Giving Officers' Row a New Coat of Paint

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
James Coyle

This past week has been a total blur. Not that there has been anything particularly different about this week, but it just seemed to speed by. I think this might have something to do with how well the crew is getting along and how well they work together now. The days go by so much quicker when the crew barely needs to be told what to do. As a crew leader, it is very enjoyable to be able to sit back and watch the well oiled machine that is my crew go to work. 

For the majority of our time working at Sandy Hook, we had been mainly focused on debris removal. While this did have its own sort of variety, it could tend to get a little monotonous. This monotony was broken up this week when we were tasked with painting the plywood that is covering the windows of houses on Officers’ Row. 

These houses date back to the late 1800s, during the height of the peninsula's use as a military installation. The homes were used to entice officers to live at the base with their families, offering a similar standard of living to what they were used to in their civilian lives – not to mention beautiful views of the bay. Unfortunately, many of these houses have fallen into disrepair over the years and suffered further at the hands of Sandy. By painting the plywood window coverings, we were helping to preserve these beautiful structures until they can be properly repaired.

The kids definitely enjoyed the painting, as it was a nice respite from hauling large pieces of lumber from the beach. Along with painting the windows, they also seemed to really enjoy painting each other – which was not part of the project, but was very entertaining. 

Later in the week, after finishing the windows, we began work on restoring a section of trail which had been damaged by the storm, and was extremely overgrown. This is the type of work I enjoy most, so I was excited to get started on this project. The trail is relatively long, so I do not think we will be able to finish this work before our time is up, but it is nice to know there we will have made progress on the project for next year. 

For our Friday trip, we got to partake in one of my favorite activities: rock climbing. Unfortunately we didn't get to go outside to experience a natural rock wall, but we did get to climb at a nice indoor climbing center. In some ways this is better because you can try a number of different things and get to do a lot more climbing for the time. Many of the kids had never been climbing before, but they all took to it very quickly. Not long after we started climbing, many of the kids were racing each other up the walls, and by the end of the trip, many were talking about getting memberships at the center. 

Despite how great this week was, it makes me sad to think that this experience will be ending next week. Hopefully our final week will be just as enjoyable, and we will come away with many memories and new friendships.

Carolyn Lucey

AEO Crew Leader
Gateway National Recreation Area
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Jamal Garcia

AEO Crew Member
Gateway National Recreation Area
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James Coyle

Leader Team Member
Gateway National Recreation Area
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Molly Lewen

Sandy Crew One Member
Sandy Hook
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Vicki Rubino

Leader Team Leader
Gateway National Recreation Area
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Victoria Pennacchio

SCA Crew Member
Gateway National Recreation Area
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Project Locations

Jamaica Bay, NY
Staten Island, NY
Sandy Hook, NJ
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