By Connor Adams Sheets
Community Board 7 members voted unanimously at a Monday evening hearing to support renaming two northeast Queens corners after young area community servants who perished in the World Trade Center Sept. 11, 2001.
The board has a rule against naming a street for someone simply because they died that fated day, but it is open to giving its blessing to honoring people who helped the area out of the goodness of their hearts.
Dominick Berardi and Jennifer Y. Wong were two such individuals. Both were in their 20s, both called Flushing and Whitestone their home, and both had dedicated significant parts of their lives to community service.
Berardi spent his entire childhood in North Flushing and Whitestone, graduating from Holy Cross High School and attending St. John’s University before graduating from Queens College and getting a job on the 101st floor of one of the Twin Towers, where he later died. But he saved part of himself throughout his life for helping with various efforts at St. Luke’s School in Whitestone, and CB 7 approved renaming the corner of 149th Street and 32nd Avenue, just feet from his parents’ home, “Dominick Berardi Way” in his honor.
“I’m sure a lot of his fellow co-workers and friends would like to have his name there when they drive by to remember him,” Dominick’s father, Joe, said in an interview. “Why not have his name remembered at the corner of where he lived?”
Wong grew up in Whitestone before graduating from Townsend Harris High School and Binghamton University and before getting a job that took her to the 96th floor of Tower 1, where she died.
During the last three years of her career at Townsend Harris, Wong returned to PS 20, from which she graduated, and donated her time to volunteer with children, helping to build a program that still connects youths at the two schools. She also spent many hours volunteering in various ways in Chinatown. CB 7 approved renaming the corner of Utopia Parkway and 169th Street “Jennifer Y. Wong Way” in her honor.
“She was right in the impact zone, so we never heard from her,” Jennifer’s father, Ben, told CB 7 at the hearing. “My family goes back to Townsend Harris to give memorial scholarships to students every year to honor her name.”
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.