BWECC-tacular! Communtiy council’s gala a smash

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Power couple: Carmine & Sharon Santa Maria look dapper as ever at the Bensonhurst West End Community Council’s annual Gala at Mill Basin’s El Caribe on May 27.
Mother of all awards: Carmine Santa Maria presents the “Cesaria Soccoa Outstanding Parent of the Year” award to IS 281 Parent-Teacher Association president Lisa Addeo. Joining him are Dorothy Gibbs and the late Cesaria Soccoa’s son, Joseph. Ever the stylish dresser, Santa Maria’s cravat and pocket square match his trusty steed, Tornado.
Hear ye!: Councilmen Vincent Gentile and Mark Treyger present Carmine Santa Maria with a proclamation and certiicate from city council.
What a woman!: Janet Ndzibah accepts the award for “Woman of the Year.” Husband, Kwesi, and children Maxwell and Sierra joined her for the honor. from BWECC President Carmine Santa Maria - Also pictured is Janet’s family - Husband Kwesi - Son Maxwell - Daughter Sierra
He’s the man: PS/IS 226 assistant principal Matthew Barone revels in his “Man of the Year” award.
Caribe walk: Partiers bust a move on El Caribe’s dance floor after the dinner and awards ceremony.

They got their groove BWECC.

Members of the Bensonhurst West End Community Council took a break from their perennial battle to improve Gravesend, kicking up their feet and having a little fun during their annual dinner-dance at Mill Island’s El Caribe on May 27.

More than 250 neighborhood crusaders celebrated the club’s 54th anniversary, cut a rug, and honored some locals for making Southern Brooklyn a better place. Recipients were truly moved, one honoree said.

“It was exciting — a very humbling award,” said PS-IS 226 principal Matthew Barone, who was declared BWECC’s “Man of the Year.” “I was very touched by receiving it. It was a fantastic evening — a great event by the BWECC. Fun was had by all.”

Folks came for the honorees, but they stayed for the nosh, according to Bensonhurst West End Community Council president Carmine Santa Maria, who celebrated his 35th year as the organization’s president.

“We had a gigantic cocktail hour — wall-to-wall hot plates,” said the beloved Courier Life columnist. “Once you go to one of my cocktail hours you don’t have to eat for the rest of the night — most of the people take their dinner home. I had the prime rib — it was so good I took two home,” the ever-hungry Santa Maria boasted.

Area councilmen Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island) and Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) dropped by to pay their respects to the Don of Harway Terrace.

“I got a slew of awards like you wouldn’t believe,” Santa Maria said. “I get all the credit, but my ladies [members of Bensonhurst West End Community Council] do all the work, so I had to give them credit.”

The other awardees were:

• Janet Ndzibah won “Woman of the Year”

• IS 96 principal Erin Lynch took “Educator of the Year”

• IS 228 Parent-Teacher Association president Lisa Addeo clinched “Parent of the Year”

• District 47 committeewoman Nancy Tong was named “Humanitarian of the Year”

• Erica Kuskin won the “5-Diamond Hospitality Award”

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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