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Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways

The Daily Plant : Monday, November 20, 2006

Flight 587 Commemorated In The Rockaways

Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

On November 12, 2001, the City was still reeling from the tragic events of September 11 when another plane crashed into a New York neighborhood. American Airlines Flight 587 crashed into the Belle Harbor section of the Rockaways after taking off from JFK International Airport en route to the Dominican Republic, killing all 260 passengers and crew on board as well as five people on the ground. The service, marking the fifth anniversary of the crash, was held last weekend at B. 116 Street adjacent to the Rockaway Boardwalk and concluded with the unveiling of a new memorial dedicated to the memory of the victims of the crash.

The commemorative wall and newly landscaped plaza were built using private and public funds and was created in consultation with the families of the victims and the Belle Harbor community. It was designed by Freddy Rodriguez, a New York artist who grew up in the Dominican Republic, and Situ Studio LLC, the preliminary and schematic design consultant to the artist. The design won an award from the Art Commission in August. Angelyn Chandler, Queens' Team Leader for Capital Projects, oversaw the daily operations of the project, which was built in less than four months. Chandler and her staff worked closely with the Mayor's Office, the Office of Immigrant Affairs, Rockaway's elected officials, Queens Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski and Queens District 14 staff. The project included the renovation of the comfort station at B. 116 Street and the creation of accessible facilities on B. 117 Street.

The memorial service began with an invocation and remarks from Mayor Bloomberg before a moment of silence was held at 9:16 a.m., the time when the plane hit the ground, followed by the reading of the 265 names of the victims, all of which are inscribed on the wall. Commissioner Benepe and many other representatives from Parks and other City agencies were on hand for the dedication.

In addition to this tragedy, Belle Harbor was home to many police officers and firefighters who lost their lives on September 11. This past spring another Parks property on the B. 116 Street corridor, Tribute Park, was dedicated to the memory of the victims of September 11.

The crash of Flight 587 was the second largest aviation tragedy in US history. A fitting passage is inscribed on the wall in Spanish and English from a poem by Dominican poet Pedro Mir: "Despues no quiero mas que paz" or "Afterwards I want only peace".

Submitted by Jill Weber, Rockaway Administrator


“If the only prayer you say in life is thank you, that would suffice.”

Meister Eckhart
(1260 – 1328)

Directions to Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways

Know Before You Go

BeachesRockaway Beach and Boardwalk

In order to keep swimmers safe, Rockaway Beach will be closed to swimming this summer in the area between Beach 91st Street and Beach 102nd Street. The concessions and bathrooms at Beach 97th Street will remain open, as will the surfing beach from Beach 88th Street to Beach 91st Street. Please visit other sections of Rockaway Beach as an alternative for swimming and recreation.

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