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Lifelong Tarrytown Resident and Recreation Supervisor Joe Arduino Retires

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June 13, 2022

By W.B. King—

From ensuring ball fields were ready for game day, to guaranteeing Halloween parades and Easter egg hunts went off without a hitch to opening the recreation and fitness center and community pool, among other fun initiatives like ice skating, Joe Arduino and his team at the Tarrytown Recreation Department always placed the needs and expectations of residents first.

“All I know is to take care of the client and the client is the taxpayer who wants to get recreation into their lives, so we accommodated the residents the best we can and treat them with the greatest of respect,” said Arduino, who officially stepped down as Tarrytown’s Recreation Superintendent in April after 20 years of dedicated service.

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Arduino said he first learned the importance of serving his community while working at his family’s restaurant, Arduino’s Off Broadway, which was operated at 25 Main Street from 1958 to 1978 by Arduino’s father and three uncles. Like his father, Joe, who died in 1993, and his mother Rose, who turns 96 this October, Arduino is a lifelong Tarrytown resident.

“Between 14 and 18, I was bussing tables, mopping floors, washing the backdrops of the ovens, stacking the soda machines… all the schlep work,” he said, adding that he has five siblings. “What my dad and uncles taught us was that when a customer comes in, you make sure they have a quality experience. It seems simple, but it is a good lesson to learn.”

Audible at the Line of Scrimmage

A 1978 graduate of Sleepy Hollow High School, Arduino was an above-average student who excelled at sports, receiving an all-county selection in baseball in 1977 and 1978. During that time period, his baseball skills earned him a tryout for an expansion major league baseball team, the Seattle Mariners.

As a kid, he played little league and attended summer camp on some of the same grounds he would later manage. So, when Arduino was offered the position of Tarrytown’s Recreational Supervisor in 2002, he said “it was a dream come true.”

His career trajectory, however, had many twists and turns. His shot with the Seattle Mariners didn’t pan out, so he attended Springfield College in Springfield, Mass. where he played baseball.

“My education in Springfield started out in more of a liberal arts concentration, but in my sophomore year I decided to change over to community recreation and looking back unbeknownst to me at the time it turned out be a life changing career move,” he reflected.

After graduating with a community recreation degree in 1982, Arduino secured his first coaching job at Ossining High School that fall serving as the junior varsity football teams’ offensive coordinator. He continued to apply for full-time recreational jobs in places like Pelham, Mount Pleasant as well as in private therapeutic recreational home settings.

“All those job searches were unsuccessful. I continued to coach football and then baseball. I actually got my first varsity high school baseball job back at my alma mater Sleepy Hollow High School,” he said. “At that time, I was substitute teaching there and I really liked it, so I decided to get my master’s in education at the then College of New Rochelle.”

While Arduino was busy pursuing his Master’s degree in teaching, an unexpected offer was presented to him.

“In April of 1985, I got my break. I received a call from the Greenburgh Recreation Department for a potential job opening at the entry level as a recreation programming assistant,” he said. “That’s where my recreation career began.”

Arduino stayed at this post until 1987 when he was hired as a recreational supervisor for the City of White Plains, which he said was an important but short-lived experience.

“They called me back to Greenburgh, which was kind of flattering,” said Arduino, who served as Greenburgh’s recreation specialist and parks manger from 1989 to 2000. As the millennium came to pass, he learned about a new position opening up in Ardsley, which piqued his interest.

“The town was offering the first paid recreation position in 2000. I had been second and third in command all these years, so I gave it a shot,” he said. “It didn’t pay very much but I went for the experience, and it turned out to be the best move I could have made because it got me ready for Tarrytown. I was back home working in a profession that I truly loved.”

More Gas in the Tank

Arduino married Jayne Nicol in 1987, a lifelong “North Tarrytown” resident. The happy couple raised three children in Tarrytown: Tim, Emily and Nick. And in the last year, he and Jayne became doting grandparents to Peyton Jayne and Joseph Gregory.

“I was always the restaurant owner’s kid growing up. That’s how I was known,” said Arduino. “And I was the recreation director for the majority of my kid’s life. So, it’s somewhat similar experience that my kid’s had because a lot of people in town know me and maybe that helped them, like how my father’s restaurant helped me.”

At 62, Arduino said he stills feels like he has more to accomplish. Right after his official retirement, for example, he took a two-week job driving the senior bus in town. Calling it a privilege, he said he has known many of these residents for years and is happy to help out.

Among aspects of living in Tarrytown that Arduino loves is the community’s camaraderie. He noted how thankful he was for all the dedicated employees at the recreation and parks department who he misses seeing each day. He also expressed thanks to the volunteer Tarrytown Parks and Recreation Advisory Council for their devotion to the town.

As Arduino looks forward, he’s not quite ready to fully embrace the retired lifestyle and is currently looking for new ways to be of service.

“I have feelers out. I might even go back working at a restaurant, believe it or not. I have a friend who runs a restaurant in Hartsdale who could use a manager. Who knows,” he said. “I feel good, thank God, and I still have gas in the tank. I want to do some more things before I really put my feet up.”

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