I Love My Park Day – Best Ever Volunteer Turnout!

May is Preservation Month and for the 7th year in a row, volunteers showed the historic Jay Estate their love and dedication! Over 70 people turned out on a picture perfect May morning for I Love My Park Day to help beautify one of the few state parks in Westchester and the only state park in Rye, New York. Most of the day’s projects were focused upon a 1907 Carriage House that was once used as a stable for horses. It has now been rehabilitated into an enormous classroom and exhibit hall with outdoor patios. This sunny yellow Classical Revival building is the epicenter for many of the lectures, concerts and programs hosted by the Jay Heritage Center– in fact just the day before it had been filled with 120 7th graders from Yonkers on a class trip – so making it look cared for and welcoming was a top priority.

The Rye Brook Cub Scouts led by Katherine Hallissey and Hugo Ayala spearheaded hand weeding of the structure’s outer brick apron assisted by the Mao and Bakshi families and their friends. High school students like Vincenzo Griffo , Mario Razzaio and Luc Lovett together with Con Edison workers teamed up alongside restoration artisan Bruce MacDonald to repair parts of the herringbone brick pattern that surrounds the building. They chipped away at old mortar, measured and relaid the golden bricks evenly in a sand foundation. Caroline Wallach, Alison Heaton, Emma Hanratty, Betsy White and Barbara Specht helped coordinate additional tasks for volunteers. Taryn Clary, Katie Lipman and Abigail Holtman assisted archaeologist Eugene Boesch in testing an area for artifacts while Liz Garrett and Susan Skelsey and their garden committee added deer resistant marigolds to planters.

Still others like Denise Dunn removed poison ivy while mother and daughter teams like Kingsley and Carson Rooney and Emma and Molly Hanratty pulled out invasive garlic mustard along walkways. Connor Owen and the Providenti, Energan, Holtman, Dougherty, Colella, Edwards, Pye and Casey families raked leaves from interior pathways and created a new compost pile. Newly elected Senator Shelley B. Mayer came to thank everyone for their diligence and enthusiasm. The ultimate rewards for these volunteers? Pride in their work, a safe and more accessible public park, and a scoop of delicious Longford’s ice cream at the end of the day! Photos by Cutty McGill