This is a Companion Press Release from AFT-CT, Alpha Coiro
On Saturday two motor coaches transported over 80 members of the American Federation Teachers-Ct union to provide Hurricane Sandy relief to the community in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Volunteers represented various professional careers, such as teachers and state workers within the state of Connecticut, having AFT affiliations. Ages ranged from folks in their thirties to those in their sixties.
Alpha Coiro, a former teacher and current Branford resident, was among them.
The luggage areas of the buses were loaded with volunteers’ donations of toilet paper, diapers, paper towels, bread, cereal, granola bars, peanut butter & jelly, and toiletries. These were distributed to residents in need. At a central distribution point in Coney the CT AFT volunteers unloaded the buses’ cargo areas and assisted others with similar tasks.
The volunteers were deployed to the beach at Coney Island Creek. Using shovels, brooms, rakes, and trash bags they cleared the area of flotsam, jetsam, and other refuse washed up by the high tides of the hurricane. One passerby reportedly stated that he had not seen the beach that clean in years.
In the 17th century, Coney Island Creek was a small waterway that ended near what is now Cropsey Avenue. It was then dug into a straight that connected Sheepshead Bay to Gravesend Bay, making Coney Island an actual island. Because it was unnavigable, there was talk of widening it into a canal for shipping, but that never happened. Coney Island Creek, home to an improbable collection of ghost ships, a stranded submarine and other haunting nautical detritus, was once known as Gravesend Creek. Over the years, not only ships have wound up in this watery grave, but many souls as well.
A spokesperson for the United Federation of Teachers, the professional teachers’ union in the NYC area, stated that electricity was back on through the use of generators. However, the majority of apartments buildings and private homes are still without heat. Ninety-five percent of the city’s schools were back in session as of last Friday.
Teri Merisotis, an employee of the AFT-Ct. headquartered in Rocky Hill, coordinated the hurricane relief trip. A similar such outreach was held on the previous weekend.