2002-04-13 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey NEW YORKERS UNITED

Chatting With Chapey by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey

In times of adversity, New Yorkers come together.  On November 12, 2001 the lives of people from the Borough of Manhattan and their neighbors from the Borough of Queens were forever joined together.

When American Airlines Flight 587 on its way from Kennedy Airport to the Dominican Republic crashed into the Rockaways we lost over two hundred sixty people on the flight and five Rockaway residents. At this moment of crisis, people from the Rockaways, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Howard Beach and Ozone Park stood together, day and night, providing food, shelter and medical assistance to all who needed it.

When the memorial took place children and adults distributed food and drink to over four thousand relatives of those who died.  Children from the local schools lined the memorial route with American flags and Dominican Republic flags in order to provide a measure of comfort for all who attended.

On Friday April 5, 2000 we attended a dinner held at Antun’s sponsored by Senator Malcolm Smith where community organizations that made a difference during the year were honored.  Two local groups that were singled out were the Belle harbor Property Owners and the Chamber of Commerce.

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall presented the award to the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association.  Barbara Larkin, the President of the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association, represented the association and accepted the award.

Larkin's professional talent and training were obvious in her acceptance speech. Barbara thanked Borough President Helen Marshall and Senator Malcolm Smith "for recognizing the tremendous commitment demonstrated not only by the Belle Harbor Property Owners, but by the civics as well as the Chamber of Commerce" on November 12 when American Airlines flight 587 crashed in the Rockaways.

Larkin continued by stating that it was an honor to receive the proclamation and award on behalf of the residents whose unique contributions insure the improvement of the quality of life not only in the Rockaways but in all of Queens.  She thanked Borough President Helen Marshall and Senator Malcolm Smith for validating our sincere commitment to serve our community, our borough and our city.

The proclamation notes that the Belle Harbor Property Owners have worked to obtain effective police protection, and deliver vital services to all citizens.  They have worked to improve our schools and to support and protect the natural resources of the Rockaways for the betterment of visitors and residents.  Senator Malcolm Smith recognized that in the Belle Harbor Property Owners we have an organization worthy of the highest respect and esteem.  Senator Smith recognized their outstanding response to a city crisis.

The Chamber of Commerce was also saluted at the dinner at Antun’s.  Deputy Mayor Denis Walcott presented the award to Liz Sulik, who thanked Deputy Mayor Denis Walcott and Senator Malcolm Smith for their recognition of the efforts of the Chamber during the crisis created by the crash of American Airlines flight 587. Sulik pointed out that there was an outpouring of love and generosity by communities all over the United States and abroad.

People were contacting the Chamber to determine how their efforts could best be utilized. She noted that it was overwhelming to see how many individuals and organizations were willing to work together to address this need. The Chamber of Commerce, as their proclamation noted, works to enhance the interests of the businesses in our area. These merchants willingly donated food, medical care, drinks, counseling sessions, housing and clothing to those who needed it. The Chamber was able to be a conduit through which the efforts of many could be directed to benefit the most affected people and areas. Senator Malcolm Smith complimented the Chamber for their excellent response to this community and city crisis.

Congratulations to Senator Malcolm Smith on the second anniversary of his election to the Senate.

Please join us for our meeting on Thursday, April 18, 7:45 p.m., at the Regular Democratic Club of the Rockaways, located at 104-02 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. The guest speakers will be Borough President Helen Marshall and Chief Robert Browne from the EMS/Fire Department. Everyone is invited.

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