2004-10-22 / Front Page

Families Support AA587 Memorial

The Mayor’s Office is focused on the southern end of Beach 116 Street as the site of a Flight 587 memorial now that most victims’ families have endorsed the location, said Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Guillermo Linares.

After polling the entire “next of kin” list with a letter in September and attending a private meeting with families last weekend, Linares said his office is ready to begin the process to establish the memorial in the Parks and Recreation Department “Green Streets” area at the southern end of the parking median on the commercial and residential street.

“As far as the families are concerned there is consensus at that particular site,” Linares told The Wave, adding that 80-85 percent of the responses said ‘yes’ to the location. “100 percent agreement is not realistic. The best approach is to gauge the majority.” In the past, different families of victims have formed groups and voiced different opinions on the memorial issue.

The next steps, the commissioner said, will be to seek more input from the Rockaway community, the families and the city agencies that would eventually become involved. Local reaction to the idea has generally been support or indifference.

This week, the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce, which represents businesses near the proposed location and is also located on Beach 116 Street, was supportive.

“We like the idea,” said Chamber President John Lepore. “It’s about time to have a fitting memorial.”

Last weekend’s meeting, at which Linares was an invited guest, also addressed: the National Transportation Safety Board’s hearing on the deadly crash to take place next week in Washington, D.C.; the unidentified victims’ remains from the scene that are still the possession of the Chief Medical Examiner; and the planning of the third anniversary, on November 12.

The Immigrant Affairs Office is helping families who are going to attend the hearing in person, and made arrangements for those who cannot to see it live on a large screen at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, Linares said. The families voted to form a committee to handle this year’s anniversary plans, which have not been decided on yet.

The focus right now, Linares said, is on the NTSB hearing.

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