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With the coronavirus, there is a ‘need to be there for one another’

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People on the North Shore are finding positive and often creative ways to manage their lives at a distance from one another amid the coronavirus pandemic. For some, it’s simply drawing rainbows on sidewalks with chalk.

Nassau County officials asked residents last weekend to “chalk their walks,” drawing or writing encouraging messages on driveways or sidewalks. Many people in Oyster Bay took part, joining those responding to another idea making the rounds on Facebook: Rainbows over Nassau and Suffolk County and Beyond. The page, which has 27,000 members, encourages people to create rainbows and share them in windows. Then participants are encouraged to take a walk or a drive and count the rainbows they see. Both activities are intended to spread happiness and hope during what is for most a difficult time.   

Denise Trezza and her children participated, making rainbows. "Not Just Art was giving out free chalk which was great," she said. "After making our rainbows the kids and drove around to look at all of the rainbows. A lot of people came up with creative ones."

Mark Rosasco and his sons Tyler, 13, and Nicholas, 9, spent last weekend creating ainbows out of plywood for the community. Rosasco, the commissioner of the Town of Oyster Bay’s Housing Department, also lives in the hamlet. After seeing several rainbows, he decided he wanted to get involved, too. 

“I thought it was a magnificent idea,” Rosasco said. “I told my sons, ‘Let’s make a big one so everyone can enjoy it.’ It was only supposed to be one at first, but we ended up making three.”

It had been a long time since he had made a rainbow, but Rosasco took his sons to a paint store to pick out the appropriate colors of spray paint. Making the rainbows became a family project, and after they were completed — the two largest measuring 3½ feet by 4 feet — Mark’s wife, Melissa, got involved. A teacher’s aide at Roosevelt Elementary, she called Principal Tami McElwee to ask if a rainbow could be placed outside the school. They contacted Superintendent Dr. Laura Seinfeld as well, and Mark said that Seinfeld thought it was an excellent idea. 

“I tried to put something out there that would put a smile on people’s faces,” he said. “The rainbow signifies as a community that we are all staying together during these trying times. We do need to be there for one another.”