Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 11 May 2012 00:00
Everyone was out for the cause on May 3 at Jericho Terrace in Mineola. In conjunction with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Long Island (LLSLI), Night on the Town showcased sample cuisines from local restaurants.
Night on the Town began about seven years ago, when St. Aidan’s in Williston Park was looking to raise money. And then Mineola resident Harry Zapiti stepped in.
He brought the idea to St. Aidan’s board. All Zapiti wanted was the support.
“We wanted them to just come out to the event and all the proceeds were donated to the school,” Zapiti said.
According to Zapiti, then-Mineola Mayor Jack Martins approached him to include Corpus Christi Church in the event. Both schools conjoined and created a charity event.
The event ceased after the closing of the Corpus Christi School. In November 2010, event co-chairman and Piccola Bussola owner Tony Lubrano approached Zapiti for help on a charity event to raise money for leukemia, giving Night on the Town the rebirth it needed.
Lubrano’s family has been personally touched by leukemia, specifically his late father, Pasquale.
“We went through all kinds of tests and doctors didn’t give him much time to live, and this was years ago,” Lubrano said. “My father lasted 15 more years. He got to see his grandchildren and helping this cause is the right thing to do.”
Lubrano was pleased this year’s event surpassed 2011. More than 400 people attended Night on the Town in 2011 with $40,000 raised for the evening. Last week, 600 people graced Jericho Terrace and the night topped out at $70,000.
“Just look at the people,” Lubrano pointed out at the gala. “This says it all. Everyone here should be proud. The whole night is absolutely beautiful. The restaurants came through like gangbusters. We did it tonight.”
This year marked the first recipient of the Pasquale Lubrano Community Service Award to the event’s honoree, former state Senator Michael Balboni. Senator Jack Martins, former mayor of Mineola, introduced Balboni, who received the award from Tony’s mother, Rafaela.
“As a recovering politician, when I see a room like this, I think ‘Darn, why isn’t this a fundraiser for me?’” Balboni said jokingly, prompting laughs from the crowd. “Then I realize the fundraiser is for a much bigger, better cause.”
All proceeds from Night on the Town went to LLSLI.
Elizabeth Harman, Long Island chapter campaign manager for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and lymphoma survivor, tried to sump up her feelings about the event.
“There are no words to describe this night,” Harman said. “This has been amazing, not only as a recipient of their generosity but for the attendees.”
Harman met Lubrano two years ago, when his family ran a team-in-training event, a sports endurance program, with the society. In 2011, Lubrano brought the society to Night on the Town. An encore just seemed logical.
Harman attended her first team-in-training event as a survivor in 1997. It was then where she decided to leave her marketing career, to work for the society.
“When he asked us to come back this year, it was humbling,” Harman said, touching her heart. “He reached out to us and it’s been great. I decided to do this a long time ago and I don’t regret it at all.”
Restaurants that catered the event included Bakers of All Nations, Major’s Steakhouse, Churrasqueira Bairrada, Becco, Vinoco, Piccola Bussola, Piccolo’s, Heart of Portugal, Frantoni’s, Cardinale Bakery, Jericho Terrace, La Marmite, Memories and Paparazzi, Poppy’s Palace, Vincent’s Clam Bar, Zenon Taverna, Shakers among others.
Silent auctions were held for various sports/celebrity memorabilia, including a New York Giants’ Eli Manning signed jersey, a New York Jets Hall of Famer Joe Namath signed helmet and various memorabilia highlighting the Giants recent Super Bowl win and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit.