YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- Friends of David Rocco know, when the Yorktown resident has free time, he's either flying in a helicopter over the Tappan Zee recording its progress or at the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie.
This longtime volunteer at the Walkway is now seeing the fruits of his labor come to fruition with the new PBS documentary, "Rails to Trails," put out by the Emmy-award winning show, "Treasures of New York. "
In the film, premiering Thursday, May 18 at 8 p.m.on WLIW21and again Sunday, May 21 at 7 pm on Thirteen, he'll not only see some of his photos but hear his words as he was there from the beginning.
"It's actually an amazing feeling knowing that I was part of a project that has been considered one of the biggest historic restoration projects in the country," he said.
"From day one, right up to the present time, I get great enjoyment when I look at the people’s faces as they maneuver across the Walkway. Young, old, short, tall, people of different colors and people who speak different languages all have this wonderful glow about them. They all have a look of happiness, serenity, almost spiritual like."
Rocco, a longtime civil service carpenter for the NYC Housing Authority who now works as a lobbyist, grant writer, and consultant (he is also writing a book), said he felt very strongly about the Walkway from the moment he first found out about it in November 2001.
"I enjoyed the fact that this project would serve three purposes," he said. "Preserve forgotten railroad history, help create the development of abandoned right of way into a multi-use rail trail and give the public, a unique opportunity to cross the Hudson River at an incredible height without having to share the roadway surface with vehicular traffic."
"Treasures of New York" takes viewers across the state along various railway corridors that have been repurposed as recreational bike and pedestrian trails, including Manhattan’s renowned High Line.
The film also outlines Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan for the “Empire State Trail,” a network of 750-miles of trails spanning from New York Harbor to Canada and from Albany to Buffalo by the year 2020, resulting in the largest state multi-use trail in the country. The ambitious plan includes the 360-mile trail on the historic Erie Canal called “The Erie Canalway Trail.”
Following the broadcast, the film will be available for online viewing at wliw.org/treasures .