Sixteen street corners in northeast Queens have been named after those who lost their lives as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Yet for Tony Avella, the former city councilman who was instrumental in having the intersections renamed, these urban memorials are not enough to commemorate the dead.
On Saturday, nine years after the towers fell, Avella led police, firefighters and family members of the lost through College Point, Whitestone, Flushing, Auburndale, Bayside and Little Neck, laying wreaths and taking a moment of silence at the street corners renamed for firefighters and civilians who died in the attacks, as well as one soldier killed in Iraq two years afterwards who joined the army because of 9/11.
“These are the type of individuals who are the best of our community, the best of our society,” Avella said.
Avella, who started working with family members of those who died on 9/11 to rename the street corners shortly after he was elected to the Council in 2001, said he began the motorcade six years ago as another way for the families to remember their loved ones.
“I think it’s just a beautiful tribute,” said Marie Corrigan, wife of firefighter Capt. James J. Corrigan, who has a street corner named after him across from the firehouse on Francis Lewis Boulevard between 35th Avenue and 200th Street in Bayside.
In previous years, the event was held on Sept. 11, but was later moved to before the anniversary so family members can visit Ground Zero on that day.
Some family members meet the motorcade at the corner, like Millie Asaro Minielli, the cousin of Firefighter Carl F. Asaro, who has the northwest corner of Willets Point Boulevard and 147th Street in Whitestone named after him.
“He was a wonderful young man with five children and he gave his life for us all,” said Minielli of her cousin.
Others, like Jean Prevete, whose son, Pvt. 1st Class James E. Prevete, died in Iraq and had the northeast corner of 147th Place and 5th Avenue in Malba named after him, traveled along to multiple stops on the motorcade. Prevete said she is always happy Avella holds the event.
“I like to honor my son. I remember 9/11 like it was yesterday,” Prevete said. “And I also feel I have to support people who do this for us.”
Barbara Travers, the widow of Glenn J. Travers Sr., who has a street corner named after him at 28th Avenue and 211th Street in Bayside, said she appreciated that Avella does this every year.
“It brings back a lot of stuff. It’s very difficult,” she said of the event. “It never gets easier after nine years.”
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.
©2010 Community News Group
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