The Bensonhurst West End Community Council’s 52nd Annual Gala

Country Club caters Carmine’s convivial carousal

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Mighty good man: Bath Beacher Sid Schatzman took home the Man of the Year award for his work with seniors.
Wotta mom: Linda Dalton of Gravesend won the plaque for Parent of the Year.
Classy couple: The Bensonhurst West End Community Council’s Educator of the year, Neal Opramalla, brought his wife Donna to the party at El Caribe in Mill Basin.
Party time: Attendees danced the night away once the award ceremony was done.
Biggest winner: The council acknowledged Carmine Santa Maria’s 33 years as president with a big balloon in the shape of a Z — recalling the Screecher’s favorite masked Mexican hero.

It’s the one night of the year the Big Screecher isn’t mad — the Bensonhurst West End Community Council Annual Gala!

The Greatest Columnist in the World, Carmine Santa Maria, celebrated the neighborhood group’s 52nd birthday — and his 33rd year as president — honoring some very special Brooklynites at El Caribe Country Club in Mill Basin on April 11.

More than 300 people turned out to see Bensonhurst’s highest honor bestowed upon seven neighborhood leaders. Gravesend resident Linda Dalton won the Parent of the Year award for her participation in the Parent-Teacher Association at PS 95, Coney Islander Brian Gottlieb took home the Humanitarian of the Year award for his activism as a member of Community Board 13, Antonella Bove of Sheepshead Bay got the Woman of the Year Award for her work as principal of PS 215, Nydia and Joe Corace from Coney Island were named Couple of the Year for their involvement in Kiwanis, Neal Opromalla of Borough Park earned the Educator of the Year prize with his efforts in the Children First school support network, and Bath Beacher Sid Schatzman picked up the plaque for Man of the Year for his assistance to senior citizens.

“They’re all wonderful people,” said the Screecher.

And the food and staff at El Caribe couldn’t have been better, according to Carmine.

“There was a server at the meat station, where they have the roast beef and the pastrami and everything. I went up there, he said ‘let me make you a plate.’ And he brought it out and everything was cut the right sizes. Sometimes they cut it too big, and you choke on it. So it was terrific,” he recalled.

But the guests weren’t the only ones honored that night. To show their appreciation for his fearless leadership, the council presented Carmine with a balloon in the shape of a “Z” — for Zorro, who, like Carmine, is a hero to thousands of adoring fans and rides a mighty steed named Tornado.

“It’s good to be king,” the Screecher said.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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