A community BBQ in East Rockaway

Get-together a meaningful and welcomed event


It almost seemed like a usual, sunny, crisp fall day — almost. Children were tossing a ball; plump burgers were sizzling on the grill; friends greeting one another, happy to finally welcome Saturday.

But it wasn’t just an ordinary community get-together. You didn’t have to look far to see that there were piles of donated clothes and household items around the fringes of the Rhame Avenue Elementary School playground. The school building itself was, for now, unusable by the local children. Some of the kids playing ball hadn’t seen each other in a while because their own homes were inhabitable, or they were living elsewhere. This is their post-Sandy world.

But trying to inject some cheer and a little normalcy back to East Rockaway were The Hance Family Foundation and New York City Fire Department’s “Viper’s Nest” Engine 302-Ladder 155. Member Justin Mastriano lives in East Rockaway and suggested his community as a recipient of the organizations. People came to eat, talk, and just enjoy each other’s company for the afternoon.