Friday, August 21, 2015

For once, critic makes healthy choice: No room for dessert

A family of geese stopped traffic this week on the Bogota side of the Midtown Bridge over the Hackensack River.


In The Record's Better Living tab today, readers are witnessing a first:

Elisa Ung, the paper's sugar-obsessed restaurant critic, didn't have room for dessert after tackling the all-you-can-eat buffet at Martino's Market in Hackensack (BL-14)

The small market is an institution in what was once a vibrant Italian immigrant neighborhood.

In fact, 10 years ago nearly to the day, a photo of Palermo natives Vincenzo and Concetta Martino, with grandchildren Rosa and Maurizio Nicastro, appeared on the cover of The Record's Food section, part of an extensive report on Hackensack's ethnic restaurants.

The headline:

Small city affords a world view

It's hard to believe The Record has ignored the Martinos for a decade, just as it has other ethnic eating places in the city were it prospered for more than 110 years before pulling up stakes in 2009, and moving to Woodland Park.

Nor can readers understand why Ung awarded Martino's Market only two out of three stars in today's Informal Dining review.

Two stars means "If you're nearby, a must eat."

Three stars means, "Worth the drive from anywhere in North Jersey."

As far as I know, the market's buffet of homemade Italian-American specialties is unique in North Jersey (now $15, compared to $10 in 2005), so why wouldn't it be "worth the drive"?

Page 1

The most interesting elements on the front page today involve the dead and dying (A-1).

The first is the touching obituary for Herbert S. Gold, 95, of Cresskill, a World War II prisoner of war who "felt the duty to tell the story of the war." 

The second is the photo of former President Jimmy Carter, who spoke "with honesty and humor" about the cancer that has spread to his brain (story on A-4, editorial on A-12).

On A-2, the editors correct another screw-up from Columnist Mike Kelly, though it's likely readers fell asleep reading his tedious Sunday column on the Hudson River rail tunnels before they got to the error.

Local news?

Given the local obituary for a heroic POW on Page 1 today, Road Warrior John Cichowski's mention of Donald Trump doesn't sit well with readers (L-1).

As you recall, Trump attacked another POW, U.S. Sen. John McCain, saying he preferred war heroes who weren't captured.

What's especially objectionable about Cichowski's mention of "a rumble" involving Trump and the other GOP presidential candidates is that it has absolutely nothing to do with his subject, pedestrian deaths.

It's another sign of desperation from a reporter who is so burned out and lazy he needs to pad his column with ridiculous references and one quote after another from hysterical readers.

In today's column on pedestrian deaths, Staff Writer John Cichowski reports Hue Dang, 64, was killed by a car on March 9 "while she crossed Kennedy Street" in Hackensack, where she lived. But the police report -- showing the position of the car and the woman after she was run down, above --suggests she was crossing Jackson Avenue, not Kennedy, and may have been in the crosswalk when she was struck by an unmarked car driven by a detective from the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.

Older drivers

Cichowski's dereliction of duty as a journalist is evident today from the story next to his column reporting the death of a confused 87-year-old driver who, police say, drove on the tracks for a mile before an NJ Transit train crushed his car, killing him (L-1).

As far as I know, Cichowski has never reported on the challenges facing elderly drivers and whether retraining is available to them, despite the hundreds of accidents and deaths involving seniors in the nearly 12 years he's been writing the column. 

Local photo

Wouldn't the local photo of three men playing boccie in Lyndhurst (L-3) be preferable to the gee-whiz "Shot of The Day" from India (A-2)?


But desperate Assignment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza need that boccie photo -- and ordered it blown up to the size of small tablecloth -- because they simply couldn't come up with any legitimate news to fill their thin section.


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