Today’s news:

Kew Gardens man killed in Maspeth car accident

A 34-year-old theater manager from Kew Gardens, Youssef Damdami, died in the early morning hours last Thursday when his car crashed into a tractor trailer at the intersection of Rust Street and Maspeth Avenue in Maspeth, police sources said.

Damdami, a Moroccan immigrant who moved to America when he was 6, leaves behind his parents, his two sisters and many friends, said Youssef’s sister, Myriam, who is 38.

“He was the most giving person,” Myriam said. “He had such a forgiving heart.”

Damdami was driving his 1998 Ford westbound on Rust Street when it collided with a 2005 Volvo Tractor Trailer operated by a 51-year-old man northbound on Maspeth Avenue, police said. After hitting the trailer, Damdami lost control of his car and hit a light pole and a parked semi-trailer, police said. After being called to the scene a little after 5 a.m., emergency medical services took Damdami to Elmhurst General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, police said.

Myriam said her brother was driving home from visiting a friend in Maspeth when the accident occurred. She said it had been a very rainy day.

Damdami lived with his parents and his younger sister in an apartment at Main Street and 77th Street in Kew Gardens, Myriam said. She lives in an apartment on the same floor, and she said her brother loved coming to see her 8-month-old son.

“He was very proud of his nephew and loved being an uncle,” Myriam said.

She said Damdami, who was born in Casablanca, had worked in theaters since he was 16. He began as a projectionist at the Main Street Cinemas in Kew Gardens, then later became its manager. For the last four years he had worked as the manager at Center Cinemas on Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside.

Myriam said as Muslims, they do not hold memorials for the dead, but Damdami had so many friends they decided to hold a memorial at his old workplace on Main Street Cinemas Saturday. The marquee over the theater read “In Loving Memory of Youssef Damdami.”

“Over 200 people showed up,” Myriam said. “I did not know that many people loved him. That was amazing.”

She said her brother had more than 700 friends on Facebook, many of whom have left messages of condolences on his page. Family members from Morocco and France have also come to Queens to pay their condolences.

Myriam described Damdami as having a warm smile, loving all types of people and making everyone feel at ease.

“He left a void in the family,” she said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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