• August 25, 2019
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Queens Chronicle

Business as Usual

Thursday 07/11/2019
Cross Bay Chemist

My name is Mario Gagliardo and I am the Supervising Pharmacist at Cross Bay Chemist in Ozone Park. I was born and raised in Middle Village, New York. I am a second-generation Italian-American whose family comes from Sicily. l attended Saint Francis Prep high school and went to pharmacy school at the University of Connecticut.

On my free time, I love to spend time with family and travel to different parts of the world. During pharmacy school, I had the honor to live in China and study Traditional Chinese medicine in Beijing for five weeks. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that gave me the chance to compare westernized medicine to Traditional Chinese medicine and bring back what I learned. Also, I enjoy playing golf, hockey, baseball and soccer. During the winter, I like to ski with family and friends.

Growing up, I always wanted to give back to the community and help make a difference in someone’s life. I finally have this opportunity becoming a pharmacist. I have nine years of experience working in a pharmacy and look forward to serving the community of Ozone Park. For me, being a pharmacist isn’t about the prestige but to give back and ensure people receive the right care they deserve. I love being a pharmacist because of the patients I have touched and also the impact they have on me. Not only do I verify and dispense medications, I provide advice about health and talk to patients about their families. I am fortunate enough to work at CBC and extend my care to such a wonderful community.

One of my favorite aspects working as a pharmacist in an independent pharmacy is developing one-on-one relationships with each patient and having that personal connection. You cannot get that type of service I can provide at chain pharmacies. With me, it is all about personal care, not just a number. If you would like to continue or start care with me, all you have to do is provide your name, date of birth, medication and old pharmacy phone number and I’ll take care of the rest. Feel free to stop by and meet me at Cross Bay Chemist in Ozone Park!


Posted in South, Blog on Thursday, July 11, 2019 10:30 am. | Tags: Cross Bay Chemist , Mario Gagliardo , 718-880-1644 , Crossbaychemist.com Comments (0)

Thursday 06/13/2019
Brother’s market turns 37 this week

Getting fired was not the worst thing ever to happen to Nick DiBlasi’s uncle Joe.

In fact, DiBlasi — owner of the unforgettable Brother’s Italian Food World in Howard Beach — can’t thank the guys enough who showed his Uncle Joe the door.

“I was 10 years old when it happened,” he said last week. But it’s the kind of thing you don’t forget.

Long story short, Nick DiBlasi Sr. was the district manager for a chain of Italian groceries in Brooklyn and Queens 37 years ago.

Nick Sr.’s brother, Joe, worked there too.

“The owners had some falling out with my uncle,” said Nick.

“One thing leads to another, they fire my uncle. Behind my father’s back.”

Bad idea.

Next day, Nick Sr. quits his manager’s job and decides, with his brother, they are perfectly capable of going into the grocery business for themselves.

Nick Jr. suspects his father, who used to drive around the area scouting possible locations for the chain, had his eye on an empty storefront at 161-10 Cross Bay Blvd. for a while.

Cut to the final scene, the Italian chain is no more and Brother’s, an institution in Howard Beach, is 37 years old this week.

DiBlasi said he had no special plans to mark the anniversary, other than his usual weekly sale.

He still hasn’t gotten over the disappointment of Brother’s 25th anniversary when he decorated the place and arranged for a radio station to do a remote broadcast from the store.

“It rained all day and nobody came,” said DiBlasi. “Never again.”

Memories of his father building the store by hand and getting established in Howard Beach are a big part of his wonder years.

“For the first two years, he used to sleep here,” said Nick Jr.

“He would come home to eat dinner with us, then go back.

“When I was a kid, he took me to the market in the Bronx, Hunts Point, and showed me how to pick the produce. And how to make sure the guys wouldn’t cheat us.”

Father and son still drive three times a week to farms and distributors of specialty produce in New Jersey, Delaware and Long Island.

The Amish farmers in Pennsylvania “would make you go into the fields yourself to pick,” he said. “They’d hand you a box.”

Since then, he has added organic produce to the inventory (“Now, it’s the farmers who are the prima donnas.”) and his meat products have had starring roles on Jimmy Fallon and the Food Network.

Year 38 is starting out right.

Posted in Queenswide, South, Blog on Thursday, June 13, 2019 10:30 am. Updated: 12:16 pm. | Tags: Commerce Comments (0)

Thursday 04/11/2019
Dentists back from mission of mercy

Dr. Lary Verasco, who has been looking after people’s teeth in Howard Beach for 36 years, had watched his dental partner, Dr. Hannette Gomez, go off to the Dominican Republic each year to donate a week of her time and skills to helping people who can’t pay.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Verasco. “But I told her, this year, I want to go.”

Gomez and Verasco have been partners for 15 years in their sunny office on 156th Avenue, just down from the Stop and Shop supermarket.

Gomez, a native of the Dominican Republic, has been making the trip back to the island nation for five years now — each year to a different town.

The Dominican Medical Dental Society, a 42-year-old group of doctors and dentists based in Washington Heights, organizes what it calls “The Mission” each year. This year, it picked Cotui, about an hour and half outside the capital, Santo Domingo.

“We took over the hospital there,” said Verasco.

“More than 100 people,” added Gomez. “Twenty dentists, ophthalmologists, general surgeons.”

Trucks with loudspeakers spread the word to the surrounding towns that the doctors were coming.

“We don’t start seeing people until 9 but they start showing up outside the hospital at 5 and 6 a.m.,” said Gomez. “They come from far away, from parts of the country that don’t have doctors and dentists.

“They want to make sure that they will be seen.”

The dentists worked nine-hour days on rented chairs and without the rinse-and-spit sink Americans are used to seeing.

“These people are just so happy to be helped,” said Verasco. “They don’t complain.

“When you finish at night, you walk out the front door of the hospital and the crowd parts. You can hear them say, ‘Here come the doctors.’

“It’s a different mentality than what we’re used to. You’re just so happy to help them,” he said.

The work never stopped during the five days in early March they were in Cotui, they said.

Verasco was part of a team that made acrylic dentures for people with missing teeth.

“We did hundreds,” he said. “I was working so fast I didn’t have time to count.”

What will he take away from the work?

“I’ll remember the expression on people’s faces when they get their teeth,” Verasco said.

Posted in Queenswide, South, Eastern, Central, North, Western, Blog on Thursday, April 11, 2019 10:30 am. Updated: 12:06 pm. | Tags: Health Comments (0)

Thursday 04/04/2019
Father & son docs open heart center

Dr. Norman Riegel, who opened his cardiology practice 35 years ago in the Lindenwood house his grandparents used to own, is bringing in a partner after all this time — his son.

But this isn’t some straightforward, father-to-son handoff like you see on “Marcus Welby, M.D.”

Dr. Daniel Riegel is a cardiologist, like his well-known father. But his specialty is nuclear cardiology, the new field of assessing heart health by tracing blood flow and cardiac function with stress testing and a scanner.

“I could go only so far,” said Dr. Riegel, the father.

Until now, the cardiologist had to send his patients out of the neighborhood for the latest testing.

Father and son last month opened a new cardiac testing center about a quarter mile from the Riegel’s longtime office on 80th Street and 149th Avenue.

The arrival of the new Howard Beach Cardiovascular Center in the Lindenwood Shopping Center was marked with a ribbon cutting by state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. and a party.

The new partnership was not written in the stars, they say.

“I told my son to find an office on Long Island and he said, ‘No, Dad, these are the people we are committed to. Let’s not spread ourselves too thin,’” said the father.

“My son was the one who had this vision.”

“I have the new certification and training,” said the son. “But my father has the experience and relationship with patients.”

“For me, this is very emotional.” said the father.

“From the age of 5 or 6 years old. I was in that shopping center. God, forgive me, I was usually there buying my father cigarettes,” he said.

“Howard Beach gave me my career,” the father said. “Being here made sense to me.”

Posted in South, Blog on Thursday, April 4, 2019 10:30 am. Updated: 1:16 pm. | Tags: Health Comments (0)

Thursday 03/28/2019
Using body’s own stuff to heal joints

Dr. Benjamin Beiber is a physician on a mission.

The Howard Beach physiatrist has been doing something with his patients for about five years now — injecting their sore and injured joints with a mixture made from the patient’s own blood and fat.

It is called stem-cell therapy, sometimes platelet rich plasma therapy. It is, in the medical profession, still a highly controversial type of treatment.

Depending on whom you talk to, stem-cell and PRP medicine is either ineffective — or the cutting edge of orthopedic and regenerative medicine.

Beiber only knows that, for his patients, it works.

“I’m pretty passionate about it,” he told the Chronicle.

The treatment, in a nutshell, is based on the idea that plasma — tiny, clear cells in the blood stream — are the body’s signaling system, traveling to the site of an injury and turning on the switch in nearby cells to begin the healing process.

Stem cells are in every organ in the body and are the substance that provides the building blocks of healing.

The technique is only about a decade old and the doctors who perform it have varying approaches.

Beiber’s treatments start with pulling a small amount of blood from the patient and spinning it in a centrifuge until the platelets are concentrated.

Then he extracts fat from the stomach or marrow from the hip bone. That too is spun until the stem cells are gathered at the bottom of a tube.

Using ultrasound — the same imaging machine used to check on the fetuses of pregnant mothers — to direct the needle, Bieber injects one or both substances into the affected joints.

“I’m using it for injured joints, tendonitis, rotorcuff, mild to severe arthritis of any joint — even bone on bone — and rheumatoid arthritis,” he said.

These techniques are not taught in medical schools and are not covered by insurance. A course of treatment can be several thousand dollars.

“I’m still doing traditional medicine,” said Beiber, who has offices in Manhattan and at 157-02 Cross Bay Blvd., Suite 22B in Howard Beach.

“I don’t rush into it. We try other things first,” he said.

The stem-cell treatment works differently on each patient, he explained.

Some return for plasma boosters within a few months, Beiber said. “But I have patients I treated four or five years ago who have not come back.

“We know something is working but we don’t know why.”

Beiber learned the treatment from other doctors who are looking for alternatives to joint-replacement surgery, as well as from working on cadavers, he said.

“A lot of doctors are very traditional,” he said. “They don’t know that someone can get better without invasive surgery.”

For more information, visit Dr. Beiber’s website at crossbaypmr.com or call (718) 835-0754.

Posted in South, Blog on Thursday, March 28, 2019 10:30 am. Updated: 12:33 pm. Comments (0)

Sunday 01/27/2019
Queens Medical Associates announces supportive oncology program — advertorial

Click here for YouTube Video from Queens Medical Associates

Supportive Oncology is a specialized approach to care for people living with cancer. The main objective of Supportive Oncology is to improve quality of life by preventing or quickly treating symptoms of cancer and treatment side effects. This includes addressing psychological, social, and spiritual challenges that may arise throughout your treatment.

For more information about Queens Medical Associates and Supportive Oncology, please visit www.queensmedical.com or call (718)460-2300.

Posted in Queenswide, South, Eastern, Central, North, Western, Blog on Sunday, January 27, 2019 10:30 am. Updated: 12:22 pm. | Tags: Health , (718)460-2300 , Queens Medical Associates , Cancer , Www.queensmedical.com , Care For People Living With Cancer , Oncology , Queens Medical Associates And Supportive Oncology Comments (0)

Thursday 11/01/2018
EMU Health grand opening in Glendale

EMU Health was honored with citations from state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) and Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) last Thursday during a ceremony for the center.

“I’ve seen it evolve and I’ve seen it change but it has never, ever looked as good as it does now,” Addabbo said. “And not only does it look good but it serves the best purpose I think ever in this site.”

Located at 83-40 Woodhaven Blvd. in Glendale, EMU Health offers an ambulatory surgery center, multispecialty center and women’s health services.

Miller said he took his father to the location before the upgrades. “It looked like a totally different place,” Miller said. “This is beautiful, bright and modern.”

For the ambulatory surgery center, specialties include orthopedics, ophthalmology, general surgery, breast surgery, podiatry, pain management and plastic surgery.

Services of the multispecialty center include primary care, cardiology, pain management, gynecology, orthopedics, work-related injuries and preoperative testing.

Women’s health services include gynecology, lab testing, surgical services, well-woman visits, preconception counseling, contraceptive counseling and menopause care and radiology including 3-D mammography and ultrasound.

“Really anyone who walks in off the street looking for some type of medical help can get it here; get it here quality-wise, get it here technology-wise,” Addabbo said. “It is so impressive when you walk around and see the technology here and the atmosphere here, it’s really beneficial to the community.”

The building also has state-of-the-art waiting rooms and free on-site parking.

Daniel Lowy, founder and CEO of EMU Health said, “It’s clean. It’s new and we offer a lot of services and we’re bringing Manhattan physicians to Queens. We’re bringing quality and access at a lower cost.”

Posted in Queenswide, South, Eastern, Central, North, Western, Blog on Thursday, November 1, 2018 10:30 am. Updated: 12:41 pm. | Tags: Emu Health Comments (0)

Thursday 10/11/2018
New, bigger Maspeth Key Food on Grand Ave.

Maspeth residents looking to shop for groceries can head to the bigger, better Key Food at 66-56 Grand Ave. that opened several months ago.

Don’t mistake it with the Key Food down the block at 66-17. There are some differences with the newer spot on the avenue.

“The size of the store and the parking lot,” said owner Danny Doleh.

This location has 80 parking spots, a large upgrade over the other site.

“We had a very small parking lot in the other store,” Doleh said.

While there is plenty to choose from at the store, the sizable lot will help customers who need to buy something in a pinch.

“I think they’ll like the convenience of being able to park and being able to run in and run out,” Doleh said, adding that there is a better selection and better variety at the new location.

He owns a total of six Key Foods. It’s somewhat of a family business as his father has been an owner for over 30 years.

And the store is run by general manager Nick Doleh, Danny’s uncle.

There have been some changes in the supermaket business throughout the years.

“It’s definitely moving towards more healthier [foods],” said store supervisor Hasan Zghari. “Our customers are definitely healthier now, making healthier choices, more conscious of what they’re putting in their bodies.”

The store has a fresh seafood department and fresh sushi, which is “buy two, get one free” every day.

Near the deli is a grab-and-go section with options including salad and hot food plates and sandwiches where everything is fresh.

So far the feedback they have received from the Maspeth community has been positive. In addition to giving people in the area another option to buy food, they also hired a number of area residents to work at the store.

The location at 66-56 Grand used to be the site of a Duane Reade but at the end of the month a pharmacy will open inside the Key Food. The pharmacy will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will be closed on Sundays.

Instead of simply taking things out of boxes, food is made fresh right in the store.

“Everything is made from scratch in the store,” Zghari said. “That’s what we think will separate us from the competition. We produce everything right then and there to assure quality freshness.”

Phone orders are gladly accepted and the store also caters events.

With a coupon, there is something free with a $25 purchase, often Key Food bread, eggs, a gallon of milk or some other kind of common grocery. There is free delivery with a $30 purchase.

The store is open every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. All major credit cards are accepted.

As it states on the flier, “It’s not our intention to please a customer or to satisfy them, our intention is to amaze them.”

Posted in Central, Blog on Thursday, October 11, 2018 10:30 am. Updated: 12:21 pm. | Tags: Business As Usual , Key Food Comments (0)

Why everyone over 50 needs a retina eye exam

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss affecting more than 10 million Americans. In addition, diabetic retinopathy has afflicted over 8 million Americans and that number is expected to increase significantly. Both diseases effect the back inside of your eye, the retina. The retina records the images you see and sends them to the optic nerve and from there to the brain. Without an exam a patient may simply think they need better glasses while the disease is causing irreversible damage.

Fortunately, there are now treatments for both macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy in order to reduce the vision loss. The caveat is, the earlier the diagnosis the better the vision. Retina exams require an optometrist, ophthalmologist or vitreoretinal ophthalmologist to dilate your pupils and examine the back of the eye. The exam is painless. If an optometrist or general ophthalmologist diagnoses a retina problem they will send the patient to a vitreoretinal ophthalmologist for treatment. Advancements in drug therapy allow vitreoretinal ophthalmologists to significantly help patients with macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

The simple process of aging can cause age related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is the deterioration of the central portion of the retina. The medications the vitreoretinal ophthalmologist can administer slows the deteriorations and for many patients allows them to continue to drive, read and enjoy their vision. There are two basic types of macular degeneration, wet and dry. Wet AMD refers to degeneration in which the blood vessels in the eye are leaking. The medications help reduce or stop the leaking. Dry AMD needs to be monitored in order to ensure it has not transitioned into wet AMD. Smoking doubles the risk of AMD.

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes. Similar to AMD, patients with diabetic retinopathy are experiencing damage to the retina that can be treated with medications if diagnosed on time. Any individual with diabetes or a family history of diabetes should have a retina exam.

Signs and symptoms Patients with any of the following need a retina exam:

• Floaters (an image that looks like a piece of dust floating in the air)

• Distortion (straight lines look curvy) • Blurred vision

• A spot in the middle of your vision

This patient education material is courtesy of Queens Vitreoretinal Consultants, P.C. This practice has 11 highly trained Vitreoretinal Ophthalmologists, each of whom has received advanced retina training after completing their ophthalmology training.

Queens: Vitreoretinal Consultants, P.C. has 2 locations including Elmhurst and Flushing and can be reached at (718) 793-6430.

Long Island: Vitreoretinal Consultants has 4 locations including Great Neck, Rockville Centre, Hauppauge and Riverhead. They can be reached at (516) 466-0390.


Posted in Central, Eastern, North, Queenswide, South, Western, Blog on Thursday, October 11, 2018 10:30 am. Updated: 3:13 pm. | Tags: (516) 466-0390 , (718) 793-6430 , Www.longislandretina.com , Health , Macular Degeneration Comments (0)

Thursday 09/27/2018
New dental location brightens the area

The grand opening of ProHEALTH Dental in Howard Beach brought out some politicians who toured the new facility and met with doctors and hygienists last Saturday.

“Amazing,” said state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach). “You don’t realize how expansive it is. It’s big. All the technology and all the updated modern machinery for anything dental-wise.”

Addabbo likes how the business is welcoming to families, as opposed to needing different dentists for parents and children.

He’s also happy to see business in the area. “It gives us faith that businesses can come back after Sandy and new businesses can go to a place that was ravaged after Sandy, so we appreciate them being there,” Addabbo said.

Even six years after the hurricane, the issue is still front and center.

“We were so thankful that a credible business wound up at that site because post-Sandy there were a lot of people who were scared to either re-open or open a new business right near the canal with the flooding situation,” Addabbo said.

Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) also visited the new facility. “ProDental is a state-of-the-art facility with extremely helpful staff and doctors,” Ulrich said. “It is an awesome addition to Cross Bay Boulevard.”

According to the company, many patients are unaware of the connection between poor oral health and chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s and certain cancers.

There are six other offices in New York and there is a ProHEALTH Urgent Care across the street. They cover routine hygiene to implant and Invisalign cases as well as sleep medicine.

Addabbo said he appreciated seeing local residents employed there.

ProHEALTH Dental is located at 163-45 Cross Bay Blvd. They can be reached at 718-DENTIST.

Addabbo added, “I’m hoping much success for them. I think they have a great spot.”

Posted in South, Blog on Thursday, September 27, 2018 10:30 am. Updated: 1:00 pm. Comments (0)

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