Vannie Park alliance plans first fundraiser


It’s official. Gone are Friends of Van Cortlandt Park and the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy. Arriving in its place is the newly formed Van Cortlandt Park Alliance -— a merger of the two civic groups, focused on preserving, supporting and promoting the recreational, ecological and historical value of Van Cortlandt Park.

To celebrate, the new alliance will host a picnic June 11  beginning at 6 p.m., at the Van Cortlandt House Museum, 6036 Broadway.

Tickets begin at $155, which include a seat at the New York Philharmonic Concert beginning at 8 p.m. The picnic includes drinks, dinner and dessert, as well as tours of what is considered the oldest existing house in the Bronx.

Proceeds are earmarked for programming in the park, preservation of its natural areas, the refurbishment of its infrastructure, and the execution of its 2034 Master Plan.

The alliance is led by board co-chairs Nina Habib Spencer and Carol J. Samol. Its interim executive director is Julie Micou Cerf, who has served in similar interim capacities for groups in New Jersey and Brooklyn, according to her social media profile.

Christina Taylor, the former executive director of Friends of Van Cortlandt Park, is the alliance’s program and operations director.

For more information on the new organization, visit


Make a food deposit at a local Apple Bank

More than 50 branches of Apple Bank across the city is collecting kid-friendly, non-perishable food items through June 16 as part of City Harvest’s annual Feed Our Kids food drive.

Among the bank locations participating in the collection is Apple Bank’s 3552-B Johnson Ave., location in Riverdale.

City Harvest expects to colect 61 million pounds of food this year, which is then delivered free of charge to hundreds of food pantries, soup kitchens and other community organizations in the five boroughs.



And the top baby names are ...

Liam and Emma are once again the top baby names of 2018 -— both in the United States, and in New York — according to the Social Security Administration.

They were closely followed by Noah and Olivia.

Jacob remains the third most-popular boys name in New York, but fell out of the top-10 nationally.

And Michael? No. 14.