Sheepshead Resident To Swim East River For Autism

Jack Spadaro (Source:

Sheepshead Bay native Jack Spadaro will make his third swim across the East River tomorrow as part of a campaign to raise funds and awareness for autistic children.

Spadaro will be one of scores of swimmers from across the tri-state area participating in the Brooklyn Bridge Swim, an annual event organized by the non-profit Bridge to Youth. The organization serves the special needs children and their parents with programs and activities to raise awareness, offer support and build self-esteem.

“I did the Brooklyn Bridge swim twice” – in 2009 and 2010 – said Spadaro. “I got involved to raise money and awareness for children with special needs. [Autism] affects more kids than all childhood diseases combined.”

This swim is not for the faint-of-heart. Tomorrow at 9:15 a.m., Spadaro will join other swimmers at Pebble Beach in Brooklyn Bridge Park. From there, they’ll dip into the water and swim southeast past Empire-Fulton State Park, toward the Brooklyn Bridge. Then they’ll turn right, crossing the East River on the north side of the bridge. After passing the Manhattan-side stanchion, swimmers will cross under the Brooklyn Bridge and around the bridge’s stanchion to finish at a small clay and sand beach at Dover Street in East River Park. The entire swim is just under 1,100 yards.

A lifelong resident of Sheepshead Bay, the St. Mark School alum also volunteers with Bay Improvement Group, Foundation for Children with Special Needs, the American Cancer Society and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. With such noble efforts under his belt, he’s hoping to inspire neighbors to join him on his campaign to help special needs children.

With the swim tomorrow, it’s a little late to join it yourself. But you can help make a difference by donating to Spadaro’s swim.


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