SANDY HOOK, N.J. (CNN) – Sandy Mayor Terry Geraghty remembered an accomplished sand artist with a good sense of humor.
“He was probably one of the nicest men you’d ever meet,” Geraghty said. “He brought music, music, music into our city when we needed it the most.”
Sandy artist’s work immortalized Jersey Shore
Penny Harrington, 79, was the man behind one of the most recognizable works of art on the Jersey Shore: “The Blue Ceiling.”
The resulting 1980 piece features an elephant-like blue diamond draped over 1,700 feet of New Jersey coastline. Each hue represents a beach community along the beachfront.
It’s so iconic that so many people still see it whenever they drive along the shore.
And it means a lot to people who live in Sandy Hook, too.
The island — made famous by “The Wonder Years” — is nestled against the eye of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The iconic wall of blue people was built to serve as protection from storm surge water.
“It’s something Sandy Hook has held onto. Every time a hurricane comes along, we take a photo of that and put it in our city website,” Geraghty said.
Photographer shares beauty of iconic Sandy Hook wall
The department store she called home
Harrington worked as an art director and ad director before getting his feet wet as a sand artist.
“He always had a good story and always did it for the cause,” Geraghty said.
Harrington lived with his wife of more than 50 years, Frances.
“I always said he liked to be in a big office with a big painting. That’s what he did,” Geraghty said.
His wife was an accomplished painter too. Frances died less than two years after Sandy, in November 2017.
While his vision for blue remains familiar to those who enjoy vacationing on the Jersey Shore, his legacy will never fade.
“You can have any color but you have to take it right here and here,” Geraghty said.
“He will always be a Sandy artist.”