BLOCKFEST 2017 — What a Day is Was!

The Board of Directors of Newman Cares, Inc. is pleased to announce (finally, but with good reason!) the results of this year’s 5th Annual Blockfest. Thanks to you, and to those listed below (please read the list because these people deserve all our recognition and thanks), we were able to raise $10,000 for the fight against suicide!!! We asked you to step up, and you did!

The reason for the delay? Right on the heels of the Blockfest, we got involved in another event called Dine 4 A Difference. If you're interested, it will be held at Ariane Kitchen and Bar in Verona, on 11/9. Dine 4 A Difference will be honoring Vanya Citrano and Dan Cooney, both from Verona and both taken away too young. The proceeds from the event will be granted towards suicide prevention and awareness.

We have posted a few photos. If you have any you’d like us to share, please send them! (Look for the video to warm your hearts around December.)

And finally, here are the people that made this year’s Newman Cares Blockfest a great success:


John Martin (Martin Contracting, LLC) – John has helped us every year, literally providing us with the EPICENTER of the day. THE STAGE. (ep·i·cen·ter: the point on the earth's surface vertically above the focus of an earthquake.)

Rob Shabazian (Shabazian Construction) – Every year after the trailer is set, 2nd Vice President Rob Shabazian completes the construction of the stage expanding it to twice the size.


Chef Carmen Quagliata & Palma Quagliata (Union Square Café NYC) – Chef Carmen, his wife Palma, and their two boys Tino and Gabriel are the main source of the great food at the Blockfest.

Jay Haug spends the day at the grill with the Quagliatas (after helping set up, and before the late break down). We’re not sure where his energy comes from, but Jay goes full tilt “Start to Finish”!

Dave Wardrope and Tim Banta prepare, cook, and serve the delicious Pig Roast!

Mike Ruglio Big thanks goes out to for making about forty (40) “Late Night Pizzas.” If you missed them, you missed what is probably the best pizza on the grill you’ve ever tasted!

Bob Fiori (Bob’s Ice Cream) – Bob stops by in the truck late in the afternoon every year to give the kids free ice cream. Very Cool!! (Get it?)

Jack O’Neill and Jimmy Hill (Eight Hills Catering) - Jack and Jimmy provide us with some of the great foods of the day and they also allow us to borrow some of their kitchen equipment to allow Chef Carmen and his team to satisfy our appetites.


Tommy Conroy – Tommy works hard all year for Newman Cares. From its conception to its evolution into a proper charitable organization; from making contacts for bands and sound guys all winter to making the entertainment of the day the best it can be at the best price it can be, Tommy goes all year. He even gets up with his guitar and does some entertaining! On the day of the event, his entire family is all in on the set-up, the days' tasks and the breakdown. Without Tommy and his family working through the memory of their brother, there would be no Newman Cares.

Laurel Brolly - Laurel takes care of our Kiddie Corner. She starts early by purchasing all of the supplies, setting up, scheduling and organizing the events that keep our little ones busy all day long and into the night. She also coordinates getting them up and jamming with the band with their "Air Instruments." The kids love that and they have a great day! All of you Moms know she does a great job by the amount of time you get to enjoy YOUR day.



Rick Foy – We’d like to thank Rick for operating his drone at the ‘Fest this year. As you will see by the overhead video, he is pretty darn good with that contraption! (December!)

Rich Brolly – Vice President and neighbor Rich Brolly created and runs the Newman Cares Website. He also takes all the pics and vids and puts them together for our Wrap-up video every year. If you’re reading, watching or clicking something online, that’s Rich’s work. He makes us look good! Thanks buddy!!

THE … EVERYTHING ELSE (and there is a lot)!

The Greeting Table – We’d like to thank Beth Shabazian, Jeanne Bongo, Liz Quercia, Bonnie Jerbasi, Mary Frawley and Board Member Ashley Conroy for checking everyone in and handling tee shirts, tickets and all the financial matters of the day.

The Bar - We’d Like to thank Steve Conroy for getting all the ice for the day every year. We’d also like to thank TJ Conroy and Terence Harrison for purchasing the rest of the supplies and setting up the bar. Special thanks to John Minichetti and Steve Lengel of Artic Ice Manufacturing in Garfield, NJ for their donations these past years. To date, John and Steve have donated over Five Thousand (5,000) lbs. of ice to our event!! That's really cool!! (Get it?)

Bob Schaefer and Tim Banta (Two Guys Tees) – Two Guys Tees is our Tee Shirt supplier and they did a great job for us this year! Everyone loved the design and feel of the shirts. Both the Men’s and Women’s shirts just about sold out!

Scott Scarpone - Scott introduced “The Nail Game” to Newman Cares this year. He provided all the necessary materials, set it up and worked it for most of the event. The game was a HUGE success and raised $450 alone!! Thanks Scotty!

The Verona Police Department and Department of Public Works – Both Departments have helped Newman Cares get the “Upfront and Closeout” business of the day done. They also help us with the street logistics every year. Thank You to both.

Elizabeth Roithmayr (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) - Thank You to Elizabeth for taking the time to speak and share with us her dealings with suicide and what’s being done to help.

Our Neighbors - Thank You to the neighborhood! We know we go long and loud and no one complains! It is for that reason we shut all things music down at 10:00 p.m. sharp. Besides there being a sound ordinance here in Verona, it’s a long day/night.

You – Without your support and attendance, all the time and hard work put into the day would mean nothing. Thank You! We love seeing everybody young and old gathering for this special event.

We’d like to ask a couple of favors though...please keep coming and please spread the word and bring folks that are cool just like you! If not before, we’ll see you next year. Happy Holidays to all and have a safe, warm winter.


Each year we raise money for a charity in honor of one or more people who has impacted residents of Newman and the surrounding blocks — either directly or through just being residents of Verona.
  • 2017 The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
    Honoree: Vanya Citrano
  • 2016 American Heart Association
    Honoree: Joe Sessa
  • 2015 St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
    Honorees: Sue Niler | Joe Patti | Ron Thorward
  • 2014 The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
    Honorees: Christina Costanza | Joseph Lombardi | Emily Ozbourne
  • 2013 The Christopher and Dana Reeves Foundation
    Honoree: Chris Conroy


Wish to make a contribution in someone's name? Want to help make a bigger impact? You can Make a Donation!


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