Izania Gonzalez new Riverdale Press reporter


Izania Gonzalez has joined The Riverdale Press editorial staff as a reporter covering education and transportation. She was most recently a freelance reporter for The Record Review and Scarsdale Inquirer, where she wrote about the local communities.

Prior to her freelance gig, Gonzalez was an audience engagement intern at the Adirondack Explorer, where she wrote and edited stories. She also focused on photography, designing graphics and editing videos for the Explorer’s newsletter and social media posts.

Gonzalez earned a masters of arts in engagement journalism from Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor of science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

You can contact her at

Gellens leaves
Wave Hill comms job

Martha Gellens, who helped lead Wave Hill gardens marketing and communications efforts for 18 years, has announced she has stepped down.

“It’s been an exhilarating, sometimes draining tenure, and I hope the new year will give me a chance to slow down, ideally writing or editing or project-managing on a part-time basis,” Gellens said in a statement.

Kathleen Gordon, Wave Hill marketing manager, will take the helm of of the gardens marketing and communications efforts, according to Gellens.

Wave Hill is at 4900 Independence Ave. For more information on the gardens and its activities, visit

VCPA fighting
city budget cuts

The Van Cortlandt Park Alliance is leading the fight to get back some of the funds cut in Mayor Eric Adams’ latest austerity budget.

Van Cortlandt Park, the city’s third largest public park, faces the elimination of important programs and a hiring freeze. In a Dec. 11 public hearing on the budget cuts, Van Cortlandt Park Alliance deputy director Christina Taylor made the case for not instituting the cuts.

“Parks are an essential part of city life,” Taylor said. “Fourteen percent of all city land is parkland. There are nearly 2,000 park sites in NYC. And yet, the Parks Department is chronically underfunded.

“With this round of cuts, there will be nothing left… and yet, this administration keeps chipping away. Enough is enough. Say no to the cuts.”

Last month, Taylor told The Riverdale Press the Parks Opportunity Program, which employs workers to clean bathrooms, pick up trash and remove graffiti, will be eliminated within six months as a result of the budget cuts. Those workers will have until about June 30.

“Honestly it’s not going to be pretty. It’s going to be a tough year for parks next year,” she said. “The parks have been (operating) on a shoestring budget.”

The alliance and New Yorkers For Parks have been fighting for the Adams administration to dedicate 1 percent of city budgets to parks, so the recent slashing to a budget already at about 0.5 percent has been devastating.

The most immediate changes the park will see, Taylor said, is a hiring freeze, vehicles in poor conditions and not being able to purchase new ones or purchasing enough garbage bags or new cans. That is where the alliance will step in.

The alliance is hoping to raise funding to hire a seasonal staff next year that can work alongside the Parks department in cleaning bathrooms, picking up trash and removing graffiti.

Money raised for
tenured professors

Faculty at Manhattan College have set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for legal services to defend the tenure rights of professors who are at risk of losing their jobs.

In a statement on the GoFundMe site, Adam Arenson, who set up the account, wrote the following: “In violation of rights outlined in the (Manhattan College) Faculty Handbook, the College’s administration has said it will terminate at least 34 tenured and tenure-track faculty without cause or fully documented justification and without proper notification or severance. The Faculty Handbook has clear terms for termination that the administration is both disregarding and misconstruing.

“On December 18, President (Milo) Riverso sent an email to the entire college community, confirming that the college would be laying off faculty, but has yet to commit to doing so in accordance with the rules outlined in the Faculty Handbook regarding notification and severance. Affected faculty may face a long and costly legal battle to enforce these rights.”

As of Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024, $9,223 has been raised out of a goal of $25,000.

According to the GoFundMe site, “all funds collected will be placed in an account dedicated solely to this effort. If the faculty are not forced to take legal action, all funds will be returned to donors minus fees charged by GoFundMe. In the case that there are leftover funds following legal action, any remaining funds will be donated to the American Association of University Professors.”

The site can be found at


Izania Gonzalez, The Riverdale Press, Record Review, Scarsdale Inquirer, reporter