Youth Help Restore Gateway sites

Clément Thiery
Staten Island Advance
Monday, September 16, 2013

Photos: High schoolers apply elbow grease to Staten Island's Gateway sites

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — “KLONG! KLONG! KLONG! …

Once again, the pick rises high up toward the overcast sky, hangs there for a few seconds, and slams back down on the granite boulder.

“KLONG!”

The pounding pick adds to the sound of the waves, rolling and crashing along Fort Wadsworth’s rocky shore. Manning the pick is Matt Dhillon, a 22-year-old student from Ashburn, Va. He’s assisted in his effort by four Staten Island high school students, arched over their own picks, and pushing, pulling and pounding the boulders that marble the moonscaped beach.

“Come on guys, closer to the rock,” instructs Dhillon.

“Dig out more this way,” says Nick Urso, 17, of West Brighton.

“Hey! Can you feel the rock moving?” cries out Stuyvesant Hurley, 16, of West Brighton.

After another 10 minutes of pushing, pulling and screaming, the granite slab is slid over to the side.

“Good job guys!” says Aliyah Flaherty, 16, of West Brighton.

For the past six weeks, Student Conservation Association (SCA) crews have been working on Sandy-ravaged Gateway National Recreation Area sites around Staten Island, picking up debris and trash, and clearing up trails along the shore.