On a drizzly, gray day in October, five stalwart souls stood across from the majestic Yankee Stadium. The group included visitors Sabine and Adrian from Germany, as well as Greeter Cindy Riley.
As they huddled under their umbrellas, little did they know that sunshine would soon appear – in the form of Council Member Arroyo, who couldn’t have been warmer or more gracious.
She started by telling the German visitors that being with Big Apple Greeter was a really smart move, since “you’ll get to see the good stuff – the things real New Yorkers know about.” She explained that in 2006, the city agreed to build a new Yankee Stadium, as long as a new parkland would also be built in the area.
The stadium and parkland took three years to construct, but it was worth the wait. The park is expansive and beautiful – with well-designed playgrounds for children and areas for skateboarders and inline skaters. Along the borders of the park, they saw historic plaques about the old stadium, concerts, and even the Pope! The lights come on at night, making it a luminous wonderland.
When the new stadium opened in 2009, the Council Member was thrilled to have her picture taken with Yogi Berra.
She ended on a poignant note about her own life. She dropped out of high school to help support her single working mother and 6 siblings! Later on in life, she graduated from Lehman College, received a Master’s degree from NYU, and became a City Council Member – all while being married and raising a family.
Just as she has been able to achieve so much, her husband, a career policeman, has now become a lawyer. She firmly believes the way to transform the poorest district in the country is to better yourself as an individual. “There is no greater feeling than to accomplish something for yourself. It is that accomplishment that can change your whole life.”
Story by Bobbie Kaplan
Photo by Sabrina Petrovicki