Family, neighbors and community leaders gathered beneath the sunshine in Whitestone on Tuesday for an emotional street co-naming ceremony honoring a local victim of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The corner of 154th Street and 26th Avenue was ceremonially renamed “Vincent Cangelosi Memorial Way,” in honor of a local resident who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald. The accounting firm lost more than 600 people in its offices at the original World Trade Center in the attack 15 years ago.
“I’m very honored to be here today, not only for myself, but for my family, all the families of 9/11, and all of the policemen and firemen who took part,” said Vincent Cangelosi Sr., the victim’s father.
Though the street was co-named in honor of his son, Cangelosi Sr. and his family were committed to recognizing the heroes of 9/11 who quickly moved toward danger and offered aid.
“When I was trying to rush home to be with my wife, I remember the firemen and policemen passing me on the highway, running towards those buildings,” Cangelosi Sr. recalled. “To me, that is another memory that will stick with me for the rest of my life.”
The idea for the street co-naming began with Daniel Naimoli, Cangelosi’s cousin, who pushed for the public commemoration for nearly three years.
“I always knew I wanted to do something to memorialize 9/11, but I was always uncertain of what I wanted to do,” Naimoli said. “I would drive by this property every day for years, until I finally approached [the community] with a plan, and the rest is history.”
Naimoli’s first project, a memorial park adjacent to the newly co-named “Vincent Cangelosi Memorial Way” and sponsored by the Queens North 9/11 Memorial Park Foundation, was also celebrated at the ceremony.
Councilman Paul Vallone, host of the co-naming ceremony, presented the Cangelosi family with a second version of the street sign to have as their own.
“[The park] is there for all of the heroes and anyone who has sacrificed their life to keep us safe,” Vallone said. “There is an acknowledgement, or a plaque, or something, there for everyone. And that’s why it’s become a symbol of peace. We need that now more than ever.”
After the unveiling of the street sign, the Cangelosi family and the community walked over to the nearby memorial park for some moments of reflection.
“Vincent Cangelosi and his family have brought peace to this corner, to this neighborhood, to this park,” Vallone concluded. “Their family has now created a place for all of us to come and reflect on what’s most important.”