Pols, civic leaders, douse each other to raise money for ALS
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
If you’re visiting Bay Ridge, don’t be surprised if you see people dumping buckets of ice water on each other’s heads.
The community has taken up the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in a big way.
The latest local celebrity to accept the challenge is Councilmember Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst), who agreed to have ice water poured on his head at his district office on Aug. 20.
Another lawmaker, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island), who was “bucketed” on Monday, posted a video on YouTube, and then issued the challenge to Gentile. “I took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and am paying forward. Among the three I challenge is Councilman Vinnie Gentile!” Malliotakis wrote in an email to the Brooklyn Eagle.
The Ice Bucket Challenge was started a few weeks ago and has grown like wildfire, thanks to social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The event is serving as a fundraiser for the ALS Association, an organization that raises money for research and promotes awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Here’s how the challenge works: nominated participants have to have a bucket of ice water poured on their head within 24-hours of being nominated and post a video of it on Facebook, Instagram or other social media sites, or they have to donate $100 to the ALS Association. Each participant in turn nominates three other people for the challenge.
Gentile accepted the challenge without hesitation. “I’m looking for people to challenge, so be careful!” Gentile jokingly told members of the Bay Ridge Unity Task Force at the group’s breakfast on Tuesday morning.
Gentile was actually nominated by a number of people, including Malliotakis, his communications director, Justin Brannan and Arlene Rutuelo, owner of Nordic Delicacies on Third Avenue.
The New York Times reported on Aug. 17 that people posted more than 1.2 million videos on Facebook between June 1 and Aug. 13 and that donations to the ALS Association have skyrocketed. As of Aug. 17, the association had received $13.3 million this summer, a jump from $1.7 million it received last summer, the Times reported.
It’s not just the politicians who are getting in on the act.
Arlene Rutuelo, owner of Nordic Delicacies, a shop on Third Avenue in Bay Ridge, was nominated by state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southwest Brooklyn). She posted a video on Facebook and wrote, “Thanks Marty Golden for nominating me for the Ice bucket challenge! I nominate Linda Hobbesland, Councilman Vincent Gentile and Paul Cassone! You have 24 hours to complete or make a donation! Good Luck! I'm donating anyway!”
Many people are doing the same as Rutuelo. They are being dunked with ice water and making a donation to the ALS Association.
Brannan accepted the challenge while enjoying a weekend away at the beach. “Finally got around to doing the ALS Challenge after being called out by several people. I'm calling out Jonathan Yedin, Councilman Vincent Gentile and Laura Caruso. Don't forget to donate $$ too,” he posted along with his video on Facebook.
New York Conservative party Chairman Mike Long also took the bucket challenge. He nominated Malliotakis, former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato and Libby Pataki, wife of former governor George Pataki.
Elected officials are stepping up to the challenge. In addition to Malliotakis and Gentile, Golden and U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-C-Brooklyn-Staten Island) had ice water poured on their heads.
In his Facebook video, Golden nominated Rutuelo, Brooklyn Conservative Party Chairman Jerry Kassar, Brooklyn Eagle columnist Chuck Otey and his wife, Colleen Golden. In a patriotic touch, Golden’s ice bucket was red, white and blue with stars and stripes.
Grimm completed his challenge at the Guyon Rescue Headquarters on Staten Island and was joined by members of Superstorm Sandy recovery organizations.