Heartbroken hubby laments wife’s web of lies

The Riverdale Press

July 19, 2007

By Tommy Hallissey

Rare is the spouse who is completely truthful, but Nirmala Parmasar wove a fabric of lies to her husband that was so egregious it could land her in jail for many years. “She claimed she loved me, but those were only words,” said a despondent Michael Braverman, speaking with The Press in his modest apartment at 80 Knolls Crescent.

He still remembers the day Ms. Parmasar told him, “I have cancer and I need money to go to California where I can get good treatment,” according to a criminal complaint on file with the Bronx district attorney’s office.

But, according to police, the healthy woman used the cash — Mr. Braverman estimates it totaled $144,000 — to underwrite her relationship with a second husband in South Ozone Park, Queens.

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On Trial in Cop-Killing, ‘Bronx Tale’ Star Dims

Faces ‘Blue’ Jury as Well

Dec. 5, 2008

The Chief

By Tommy Hallissey

With his hands cuffed behind the back of his brown suit, Lillo Brancato walked into Bronx Supreme Court Nov. 25, the second day of his trial for the murder of an NYPD cop, and lifted his head long enough to see a dozen police officers seated in the courtroom, waiting to hear two of their colleagues testify against him.

A black female officer glared at the star of “A Bronx Tale,” her gaze never wavering, while other officers sat with arms folded against their chests. Some just squinted. All came from the 40th Precinct, where Daniel Enchautegui had worked before he was murdered on Dec. 10, 2005.

Famous Line Haunts Him Now

Mr. Brancato, who also played a small-time hood in “The Sopranos,” fidgeted in his chair. He looked sharp, with close-cropped black hair and an expensive suit, despite his day-old beard. Not that long ago, he could have been in front of a camera, saying lines like “the saddest thing in life is wasted talent,” as he did at the end of “A Bronx Tale,” except now the words are freighted with irony.

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The beat goes on

Nov. 29, 2007

The Riverdale Press

By Tommy Hallissey

A photograph of a deserted yellow-striped highway hangs at the back of the room. Indicative of everything and nothing at once, like the writer whose masterwork - a typewritten tattered scroll - flows toward the door. It’s a quixotic backdrop for an exhibit of any writer except for Jack Kerouac, who became famous by writing about the mad cross-country escapades that spawned a generation of beatniks.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of On the Road by former Horace Mann student Jack Kerouac, which he wrote in a three-week frenzy on 12 10-foot rolls of architectural tracing paper. In commemoration of the anniversary, the New York Public Library has put together an exhaustive exhibit of Kerouac memorabilia, including stuff of folklore like the scroll and rarer nuggets like Kerouac’s fantasy baseball cards from his youth in Lowell, Mass.

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Andy sweats his way to healthier thinking

By Tommy Hallissey

A thin-armed 47-year-old white man, named Andy, crawls on his hands and knees into an igloo shaped structure of wood, called a Purification Lodge, on a Mohawk Reservation near Micena, New York.  Inside, it is so dark Andy can’t see his hand in front of his face.  Outside, Mohawk Indians dressed in street clothes chant prayers of healing for him.  Andy sits near a fire pit of red-hot stones for close to two hours.  Even stones, our oldest relative, have life, believe the Mohawks.  The heat is so intense Andy thinks he might die.  He sees white spots.

            The following morning the gray-haired medicine man takes Andy in a motorboat to an island on the St. Lawrence River for a Vision Quest.  He will be left entirely alone for 24 hours without food or water.  Native Americans traditionally do a Vision Quest at the age of 12 or 13 in hopes of achieving spiritual enlightenment.  The medicine man drops Andy off.  Turning away he says, “You’ll face every fear you ever had.  You either face your fears or you forever run from them.  Remember one thing your fears are your pathway to enlightenment.  Good Luck, you’ll need it.”

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High-stepping horse has hopes for Olympic gold

July 3, 2008

The Riverdale Press

By Tommy Hallissey

Pop Art’s muscular chestnut brown body moves with military precision as he kicks his right front leg and then his left like a four-legged Rockette, subtly guided by the slightest tapping of the spurs on the heels of Ashley Holzer’s black, knee-high boots. The horse and rider team is at the Riverdale Equestrian Centre on Broadway, getting ready to compete at the upcoming Olympic games in China.

Both are seasoned competitors. Ms. Holzer has represented her native Canada in the equestrian dressage event twice before, winning a bronze medal in 1998.

She has high hopes for her partner, Pop Art, because he hasn’t lost a competition in two years. “I thought he was going to be good, but I had no idea he was going to be this good,” said Ms. Holzer.

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Car break-in pair caught in the act

March 13, 2008

The Riverdale Press

By Tommy Hallissey

Two of Riverdale’s most notorious car vandals, with rap sheets longer than a stretch limousine, teamed up for a recent break-in in Kingsbridge and were arrested together on Saturday, police said.

Police Officer Adam Donofrio observed Edward Feliciano, 39, with his head inside the broken rear passenger window of a rented 2007 Chrysler 300 with Virginia registration on Kingsbridge Avenue near West 232nd Street. The Five-O officer later found broken pieces of glass on Mr. Feliciano’s clothing that allegedly matched the Chrysler only blocks from the stationhouse on Saturday at 3 a.m.

Mr. Feliciano, a career petty thief, was nabbed allegedly stealing a worthless item: six 7-11 Big Eats green-colored napkins, which police said were similar to those found in the front seat of the Chrysler.

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2nd Murder Conviction In Police Officer’s Killing; Woods Faces Life

March 20, 2009

The Chief-Leader

By Tommy Hallissey

Lee Woods, one of three men charged in the fatal shooting of Police Officer Russel Timoshenko on a Brooklyn street two years ago, was convicted of murder March 16.

Several dozen cops who crowded into the courtroom and sat quietly while Brooklyn Supreme Court jurors delivered their verdict exploded in jubilation when they exited moments later.

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A foster care survivor’s journey to independence

Without a word, Fekri’s disarming, toothy smile betrays the suffering he endured coming of age in the New York City foster care system.  His crooked pearly whites also hide the agony of being sold into slavery in Tunisia at the age of 5 for a mere $100.

Taken from Tunisia, Fekri was exchanged between parental figures that were often physically and sexually abusive. At age 9, he was beaten severely in Jackson Heights, Queens by his family of the moment. After he was hospitalized, the city recommended he not return to an abusive environment.

Without doting parents, Fekri spent most of his formative years in the less than picturesque settings of New York foster homes. At 21, Fekri was one of nearly 1,000 individuals that year forced to navigate independent living after “aging out” of the city’s foster system. These young adults must transition from a system of familiar structure to the unsettled, often cold reality of independence. According to a 2011 report by the Center for an Urban Future, roughly two-thirds of the 16,000 foster youth in America age out of the system without reuniting with their birth families or being adopted.

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For Port Authority Cops, A Sense of Loss Lingers

For the seventh anniversary of 9/11, The Chief took a look at a previously ignored group of victims: the Port Authority Police Department, which lost 37 members on 9/11, a proportionately high number of its limited ranks.

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