Captain Ed Sadler honored

A City Island community activist and life-long islander is being honored with the co-naming of the street corner just steps from his home.

The corner of City Island Avenue and Schofield Street will be named in honor Captain Ed Sadler in a ceremony at noon on Saturday, October 5. Councilman Jimmy Vacca got the street co-named “Ed Sadler Way”.

“Ed Sadler was a true student of the history of City Island and a man who knew what it meant to work hard and give back to the community that he called home for over 90 years,” said Vacca.

Sadler worked as an FDNY fireboat captain on New York harbor for 35 years. During that time, he was granted a permit from the FDNY to operate the Hell Gate Pilot – steering ships from Long Island Sound to New York Harbor.

He passed away in November 2011 in the same Schofield Street house where he was born some 95 years earlier. That house was built by his grandfather, and is next door to City Island’s firehouse.

He was lifelong parishioner at Trinity United Methodist Church and served a trustee there for many years. He was also a trustee of the Pelham Masonic Lodge for 12 years, and member for 67 years.

When he passed away, he was president of the City Island Historical Society, which runs the island’s Nautical Museum.

As a member of the City Island Civic Association, he was a tireless advocate for fire safety on City Island, making the case for keeping Ladder Company 53 open at several town-hall meetings and rallies since the Bloomberg administration proposed closing it in the aftermath of Wall Street’s financial crises and the ensuing recession.

“He was until his last days the essence of a community activist,” said friend Roberto Soto. “He was a man who stood for what he believed in and one of the issues I saw him get very much involved in was making sure that Ladder 53 was kept intact and available for City Islanders. I think part of it was because he was a fire boat captain and he knew the importance of having firefighers nearby to keep the community safe.”

One of Ed’s sons, Dick Sadler, said his father would be very honored by the recognition and respect that the City Island community and the city has given him.

“He loved the people of the City Island community, and the maritime history on the island,” said Dick Sadler, adding it is “a honor to be his son when you realize all that he has accomplished.”

In the height of the controversy over the possible closure of Ladder 53, Ed Sadler recalled something his trainer had told him when he was a probationary firefigher in 1939. He repeated it a numerous meetings, saying, in effect, that the no engine company is worth its salt unless the ladder company that proceeds it does the forcible entry and search & rescue while the engine company does the pumping and spraying of water.

His son said that his father was arguing that breaking up the team of Engine Company 70 and Ladder 53 because it would be like breaking up a team and would diminish the effectiveness of fire fighting on City Island.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3393