Written by Rich Forestano, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 01 May 2014 10:14
The passing of a Plainview resident due to leukemia inspired a local restaurateur to help others touched by the dreadful disease.
Tony Lubrano, owner of Piccola Bussola in Mineola, started Night On The Town in memory of his father, Plainview native Pasquale, after the family patriarch died. Pasquale Lubrano was an Italian immigrant who came to the U.S. in 1957, seeking the American dream. His dream came true in 1980 when he opened his own restaurant in Glen Cove, La Bussola Ristorante.
Lubrano was diagnosed with leukemia in 1991. In his memory, his son Tony orchestrated a charity event to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society called Night on the Town in Mineola.
The annual event has been a fixture in Mineola, honoring community pillars and charities with a evening of great food and fun. This year, Lubrano has a new goal in mind for the May 7 event at Jericho Terrace: 1,000 attendees and $100,000 raised for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Last year, $72,500 was raised.
“If you want to buy a ticket or write a check, you don’t make it out to no one else other than the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society,” said event coordinator Lubrano. “All of the money goes straight to them.”
The 2012 extravaganza marked the first recipient of the Pasquale Lubrano Community Service Award to the event’s honoree, former state Senator Michael Balboni.
“My father was originally given a year and a half to live,” Lubrano said. “We went to Sloan Kettering and they offered some trial stuff. He got 15 years that we never anticipated.”
In 2013, cancer patient Frank Ferrante, an event donor, and his doctor Dr. Vincent Vinciguerra of North Shore-LIJ were chosen as the award recipient. Ferrante was battling cancer at the time and passed away last year. The event will honor Ferrante with a memorial.
This year, the night will commend Senator Jack Martins and CPA Michael Costa.
“Every year, [Costa] does a lot for this event,” said Lubrano. “We wanted to do something to recognize what he’s done. Jack Martins is a solid choice. He’s done so much for us and the Mineola community. It seemed like a no-brainer to pick these two people.”
Night on the Town originally supported the Corpus Christi School. A one-year hiatus occurred when the school was closing and Lubrano approached co-chairman Harry Zapiti for help on a charity event to raise money for leukemia, giving Night on the Town the rebirth it needed.
“It’s enlightening to see that this event has grown to the level it has,” Zapiti said. “Now, bringing in the Mavericks to raise money for leukemia, is a great asset to the event. It will allow us to raise more money for the foundation.”
Sponsored by the United Mavericks, a 60-member networking group of local business people, Night on the Town could flourish more than ever, says Nick Velastro.
“Basically we’re a group of lads...leaders, achievers and doers,” said Velastro, of Global Real Estate Services in Carle Place. “We get together and socialize. But our goal is to do charity work and give back to society. We want to see the world get to where it needs to be. Night on the Town is a perfect example.”
The group is currently circulating tickets and looking for donations. Word of mouth is key.
The 2014 gala will see the likes of Donna Vivino, who plays the witch in Broadway’s smash Wicked, sing a few tunes and Edward de Corsia’s New York’s Most Dangerous Big Band with Gina Glickman Giordan, host of TV show In the Mixx, as mistress of ceremonies.
Twenty-two restaurants will cater the event, including Major’s Steakhouse, Churrasqueira Bairrada, Becco, Vinoco, Piccola Bussola, Diletto’s, Eleanor Rigby’s, Rothmann’s Steakhouse, Memories, Opa Grille, Revel Restaurant and Bar, Rockefeller Wine and Spirits, Stuffcakes Bakery, The Capital Grille, Uncle Bacala’s, Vincent’s Clam Bar, Piccolo’s, Heart of Portugal, Frantoni’s, Cardinali Bakery, Jericho Terrace and Manetta’s.
Silent auctions will be held for various sports/celebrity memorabilia, including signed items from New York sport teams. Last year, the event auctioned off a New York Jets Joe Namath jersey, a New York Rangers goalie mask autographed by Henrik Lundqvist, a signed portrait of New York Mets greats Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez and Bob Ojeda as well as pieces honoring New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit and pitcher Mariano Rivera’s 602nd career save.
Tickets are $100 per person. Visit Li.nightontown.LLSevent.org or call Harry Zapiti at 516-426-1652 or Tony Lubrano at 516-316-9271.