More than 100 people came out to honor two staples of the Valley Stream community at the Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards gala last Thursday night at the Pompei restaurant.
Magic Bagels, which opened up in the village 31 years, received the Business Achievement Award. Mamie Eng, the director of the Henry Waldinger Memorial Library, was honored with the Special Recognition Award for her contributions to the Chamber.
Michael Magioncalda began working at a bagel store when he was 17, and four years later opened up his own business. It was Sept. 14, 1981, when Magic Bagels opened its doors. “My only hope was to get through the first day, then the first week, then the first month, and here it is 31 years later,” he said. “This really is a great honor.”
He was joined by his wife, Kathy, of 31 years, and son, Michael Jr., to receive his award. Lou Palermo, a member of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, spoke of Magioncalda’s devotion to the community. Palermo said Magioncalda has provided bagels for the annual Lights on for Education event at Memorial Junior High School, and has donated food for the Chamber’s last two holiday parties.
Last December, Palermo said that Magioncalda contributed two trays of cookies. “I said, ‘How much do I owe you?’” Palermo said, “and Michael said, ‘This is my Christmas present to you.’”
Chamber of Commerce President Debbi Gyulay noted that Magioncalda also provided refreshments at the July 2011 ceremony dedicating a memorial to late Mayor Edward Cahill.
Magioncalda said he was initially hesitant about joining the Valley Stream Chamber of Commerce, but is glad he did. He said it is one of the best business decisions he has ever made and has met so many great people through the organization. He applauded the Chamber for working to make Valley Stream a good place to do business.
Magic Bagels is located on Merrick Road in the shopping center across from Hendrickson Park.
Eng, the library director since 2007, grew up in Valley Stream and graduated from Central High School. After college, she was hired at Waldinger and began working her way up through the ranks at her hometown library.
She has supported the Chamber in many ways. The library is a ticket sales location for the Chamber’s annual Fourth of July Fireworks show and a collection spot for the holiday Toys for Tots drive. Eng has helped the Chamber put together a local business directory, and has spoken at networking meetings.
Joanne Antun, a Chamber board member, former Mayor and past library board trustee, spoke of her admiration for Eng. She described Eng as an excellent steward of the library and all its resources, and a dedicated director who uses innovation and creativity to make the place better.
“I see Mamie as a highly skilled professional who is passionate about her trade,” Antun said.
Gyulay said she and Eng are both lifelong Valley Streamers and went to the same high school, but didn’t know each other until the Chamber brought them together. She is thankful for that connection and was proud to present Eng with the Special Recognition Award.
Eng said she was excited by the honor. “I really consider myself a hometown girl,” she said. “Receiving recognition from the Valley Stream business community is certainly an honor that is very special to me.”
She spoke of the evolution of the library in recent years to incorporate more technology, and mentioned some new initiatives on the horizon. Eng thanked the village board for its financial support, the library board for its guidance and her staff for their hard work. Many library employees were on hand last Thursday night.
So was Ida D’Angelo, president of the library’s Board of Trustees. She described Eng as a motivated leader who wants what’s best for the community and knows the library inside and out.
D’Angelo complimented the Chamber for choosing Eng as one of its award recipients. “They couldn’t have picked a better person,” she said. “She’s so deserving of it. I’m very proud of her.”