Tag Archives: Port Authority

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Tuesday: Snow likely. Temps nearly steady in the low to mid 30s. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph. 3 to 5 inches of snow expected.
Tuesday Night: Clear skies. Low 21F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: The Re-Gift of the Magi 

This comedic play reveals why the Wise Men made their perilous journey. Balthazar, Melchior and Gaspar give Joshua an education in the shul of real life. Shows run until Dec. 21.at The Chain Theatre in LIC. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

‘Snow Alert’ issued for New York City

New York City’s sanitation department has issued a “snow alert” starting at 6 a.m. Tuesday. Read more: ABC New York

Whitestone family wins ‘Great Christmas Light Fight’ on ABC

The brightest house in Queens outshone three others in the country Monday night. Read more: The Queens Courier

Port Authority: 5 planes struck by snowy owls in tri-state area

The Port Authority has said they are working with the state Department of Environmental Conservation in order to relocate snowy owls after it was revealed that the agency had shot and killed some of the birds. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Audit: State DOT lacks records on railroad bridge inspections

An audit targeting the safety of New York state’s railroad bridges has turned up some startling information. Read more: CBS New York/AP

World leaders, South Africans honor Mandela

World leaders and joyous, singing South Africans honored Nelson Mandela on Tuesday at a Soweto soccer stadium that was two-thirds full amid cold, driving rain. Read more: AP

JFK Airport’s Worldport terminal lands on endangered list

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Anthony Stramaglia/Save the Worldport

John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Worldport terminal has flown into new territory — a list naming it one of America’s most endangered historic locations.

On June 19, the flying saucer shaped-terminal was chosen for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s latest list of America’s 11 most endangered historic places. The site has been slated for demolition by 2015.

The terminal, owned by the Port Authority and leased by Delta Air Lines, made the leap to the list through the dedication of “Save the Worldport,” a preservationist group co-founded in 2011 by New Jersey residents Kalev Savi and Anthony Stramaglia.

Although Savi is from New Jersey, he felt a connection to the site after growing up in an airline family. He got his first impression of the terminal at a very young age.

“I just remember approaching this enormous glass sculpture, I thought I was going into a flying saucer,” said Savi.

“It was the symbol of a new era.”

Savi started a Facebook group after being made aware of the Port Authority’s plan to demolish the terminal in order to create a parking lot for airplanes. He met Stramaglia through the group. The two have been trying to come up with renovation plans for the terminal.

“What this list really does is give legitimacy to our cause,” said Savi. “It really is a validation.”

The National Trust has listed 242 sites to date, and only a handful of those locations have been lost. “Save the Worldport” hopes the extra attention for the terminal will inspire architects, engineers and other organizations to save the site.

“We listed it because we feel it’s a significant part of aviation history, design history,” said Roberta Lane, the National Trust’s senior New York field officer and attorney. “The threat is obviously very real. We wanted to raise awareness of this threat and of this place.”

Yet the threat came closer to being realized when a bulldozer started tearing up the roadway leading to the terminal earlier this week.

“The old Pan Am Worldport terminal at JFK served this region for more than a half century, but is obsolete for 21st century aviation purposes,” said Delta and the Port Authority in a joint statement. “Unfortunately, JFK is a land-constrained airport and the choice we face is between job creation today in Queens and preservation of a facility that is no longer functional.”

The preservationist group will work together with the National Trust to continue meeting with the Port Authority about various repurposing ideas. Those include turning the terminal into a longterm rest facility for delayed visitors and bringing the retro, cool feeling back to travel.



JFK Airport workers want a living wage

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

File photo/THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Security workers at John F. Kennedy International Airport find themselves in limbo – between terminals and supporting families on minimum wage.

“Nobody cares about our guys in the airport,” said Lorrington McKenzie who works traffic security outside the terminals.

McKenzie, along with other security officers, gets paid $8 an hour. He has not gotten a raise since he started working at JFK nearly four years ago.

To support his wife and three children, ages 10, 6 and 1, McKenzie has resorted to pawning anything and everything, including his wedding ring. He said he is also considering getting a second job on top of working full time at the airport.

“It’s tough,” he said. “I’m struggling.”

McKenzie said not having paid sick days adds to the “terrible conditions” of his job.

He is in charge of monitoring traffic coming in and out of the arrivals section and said drivers have gotten hostile in the past.

“They’re not allowed to sit in the terminal and wait for passengers. It’s for safety purposes,” he said. “But they get angry and frustrated when they have to drive around.”

Once, when he turned his back, he said, a driver punched him from behind.

“I was a little shaky,” he recalled. “I told Port Authority. But nothing came out of it.”

The Port Authority is responsible for contracts with private security firms that guard JFK.

Terminal 3, where McKenzie worked, closed after JFK opened a new terminal. Since then, McKenzie has not had a stable position. His company’s officials said he could be subject to a pay cut, or even lose his job altogether.

“The [job market] is all about who knows who,” he said. “I can’t just go out and get another job.”

Shah Rahman, another security guard, has not received a raise since he started working at the airport.

“The wage is quite insufficient,” he said. “It was good 10 years ago. But since that time, living expenses have risen. The minimum wage is not good for now.”

Rahman said he cannot afford to pay all of his living expenses. His wife and daughter both work part-time, but it’s still a struggle. His 23-year-old daughter is starting college soon, and the expenses will continue.

“Sometimes I have to borrow money from others,” Rahman said. “We have demanded raising our wages and paid sick days, but the company has not yet accepted our demands.”

The Port Authority did not return requests for comment as of press time.


CORRECTION**Lorrington McKenzie and Shah Rahman are non-union members working at JFK Airport. They are not members of local union SEIU 32BJ as previously reported. We regret the error.



Plane returns to LaGuardia after engine failure

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

A Maine-bound flight had to turn around not long after takeoff Wednesday due to an engine failure, officials said.

An engine shut down in-air during Delta Connection flight 6256 not long after it left LaGuardia, according to the airline. The flight returned to LaGuardia, landed safely and taxied the runway.

There were no injuries during the incident, a Port Authority spokesperson said.

The failed engine had some Flushing residents worried about the roar in the sky.

One resident, a licensed pilot, described the sound “like a bulldozer coming down the street, only faster and overhead.” He added the engine made a repetitive clunking sound as it passed over the area.



LaGuardia Airport evacuated due to suspicious device

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

LaGuardia Airport was evacuated Tuesday morning when a suspicious device was spotted on the third level of its central terminal building, according to a Port Authority spokesperson.

After an object with wires protruding out of it was reported around 1o:30 a.m., the area was cleared and the New York City bomb squad was sent in to investigate.

The bomb squad quickly determined it was part of a fluorescent light fixture and was non-threatening, said the spokesperson.

Passengers were allowed back in the airport about 45 minutes after the suspicious device was first reported.

Following Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon, the New York City Police Department said it was “stepping up security at hotels and other prominent locations in the city through deployment of the NYPD’s critical response vehicles until more about the explosion is learned.” Mayor Michael Bloomberg also urged New Yorkers to “remain vigilant” and report anything that seems suspicious.







Three Bronx men charged with conspiring to bring cocaine through JFK Airport

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Three Bronx men have been charged with conspiring to bring cocaine into the United States by arranging for a citizen of the Dominican Republic to swallow drugs and fly them into John F. Kennedy Airport, the Queens District Attorney’s Office announced Friday, March 22. The drug carrier was also arrested.

The announcement came from Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, joined by Port Authority Police Superintendent Michael A. Fedorko and Port Authority Police Chief John Ryan.

Brown identified the defendants as Jarrol De La Cruz, 20, Pedro DeLeon, 34, Edward Rivera, 30, all from the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, and Sergio Feliz Feliz, 19, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

According to Brown, the arrests are part of a long-term narcotics investigation involving the defendants and the airports, which is under the jurisdiction of the Port Authority Police Department. The investigation involved physical surveillance, court-authorized electronic eavesdropping and other investigative techniques.

“The defendants are accused of using a drug ‘mule’ to transport illicit drugs into this country in an apparent effort to conceal their activities from law enforcement. However, thanks to the diligent efforts of the Port Authority Police and members of my staff, their alleged scheme was foiled,” Brown said.

According to the charges, on December 1, 2012 at approximately 6 p.m. Port Authority Police conducted a car stop of a burgundy Chevy Impala on the Van Wyck Expressway in which the defendants De La Cruz, DeLeon, Cruz and Feliz were riding. Later, Feliz reportedly admitted to authorities he had swallowed 80 pellets containing cocaine and was taken to a local Queens hospital where he passed the pellets, containing an excess of eight ounces.

De La Cruz, DeLeon and Rivera are presently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on a criminal complaint charging them each with first- and second-degree attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree conspiracy and fourth-degree criminal facilitation. The fourth defendant, Felix, was arraigned on December 5, 2012, before Queens Criminal Court Judge John Zoll and was held on $200,000 bail. His next court date is April 9, 2013. If convicted, each of the four defendants faces up to ten years in prison.



Assemblymember Vivian Cook under fire for plot of land purchased by her nonprofit

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

Assemblymember Vivian Cook is reportedly under fire for dubious spending, according to the New York Post.

The nonprofit group she headed, the Rockaway Boulevard Local Development Corp., allegedly spent over $500,000 in 2006 to buy a plot of land in Jamaica to build a business resource center.

However, the area on Rockaway Boulevard still remains vacant.

The Post reported that the Port Authority funded the purchase, and agreed to pay the nonprofit $8 million. By 2010, it had paid $2.5 million, but cut off funding after the Post revealed irresponsible spending. After an investigation on the matter, the group shut down.

Cook did not return calls for comment. Despite the nonprofit being shut down, they have not yet petitioned the state to dissolve, according to the Post, and therefore owe the city over $12,000 in property taxes for the land.





Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High of 43. Breezy. Winds from the West at 15 to 20 mph. Tuesday night: Clear. Low of 30. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Jewish Love Songs: from the Shtetl to Second Avenue

The Capitol Heights Lyric Opera presents, Jewish Love Songs: from the Shtetl to Second Avenue, a tribute to the Jewish love song, from the traditional (“Tum Balalaika”) to the immigrant era (“My Yiddishe Mame”) to the golden years of Yiddish Theater (“Bei Mir Bist Du Sheyn”). February 12 at the Forest Hills Library. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Willets Point property owners want city to pay legal fees after extensive eminent domain clash

The legal sparring over Willets Point isn’t quite over yet. Lawyers representing more than a dozen business owners of the gritty Iron Triangle are awaiting a judge’s decision on whether the city will be required to pay their legal expenses, which have surpassed more than $1 million. Read more: New York Daily News

With eye on mayor’s office, Quinn turns her attention to income inequality

Christine C. Quinn, confronting an emerging theme among her rivals in the Democratic mayoral primary, proposed an affordable housing plan and a middle-class tax break on Monday, in an acknowledgment that not all New Yorkers have prospered equally under the Bloomberg administration. Read more: New York Times

Lawsuit seeks to toss current employee protections for school bus drivers

Several school bus companies have filed a lawsuit against New York City Monday, seeking to have existing protections for drivers declared illegal as those drivers press on with a strike. Read more: CBS New York

Five city firehouses headed for landmark status

Five city firehouses, including a 100-year-old Rockaway building that escaped the fire and floods of Superstorm Sandy, could soon receive landmark designation. Read more: New York Daily News

Fake grenades in bag force Port Authority evacuation

The Port Authority bus terminal was evacuated and closed for under an hour Monday evening as police investigated a traveler’s report of a bag containing what appeared to be grenades, authorities said. Read more: NBC New York

Obama to stress jobs, guns in State of the Union

The American public will get a competing mix of rhetoric and imagery in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday, a speech that offers a heavy dose on the economy even as it plays out against a visual backdrop dominated by the current national debate over guns. Read more: ABC New York

China joins U.S., Japan in condemning North Korea nuclear test

North Korea conducted its third nuclear test on Tuesday in defiance of existing U.N. resolutions, drawing condemnation from around the world, including from its only major ally, China, which summoned the North Korean ambassador to protest. Read more: Reuters

Update on Nemo cleanup

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

The  city is swiftly bouncing back after the blizzard dubbed “Nemo” swept through the Northeast last night.

The “Big 4″ lines – Babylon, Huntington, Port Washington and Ronkonkoma – of the LIRR are running on every two hours, the MTA announced. Service on other branches will be restored when rail travel is safe again.

While snow falls dwindled by noon today, the Office of Emergency Management advises that winds can still pick up and cause snow drifts throughout the area.

Snow plows have been clearing and salting streets. To see when the last time your street was plowed, click here.

Queens got comparatively less snow than other parts of Long Island, such as Suffolk County. Governor Andrew Cuomo said he has requested Mayor Michael Bloomberg send any additional snow plows to help ease the two-plus feet of snow in Suffolk. The plows won’t go out until after the city is completely plowed, Cuomo said.

Drivers should stay off the road today, the governor advised, as first responders are still trying to clean up from the storm.

“I’ve been all over the metropolitan area and it is dangerous to be on the roads,” Cuomo said. “This is not the day to be out and about.”

Both LaGuardia and JFK International airports are open, according to the Port Authority. Travelers should check with their airlines to check the status of their flight.

Upscale hotel may land at JFK

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Evan P. Cordes

The former TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport may be closer to turning into a chic boutique hotel.

Ron Marsico, a spokesperson for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which controls the TWA structure, said that it’s negotiating with a developer about building a hotel at the location.

According to the Wall Street Journal, it’s Andre Balazs Properties, a developer known for high-end hotels such as the Standard group of lodgings in New York, Los Angeles and Miami Beach.

Designed by renowned architect Eero Saarinen, the TWA building was constructed in 1962, but closed in 2001 because it “no longer [met] the needs of passengers because of its many aeronautical limitations,” said the Port Authority, adding that it’s “committed to reopening this marvel of modern American architecture to the public.”

Part of that commitment included a $20 million restoration of the structure after it closed.

The TWA Flight Center also sits behind JFK’s Terminal 5 and connects to it via tubes. Terminal 5 is currently being redesigned and expanded to better serve JetBlue flights.

In February 2011, the Port Authority held a tour of the building for potential developers that were interested in incorporating a hotel into the TWA Flight Center.

That list included Andre Balazs Properties as well as Yotel, the Trump Organization, Starwood Hotels and 24 other developers.

If Andre Balazs Properties does build a hotel at the site, it would be the developer’s first in Queens and at an airport.

There are no guarantees, however, that an upscale boutique hotel at JFK would be successful, especially with the airport’s separated terminals.

“It’s very different from a lot of places around that world that are more consolidated,” Richard Barone, a transportation planner with the nonprofit Regional Plan Association, told the Wall Street Journal. “Ideally you’d like to have facilities that are more common use.”

The only other hotel located right at the airport, a Ramada, closed a few years ago, but the Port Authority is considering reopening it, said Marsico.


An inside look at the TWA Flight Center during this fall's Open House New York Weekend. (Photo by Nicholas Lemery Nantel)



Drivers to pay more at Port Authority crossings beginning Sunday

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Toll hikes go into effect on Port Authority crossings beginning Sunday, a December tradition drivers will have to get used to.

E-ZPass users will be paying an additional 75 cents — $8.25 off peak and $10.25 on peak — while cash tolls will rise $1 to $13.

All increases will apply to the Lincoln & Holland tunnels, the George Washington, Bayonne and Goethals bridges, and the Outerbridge Crossing.

More toll increases are scheduled each December through 2015. The hikes were approved in August.  Increased revenue from the increases will go towards the cost of the World Trade Center rebuilding and the overhaul of the agencies facilities, according to the PA.

Residents up in arms over JFK runway expansion

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

John F. Kennedy International Airport has some angry neighbors to the north, thanks to a proposed plan by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to extend a runway closer to a nearby residential community.

“Our question is, how big is big enough?” asked Barbara Brown, chair of the Eastern Queens Alliance, of the potential 728-foot runway expansion. At a public hearing on Thursday, October 4, hundreds of southeast Queens residents gathered in St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Springfield Gardens to voice their opposition to the Port Authority’s plan.

“This is airport sprawl,” said Brown,as planes could be heard soaring overhead.

The Port Authority, under Federal Aviation Association (FAA) guidelines, wishes to widen JFK runway 4L/22R by roughly 200 feet, and expand it to the north. This change will allow the runway to accommodate larger aircraft carrying more passengers, according to Port Authority officials. Also, officials said, JFK would potentially experience a significant reduction in flight delays.

However, Queens residents are concerned with the noise and air pollution they expect the expansion to bring, mainly to the Springfield Gardens community.

“There will be a significant impact,” said Brown. “The Port Authority slipped up, they didn’t do their diligence.”

Brown and the Eastern Queens Alliance also accused the Port Authority of not making the local community aware of the proposed change, instead warning the residents in Nassau County.

The agency advertised its $500 million plan in Newsday last spring, and allowed the Long Island community to voice its concerns, which will be considered by the FAA. However, those closest to the airport were unaware of the situation until much later, they claim.

Brian Simon, director of government relations for the Port Authority, attended Thursday’s meeting.

“I thank [Brown] for keeping us honest,” he said. “Sometimes in government, we are not perfect. We can do better.”

Simon stated they are mandated by the federal government to create this project, and noted the large economic output that could result from the expansion.

“[JFK is] an economic engine that serves this community,” he said, citing the jobs that the international airport creates.

Port Authority environment officials have also done an analysis of the area, as well as tests regarding noise pollution. Studies found that the expansion would only raise the noise level by 0.7 decibels, an amount nearly undetectable by the human ear. Thus, officials claim there would be no significant impact.

Residents responded by “boos” and shouts, not won over by the Port Authority’s arguments.

“We are open to all comments,” said Simon, who encouraged residents to contact him after the meeting with their concerns.

The local community now has until November 1 to file complaints with the Port Authority, which will be considered by the FAA and put into the plan’s final proposal.

If approved, the expansion will be complete by late 2014.

JetBlue expansion at JFK will bring jobs

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of JetBlue

More than 1,000 jobs are expected to come from a green-lit terminal expansion at JFK International Airport, the Port Authority and JetBlue announced last week.

The expansion will add 145,000-square-feet on three levels to the already 635,000-square-feet JetBlue occupies in Terminal 5. The new terminal will be called T5i and handle international flights and house a federal customs station — eliminating the need for customs inspections at Terminal 4 — according to JetBlue.

Port Authority Chair David Samson complimented the airline on its service and its commitment to the area.

“The JetBlue agreement is another great example of the agency’s efforts to partner with the private sector to provide for our region’s transportation infrastructure needs, while creating high-paying construction jobs and spurring further long-term economic activity in New York and New Jersey,” he said.

Along with the expected 1,090 jobs, the project is expected to bring in $74 million in wages and $325 million from economic activity over the duration, the Port Authority said. The project is expected to begin this summer; completion is expected by either 2014 or 2015. A price tag for the expansion has not yet been set.

Executives of Long Island City-based JetBlue said they were happy to continue expanding at JFK.

“We’re excited to move forward with our plans to further expand our presence at JFK and to create a seamless travel experience for our customers transferring from international flights, and would like to thank the Port Authority for their approval and on-going support,” said vice president of Corporate Real Estate Richard Smyth.

Fowl Strikes Cause Foul Feelings

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Recent collisions between birds and airplanes departing city airports could give a much-needed “all clear” for negotiations between the Port Authority and wildlife conservation groups.

While recent uproar mainly surrounds possible runway expansion plans at JFK, in-flight crashes with birds came under scrutiny when a Los Angeles-bound flight was quickly grounded after a bird was sucked into its engine shortly after taking off on Thursday, April 19.

Tarmac expansion came under fire when the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced its proposal to extend the airport’s runway, expected to cover a significant portion of the Jamaica Bay area, in February, 2011. The 400-acre area of land, including wetlands and shoreline, was designated as a wildlife refuge, park and recreation area by the National Parks System in 1972.

Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder believes conservationists attempting to protect the birds and those trying to ensure the safety of plane passengers need to collaborate.

While preserving Jamaica Bay has long since been a priority on Goldfeder’s platform, he proclaims he is not for working against the airports, adding that there is always a balance to be found.

Goldfeder also noted that many people believe the birds striking the planes are not the same birds nesting in the Jamaica Bay area.

A source close to the situation suggested increasing traffic out of the city’s other airports, LaGuardia and Newark, is a better solution than filling in Jamaica Bay.

Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority, claimed that the agency’s wildlife control protocol is above and beyond Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, insisting they are among the industry’s most effective.

“Our wildlife biologists and staff efforts to minimize threats to aircraft include reducing nesting areas, removing standing water and eliminating food sources,” said Coleman. “We also use pyrotechnics to disperse birds. We believe those efforts are effective since the number of incidents at JFK resulting in aircraft damage has remained about the same since 2008.”

Dan Mundy, president and founder of Jamaica Bay Eco Watchers, believes the recent increase in collisions Mundy mentioned the famed incident of US Airways Flight 1549, when Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger was forced to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River after striking a flock of Canadian geese in January of 2009. Mundy alleged that high-flying fowl cause more severe problems than those closer to the ground, adding that groups of migrating birds can be dangerous to planes, as with Flight 1549.

According to published reports, Sullenberger opposes the mayor’s plan to put a trash station near LaGuardia Airport — a decision that will inevitably bring more birds to the area.

Acknowledging that the Port Authority takes measures to scare away birds, such as simulated gunshots and preying falcons, Mundy wondered why plane manufacturers have yet to design a system to prevent birds from being sucked into engines.

Mundy added that bird strikes are not just a problem with airplanes. Several tall buildings, including the Empire State Building, have caused the demise of birds killed by flying directly into the glass windows.

Honoring the fallen at St. Michael’s

| bdoda@queenscourier.com


Equally as striking as the monument listing the names of the 343 firefighters that sacrificed their lives on September 11, 2001 are the bricks at its base with the names of the first responders from all emergency services that died as a result of working on “the pile.” As of now, the number of first responder deaths remains at 95, but there are plenty of bricks that will undoubtedly add to that number.

The memorial service and dedication at St. Michael’s Cemetery honoring fallen firefighters, police and Port Authority officers brought together elected leaders, FDNY and NYPD officials, as well as families of those lost for an afternoon of grieving and a celebration of their lives. The event, on Saturday, September 24, began with an invocation by Father Christopher Keenan who read the Gettysburg Address followed by a statement by Congressmember Joe Crowley who commented on the two dozen young firefighters dressed in bunker gear who stood during the ceremony.

“They’re taking up a job that has a legacy,” said Crowley. “Many believed that the fire department could never recover after the attack, but nothing could be more false . . . They have never forgotten those that have fallen.”

Crowley also included an anecdote about his cousin John Moran, a Battalion Chief on Randall’s Island who died at the World Trade Center.

“I’m sure each and every one of you can take out a moment about a son or daughter that you lost that day and look back and smile,” said Crowley.

Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, one of the sponsors of the Zadroga Act – named for police officer James Zadroga who died of a respiratory disease attributed to toxins at Ground Zero – spoke to the long road the legislation took until enacted in January 2011. The act expands death benefits and monitored care for those who worked at the World Trade Center site.

“Who would have thought it would have taken us seven years to pass the Zadroga Act?” asked Maloney. “This bill will save lives. We will not stop until we make sure that it continues to take care of the men and women who took care of us.”

She continued to mention the beauty of the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site and urged those in attendance to take a trip downtown to see it.

Also in attendance was Comptroller John Liu who helped fund the St. Michael’s 9/11 memorial, Former Council Speaker Peter Vallone, Sr., FDNY Chief Kevin Butler, PAPD Inspector Brian Sullivan, NYPD Chief Dianna Pizzutti as well as the PAPD Pipes and Drums, among other special guests.

Former FDNY Chief Alexander Santora and his wife, Maureen who – along with Ed Horn of St. Michaels – were instrumental in erecting the memorial, spoke about the importance of remembering those, like their son, Christopher, who died on 9/11. After encouraging those in attendance to come back to see the additions to the bricks at the base of the memorial, the former chief summed up the feeling of many on hand:

“They have one hell of a fire department up in heaven.”