2005-11-18 / Front Page

Families Once Again Slam Mayor On Off-Site Memorial

By Howard Schwach


A mourner at the fourth anniversary of the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 into Beach 131 Street and Newport Avenue pauses during the ceremonies.A mourner at the fourth anniversary of the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 into Beach 131 Street and Newport Avenue pauses during the ceremonies. The four years between the tragic crash of American Airlines Flight 587 into Belle Harbor streets killing all 260 people on the plane and five local residents on the ground and this year’s November 12 anniversary memorial services apparently has not diminished the anger on the part of the families of those who died in the crash and who want a “fitting memorial” at the crash site.

“This is nothing,” one family member told reporters, referring to the small plaque that was placed at the site last year and the new home built at the site where the plane crashed at Beach 131 Street and Newport Avenue. “Our loved ones died here and you dare to build a house in a graveyard.”

“That’s where the plane dropped and now there’s a house there,” said an Hispanic man clutching a picture of a woman and child. “It makes it seem as if the accident never happened.”

Family members angrily threw yellow and white flowers on the lawn and the porch of the newly-built home.

One woman heckled the mayor during his speech.

“Mr. Mayor, I lost a relative here and you think that this little thing is enough?”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg told the woman that a final decision on a “suitable memorial” would be made soon. The decision was announced just four days later (see story Page 1).

“This memorial must do full and lasting justice to their memory,” the mayor said.

After the ceremony at the crash site, Bloomberg and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani led the mourners to a private service at St. Francis de Sales.

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