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Dishing with Dee: QTP’s gala comes back strong after an absence of one year

This past week was one that would make Attila the Hun cry out for mercy.

It was nonstop, go-go ad infinitum! You know, it’s nice to be retired since it entitles you to work 24/7 instead of 9/5 five days a week. How lucky can you get?

The Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade took up quite a bit of time and space this week. It started off last Friday with the children’s art and essay contests at the Ernie Pyle Building in Fort Totten. On May 25, there was a cocktail party to celebrate the honorees on Il Bacco’s new rooftop garden. What a great place to have that type of party, as it is just lovely. It is like being in your own private garden. You can enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres, but it is not yet equipped for regular meals. Have a drink up there first, then take the elevator downstairs for dinner. It’s a wining combination.

On Sunday, the Little Neck-Douglaston Parade held its annual honoree reception at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, L.I. This is a lovely place to hold a great party. U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman hosts his annual holiday party there and that is one party everyone looks forward to.

One honoree was Maj. Gen. William D. Waff, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve 99 RSC at Fort Dix, N.J. The other honoree was Michael A. “Tony” Vaccaro, who is credited with generating the greatest single collection of World War II photographs taken by a single person. There are more than 8,000 images. Tony is also the recipient of a Purple Heart as well as numerous other medals. Some of his photos are on display in the War College in Carlisle, Pa., as well as many other collections. A most fascinating man in his 90s.

Monday, of course, was the big day. The day of the parade itself, despite the fact the weatherman had predicted rain, turned out to be a hot, sunny day — just what you need for a parade. After the parade, some of the ladies and I held an impromptu party of our own at Il Bacco. It was great to get out of that heat. The cold drinks and pizza hit the spot and those ladies are always lots of fun.

The entire week was not totally dedicated to the LNDP, even though it may seem so. Tuesday night was the annual May Queens Theatre in the Park Gala, which is always its biggest fund-raiser of the year. This year the main honoree was Farrell Fritz and special honoree former QTIP Executive Director Jeff Rosenstock.

The gala always starts with a cocktail party prior to the main event, entertainment of one form or another. Then there is a coffee and dessert extravaganza to wind up the evening. The night was bittersweet in a way because if it hadn’t been for Jeff’s talent plus Claire Shulman’s financial support, there would no QTIP.

The new executive director, Ray Cullom, seems personable and capable. He has big shoes to fill, as Jeff began QTIP in 1989 and raised its budget from an annual $89,000 to its present $3.5 million. We will miss you, Jeff.

The entertainment this year was Sandy Hackett’s “Rat Pack Show.” It turned out to be one of my favorite May gala productions so far. My absolute favorite QTIP event has always been the “Legislative Review.” For some reason, QTP canceled the last one with no satisfactory explanation. I do hope it plans to continue it.

Last Thursday evening, the Catholic Lawyers Guild held its annual dinner at the Immaculate Conception in Douglaston. The honorees were Joe Mattone Sr. and Kay Glover. It was a great event and I will have to fill you in on the details next week, as I have again run out of space. Congratulations to Peter Lane for a job well done.

That’s it for this week.

I look forward to hearing from you with information on people, parties and politics or gossip. I like receiving your voice mails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at deerrichard@aol.com.

Don’t forget to check out the Focus on Queens page.

Till next week, Dee.

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