2005-07-29 / Front Page

Flight 587 Mem. Exhibit Opens Next Week

By Brian Magoolaghan

The city is coordinating a research visit to the memorial for TWA Flight 800 at Long Island’s Smith Point Park.The city is coordinating a research visit to the memorial for TWA Flight 800 at Long Island’s Smith Point Park.

The city invited the public next week to view work samples from the six finalists competing in the Flight 587 memorial process – a move that addresses concerns recently raised by a Rockaway member of the advisory committee.

The exhibit was put together after Geoff Rawling, Rockaway Artists Alliance president, urged Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Guillermo Linares and others to open the process to the public. Rawling told The Wave that he chided Linares for “not including the community enough.”

Immigrant Affairs acknowledged the legitimacy of Rawling’s request this week.

“We want to continue to maintain an open process with the communities affected by the Flight 587 tragedy,” Gonzalez told The Wave.

Members of the advisory committee visited the memorial site on Tuesday – at the southern end of Beach 116 Street – specifically to look at the traffic turnaround and parking configuration. Constance Moran, Department of Transportation Queens Borough Commissioner and representatives from Parks and Recreation and the Community Assistance Unit attended the meeting, which was closed to the public and press.

The $2 million memorial project includes a renovation of the comfort station and the Park’s Green Streets section at the end of the parking median – those two areas are separated by the roadway for the turnaround, which suggests that the roadway will be shifted to the north.

A DOT spokesperson said Commissioner Moran was on-site to address the parking median only. Joanie Omeste, the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce Director and advisory committee member, confirmed that “there’s going to be a change, and [the city] is working on it. We don’t want to lose any spaces.”

Omeste also spoke about a parallel project that will reconfigure the parking on Beach 116 Street and replace the dirt-trapping zigzag concrete parking median.

The city is also coordinating a visit for victim’s family members, the advisory committee and city representatives to visit Smith Point Park on Long Island to view the memorial to TWA Flight 800, which crashed in 1996 killing 230 people onboard.

“Several families had suggested the Smith Point visit as a way of viewing a successful project and appropriate memorial,” Gonzalez said.

The artists’ past work will be on display at the Beach Club on Wednesday, August 3, from 6 – 8 p.m., according to Erica Gonzalez, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. Reservations are not required but the Chamber of Commerce wants to assemble an advance headcount; call 718-634-1300.

The finalists’ proposals for the actual memorial will also go on display to the public in Rockaway on Wednesday, August 31.

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