Written by Mary Ellen Porrazzo, firstname.lastname@example.org Friday, 18 January 2013 00:00
Enter Rudy Tufaro, a minister in the nondenominational Universal Life Church. In an interview at the Hicksville Starbucks on a recent Friday afternoon, the 54-year-old reverend with a background in business spoke with the peaceful demeanor of a man who has found his calling.
In fact, Starbucks has figured into his ministry. He said he often meets prospective brides at Starbucks, “neutral territory,” he explained, that’s public and safe yet warm and conducive to personal conversations such as ones between an engaged couple and a prospective officiant.
One Labor Day weekend, he even performed a wedding at a Starbucks in Saratoga Springs. Months later the couple followed that ceremony with one for family and friends at Danforth’s in Port Jefferson.
“He genuinely cares,” said Katie Fournier, a preschool teacher in Astoria where she lives. Most of her family is from Long Island, she said in a telephone interview, so she decided to have her wedding here and found Rev. Rudy on wedding.com. Last April, she married her husband Marc before 140 guests at the Venetian Yacht Club in Babylon.
Her praise for Rev. Rudy, a widower himself— “wonderful, personable, kind, friendly and nice”—was echoed by two other newlyweds in telephone interviews.
Anna Leonard, who runs the e-commerce jewelry site zenaluna.com, married her husband John last July on the rooftop garden at Il Bacco Restaurant in Little Neck. Anna, who lives in Bethpage, was walked down the aisle by her brother. Her dad is deceased, as are her husband’s parents, and she is still moved by the way Rev. Rudy “honored them.” He refers to such elements of the ceremony as “remembrances.” They can involve a candle lighting, or specially chosen spoken words and may also include living family members or friends who are prevented by distance from attending the ceremony.
“I really do believe in him,” said Anna Leonard, underscoring how he works to make each ceremony personal.
Susan Ciancioso, who lives with her husband Anthony in Franklin Square, was married by Rev. Rudy last April at The Westbury Manor. Her desire for a “nonreligious ceremony” echoed one of Rev. Rudy’s reasons for the popularity of nondenominational weddings. “People are falling away from organized religion,” he said. Yet this does not mean they are falling away from spirituality. Far from it.”
Katie Fournier noted she and her husband aren’t church-goers. Yet her soft voice spoke of the reverence she holds for her wedding day. She and her husband first met Rev. Rudy, a Hicksville resident, at a Starbucks in Astoria. Within days, she said, he wrote their ceremony, and their wedding day was “exactly how we wanted it to be.”
When The Big Day comes, Rev. Rudy said, “It is all about the couple. Arriving early, he meets with everyone involved and goes over the ceremony. “I always go see the bride and calm them down. Some brides are very nervous.”
He recalled one bride, mid-ceremony, suddenly looking to the left, then to the right, and his feeling of concern for her. Questioning her later, he said she told him, it only dawned on her then and there that “everyone was looking at her.”
In the four years he’s been officiating, Rev. Rudy says he’s performed more than 100 weddings in venues on Long Island’s North Fork, Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay, the boat house in Central Park and a backyard in Levittown, for a couple, he said, who “didn’t want the glitz of a catering hall.” Last summer, he performed a wedding by the ocean in Long Beach. He laughed, recalling how the bride and groom “jumped in the water after they said ‘I do.’”
While simple ceremonies can cost several hundred dollars, he said, many variables go into the price. Length of the service, its complexity, preparation time and travel involved are all factors. And some details are on his website, www. marriedbyrudy.com. “The ceremony,” he said he tells each bride, “should be as unique as your gown.”
He said plans to keep marrying couples for a very long time.
“I’m a romantic,” he said, smiling.
Saturday, 20 September 2014 00:00
Rhea Manjrekar traded in her running shoes and track shorts for high heels and an evening gown recently, as she participated in the Miss Teen India New York pageant. The 15-year-old from Hicksville snagged the title of first-runner up, and will be competing for the national title in December.
This was Manjrekar’s first time competing in a pageant. But she started out with major doubts about even participating.
“At first, I didn’t want to do it. I have extreme stage fright. My mom told me to try it out because she thought it would boost my confidence and look good on my college applications, so I went for the practice,” Manjrekar said. “The girls were so nice. I thought I wouldn’t fit in but I made friends immediately so I decided to do it.”
Friday, 19 September 2014 00:00
The parking lot of Sears in Hicksville transformed into a sea of cars this past Saturday as part of the ninth annual Long Island Cruizin’ For A Cure Car Show.
The show, which was founded by Jericho prostate cancer survivor Sandy Kane, is the only car show on Long Island dedicated to raising funds for research, testing and also education for early detection of prostate cancer. The all-volunteer car show usually draws around 4,000 attendees. It features 600 cars, trucks, motorcycles and more; a perfect day for car enthusiasts and the like.
Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00
This November, Hicksville resident Marlo Signoracci will head to Florida for Ironman, a demanding, long-distance triathlon that includes biking, running and swimming. Here, she shares her story as she prepares for one of the most physically challenging athletic events out there.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!
Thursday, 04 September 2014 10:49
At 6 a.m. on a blustery Saturday morning 1,600 people arrived at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park to participate in the 27th annual Runner’s Edge Tobay triathlon and tri- relay race. The participants were from all over Long Island, some from upstate NY, a few from out of state and were all ages and some even with disabilities but all came with one goal in mind, to finish.
The course starts out as a half mile swim in Oyster Bay Harbor, then a 9.3 mile bike ride through Oyster Bay, Laurel Hollow, and Cove neck which is very hilly but finishes with a 2.9 mile downhill to the finish. Then the riders have one more leg of the race which is 3.2 mile run through Mill Neck and Brookville, up to Planting Fields Arboretum and back down to Roosevelt Park to the finish line.