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Vandals strike 9/11 Tribute Park in Rockaway just weeks ahead of 20th anniversary of terrorist attacks

Workers from NYC Parks recently discovered the damage caused by vandals at the Rockaway 9/11 Tribute Park on Beach 116th Street. (Photo courtesy of NYC Parks)

Just weeks ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, police from the 100th Precinct in Rockaway Beach are looking for the suspects who vandalized the memorial mosaic at the Beach 116th Street 9/11 Tribute Park earlier this month.

NYC Parks workers discovered that the shrink wrapped cover had been ripped off the monument, and many of the mosaic tiles were removed and strewn about at the northern end of Beach 116th Street along Jamaica Bay.

“Vandalism has no place in our parks,” NYC Parks Spokeswoman Meghan Lalor said. “This act is disrespectful to the Rockaway community, and to everyone who was affected by the events of 9/11. We will work with the NYPD to investigate the incident.”

Rockaway 9/11 Tribute Park on Beach 116th Street before it was vandalized. (Photo courtesy of NYC Parks)

State Senator Joseph Addabbo vowed to help in the search for the vandals for desecrating the memorial to more than 75 Rockaway residents who perished in the attacks.

“What an absolutely disgraceful act of vandalism at Beach 116th Street’s 9/11 Tribute Park memorial,” Addabbo said. “A crime like this would be horrific during any time of the year, but being so close to the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks makes this especially painful, not only for the residents of the area, but for everyone who lost a loved one that day. I offer my support to the 100th Precinct and the NYC Parks Department in their efforts in apprehending those responsible for this disgraceful crime.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.

Tribute Park was an empty lot on Sept. 11, 2001. The Twin Towers were visible from the spot, and hundreds of local residents stood there and watched the tragedy unfold. With help from the community, this serene park was built to commemorate the day. It includes a mosaic centerpiece, a cupola and a granite rock engraved with the names of all 343 firefighters who died on Sept. 11.

The mosaic had been compromised by several storms and the marine environment. NYC Parks and Friends of Tribute Park are working toward replacing the tribute design in more durable materials that can withstand the elements.

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