Volunteers Chad Leathers and Julie Pantiliano

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New Yorkers Step Up

December 14

New Yorkers Step Up

Those navigating through the park after Hurricane Sandy may have had to detour around more than 300 mulching volunteers scattered up and down its five-mile length. People from all walks of life came out to replenish more than 40 cubic yards of top soil and 300 cubic yards of mulch in the space of two weeks.

What brought so many people out to Hudson River Park in November?

A desire to give-back to a place they love

For Mike Hunt, it was his long lasting love affair with the Hudson River Park ball fields. When he saw website pictures of the damage Sandy left behind, he jumped at the chance to help. Hunt and five others from his soccer group signed up with Mark Cheever, one of the volunteer coordinators at the Park.

“We wanted to give a bit back. Open space is at a premium, especially in a city like this‒field permits are a great value for the money. People appreciate the facilities.”

A day outside

“I love to garden,” said Andrew Morse.  “It was nice to be able to help protect the plants, something that has a longer effect‒help them get through the winter.”

Morse’s 13-year-old Honda CRV drowned in the floodwater. “I’m in Zone B but we got a lot of Zone A action here.”

Morse’s 11-year-old daughter grew up with Hudson River Park, especially the water playground at W. 12 St. Now they run and bike here regularly. “The Park gets nicer and nicer every year and we use it more and more every year. We love it you can go recreate, have fun, and it’s completely free!

The sense that “We’re all in this together”

Volunteer Julie Pantiliano wears a headband that reads: TUMOR HATER. Pantiliano and fellow volunteer Chad Leathers help coordinate the annual Cupid’s Undie Run, which benefits The Children’s Tumor Foundation. Every February, participants strip to their underwear and run in Hudson River Park. “You gotta have heart to do that,” they said. It broke their hearts to see their familiar running route in such bad shape after the hurricane.

“The Hurricane stopped us in our tracks and made us re-evaluate. We tend to take our parks for granted. The needs around the area are overwhelming.  A little goes a long way, one thing at a time,” said Leathers.

“I can’t believe the response!” said Matt Post, Director of Horticulture for Hudson River Park. “Neighbors, tourists, field users, all came out in support of the park - it was incredible. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

Post would like to give a shout out to Central Park for the wheelbarrows, rakes and shovels they lent on short notice for volunteer recovery efforts. Central Park suffered plenty of wind damage, but nothing like the damage caused by the salty floodwaters that submerged Hudson River Park for several hours on October 29th.

For post-Hurricane Sandy updates, visit our website.  “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

VOLUNTEER IN THE PARK

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