By Lynn Edmonds
On a quaint, residential street in Whitestone, on the grounds of the North Presbyterian Church, is nestled a Sept. 11 memorial designed by Danny Naimoli, a Whitestone resident who lost his cousin in the attacks 15 years ago.
Inside the oasis-like memorial, water of remembrance flows over a ledge and rushes soothingly over smooth pebbles. Above the water is a wooden bridge, and in the back of the memorial sits a shaded gazebo. Plants, flowers and the running water give the place a perceptibly cooler feel in the summer months, making it feel a world away from the occasional car that whizzes on 154th Street, near 26th Avenue.
Now, Naimoli has organized one more tribute, this time specifically for his fallen cousin, Vincent Cangelosi.
On Tuesday, Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) hosted a ceremony to co-name a section the section of 154th Street by the memorial for Cangelosi, a Whitestone native who worked in the World Trade Center with Cantor Fitzgerald.
Naimoli and Cangelosi’s parents, Vincent Cangelosi Sr. and Michelle Cangelosi, attended the ceremony, as well officers from the 109th Precinct, including Commanding Officer Inspector Judith Harrison. Barbara Embriano, President of the Bowne Park Civic Association, Chrissy Voskerichian, former president of the Community Council and a representative from U.S. Rep. Grace Meng’s (D-Flushing) office also attended the event.
“This is very important to my family, for all of you to be here today, in honor of the 9/11 victims and my son, thank you,” Cangelosi’s mother, Michelle Cangelosi, said.
Cangelosi’s father, Vincent Cangelosi Sr., spoke about something that he witnessed on the day he lost his son.
“When I was trying to rush home to be with my wife, I remember the firemen and policemen passing me on the highway, running toward those buildings, and to me that is a wonderful memory that will stick with me for the rest of my life,” Cangelosi said.
The memorial park honors all first responders as well as civilians that were lost. A fire hydrant, black, weathered and streaming water, is a symbolic tribute to firefighters while other elements represent each individual or group who was lost.
“It’s there for all of the heroes, and anybody who would sacrifice their life to keep us safe,” Vallone said. “And that’s why this has become a symbol of peace, and we need that now more than ever.”
The plan for the park was several years in the making for Naimoli, who envisioned it himself.
“I would drive by this property every day for years, until I finally approached them with a plan,” he said. “I hope by building this park, I somehow help to keep my cousin Vinny and thousands of other lives memorialized and bring a lot of peace to all that come,” Naimoli said.
“Although it’s been so many years it’s still hard for me to mention my son’s name without tearing up,” Cangelosi told NY1 at the event Tuesday. “The street re-naming fills my heart.”
Reach Lynn Edmonds at (718) 357-7400 x127, email@example.com or @Ellinoamerikana