By Madina Toure
Queens Community Board 7 unanimously passed a motion at its monthly board meeting last week approving the renaming of 154th Street and 26th Avenue in Flushing “Heroes Memorial Way” to honor victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and civil servants who perished in the line of duty.
The corner will consist of a memorial park that will honor Vincent Cangelosi, a former resident of Astoria who worked at One World Trade Center, along with other 9/11 heroes and civil servants such as police officers and firefighters.
It will also include a monument honoring slain Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were gunned down in Brooklyn Dec. 20 as they sat in their squad car as well as a sustainability learning center for youth and other residents in the area.
“The way somebody’s honored in this park is not by saving a small child from getting hit by a car — even though that person is a hero as well — but the person who gets in the park is someone who served in the military, someone who is a civil worker, someone who perished in 9/11, someone who is patriotic to our country,” said Daniel Naimoli, a Flushing resident and Cangelosi’s cousin, who came up with the idea to start the park.
In the spring of 2013, Naimoli approached the Queens North Presbyterian Church about building a 9/11 memorial park on its vacant property in honor of his cousin, the late Vincent Cangelosi, who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, which was in one of the doomed towers.
But he decided to have the memorial park honor not only his cousin but all civil servants such as police officers, firefighters and military workers who died during the 9/11 assault or simply in the line of duty.
“I wanted to add his name as Vincent Cangelosi Memorial Way, but other people who lived in this area had relatives that also passed from Cantor Fitzgerald,” Naimoli said. “It wouldn’t be fair so in order to make things fair for everyone I decided to call it ‘Heroes Memorial Way.’”
The church relinquished the property to him after he showed them the design of the park.
The park, which has a large plaque honoring Cangelosi, will also feature a large monument in honor of the two slain NYPD officers. The monument has been built and will be put in place in the park soon.
In addition to honoring heroes, the park will include a sustainable conservation learning center for children and community members who will teach them about sustainability, food, water and conservation. The center will be housed in a shed built specifically for the park.
The foundation, named the Queens North 9/11 Memorial Park Foundation, is currently being set up and will raise funds for the upkeep of the park. A small committee will make decisions about what happens in the park.
Naimoli is currently accepting donations to fund the project.
Naimoli said the committee will consult him for advice but that decisions are ultimately made by the committee.
“I’m always there to help them make the decision that’s appropriate,” he said.
CB 7 Chairman Gene Kelty urged them to continue working on setting up the foundation but said the board would not get involved in the matters of the park itself.
“We shouldn’t get into that because they’re not asking us to be part of the foundation,” Kelty said. “They’re just asking us to identify the corner.”
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour