With 2020 in the rearview mirror and a new, promising year ahead of them, officials and residents from throughout the North Shore are hopeful that the year ahead can improve upon the year behind them.
Your neighbors in Sea Cliff
Sea Cliff resident Courtney Citko said she hopes to see a widespread cleansing of the health effects of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as a cleansing of the soul.
“It would be great to see people get negativity out of their lives and out of their mindsets,” she said, “and be able to move forward in a healthier, happier manner.”
One of the biggest takeaways she has had from the pandemic, Citko said, has been her ability to show her children, Madilyn, 6, and Reagan, 4, what it means to help others. She and fellow Sea Cliffian Allison Moss together started North Shore Cares, which saw the two use donations to purchase food from local restaurants and deliver them to health care workers at Glen Cove Hospital, as well as St. Francis Hospital.
Additionally, Citko said she made sure her children had opportunities to help the community themselves. The two donated bags of moisturizer and mask straps for frontline workers through Hero Bags, and also helped soldiers overseas by sending them 500 pounds of candy on Halloween and 100 holiday cards in December. She said the pandemic was as good a time as any to show her children how to spread kindness and be good people.
Dan Roth is the co-owner of bar and restaurant Still Partners, a staple of downtown Sea Cliff. Business has been slow during the pandemic, he said, as people are justifiably reluctant to spend much time out in public. He plans to apply for the second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, which he said should help them in the long run.
Roth said he hopes 2021 can be the beginning of another “Roaring 20s” decade, with businesses finding future success and people happily living their lives again. He added that vaccinations will be important and that he hopes as many people get them as possible.
Sea Cliff Mayor Edward Lieberman also said he hopes the vaccine can find widespread usage sooner rather than later.
“My personal hope is that the vaccine will become available to the public at large,” he said, “and that the public will adhere to all [Center for Disease Control and Prevention] objectives with regards to everyone seeking the vaccine so that everyone can be protected and protect others.”
In terms of village affairs, Lieberman said he hopes to see the establishment of a public water authority so residents can move away from the high rates they currently pay to New York American Water. Additionally, he said he hopes the village can finalize the purchasing of the contract for NYAW’s property at 325 Prospect Ave. The village has submitted all of the necessary paperwork to the state and is waiting to see how it can be use. The property could potentially serve as a recreational and cultural center, he said.
State Sen. Jim Gaughran said his biggest hope for 2021 is to help build society and the economy back up from the pandemic. He said it is important to get people back to work and business back on their feet as quickly as possible. However, he said it is important to remain diligent in remaining safe and following guidelines.
Gaughran said there have been issues with the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine, though he said he is confident that the incoming administration of President-Elect Joe Biden will help it become accessible to more people soon.
North Shore schools
Dr. Peter Giarrizzo, superintendent of the North Shore Central School District, said schools just have not been the same during the pandemic. Not only has learning been changed given the more spaced out classroom environments and hybrid model of high school learning, he said, but it has become more apparent than ever that children, and people and general, want to be around one another.
“One of the things I’ve come to reflect upon is how important proximity is with interacting with people,” Giarrizzo said. “You miss the ability to put your guard down. The human condition craves close contact with people and we don’t have that.”
He is happy to be able to have all students from kindergarten through eighth grade back in school full time, Giarrizzo said, something which is important in helping their socio-emotional learning move forward. However, he said the lack of proximity is especially tough on high schoolers, who spend 60 percent of their school days online and do not see half of their classmates when they are in school.
Giarrizzo said his biggest hope is that people remain hopeful for a return to normalcy because this is what is crucial to bring the district together as one again.
“I’m hopeful that we can get back to times where we can have our STEAM labs back,” he said, “and not play musical instruments behind plastic barriers and have concerts that aren’t virtual. Just the ability to create and innovate.”