends and family. If you are planning to go out, here are some dining suggestions for every palate, each offering a good dose of New Year’s cheer…
It is over-the-top during the holidays and it begins with the bright lights and smell of chestnuts roasting at the entranceway. Take home a bag of them. The annual Christmas Holiday Fest at Mulino’s, White Plains, lasts right thru the season and it’s a sight to behold! The fountain garden is beautiful as is the lavish dining room and bar/ lounge. General Manager Gimmy Cavagna and his staff are keeping the premises spiffy as ever: gesticulating Christmas decorations galore, holiday carolers, life size toy soldiers, the bursting colorful floral displays, the sparkling grappa and glassware collection, the handsome multilevel seating area. The Cold Seafood Platter is a wonder and fine to share as is their decadent version of Linguine Carbonara; plump tender Rack of Lamb served on the long bone; delicate Dover Sole finished off in the dining room; and perhaps for dessert have the wait staff whip up warm Zabaglione with fresh ripe berries tableside. And, oh that smooth Italian cheesecake. Open 7 days thru the Holiday Fest. Bring the whole family. The place sparkles! Valet parking. Reservations advised. Mulino’s of Westchester, 99 Court Street, White Plains 914-761-1818
Lou and Rose Promuto have re-opened The Marina Grille Waterfront Restaurant & Bar located at Wright Island Marina in New Rochelle surrounded by boat clubs and L.I. Sound. It had formerly been The Sea Breeze. The Promutos also own Valentino’s Cucina Italiana and Sunset Grille both in Norwalk, CT. Chef is seasoned Sergio Dechiara, a graduate of the New York Restaurant School, who is not bound by culinary borders. His menu offers such comforting dishes as: New England Clam Chowder; Artichoke Crab Dip; Coconut Shrimp; a massive Paella Valenciana, served with mixed seafood with chorizo-chicken rice; Buttermilk Fried Chicken served with broccoli, mashed potatoes and brown gravy; Porterhouse for two; and an occasional tender hunk of Short Rib on the bone with all its delicious juices. Complete Dinners served Monday thru Thursday: $18.95. Daily happy hours in the bar/lounge. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday thru Sunday. Ample free parking. The Marina Grille, 290 Drake Ave., New Rochelle. 914-365-1860.
Proprietor Michael Vivolo and his wife Margaret of La Riserva, 2382 Boston Post Road, Larchmont (914-834-5584), have been serving ‘the Italian classics’ here for 34 years and the refreshing atmosphere and friendly ambiance keep it a treat. Be seated in the lovely refurbished dining room, now part vintage photo gallery, and let veteran manager Ellie Cucino suggest such specialties as: flavorful Polenta al Gorgonzola with shrimp; Angel Hair Abissi Marini, thin egg noodles in a light cream sauce with shrimp and mushrooms; Veal Chop alla Griglia, with mushrooms and roasted potatoes; or the Branzino Mediterraneo. Michael’s son Dean operates Trattoria Vivolo in Harrison. Private party facilities. Open 7 days for lunch and dinner. Free parking.
Chef Anna Catalano of Agostino’s, 336 Pelham Road, New Rochelle (914-235-6019), prepares everything in her regional Italian kitchen from scratch: her sauces, the pastas, right down to the fresh cannoli shells and desserts. Be seated and let Anna, her husband Antonio and brother Gasperino Di Fabio serve you such home style favorites as: Portobello e Polenta alla Griglia con Gorgonzola; Spaghetti alla Chitarra alla Pescarese con Frutti di Mare,  seafood in a light marinara sauce; homemade Ravioli di Aragosta in Salsa Rosa, with lobster in a light cream sauce with touch of tomato; classic Zuppa di Pesce all Mamma Lucia, with clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari, scallops, octopus and fish of the day with linguini; Pollo alla Scarpariello prepared here on the bone sautéed with garlic in a white wine sauce; or Involtini di Anna alla Fantasia, stuffed with provolone and shitake mushrooms. And, oh those wonderful cannolis! Fresh pasta for take home by advanced order. Cozy bar/cocktails. Open 7 days a week. Free parking. Valet evenings.
Owner Dominic Cesarini of The Quarry, 106 Main Street, Tuckahoe (914-337-0311), has settled into new larger quarters in downtown Tuckahoe, a handsomely renovated bi-level 70-seat dining room and bustling bar/lounge that is always engaged in spirited networking. There are artsy exposed pipes and vents on the ceiling. A lovely area rug and acoustics temper the noise level. Handsome brown wood and clay tone walls, warm lighting fixtures and modern sturdy dark brown butcher block type chairs and tables highlight the floor with large picture windows with seating spilling out onto Main. The staff here is most friendly, efficient and eager to please. Cesarini, a ‘local grill man’ himself whose family owned and operated several cafes and grills in the Bronx-Tuckahoe-Eastchester area, has kicked it up a notch with a good mix of reasonably priced American tavern comfort fare with a good dose of broccoli rabe to go around. Good salads, burgers, Prime Rib and Short Ribs on weekends. Open 7 days.
Here’s a big guy who likes to cook big! Chef/proprietor Paul Caputo of Chianti, 174 Marbledale Road, Tuckahoe (914-346-8844), opened a bustling ode to Italian-American cuisine served in generous style. He previously operated Gina Marie’s Bella Vita in Mt. Vernon and the former Bella Vita in Mahopac. Over the years he has worked for a storied cast of kitchens from Rigoletto’s and Amici’s on Arthur Ave. in the Bronx to the original Valentino’s in Yonkers to the former Gregory’s in White Plains. Over on one wall in the dining room is inscribed: “chi mangia bene, viva bene” (if you eat well, you live well), and that’s the overriding philosophy here. Chef Caputo has a history of serving big portions of fresh made-to-order food; ‘family style’ some call it. Check out such specialties as: Spiedini ala Romana; his amazing Garlic Bread Paoliccimo with chopped broccoli rabe; Zuppa Di Pesce over Capellini; Steak Compagniola; or giant Veal Chop De Benedictis. Don’t worry; there are always plenty of doggie bags on hand for take home. Complete lunch and dinners available daily. On and off-premise catering.
(Morris Gut, restaurant consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor, has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in the Bronx and Westchester area for over 25 years. He may be reached at: 914-235-6591.
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Monday, December 24, 2012

Manhattan comes up short


By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, December 24- College basketball fans in New York City were treated to the second collegiate tripleheader in eight days at the newly opened Barclays Center in Brooklyn. As on the previous Saturday, the bill featured local teams and impressive visitors.
The Manhattan College Jaspers (3-7) played its second straight game in Brooklyn and remained within the city for their third consecutive contest. They will continue to enjoy home cooking for the rest of the month as their next game is against Columbia in Manhattan before they return to the Bronx to meet Stony Brook on New Year’s Day. Their first game outside the city limits since December 7 will take place on nearby Jersey City against Saint Peter’s on January 4.
On the other hand, the South Carolina Gamecocks (8-3) traveled from their home state to face Manhattan. This was their second visit to NYC this season. In late November, South Carolina was routed by St. John’s, 89-65, in Jamaica, Queens. Its visit to Brooklyn on December 22 was far more successful.
The scoring began with a field goal and free throw by Donovan Kates of the Jaspers. Manhattan missed its next four attempts from the floor as the Gamecocks netted 11 unanswered points to take an 11-3 advantage, its largest of the first half. The Jaspers immediately followed with a 15-5 scoring run to move in front, 18-16. The score was knotted for the fifth and final time in the first half with 2:42 left on a dunk by Rhamel Brown of the Jaspers. The half ended with South Carolina leading by a score of 36-30 after they closed the half on a 9-3 scoring run.
Manhattan began the second half with great energy. Its 11-2 start gave the Jaspers a 41-38 advantage at 14:04. Ten straight points by the Gamecocks ended the final Manhattan advantage mid-way through the second half. A three by South Carolina’s leading scorer of the contest, Brenton Williams, raised the spread to double figures for the first time in the game with 4:59 on the clock.
Both coaches attributed the result to the difference in rebounding between the clubs. Steve Masiello said clearly, “I think the difference in the game tonight was the backboards.” Carolina’s first year coach, Frank Martin, stated, “There’s one thing we did well during the year and that’s rebound. ‘Rebounds win games’ I fully believe that.” Manhattan was out rebounded, 42-23, and on the offensive boards by 19-10.
Another factor not mentioned by either coach in the post-game press conferences was the poor free throw shooting by Rhamel Brown. He missed eight of ten free throws. In every other facet, brown played an excellent game. He scored 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting from the floor, grabbed 9 boards, blocked 3 shots and stole the ball 4 times.
One surprise to most Manhattan fans but not to the coach was the performance of freshman Shane Richards. The frosh, averaging less than two points per game, sunk 6 of 11 shots from beyond the three point range to net a career high 18 points. Coach Masiello commented, “That’s what I see every day [in practice]. That’s why I recruited him.”

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Bronx News Sports: Joy in Brooklyn as Fordham Beats Princeton

Bronx News Sports: Joy in Brooklyn as Fordham Beats Princeton: By Howard Goldin BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, December 17- In the first contest of a rare college triple header at Barclays C...

Joy in Brooklyn as Fordham Beats Princeton

By Howard Goldin

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, December 17- In the first contest of a rare college triple header at Barclays Center on Saturday afternoon, the Fordham Rams (2-8) edged the Princeton Tigers (3-6), 63-60, in a highly competitive and exciting contest. The Fordham win ended a five-game losing streak. The visit to Brooklyn was the first for the basketball Rams since November 26, 1985, when they met Long Island University.

The score was tied seven times and the lead changed hands on 15 occasions before Fordham sophomore Ryan Canty, on a pass from Branden Frazier, put in a layup that gave Fordham its final lead, 61-60, with 8 seconds remaining on the clock. The victory was ensured as Bryan Smith netted two free throws with one second remaining in the game.
The first half was efficiently played, a combined total of six turnovers by the two teams, and extremely competitive, six tied scores and 10 lead changes. Each club could not amass an advantage of more than four points.
The first 11 minutes of the second half continued in the same vein. The Rams led, 43-42, with 9:05 left to play. The first of two scoring runs, 12 unanswered points netted by the Tigers, began at that time and led to a double digit lead for the Princeton, 54-42, with 5:39 remaining.
The second scoring run ended with a Fordham victory. The Rams ended the contest by scoring 20 of the final 26 points. Frazier, a junior, was the major contributor to the final drive that led to the win. With the Tigers leading by 10 points, 56-46, late in the second half; Frazier scored his team’s next 13 points, outscoring the Tigers, 13-4. On the next play, Frazier fed Canty for the game winning layup.
Frazier paced all scorers with 19 points, 17 in the second half. He leads the Rams in scoring this season with an average of 15.6 points per game. Fordham coach Tom Pecora commented about Frazier, “He went to school four blocks from here. He’s a Brooklyn kid. He was very aggressive with the basketball. Branden keeps getting better and better.”
Sophomore Ryan Canty has started Fordham’s last four games. In those contests, he is averaging double figures in points and rebounds. He scored 12 and grabbed 15 boards against Princeton. Pecora said, “I’m very pleased with his development [and] he’s playing with a bad back.”
Another weapon that Fordham possessed on Saturday that was missing during the previous six games was the presence of Chris Gaston. The senior, out with an injury suffered on November 13, returned to action on Saturday. Gaston netted 16 points, grabbed five rebounds, blocked two shots and stole the ball twice. Pecora noted his presence, “His presence was great. Chris is a big part of this [win].”
The Rams return to the Rose Hill Gym in the Bronx on the afternoon of December 23 to face Siena.
Another college basketball triple header will be played at Barclays next Saturday. Manhattan College will play South Carolina in game two.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Bronx News Sports: Manhattan Bests Fordham in Battle of the Bronx

Bronx News Sports: Manhattan Bests Fordham in Battle of the Bronx: (Photos by Ken Carozza) By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, December 3- The Manhattan Jaspers (2-3) defeated the Fordha...

Manhattan Bests Fordham in Battle of the Bronx

(Photos by Ken Carozza)

By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, December 3- The Manhattan Jaspers (2-3) defeated the Fordham Rams (1-5), 65-58, Friday night at the Rose Hill Gym on the Fordham University campus in the Bronx. The contest was the 105th between the men’s basketball teams of the two Bronx colleges in a rivalry that began more than a century ago.
Manhattan coach Steve Masiello kept his perfect record intact in six games against Fordham as a member of the coaching staff of Manhattan. Manhattan began the game strongly, reaching a first half high advantage of eight points, 15-7, midway through the first half. On a 12-2 scoring run, Fordham took a 19-6 lead with 4:52 remaining in the half. Two Bronx natives on the Manhattan squad, Michael Alvarado and Emmy Adujar, scored the final six points of the half to give the Jaspers a 26-23 advantage at the half.
The Jaspers retained their lead for the first five minutes of the second half. A three pointer by Fordham senior Branden Frazier followed by two free throws gave Fordham its first second half advantage, 35-33, with 13:25 left in the contest. A layup by Rhamel Brown of Manhattan put the Japers ahead, 53-52, for the final time in the game at 4:07. The visitors concluded the game successfully by outscoring the Rams, 12-6, in the final four minutes. 
Of that period of time, the Fordham coach remarked, “In the last four minutes, they just out toughed us.”
All Hallows grad Alvarado, the high scorer in the game with 19 points, was awarded the Michael Cohen MVP Award. The sophomore remarked, “When they called my name. I was a little surprised, but was very excited and happy.”
After the game concluded, both coaches said Alvarado’s play made the difference in the contest. Fordham coach Tom Pecora stated, “I thought he [Alvarado] took the game over [and] that was the difference.” 
Masiello commented, “Alvarado was the difference.”
Ryan Canty was the high scorer for Fordham. The 6-9 sophomore netted a career-high 18 points. Pecora credited him as “the bright spot of the game” for the Rams.
Both coaches also agreed that the Jaspers showed much greater intensity on the court than did Fordham. Pecora was very critical of his team’s play, “They played to the crowd. They didn’t play hard. We had guys watching; we had spectators.”
Masiello praised his team. “I thought we did a very good job in a lot of areas except turnovers. We dominated the boards (42-22 in rebounds). We got every loose ball in the last six minutes.”
Fordham will not return home until December 23 and Manhattan’s next home game at the Draddy Gymnasium. Interestingly, both teams will face Siena in the next games at home.
The women’s battle of the Bronx took place on the previous night at the Rose Hill Gym. Fordham raised its record this season to 5-1 as the rams defeated the Jaspers, 55-45.

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