June 7, 2005
More than 1,200 athletes from the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island and Hudson Valley were in attendance, accompanied by more than 350 coaches and approximately 800 volunteers.
Despite a gray and drizzly morning, the 2005 Metro Tournament at Riverbank State Park turned into a beautiful, sunny day by the time Opening Ceremonies began. The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) provided parade marshals, a color guard, bagpipe and drum corps, and accompanied the Parade of Athletes into the track and field arena.
New York Lottery’s Yolanda Vega was her usual upbeat and charismatic self as the emcee of Opening Ceremonies. Several elected officials also came out to cheer the athletes on; Congressman Charles Rangel, Speaker Gifford Miller, Councilmember Robert Jackson and Commissioner Ken Podziba. Opening Ceremonies highlights included the P.S. 194 Chorus singing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” (with many athletes dancing along,) and a touching tribute to longtime SONY friend, advocate and hero Peter Loeb. After a moment of silence, Marla Greenspan, former SONY board member, presented a memento to Mrs. Jeanette Loeb, complete with a ceremonial shot from a starter’s pistol.
After the torch was run into the field and the cauldron lit, Board Member Anthony Bifaro proclaimed “Let the Games Begin!” Athletes competed in aquatics, basketball, powerlifting, softball throw, track & field and volleyball. The facilities at Riverbank provided a lovely backdrop against the Hudson River, for the 9th annual Metro Tournament. There were many wonderful athlete accomplishments, contagious enthusiasm and exciting moments in every sport.
As part of their “Impact Day,” Deloitte & Touche volunteers joined a large contingent from the FDNY to help with set-up on Friday.
Key sponsors included Goldman Sachs, Mattel, New York Lottery, NYSUT, New York Sports Club, Oppenheimer Funds, Ross Stores and United Federation of Teachers. Blimpie provided lunches and Coca Cola beverages again this year.
January 31, 2005
Aquilone’s commitment to athletes remembered The Jacob Javits Center once again played host to the New York City Regional Tournament, but this year’s tournament took on a different tone, as athletes, coaches, volunteers, staff, family and friends remembered Peter Aquilone’s life-long commitment to Special Olympic athletes. Peter worked for Special Olympics New York (SONY) for more than two years and in that time he helped the organization grow in immeasurable ways. One of his crowning achievements was bringing the regional floor hockey tournament to the Javits Center and getting the trade unions to help set up the event.
Unfortunately Peter passed away last year, but his drive to bring top-notch competitive opportunities to SONY athletes will never be forgotten. With Peter’s spirit in mind the SONY Board of Director recently approved a measure renaming the annual Regional Floor Hockey Tournament the “Peter Aquilone Memorial Floor Hockey Tournament.”
On Saturday, January 22nd, athletes from the New York City Region took part in the competition. After Opening Ceremonies, SONY President and C.E.O. Neal J. Johnson officially announced the renaming of the tournament to the “Peter Aquilone Memorial Floor Hockey Tournament.” Special Olympic athlete and Global Messenger Rodney Hankins spoke of his relationship with Peter, and how Peter helped motivate him to shrive for higher goals.
Peter’s father Edward Aquilone spoke on behold of his family, recounting a memory he shared with his son at one of the first tournaments, in which an athlete tracked down Peter to congratulate him for giving the athlete the opportunity to compete. Edward Aquilone said that was always Peter’s number one goal.
Despite the snow storm that hammered the Northeast, which kept some teams from traveling, those who were there enjoyed a competitive afternoon. Once the games were complete the players received their awards and quickly got on buses and started the long and snowy rides home. “Peter was on the minds of everyone at the tournament,” said SONY President and C.E.O., Neal J. Johnson. “His dedication to our athletes will not be forgotten and now his memory will be in the hearts of countless athletes, volunteers, coaches, and staff for many years to come.”
January 11, 2005
Peter Aquilone Memorial Floor Hockey Tournament to debut. Special Olympics New York’s (SONY) Board of Directors recently approved a measure renaming the annual Regional Floor Hockey Tournament, held at the Jacob Javits Center, to the “Peter Aquilone Memorial Floor Hockey Tournament”.
Peter Aquilone, originally from Brooklyn, worked for Special Olympics New York for more than two years producing competitions and special events. Throughout his personal and professional life Peter was dedicated to athletes with intellectual disabilities.
Peter made many contributions to Special Olympic New York athletes but the most profound impact involved the annual Regional Floor Hockey Tournament at the Javits Center. “Pete was the catalyst in getting the Javits Center to host this event and getting the trade unions at the center to provide their support,” said Special Olympic New York President and CEO Neal J. Johnson. “Pete was also able to get the carpenters local at the center to design and build the hockey courts still in use around the state today,” said Johnson. “Thanks to Pete’s tireless commitment our athletes are able to participate in a first class competition.”
The “Special Olympics New York Peter Aquilone Memorial Floor Hockey Tournament” will be held Saturday, January 22nd at the Jacob Javits Center. The opening and naming ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m., followed by the tournament. More than 300 coaches and athletes will compete and more than 200 volunteers, staff, and spectators are expected to be on hand.
After leaving Special Olympics New York to go to law school, Peter went to work for the National Hockey League where he was the Manager of Center Ice & Media for the NHL’s Television and Media Ventures Group.
October 21, 2004
Real Estate & Construction Gala set for Tuesday October 26th Members of the Real Estate and Construction community will be coming together once again to support Special Olympic New York Athletes. The 5th Annual Real Estate & Construction Gala to benefit Special Olympics New York will be held Tuesday, October 26 at the New York Sheraton Hotel and Towers, at 811 Seventh Avenue.
More than 500 people will attend the Gala, honoring Peter G. Riguardi, of Jones Lang LaSalle. The Gala Chairs are Gary Greenspan and Mitti Liebersohn of Cushman & Wakefield, Dinner Chairs are John H. Krush and Ray Quartararo of Jones Lang LaSalle, and the Journal Chair is Lou Milo of Milrose
The night will begin at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour, followed by dinner and dancing starting at 7 p.m. The goal of the Gala is to raise money for the more than 40,000 Special Olympics athletes in the Empire State.
“Every year this gala gets bigger and bigger and this is one of the biggest fundraisers we have,” said Neal J. Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Special Olympics New York. “Our generous friends of the Real
Estate and Construction Industry in New York City are insuring that we will continue to provide top-notched sporting opportunities for the more than 40,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities, including mental retardation in New York.”