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Winter 2018

New Year’s Day Surprise Birthday Party for Bob Reape

A large crowd of members and guests turned out at the Racquet Club on Park Hill to welcome in New Year’s Day on Monday, January 1st, 2018. Members brought many delicious foods and desserts to the affair, a pot luck party, which was organized as a surprise 90th birthday party for the club’s longest- serving member, Bob Reape. Bob said the last time the club surprised him like this was on his 70th birthday, twenty years ago. Kudos to all the people who showed up despite the frigid weather, which has been the coldest day so far this winter.

Former PHRC President Jim Beirne, who helped organize the party, led the cheers for Bob and the singing of “Happy Birthday.” In his speech, Jim thanked Bob for all the ways that Bob has provided service to the club since joining way back in 1965, some fifty-three years ago. That was the year when the Park Hill Racquet Club reopened following three years of reconstruction of the club house. The previous structure had been destroyed in a devastating fire in 1962.

Special thanks are due to Jim Beirne, Rosemary Beirne and Patty Gamba for organizing, hosting and coordinating the party, which truly surprised Bob, he said, smiling – “until I reached the parking lot and saw all the cars!” Thanks also to Bob’s nephew, Robert Klein, for helping to get Bob and Lois to the club without tipping them off about the surprise party. Besides Bob and his wife Lois, several of their children and grandchildren also attended the party.

The newsletter, on page 2, is pleased to include a photo from the party of Bob and Lois and of the many other members of their family who attended the party.

Another Beautiful Holiday Season at the Club

Visitors to the Park Hill Racquet Club last month once again enjoyed holiday-season events while surrounded by the beautiful decorations that go up late every fall. As usual, the work of decorating was carried out by the cheerful efforts of a small army of club members.

On Wednesday, November 22nd, the club held its annual Thanksgiving Eve Bonfire. In the days after Thanksgiving, a sizable team of members spent hours bringing down the decorations from the loft in the hall, in preparation for the decorating party on Sunday, November 26th. On that Sunday, nearly two dozen volunteers assembled for the decorating party to adorn the club entrance, the lounge and the big hall with the festive holiday decorations. The club turned the occasion into a pizza party for the team of decorators.

The volunteers who took part in decorating the club that day were: Kathryn Buckley (the visionary and leader), Claire Miko (assisted by an unnamed Mr. X), Patty Gamba, Patty Cecere, Rosemary Beirne, Kate Waters, Lynette Phillips, Diana and Paul Cassidy, Lyrica Leon, Mary Liberatore, Geraldine and Chris Canty, Kevin Klein, Robert Klein, Debbie Hernandez, Karin White, Steve Savard, and Ed Schmid. Special thanks to Ed Schmid and Steve Savard for buying and delivering the poinsettias and the beautiful tree in the hall.

Holiday Events

Once the beautiful decorations were up for Christmas and Hanukkah, the club was ready to host its many holiday events. The first was the PHRC afternoon Holiday Boutique, scheduled for Sunday, December 3rd, from 1 to 5 pm, and organized by Diana and Paul Cassidy, with help from Debbie Hernandez. Members volunteered to bake or bring food, and they and their guests could do holiday shopping, buy raffle tickets and grab a snack at the boutique. As always, all the manning of tables, the cooking, the provision of baked goods and the advertising of the event depended on intensive volunteer efforts by members.

Three evenings later, on Wednesday, December 6th, members and their guests joined in the annual Neighborhood Tree Lighting Gathering, which was sponsored by the Park Hill Residents Association and the Luther Burbank Garden Club. Participants then repaired to the club lounge, where they could share a drink over snacks and convivial conversation.

On Saturday, December 16th, the club held its annual holiday cocktail party, amid the beautiful decorations and sparkling live band music. Members brought all the dishes for the pot-luck party. The excellent music from 8 pm till midnight was supplied by keyboardist Thom Flammia, a friend of Cliff Hackford, and the fine band Thom pulled together. It took some time for dancers to get out on the dance floor after supper, but once they did, the big hall was soon rocking. Thanks to Steve Savard for all his energetic efforts in organizing the party and for recruiting the band.

The next day, Sunday, December 17th, the club held its annual Brunch with Santa, as Jim Beirne once again played Old Saint Nick. Thanks to Justine Henry and Kristen Oates for hosting the Brunch with Santa, between 11 am and 1 pm, where the table featured bagels with cream cheese, lox and spiral ham.

The club expresses its appreciation to club members and their guests at the brunch who once again this year generously donated to the club’s annual drive to collect toys and other gifts for poor children in Yonkers. This year’s PHRC drive collected seven bags of toys and other gifts for the Yonkers YWCA to distribute at Christmas time.

As noted earlier, the holiday festivities came to a lovely close with our New Year’s Day brunch, held in honor of Bob Reape’s 90th Birthday. It was a fantastic end to a beautiful holiday season and a wonderful start of 2018! Thanks to all who celebrated with us!

Yoga Lessons at the Club

Around 15 club and non-club members have been taking yoga lessons at the club since early October. The director of the yoga classes has once again been Neem Dewji. Classes have been held on Wednesday evenings between 7:30 and 8:45 pm. Anyone interested in learning more about the yoga lessons can contact Patty Gamba at

The 2017-2018 Winter Bowling League

The five-team Winter Bowling League is in full swing, having been under way for the past nine weeks. As of the Christmas break, the league standings were extremely tight, with the five well- balanced teams separated by just six points. Leading are the PBJs with 28 points, followed closely by Patty and the Js at 27 points, the Brownies with 25 points, Deadwood with 24 points, and Tenpin Jihad at 22 points.

The bowler with the highest personal average currently is Jon Wallen at 166, followed by Robert Klein at 164, Jose Alvarez at 159, Paul Cecere at 148, and Paul Meissner and Steve Savard, both at 146. Outstanding personal high games thus far include those of Robert Klein (223), Paul Meissner (218), Jon Wallen (209), Paul Cassidy (203), Jose Alvarado (199), and Paul Cecere and John Maggiotto (both at 198). Outstanding personal high scratch series are those of Robert Klein (550), Jon Wallen (547), Jose Alvarado (539), Ed Schmid (493), Paul Cassidy (491), and Bill Coffey (483).

As ever, the league expresses appreciation to Paul Cecere for oiling the lanes ahead of each evening’s play and to Steve Savard for calculating the bowling stats after each week’s competition.

The Next Karaoke Party

The club’s next adults-only karaoke party is scheduled for Saturday, January 27th, at 8 pm. Those planning to come should let Patty Gamba know at Patty and Tom Westmoreland will, as usual, organize the party.

The Park Hill Players

The club’s Park Hill Players have remained very active since their triumphant production last spring of the delightful comedic farce, “Lend Me a Tenor.” The Players are currently rehearsing for their next play, “Four Weddings and an Elvis,” under the direction of Kirsten Barbera, and are expecting to again stage a three-day run of this play. They are currently hoping to put the play on during the week end of 9-11 February 2018.

Jim Beirne, who has been the driving force in bringing back The Park Hill Players after a 30-year theatrical drought at the club, says that The Players are just one part of the program to revive the performing arts at the club. The PHRC Committee for the Performing Arts has been created to encourage use of the club for all forms of the performing arts.

For example, in November, the committee sponsored the local Park Hill/Yonkers actress, Tina D’Amato, who put on her superb one-woman tour de force, “The Last Flapper,” about the declining years of Zelda Fitzgerald, the wife of famed novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald. (The club expresses thanks to Paul Cassidy for working closely with Tina in designing and building the set for “Flapper.”)

Resumption of Pickleball Competition at the Club

Pickleball resumed at the club this fall, under the energetic leadership of Lyrica Leon. So far at least a couple of dozen members and guests have taken part and enjoyed themselves thoroughly. All the pickleball “newbies” have, without exception, said they had fun – and were surprised at how quickly they took to the game and got the hang of the rules and the skills needed to do well.

We hope to entice many more members to come out and try their hand at the game, whose play and layout combine features of the sports of tennis, table tennis, badminton and volleyball. Yet it is a unique game and seems to be growing in popularity with people of all ages, throughout the country.

The Club’s New Website

Members who have looked at the club’s website recently must have noticed how attractive the Google photos make the buildings and grounds of the club appear. Member Dave Steck is currently putting the finishing touches on the new and improved website.

The Board now asks members to contribute some of their recent photos taken on the grounds of the club, photos that they think might appeal to visitors to the website who might thereby want to take a tour of the club grounds. Photos taken at the pool side, near the tennis courts, in the lounge, at summer barbecues, in the bowling alley, at big parties in the hall, at pickleball, and at the bar in the lounge, for example, would appeal to outsiders interested in visiting the club.

Member News

The club expressed its condolences to Diana and Steve Spiegler over the loss of Di’s beloved sister, Susan Vasquez, who passed away on December 18th after a long illness.

On a happier note, members congratulated Geraldine Canty on getting her United States citizenship last month.

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