2005-10-14 / Community

Mayor’s Office Polls Families On Flight 587 Memorial

The Department of Transportation is moving quickly on reconfiguring Beach 116 Street, a project that is linked to the memorial for Flight 587 that is being planned for the southern end of the street.The Department of Transportation is moving quickly on reconfiguring Beach 116 Street, a project that is linked to the memorial for Flight 587 that is being planned for the southern end of the street. The Mayor’s Office is polling families of Flight 587 victims to find out by the end of October which of the six memorial proposals they favor for Beach 116 Street, The Wave has learned.

A five-question “Family and Community Responses” poll, distributed at the end of September by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, asks respondents which proposal best creates a tranquil place, best honors the lives lost and is most suitable to the site. It also asks which design they would like to spend time at and which one they would be most likely to bring others to see.

Responses to the poll are due back by October 28, just 15 days before November 12, which marks the fourth anniversary of the deadly crash. Although it seems possible that Mayor Michael Bloomberg could unveil the final design at the memorial site during the memorial service,

The Wave has learned that city officials plan to tour the crash site, Beach 131 and Newport Avenue, at the end of this month. Erica Gonzalez, a spokesperson for Immigrant Affairs, said plans for this year’s service had not yet been set. “When we are ready to make an announcement we will let [the] press know,” Gonzalez told The Wave this week.

Immigrant Affairs’ poll-by-mail follows a proposal viewing September 16 at Shea Stadium. “After the batting practice session, the Mets provided a conference room where the families were able to view the six finalists’ proposals for the memorial at Belle Harbor. Over one hundred family members were able to enjoy Pedro Martinez shut out the first place Braves 4-0,” Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Guillermo Linares wrote in an update memo that accompanied the poll.

Another viewing was held September 17 at the Milstein Pavilion of New York Presbyterian Hospital. Linares said family members were invited to complete questionnaires and give feedback at both viewings. The poll-by-mail was necessary, Linares said, because some family members were not able to attend either event. “We feel that it is important for us to reach out… before the selection panel makes a determination in November,” he explained. The Wave obtained Linares’ letter and the poll after filing a Freedom of Information request.

Descriptions and images of the proposals are available at The Wave’s website, www.Rockawave.com and the city’s site, www.NYC.gov. The Wave’s Rockawave.com poll shows 43 percent of respondents support the proposal submitted by Barbara Grygutis, which is composed of two arching walls that shaped as an “embrace.” The names of the victims will be placed on the memorial’s two interior walls. Each name will be incised into an individual black granite plaque that will be slightly curved to fit into the arc of the wall. The names will commence at two feet from the bottom and will be no higher than four feet high. The exterior walls will be made of black slate stone. Eight light towers, from 11 to 14-feet high, will arc alongside the entrance to the sidewalk.

The runner-up with 25 percent of the vote in The Wave’s online poll is Toshi Katayama and Oslund and Associates. Their plan calls for a 100-foot bell tower, made of white marble, which will toll each day at 9:16 a.m., the time the doomed American Airlines flight crashed into the peninsula. Brian Magoolaghan

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