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Congregating in the name of community
August 18, 2022 at 2:31 a.m.
Aliyah Salmon, a Port Chester Middle School rising seventh-grader, jumps for the ball after SJ Williams, a Thomas A. Edison Elementary School rising fifth-grader, whipped it over her head during a basketball game at Unity Day in Columbus Park on Saturday, Aug. 13. Basketball tournaments are a staple of the annual event, which is meant to bring together current and former residents of Port Chester Housing Authority buildings.
Pop up tents line the path at Columbus Park as vendors from all over Westchester peddle their wares to Unity Day attendees. Some sold clothing and jewelry while others sold Tupperware and other name-brand items.
Weber Drive residents Jenita Currie (left) and Evette Vannorden sit on rocks at Columbus Park, chatting as they enjoy food they received at the event and watch the basketball games.
Shimmering magical orbs whizz from the bubble wand of 8-year-old Kaylie Taylor, who spins in a circle as she casts her spell. Carsin Kind, 7, takes a different approach by blowing through the wand to produce smaller versions of her friend’s spheres. The Stamford, Conn. residents have roots in Port Chester, where their families still take them to church each Sunday.
Building boxes can be backbreaking work, but Matteo Benitez (left), 4, and Jacob Recino, 5, are down for the challenge. The Purdy Avenue residents wield their crafty hammers as they make sure their projects are perfect.
Port Chester Trustee Joan Grangenois-Thomas presents a proclamation to Fred Griffin, who stands next to his North Carolina-based brother Gregory Griffin, in recognition of his community service. Fred Griffin is an active member of the Port Chester-Rye NAACP, a Vietnam War veteran and a retired local basketball coach.
Pink, blue and white balloons are released into the air during a small ceremony recognizing deceased loved ones, with each inflatable representing the love and memories held by the releaser for the person or people they lost.
Omari Talbert, 3, is mesmerized by the lights and sirens of the Port Chester police cruiser he sits in. Grandson of Patrice Kemp, pastor of St. Frances AME Zion Church in Port Chester, the Poughkeepsie resident feared the vehicle at first, but once he got inside, laughter replaced his apprehension.
Members of two local girls’ basketball teams pose for a group photo on the Columbus Park courts. The girls were the first to play in a series of games lasting throughout Unity Day and represent the first women to play at the event.
Five-year-old Supreme Jones has a vision for his project, but it’s just going to take a lot of red paint. His soon-to-be stepmother Nicole Rabb watches the Port Chester resident as he works, having traveled from Bridgeport, Conn., to attend the event with her family.
Port Chester Middle School rising seventh-grader Ryan Chuichi (front) is ready to intercept Amari Johnson’s pass, but Johnson, a soon-to-be sixth-grader from Stamford, Conn., is too quick. The ball soars over Chuichi’s head, and the red team remains in possession of the ball.
Simon the beagle is fascinated by the bubbles flying around Columbus Park. He intently watches one as it flies by the legs and bright red shoes of his owner, Edwin Stevens, who walked Simon to the park from their Purdy Avenue residence.
Port Chester Police Captain Charles Nielsen poses with Village Trustee Bart Didden, who presents him with a proclamation recognizing his service to the community.
As a 4-year-old, Mia Ganan (front right) needs lots of fuel to stay energized, so she takes a break from playing to eat. The Soundview Street resident sits with her neighbors Marlon Durline, 5, and Niel Sanchez, 9.
Ryan Allen, 5, absolutely adores her new avocado friend. The King Street Elementary School rising first-grader squeezes the plushie as she runs around and explores Columbus Park—a trek across town from her family’s Glendale Place home.
Children of all ages hammer and paint away at an arts and crafts table set up at the end of a line of vendor tents. Some sit with their parents, while others prefer working solo.