Friday, August 30, 2013

New York, New York!

As I was working in Long Island for a month this summer, I took advantage of my proximity to the city during the weekends. We drove to Queens, then took the subway to get into Manhattan and around the city. I enjoyed seeing all the sites, but I'll still have to go back someday to catch a Broadway show.
NBC Studios, Rockefeller Plaza
Times Square
View of Manhattan from the Staten Island Ferry
Statue of Liberty

 Beautiful Central Park
One Saturday in Staten Island my team helped build an entire playground with KaBOOM! (Just like on Parks and Rec!) This was a highlight of the program for me thus far. We worked hard and got very dirty and sweaty, but it was so. much. fun. and now the children of this Staten Island community which was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy can have a safe and awesome place to enjoy themselves.
Raking tons of mulch at the playground build
I am so grateful that I have had so many opportunities to see the country and participate in such a variety of service over these last seven months. Only three months to go!

Long Island!

When we left Oklahoma City in July (with about 12 hours of notice) we thought we were headed to assist disaster survivors in the Albany area, but during our trek across the county, we were reassigned to Long Island to work on a hazard mitigation project. This assignment has proved to be one of my favorites of this program so far.

Each day as I did my work in the community of Long Beach, New York, I caught glimpses of the ocean beyond the apartment buildings, condominiums, and homes which we inspected. I could smell it and feel its salty breeze. After weeks of this, my coworker and I finally decided to take our lunch break on the beach. I was incredibly thankful that I was able to splash in the shallow waves in the middle of a work week. If it wasn’t for AmeriCorps I almost certainly would not have stood in the ocean this month. After wading around for a while, I spoke with a couple who live in Long Beach and were enjoying the beautiful day. It was a powerful moment as they told us about their community’s experience with Super Storm Sandy and that same ocean’s power which devastated the area. This remarkable water is both beautiful and hazardous. I am impressed by the tenacity of the locals who refuse to abandon their beautiful community in spite of the risk. Once again, I was moved by the incredible power of nature and of the human spirit.

 At the beach over my lunch break
Enjoying the beach with some friends and teammates

Long Island is quite the place and I enjoyed experiencing a bit of the LI culture (accents anyone?). I saw the Amityville Horror house, took the Subway in Queens, spent hours at the lovely beaches, and partook in my first "Shark Week" (did you know Jaws was partially based on a record-sized Great White caught off of Long Island?!).