Tag Archives: World Trade Center

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Wednesday: Some clouds early. Mostly sunny skies along with windy conditions this afternoon. High 37. Winds NW at 25 to 35 mph. Wednesday night: Clear skies. Low 22. Winds NW at 20 to 30 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Rough Draft Festival

LaGuardia College will be hosting the Rough Draft Festival where there is a opportunity to go to workshops and performances until April 2. The Festival showcases exciting new work currently under development by LaGuardia Performing Arts Center and other companies. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Group files suit against NYC e-cigarette ban

A smokers advocacy group says it’s filed a lawsuit against New York City seeking to overturn its ban on electronic cigarettes. Read more: NBC New York

Livery drivers to form neighborhood watch

Livery drivers are going to put the heat on dangerous driving. Read more: New York Post

Applicants flood city for pre-k teaching positions

Applicants are flooding the school system to snare one of 1,000 teaching slots that will open in September when all-day pre-kindergarten classes expand around the city, Mayor de Blasio said Tuesday. Read more: New York Post

NYC plans taxi accessibility surcharge

New York City taxi fares may rise in order to pay for an increase in the number of wheelchair-accessible cabs. Read more: AP

CNN producers accused of trying to sneak into World Trade Center site

Two CNN producers were arrested Tuesday afternoon for allegedly trying to sneak into the site around the 1 World Trade Center building, police said. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Jamaica woman to run up 72 flights in historic World Trade Center climb


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Silverstein Properties

Alexis Mitchell is getting her rear in gear to climb 72 flights of stairs in the name of cancer research.

The Jamaica resident joined the team “Higher Ground” to raise money for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation by making the historic trek up the new 4 World Trade Center building in Lower Manhattan.

“I think the enthusiasm will be high,” said Mitchell, 49. “It’s a good way to do something positive in an area that’s been so plagued.”

On September 11, Mitchell watched the Twin Towers go down from her office window at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. She hopes the race up the new World Trade Center building will promote a feeling of redemption throughout the tragedy-stricken area.

More than 400 people will take part in the dash upstairs on April 3. About $72,000 for cancer research has been raised so far.

“You figure every bit helps,” Mitchell said. “I try to help and raise money for different charities, and cancer is a sensitive subject for me.”

Mitchell’s mother has multiple myeloma and she also has friends who have lost parents to the disease.

The race will additionally be the first view inside of the 2.3-million square-foot building for most. The office space, which will rise to the sixth-highest building in New York City, isn’t anticipating tenants until 2015.

 

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Bayside street to be renamed after man who perished on 9/11


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Talat Hamdani

He died a hero in his mother’s eyes and a potential enemy to his country.

Now the family of Mohammed Salman Hamdani, the Bayside hero found wrongly accused of having ties to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, will have his cleared name on a street sign.

“He was a kind, compassionate and humble American. The most important thing to remember about him is his due place in history,” said mother Talat Hamdani, 61. “He gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

Mohammed Salman Hamdani was a 23-year-old NYPD cadet and certified paramedic when he voluntarily and fatally rushed to his nation’s aid 11 years ago.

“We knew he would go. That was him,” said Talat of her first son. “He would help people in the streets if they were in distress. If there was an accident, he would pull over and see if everything was okay.”

But instead of honor, the chemistry major at Queens College died with a tarnished name.

Authorities hunted him, falsely suspecting the Pakistani-American was in league with terrorists until his remains were found scattered in the rubble near the north tower by his medical bag, according to reports.

Now Community Board 11 has voted unanimously to honor the hometown hero by renaming the street sign on 204th Street at 35th Avenue, outside his former Bayside home, after his legacy.

“It was very emotional, listening to [Talat] and her pain,” said district manager Susan Seinfeld. “As a mother myself, I can just feel that. I can’t imagine what she’s gone through. He should be recognized as much as anyone who was on duty. He gave his life to help people.”

About six street signs within the Community Board have been renamed in honor of 9/11 victims, Seinfeld said.

“A street renaming is a very small but appropriate recognition of his bravery,” said Councilmember Dan Halloran. “He entered the twin towers not because he had to but because he chose to dedicate his life to helping people.”

Mohammed Salman is also mentioned in the 2001 Patriot Act as a 9/11 Muslim-American hero.

“We will never know how many lives he saved that day,” Talat said. “My son is priceless. Nothing can bring him back.”

 

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Cantor Fitzgerald donates $10M to Sandy victims


| mhayes@queenscourier.com


A firm that was significantly affected by the 9/11 attacks has taken the latest disaster, Sandy, and turned it into hope.

The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund has donated $10 million to storm victims. “We understand the tremendous loss that has shaken so many families,” said Howard Lutnick, Chair and CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC Partners, Inc.

Cantor Fitzgerald lost hundreds of employees in the attacks on the World Trade Center.

The relief fund has “adopted” 19 elementary schools throughout the disaster-stricken communities and will be distributing $1,000 prepaid debit cards to each family from the selected schools through March.

“We learned from the tragedy of 9/11 how important it is to provide support directly to people who are suffering,” said Edie Lutnick, the on-site executive director for Cantor Relief. “We are grateful for the opportunity to assist these families and help communities to heal.”

Cantor Fitzgerald has an annual Charity Day in which it typically donates 100 percent of its revenues to the relief fund and other charities. This year, the funds are going directly to the storm affected families.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


 TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Overcast. High of 45. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 10 mph. Wednesday Night: Overcast in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 36. Winds from the North at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Jackson Heights Community Orchestra

The newly-formed Jackson Heights Community Orchestra, launched by conductor Patricia Glunt, has scheduled its first performance for Dec. 12 at the Jackson Heights Community Church. “Jackson Heights is ripe and it’s ready for an orchestra,” said Glunt, a 58-year-old musician who lives in the neighborhood. “The idea is really to explore and showcase the talent that we have in Queens, and use Jackson Heights as the center of that.” Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Vallone officially announces borough president bid

Councilmember Peter Vallone’s holiday surprise wasn’t all that surprising. Vallone announced his bid for Queens borough president at his father’s annual holiday party on Tuesday, December 11, surrounded by friends and family. Read more: Queens Courier

Queens lawmaker proposes local referendum on casino gaming

Local residents should get a chance to weigh in before the state rolls the dice on full-tilt casino gaming, a Queens lawmaker said on Tuesday. Read more: New York Daily News

JFK guards threaten strike, could snarl holiday travel plans

Just in time for Christmas, security guards at JFK Airport are threatening to walk off their jobs and create a holiday nightmare for travelers. Read more: New York Post

Sandy ineptitude catches up with LIPA at Moreland Commission hearing

Officials slammed the Long Island Power Authority Tuesday for its performance in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, during a hearing by a commission exploring how those utilities might be restructured. Read more: CBS New York

First section of WTC spire set to be hoisted

The first section of a spire that will rise atop the World Trade Center’s tallest building is set to be lifted into place on Wednesday. Read more: Fox New York

The Pope, now on Twitter, posts his first message

Pope Benedict XVI sent his first Twitter message on Wednesday, saying, “Dear Friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.” Read more: New York Times

Gunman opens fire at Oregon mall; Suspect, 2 dead

The mall Santa was waiting for the next child’s Christmas wish when shots rang out, causing the shopping mall to erupt into chaos. Read more: AP

 

 

 

9/11 first responders suffer mental, physical anguish


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

FIRST RESPONDER GLEN 2w

Alex Sanchez remembers the bang.

It thundered through lower Manhattan, said Sanchez, who at first thought the sound was a truck crashing into a building. The Harlem resident, who at the time worked as a janitor for New York University, heard the clamor as he walked a co-worker to 100 Centre Street for a hearing. It wasn’t until he moved further south that he discovered the real source of the noise.

“We thought it was an accident,” he said, recalling peering up at the smoldering North Tower. “Then we saw the second plane hit and that’s when all hell broke loose.”

The men and women who gave of their time, their efforts — of themselves — following the attacks on September, 11 2001, will be forever regarded as heroes, from the firefighters who extinguished flames and searched for survivors under the rubble to the police officers who directed people out of the area and to safety.

Sanchez, a first responder at Ground Zero, sifted through debris and cleaned up scraps of the Twin Towers that covered the city’s streets.

Every day following the attacks, Sanchez, along with 800 other workers, removed clutter from the former site of the World Trade Center. While the labor was strenuous, Sanchez said morale and compassion drove their efforts.

“Everyone was more than eager to go in on a daily basis,” he said.

A main portion of their work involved cleaning ventilation units. Sanchez said inside the building’s hull there was so much dust you couldn’t see anything. As he crawled through the vent system, he was outfitted with gloves, goggles, a PVAC suit and a hospital mask.

Sanchez founded United We Stand, a group that assists undocumented workers who assisted after the 9/11 attacks and have subsequently experienced health issues stemming from inhaling dust, fumes and smoke. Sanchez said he now suffers from chronic asthma and upper airway obstruction and has developed nodules in his lungs. He is now on permanent disability.

The catastrophic event brought Sanchez close to others affected by September 11, including spouses and children who lost loved ones. According to him, many who perished were not granted proper funerals, something he believes the city is accountable for.

Sanchez said events following the attacks have negatively influenced his view of the city.

“In a country like ours, it’s really sad that people’s lives are put in jeopardy,” said Sanchez. “We’ve become a test tube for disaster.”

Glen Klein was in the middle of a cup of coffee when he got a call from a friend, exclaiming that a plane had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. It wasn’t until he turned on his television and saw the second plane collide that the event seemed real.

Klein, a former member of the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit (ESU), immediately drove to his outfit — the 109th Precinct — gathered supplies and fellow officers, and headed downtown.

Along with 300 other members of the ESU, Klein searched through debris for bodies. In their efforts, 14 ESU officers went missing.

“For the first six days, we thought we would find them alive,” said Klein. “If anyone’s going to survive, I thought it would be our guys.”

None of the missing officers were found alive.

Klein retired in 2003 after he began to feel both the physical and mental effects from 9/11. The 16-year-veteran of the ESU suffered precancerous polyps, GERD, heart palpitations, gastrointestinal issues and post-traumatic stress disorder. He said he receives assistance from the World Trade Center Health Program.

Klein is now the vice president of the “FealGood Foundation,” a group that advocates for 9/11 first responders who suffer from subsequent illnesses. He said assisting others acts as personal therapy and connects him with what he loved about being a police officer — helping people.

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens jurors lead city in no-shows

Looks like Queens needs a boroughwide civics class. More than one-third, or 35 percent, of Queens residents ignore their jury-duty notices — the highest in the five boroughs. “We’re dealing with thousands of people, and we just don’t have the staff,” said Queens County Clerk Audrey Pheffer, who acts as the commissioner of jurors. In fact, Pheffer, a former assemblywoman, said the office stopped bothering to impose fines as it upgrades its jury-selection system. Read More: New York Post

Queens deli destroyed by early morning fire, explosion

A Queens deli was destroyed by an overnight fire — and an explosion at the store could be felt two blocks away. The fire was reported at 3:30 a.m. at the corner of Hempstead Avenue and 220th Street. Firefighters used ladder trucks to spray the building, as the fire was too strong to fight from the inside. The business, Deli Grocery & Grill, is relatively new — only about two months old. No injuries were reported, and there’s no word on the cause of the fire. Read More: New York Post

 

Deliberations To Begin This Week In Queens Terror Trial

A jury could start deliberations as early as Monday in the case of a Queens man accused of plotting to blow up the city’s subways. Adis Medunjanin is accused of conspiring with admitted terrorist Najibullah Zazi to detonate suicide bombs on Manhattan subway lines in 2009. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against the United States and receiving terrorist training from al-Qaida. Medunjanin faces life in prison if convicted on conspiracy and terror charges. Read More: NY1

 

Hundreds Of Union Job Applicants Camp Out In Woodside

Hundreds of applicants vying for a job with the ironworkers’ union waited outside the union’s office in Woodside, Queens for nearly a week, leaving some neighbors upset about the camp-out. Read More: NY1

Historic Forest Park Greenhouse gets $3.8 million upgrade, replacing century-old structures with high-tech ones

The historic Forest Park Greenhouse, which grows plants and flowers that liven up concrete stretches in Queens and Brooklyn, is moving beyond its early 20th century roots. A section of the greenhouse has just undergone a $3.8 million reconstruction that will increase its capacity and make it more environmentally-friendly. The first stage of the renovation focused on two of the houses that were built in 1905 and designed by greenhouse experts of the time, Lord and Burnham. Read More: Daily News

 

1 WTC to vault past Empire State Building today and become tallest tower in city

ONE WORLD Trade Center is set to eclipse the Empire State Building as New York’s tallest building Monday afternoon, officials said. As long as the weather cooperates, the tower will surpass the 1,250-foot Empire State Building at 2 p.m. on its way to a final height of 1,776 feet. “It’s wonderful,” Mayor Bloomberg said Sunday. “It’s taken a long time. This is probably the most complex construction site in any place ever. I think what we’ve shown is that democracy works.” Read More: Daily News

Weiner mistress claims he wanted to have a threesome with a man


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Weiner mistress claims he wanted to have a threesome with a man

Anthony Weiner wanted to do more than share his crotch shots with women online, his former X-rated chat buddy claims. Traci Nobles, who came forward as one of the New York politician’s sexting partners earlier this year, told Radaronline.com that he wanted to have a threesome — with her and another man. She claimed that he detailed his desires in an explicit chat earlier this year. “I’m not really talking about other chicks … How about with another guy,” he allegedly said, according to the blonde bombshell. “Are you turned on by other guys?” Nobles claims she asked. “Well it depends on the guy, but generally yes,” Weiner allegedly replied. Read More: Daily News

Family still waiting to bury Brooklyn woman burned to death in brutal elevator attack

The body of the Prospect Heights woman burned to death in her apartment building elevator is still awaiting final burial. The family of Deloris Gillespie said that because she was so badly burned in the shocking December 17 attack authorities have not yet officially identified her — leaving her family unable to get a death certificate or proceed with a funeral. Read More: New York Post

Death on tracks

A man was fatally struck last night by a subway train in Washington Heights — and cops are investigating whether he went onto the tracks to relieve himself, police sources said. The victim, whose name wasn’t released, was struck at around 9:20 p.m. at the 191st Street station on the No. 1 line. Read More: New York Post

Knife-wielding thug attacks woman, ransacks Tribeca law firm: cops

A knife-wielding thief barged into a lower Manhattan law firm, shattered the jaw of a female employee, tied her up with a phone charger and ransacked the place, police sources said today. The mayhem started at 3:20 p.m. Monday, when the unidentified man was caught on video strolling into an office tower and talking to a doorman on Broadway near Walker Street. Read More: New York Post

NTSB cites ice in report on NJ crash that killed exec, family

Federal investigators have released a preliminary report on last week’s plane crash in New Jersey that killed five people. The preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report released late Monday draws no conclusions on what caused the December 20 crash. A final report could take a year or more to complete. The single-engine turboprop crashed about 15 minutes after takeoff from Teterboro Airport and was headed to Georgia. The report describes how pilot Jeffrey Buckalew radioed to air traffic controllers that he was experiencing icing and requested to climb to a higher altitude. The plane peaked at 17,900 feet before descending. Read More: New York Post

Husband faces civil suit in death of rich UBS wealth manager Shele Danishefsky Covlin

The Manhattan public administrator has gone where the cops and the DA have not: publicly accusing ex-stock trader Rod Covlin of killing his rich, beautiful wife two years ago. Shele Danishefsky Covlin, 47, a UBS wealth manager, was found dead in her upper West Side bathtub on New Year’s Eve 2009. Her scalp was cut and the death was ruled an accidental fall. Her Orthodox Jewish family refused an autopsy, and she was buried almost immediately, following religious tradition. Read More: Daily News

Court win for kin of World Trade Center cop

A hero cop injured at the Twin Towers on 9/11 died from World Trade Center-related cancer, a state appeals court ruled yesterday. The Appellate Division ruling means Frank Macri’s widow is entitled to accidental-line-of-duty death benefits — and, in fact, he will be listed as having died in the line of duty, said the family’s lawyers, Michael Murray and Christopher McGrath. “I’m at a loss for words,” his widow, Nilda Macri, told The Post. “Frank really deserves this honor. This would’ve meant a lot to him, to know he’s still remembered . . . He was a special, special guy.” Read More: New York Post

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to green Queens locomotives

Two fuel-efficient locomotives will roll through Queens in 2013 with technology designed to reduce pollution and lower costs for local businesses that use freight trains to move goods. With a $2 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, two conventional locomotives will be overhauled to use low-emissions diesel technology, the city Economic Development Corp. announced last week. Read More: Daily News

Ex-‘Saturday Night Live’ writer Joe Bodolai found dead after hotel room suicide

Former “Saturday Night Live” writer Joseph Bodolai has committed suicide in a Hollywood hotel room, the Los Angeles coroner’s office said Tuesday. Coroner’s office spokesman Craig Harvey said room service staff found the body of the 63-year-old Bodolai at 1:30 p.m. Monday in a room at Hollywood’s Re-Tan Hotel. He checked into the hotel December 19. Harvey said Bodolai drank a mixture of Gatorade and antifreeze. The death, first reported by celebrity website TMZ, has been ruled a suicide. Read More: Daily News

Winning $206M Mega Millions jackpot ticket sold at Long Island grocery store

One Long Island lottery player received a belated holiday gift Tuesday, but it was worth the wait: a $206 million jackpot. The winner nailed the five numbers picked in Tuesday night’s Mega Millions drawing — 23, 32, 33, 39 and 43 — along with the “Mega Ball” of 8, the lottery said on its website. The winner has not yet come forward, said Christy Calicchia, director of communications for New York Lottery. Three other New Yorkers picked the first five numbers — but not the Mega Ball — and won $250,000 each. The lone jackpot-winning ticket was sold at a King Kullen supermarket in Middle Island. Read More: Daily News

Through the lens of Rafael Octavio Gonzalez


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Rafael Octavio Gonzalez at Z Hotel

Far away from the static realm of everyday photography lies the work of Rafael Octavio Gonzalez. The Long Island City-bred artist puts a luminescent spin on the lens – surrounding the viewer and bringing the past and present together in one intimate, yet all-encompassing, image.

His images are currently being presented in an ongoing exhibition at Z Hotel in L.I.C. – steps away from where the artist grew up and developed his photographer’s sensibility.

“I got into photography when my brother gave me a camera back when I was in eighth grade,” said Gonzalez, who came to Queens from Columbia at seven-years-old. “Before that, I didn’t feel very artsy or have any inclination toward art at all.”

But growing up in L.I.C.’s old days – before the condos shot up – afforded Gonzalez the types of views that builds an eye for the majestic.

“I grew up on the corner of 21st Street and 44th Avenue, back when there was roof access. I used to hang out up there and there was a full view of the city because there was nothing on the waterfront. There were no tall structures,” he said. “I grew up with beautiful sunsets and sunrises and everything that happens around this piece of the city right here.”

One image he captured was a panoramic view of Manhattan from the Queens side of the East River on December 7, 2000. In the image, the sun dramatically sets just behind the World Trade Center – creating a poignant vision foreshadowing the city’s not-too-distant future.

As any art should, that panorama always elicits a response from the viewer, and for obvious reasons. The piece, called “Sunset at the Towers,” shows a striking image of the Towers outlined in a brilliant and fiery light. Gonzalez said that no matter the reaction, he wants to reach an audience so that they feel something – whether it’s love or hate.

“I’m hoping that it does bring some kind of emotion out of people,” Gonzalez said, explaining that one of his works, “Frozen,” tends to bring out an array of opinions. “Some people love it, but others are a little creeped out by it. I like it in the sense that I got to them at some level of emotion – it means the image is strong. To be able to draw some sort of emotion from someone is a very fulfilling feeling. To get someone to react to your work is the point – whether they like it or not.”

“Frozen” is part of a series of 360-degree panoramic photographs. The images play with space and time, perception and perspective. Bringing the 360-degree view within one plane suggest a single image taken at a single instant – when in reality the image came to Gonzalez over multiple frames over a period of days.

This is where Gonzalez’s technical side comes into play. He always had a technological brain – with mathematics and engineering preceding his love of photography.

“A lot of what goes into photography is highly technical when you’re putting it all together,” he said. “In many ways I think they are very linked, mathematics and life.”

Gonzalez is the first artist Z Hotel is exhibiting in their lower level Z Lounge, and they will exhibit a new artist each month in an effort to support the arts throughout the neighborhood.

And the neighborhood has changed greatly since Gonzalez moved to East Elmhurst with his wife and brother. Large buildings have popped up, blocking the view he once had as a kid. But he is not completely against such an occurrence – in fact, he wishes he was a part of it.

“I was very sad that I wasn’t in the position to buy some parts of the land there before they built on it,” he laughed. “It was kind of disappointing to see the view go away because it was such a beautiful unobstructed view, but that’s progress.”

And if he can somehow make a return to the area, he wouldn’t mind being a part of that progress.

“I dream of one day having an apartment over here,” Gonzalez said. “I grew up with this view and the ultimate way to get that part of me back would be to have a spot right up front on the waterfront.”

Check out www.panoramasbyrafael.zenfolio.com to view Gonzalez’s work.

Residents Gather to Mark Tenth Anniversary of 9/11


| jlyons@queenscourier.com

911-Memorial-4

North Shore Towers residents were joined by local elected officials and members of law enforcement as they marked the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Board President Bob Ricken began by acknowledging Towers residents Tom Lyons and Todd Heiman. Lyons responded to Ground Zero following the attacks while Heiman worked at the Staten Island recovery site.

“All of the events of September 11 will forever live in our memories. We will never forget the images of planes flying into the World Trade Center, or the smoke rising from the Pentagon,” Ricken said. “We’ll always admire the courage and compassion of the heroes who also entered the burning building to save the lives of our countrymen.”

Ricken also said that the day of remembrance requires reflection, as it is determined how best to honor those who sacrificed their lives.

“The highest honor we can pay to those we lost is to do what our adversaries fear the most – to stay true to who we are as Americans, renew our sense of common purpose and not let the act of a small band of murderers threaten and divide us,” he said. “On this day and the days to come we should choose to honor the fallen, protect our families, our way of life, and support the first responders and servicemen throughout the world.”

Following Ricken’s opening remarks, Sergeant Polly Jill MacAlpine of the NY Army National Guard sang the National Anthem. Rabbi Randy Sheinberg then gave an invocation, during which she noted that people all over were “coming together as a community in tribute to those whose lives were lost tragically 10 years ago and waving flags of patriotism, of pride and of hope in the future.”

Located elected officials Senator Tony Avella, Assemblymember Ed Braunstein and Councilmember Mark Weprin were also on hand for the ceremony and gave remarks, talking about the importance of never forgetting and the way New Yorkers came together following the terrorist attack.
“New Yorkers are tough spirits and we love this city and we love this country,” Weprin said. “We are going to make a statement that you’re not going to scare us out and we’re going to stay united together.”

North Shore Towers General Manager Glen Kotowski, who worked at Ground Zero off and on following the attacks, also read a letter from Mayor Michael Bloomberg sent for the event. In addition to welcoming the 250 to 300 people in attendance, Bloomberg’s letter spoke of the opening of the World Trade Center Memorial and said that lower Manhattan is “more alive than ever.”

“In the days and weeks after the event, we vowed that we would never forget and that we would work together to create a brighter future,” Bloomberg wrote, adding that New York continues to keep that promise.
The event concluded with MacAlpine singing “God Bless America” as residents joined in.

School’s moving tribute to 9/11


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

File photo

Although the fourth and fifth graders of P.S. 16 have no memory of the attacks on September 11, 2001, members of the grades united to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice a decade ago.

The students hosted a memorial performance on September 19 in honor of everyone who risked and lost their lives at the World Trade Center.

The children gave speeches, read quotes, recited poems and sang seven songs during the show. The subject of each song was related to either the attacks on 9/11 or the United States of America.

“Each of the seven songs had a meaningful relationship to the events of September 11,” said Irene Laakkonen, the music teacher at P.S. 16, located at 41-15 104th Street in Corona. “One song honored the victims and their families, while another was dedicated to first responders. The children also sang songs discussing the country’s healing process, as well as a few that were patriotic and expressed love for America.”

Several officers of the NYPD and FDNY attended the performance as distinguished guests of the school.

“I wanted the children to learn to honor those who gave their lives for our country and to respect the values and beliefs we hold dear,” said Laakkonen. “I think they also need to learn to appreciate those men and women who put their lives on the line every day to secure our safety. These are the heroes they should be inspired by.”

At the tribute’s conclusion, the audience rose to their feet and aided the children in singing “America the Beautiful.”