Something There is That Loves a Wall

In his poem “Mending Wall,” Robert Frost fixed on the forces of nature that bring down garden walls, and how neighbors come together to repair them. On Saturday, May 21, residents of Rockaway Park focused on how to rebuild their wall, or at least, beautify it, by carrying out the “It’s Our Bay Wall” project.  Location: the grassy triangle on the bay north of Beach Channel Drive, from Beach 125-130 Streets.

How do you love a wall?

Start with the passion of several board members of the newly-formed Rockaway Civic Association (formerly Rockaway Park Homeowners’ and Residents, or My Rock Park).  As a group, we have diverse connections with a wide range of other charitable, educational and civic organizations on the peninsula. We’ve looked at that wall for years, like everyone else, and said: “why not?”

So we found a local artist with vision and experience on many outdoor mural projects–Geoff Rawling, President of Rockaway Artists’ Alliance.

We got our sympathetic local parks administrator on board–Jill Weber and her crew, through Partnership for Parks.  We notified the agency with jurisdiction over the wall (Economic Development Corporation) and finally, alerted the NYPD that we’d be doing a volunteer project.  Put out the word to local media and websites, plus an email blast to civic members.

Then, we added in 40-50 volunteers from local schools and youth organizations, plus materials and refreshments donated by the civic.  We were up and running by 8 a.m.

Stage 1.  Apply light blue acrylic paint along the top of the wall.  Early a.m. volunteers Geoff, Pete Stubben and Noreen Ellis get rolling…

Stage 2. Fix a horizon point, then roll turquoise acrylic paint along the bottom of the wall. Geoff gets help from Alyssa, local graduate of Channel View School for Research, now studying at the School for Visual Arts in Manhattan.

Stage 3.  Multi-colored waves of purple, yellow, dark blue and sea foam green were dabbed on along the entire stretch. The army of volunteers was greatly needed at this stage.

The project took about 8 hours, from start to finish.  Materials, supplies and refreshments cost about $1,000.  The mural was dry by the time some rain began to fall on the peninsula, at about 7 p.m.  Looks great, don’t you think?

Now it’s up to New York City and the federal government to keep the wall from falling into the bay.  I don’t think volunteers can help with that part…

Text and photos copyright 2011 Vivian R. Carter

About rockviv

You've entered the cyber-locale of Vivian Rattay Carter, a writer, teacher, advertising representative, and licensed sightseeing guide. I've lived and worked in the New York metro area since 1979, in diverse places like Astoria and Rockaway Beach (Queens), Kensington and Windsor Terrace (Brooklyn), Grand Street and Tribeca (Manhattan), and Norwood, Riverdale and Woodlawn (The Bronx). I treasure the amazing parks, civic architecture, and cultural institutions of our city, and love the inspiring stories of the outer borough pioneers. What an interesting apple this is!
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2 Responses to Something There is That Loves a Wall

  1. Dean Georges says:

    GREAT JOB!!! A beautiful co-operative effort for the betterment of the community.
    Thanks … to all those involved.

    • rockviv says:


      On behalf of the Rockaway Civic Association, thanks for the compliment! We all enjoyed this project and felt empowered to be making positive change in an eyesore we’ve been looking at for far too many years. We hope to schedule another painting session soon, continuing on to another section of the wall. We invite you to join as a volunteer and financial supporter of our group. The web address for more information is:

      Rock Viv

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