Monica Riley’s fingerprints are all over the new Yankee Stadium and a host of other great construction projects in New York City. The self-proclaimed “sandhog” spent many years in a hard hat, leaving her mark on the city that never sleeps. The term “sandhog” dates back to at least 1872, and describes the construction workers and miners who handle the very toughest jobs in the city.
A visit to Harrogate in 2015 changed Monica’s life.
“I was at Harrogate for an antique appraisal they were hosting and I really fell in the love with the place,” said Riley. “I noticed the bus they used to transport residents to fun excursions or doctor’s appointments and thought, ‘I could do that.’”
For Riley, the daily grind of life as a “sandhog” was beginning to catch up to her. She was ready for a change of pace and, as fate would have it, Harrogate was in need of a bus driver.
“It just worked out,” she said. “They needed me, I needed them. It’s a match made at Harrogate!”
Riley says coming to Harrogate has led to a period of true happiness in her life. It’s the residents, she says, and a change of pace from the grind of working construction, that have made a true difference.
“Our antique appraisal was an event for our residents and for area seniors who might be interested in living at Harrogate,” said Charles Benjamin, Harrogate’s Executive Director. “Who knew that it would also bring us a wonderful team member and help to reinvigorate her life?”
For Riley’s part, she says it’s even possible she might call Harrogate home one day. For now, however, she’s loving her life on the bus and welcomes others in the area to come take a ride and call Harrogate home.