A Consensus On A Site For An AA 587 Memorial
The announcement by Mayor Michael Bloomberg last Friday that a site for the long-awaited memorial for those who died when American Airlines Flight 587 crashed into Belle Harbor on November 12, 2001 had been finalized is good news. Those who feared that the city would place the memorial at the crash site, in what amounts to a growing residential area, has proven to be unfounded. The family members of those who perished on the Airbus A300 initially demanded that the memorial be at the site, but have moderated over the past three years and are now willing to accept the off-site memorial. That site will be the traffic circle at the southern end of Beach 116 Street, adjacent to the boardwalk. The majority of family members who were recently polled by the city said that the site was acceptable. As far as we can tell, nobody in Rockaway was asked for an opinion. That is a shame, because there is some legitimate opposition to the site by Rockaway residents and businesspeople. The next step will be to design the physical memorial. The mayor said, after a visit to Benin in the Dominican Republic that he was impressed with the AA 587 memorial that was built in that city nearly two years ago and that he would like to see a similar memorial in Rockaway. That memorial, however, is oversized for the Rockaway site. We would hope that the design process would include input from those who live and work nearby the site. We understand that the mayor wants the memorial completed by the fourth anniversary of the crash, in November of 2005. The need for speed, however, should not negate the need for local input into what may well become an important local attraction.