On Saturday there was a break from the heat. After several days of temperatures in the upper 90’s, Saturday’s temperature of 84° felt invigorating. I was determined to take advantage of this brief (as in the temperature went up to 89° on Sunday and the weather forecast for Monday is 90°) window of opportunity to get outside without leaving a puddle of perspiration in my wake. I wanted to stretch my legs and get a little fresh air so I headed to Coney Island for the 21st annual Sand Sculpting Contest and Unity Day.
The contest and all the days’ activities were sponsored by the Astella Development Corporation (ADC). The ADC is a grassroots non-profit organization that has been supporting the distressed Coney Island community since 1975. Today, with the Coney Island area earmarked for sweeping redevelopment/gentrification initiatives; ADC’s mission now includes working to ensure that the changes to come will be executed responsibly and respectfully with regard to the long time residents and small business owners in the area. This is so important because the upscale housing and tourist friendly entertainment project puts a lot of people in jeopardy of losing their homes and livelihoods.
The New York City Parks Department provided the large individual plots of sand and the necessary water hoses to wet the sand for shaping. The event attracted many enthusiastic amateurs, trained artists and even community oriented celebrity, Vincent D’Onofrio. Everyone used their hands and feet to pack the clay rich sand. Also, some folks were armed with professional looking tools and others made use of the usual suspects of shovel, pail, straws and paper cups.
As the sculptors worked diligently a salsa band and a DJ provided music for dancing on the boardwalk. There were also booths and tables set up for the distribution of information regarding healthcare services, educational programs and other community improvement resources.
The judging took place at 3:00 pm and the winners were named soon after. There were so many categories and so many winners; I don’t think anyone left without a prize in hand. It was a really nice way to spend the day; so actually everyone came out a winner.
I was so happy to be out; I got a little snap happy! Here is a slide show of my day by the seashore.