Thursday, March 3, 2011
Fever Pitched: Idol Fever Hits Howard Beach
The Forum dropped by Pia’s former grammar school, P.S. 207 in Rockwood Park, Tuesday morning to check out the giant bulletin board the students created in her honor. Parent-teacher coordinator Nina DeBlasio recalled how a very shy Pia would have to be coaxed to take the stage. “She was so quiet and so very beautiful,” DeBlasio says. “And when she finally opened her mouth to sing you knew that someday everyone would get to hear her.”
And support for Pia is not just coming from those who knew her as a child in school. It comes from leaders in nationwide and local charities, local schools and organizations, local merchants, friends and family.
Angelo Gurino came to know Pia through the Howard Beach Columbus Day Foundation, while serving as the group’s treasurer.. “Pia never says no. She has given so much time to our community. She’s an amazing, talented young woman and she deserves our full support to win this thing.”
Local restaurant owner Joey DeCandia of Lenny’s Clam Bar has really taken the bull by the horns. DeCandia has printed signs to hang in several of his establishments on Cross Bay Boulevard encouraging the community to get behind Pia and vote. To that end, DeCandia and Forum Publisher Pat Adams got together and took the extra step. “Listen, when Howard Beach loves you, we name a food after you,” said a laughing DeCandia. “And this is quite a love affair.” After a coast to coast conversation between Pat Adams and Jane and Pat Toscano about Pia’s favorite foods, the menu was created.
As of next week, Lenny’s Clam Bar will be introducing Penne Alla Pia, a combination of Pia’s favorites: penne pasta in a traditional vodka sauce with grilled chicken and peas. And that’s just the beginning. Howard Beach resident Nick Agola, who owns Sophia Pizza in Ozone Park, wants to spread Pia Fever outside of Howard Beach. His pizzeria will feature the Pia Pie, a thin-crust pizza topped with mushrooms, black olives, spinach, broccoli and grilled chicken. Deli lovers should visit Ragtime Gourmet and Tuscany Deli to support Pia, as owner Angelo Gurino is serving up his own creation—the Pia Panini, stacked high with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, broccoli and roasted peppers. Ragtime will also be featuring a custom designed cupcake by Paddy Kakes of Howard Beach. The “Sweet Pia” cupcake was created with input from its namesake, who requested red velvet cake with pink cream cheese frosting. The confection will be topped with a handmade marzipan peapod in honor of Pia’s fan base, the “Sweet P’s”.
Starting this week, The Forum will be hosting “Vote Nights” for the duration of Pia’s Idol run. Friends and family will get together at the Forum office for concentrated phone and Facebook voting. And yes, you guessed it; the entire Pia menu will be served. Stay tuned for details on future events including upcoming “Pia Pep” rallies.