The annual commemoration of the crash of American Airlines Flight #587 was held Tuesday in Rockaway, with mourners gathering for a ceremony centered around a bell ringing and minute of silence marking the exact moment of the crash followed by a reading of the names of the 265 victims. The flight was headed from JFK to the Dominican Republic and the passengers were predominantly Dominican and Dominican-American. Five of the victims were Rockaway residents killed by the falling aircraft.
The cold wet windswept morning brought an added dose of misery to the attendees remembering the lost, with the temperature falling through the 40’s as a light rain fell. There were fewer attendees than recent years, due perhaps to both the weather and the gradual fading that passing years brings, but the memorial remains a deeply sad annual moment in the City’s civic life, resurfacing the attendees’ grief as they gather to focus on their lost family and friends and recall the shock of tragedy as the City struggled to recover from the September 11th attacks that had just occurred.
Fresh, sunny in places. That’s how an Irish weather forecast might have described Rockaway Saturday afternoon as strong winds, cool temperatures and mostly bright skies greeted the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade kicks off a month of St. Patrick’s Day parades around the region.
Attendance by both elected officials and spectators was light this year, with a handful of Queens elected officials appearing. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, NYS Senator Joe Addabbo, Assembly Members Stacey Pheffer Amato and Michael DenDekker and Council Member Eric Ulrich marched, receiving a friendly reception. Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Tish James and Council Speaker Corey Johnson did not attend, although James was reported to have attended the pre-parade breakfast. Senator Chuck Schumer has often attended past Rockaway parades, but neither he nor any other statewide elected official attended.
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently ventured to the politically hostile Rockaway neighborhood of Belle Harbor for a town hall. Antipathy for de Blasio runs strong in the area, with de Blasio having lost the assembly district to both Nicole Malliotakis and Joe Lhota, but the town hall audience engaged with de Blasio on many substantive topics.
Mayor Bill de Blasio attended the annual memorial service marking the November 12, 2001 crash of American Airlines Flight #587. For the fourth time as mayor de Blasio joined attendees at the service, held at the memorial constructed just off the beach on Rockaway’s Beach 116th Street. The flight was headed from JFK to the Dominican Republic and the majority of those onboard were Dominican Americans and Dominican nationals. The crash also killed five people on the ground in Rockaway.
de Blasio was infamously late to the 2014 memorial service, his first as mayor. He missed the moment of silence, provoking a firestorm of criticism over his then-frequent tardiness to public events. This year, as in 2015 and 2016, de Blasio arrived early and worked his way through the audience shaking hands, hugging and talking with attendees before the service began. Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato, who represents Rockaway, was the only other elected official to attend. Former Assembly Member Guillermo Linares, now the president of the New York State Higher Education Corporation, attended and spoke on behalf of Governor Cuomo. Continue reading Flight #587: 2017 Memorial→
A cold, bitter wind blew across Rockaway Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t the sentiment of residents toward Mayor de Blasio, but an actual wind blowing in from Jamaica Bay during the Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
The cold temperature and strong wind dampened attendance, but those turning out appeared to have their usual good time. It’s a world apart from the large Fifth Avenue parades, and even from many parades in other parts of the City, with a strong small town feel to it as the parade flows through a suburban neighborhood of single family homes. Green-clothed crowds filled many front lawns and porches, with cheers for the marchers interspersed amid a steady flow of eating, drinking and talking.
The annual memorial service marking the 2001 crash of American Airlines Flight #587 was held Saturday morning. Mayor Bill de Blasio joined attendees at the service, held at the memorial constructed just off the beach on Rockaway’s Beach 116th Street. The flight was headed from JFK to the Dominican Republic and the majority of those onboard were Dominican Americans and Dominican nationals. The crash also killed five people on the ground in Rockaway.
de Blasio was infamously late to the 2014 memorial service, his first as mayor. He missed the moment of silence, provoking a firestorm of criticism over his then-frequent tardiness to public events. This year, as in 2015, de Blasio arrived early and worked his way through the audience shaking hands, hugging and talking with attendees before the service began.
Council Member Eric Ulrich drew several Queens elected officials to a City Hall rally Friday, objecting to the de Blasio administration’s efforts at using hotels in Maspeth and Rockaway as homeless shelters. The electeds’ objections, substantially focused on the process and lack of communication by the administration, left them exposed to the deep anger of the 150 or so people attending the rally. Those attendees, predominantly from Maspeth with a minority from Rockaway, deeply oppose siting a shelter in their neighborhood no matter what process or communication is used. Their anger eventually overwhelmed the elected officials’ efforts to conduct a press conference, driving those elected officials into City Hall as the crowd chanted outside on the City Hall portico and briefly marched on City Hall plaza.