By Andrea Swalec DNAinfo
A small park in the Village may soon be renamed to pay tribute to the neighborhood’s firefighters.
A local block association is asking the city to rename the triangular park on Bedford Street west of Sixth Avenue in honor of the nearby firehouse, a member of the neighborhood group said Wednesday. Bedford Triangle Park should be re-christened Engine 24/Ladder 5 Park to pay tribute to its firefighters and the 16 members of the firehouse killed on the job in the past 20 years, Patrick Shields of the Bedford Downing Block Association said.
“It wasn’t just 9/11 for them — it was one loss after another,” he said. “They just endured and endured.”
Capt. John Drennan, 49, Christopher Siedenburg, 25, and James Young, 31, died after they battled a blaze at 62 Watts St. in March 1994.
On 9/11, members of the house were among the first to race downtown, and 11 men were killed: Battalion Chief William McGovern, 49; Battalion Chief Richard Prunty, 57; Capt. Vincent Giammona, 40; Lt. Michael Warchola, 51; and Firefighters Faustino Apostol, 55; Louis Arena, 32; Andrew Brunn, 28; Thomas Hannafin, 36; Paul Keating, 38; John Santore, 49 and Gregory Saucedo, 31.
And the August 2007 fire in the Deutsche Bank Building killed Robert Beddia, 53, and Joseph Graffagnino, 33.
Shields — a professional window-washer who has lived on Bedford Street since 1993 — said he and other block association members question whether newer Village residents know the history of the 227 Sixth Ave. firehouse or have relationships with firefighters.
“If the door is open, I always stop and say hello,” said Shields, 50. “We noticed people were doing less of that.”
Firefighters at Engine 24/Ladder 5 were not available Thursday to talk about the park.
The block association has presented the renaming request to the city Parks Department and Community Board 2, Shields said, and has received positive responses.
CB2 will issue an advisory vote on the proposal at its full board meeting on September 24 at 6:00pm. The meeting is set to be held at P.S. 41, located at 116 W. 11th St.
The Parks Department will proceed after it receives CB2’s resolution on the matter, a spokeswoman said.