From the Queens Chronicle In memory...
PHOTO BY DOMENICK RAFTER/INSET PHOTO COURTESY SHENIQUA JONES
On Aug. 21, 2013, Gary Zammett Sr. rode his bicycle from his Canarsie home to Howard Beach to get a cheesecake for his wife.
He never made it back.
Zammett died after being hit by a car while on his bike at 84th Street and 160th Avenue.
Just steps from where his life ended, a bicycle,
painted white, sits tied to a stop sign. Called ghost bikes, such
memorials “serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an
otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of
cyclists’ right to safe travel,” according to the website of the bike
safety group, ghostbikes.com, that sponsors the memorials. There are over 100 ghost bikes in New York City and thousands worldwide.
Jacqueline Junttonen of ghostbikes.com
said the city allows the memorials to be placed, but they are relocated
if residents or business owners ask for that. Zammett’s memorial sits
in front of a ConEd substation.
On Sunday, cyclists will take part in a memorial
ride that will visit the site of Zammett’s fatal accident. The ride will
commence at 1 p.m. at 94th Street and Liberty Avenue and visit the site
of the accident with Zammett’s family at around 1:30 p.m.
Sunday’s ride will also visit the site of Peter
Lopez’ fatal accident at Maurice and Borden avenues in Maspeth. Lopez
was killed last November.
— Domenick Rafter
Also from The Queens Chronicle
Gary Zammett Sr. left his house in Canarsie on Wednesday evening
to go to Howard Beach to buy a slice of cheesecake for his wife,
Celeste. He hopped on his bike and pedaled across the borough border.
Less than two hours later he was dead at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.
Zammett was struck by a car in the intersection
of 160th Avenue and 84th Street and died only about 90 minutes later.
The driver stayed at the scene and no charges were filed.
Now Zammett’s family, busy planning his funeral,
and residents who live near the scene are searching for answers and
looking for the city to prevent a tragedy like this from happening
“It’s been a little difficult for my cousin’s wife,” said Sheniqua Jones, Zammett’s cousin.
Jones said she did not know Zammett’s exact age, just that he was in his late 50s or early 60s.
“That’s the last thing you expect,” Jones said.
“You don’t expect a family member to say ‘I’ll be right back’ and then
not come back.”
Jones said Zammett suffered extensive injuries to
his face and limbs, and his funeral will be closed-casket. She and her
family went to the scene after the accident and residents nearby told
them the corner was a disaster waiting to happen. Until it did.
Eighty-fourth Street is a major thoroughfare in
the Rockwood Park section of Howard Beach. It is the only two-way route
in that section of the neighborhood besides Cross Bay Boulevard and
connects the community with Lindenwood on the other side of the Belt
“That intersection was a ticking time bomb that
exploded,” said a resident who lives a block away, who identified
himself only as Gary. “We need more lights on 84th Street.”
The intersection has a four-way stop — as do most
of the others along 84th Street — but Gary and other residents say
drivers often run the signs. Jones said she and her family witnessed
cars jumping the stop sign at the scene when they visited after the
“We saw cars physically run straight through the stop sign,” she said.
Immediately after the incident, police officers
pulled over drivers near the intersection who ran through stop signs or
were not wearing their seatbelts.
Karyn Petersen, district manager of Community
Board 10, said the board has not received any requests for lights along
84th Street, but has for other means of traffic control, including
turning lanes near St. Helen School.
Jones said she would request a traffic light be
put at the intersection and at least two residents said they would join
her in calling for one. She is also looking to have the street renamed
for her late cousin.
Zammett’s funeral is set for Saturday at Layne
Funeral Home at 1078 Bergen St. in Brooklyn and he will be buried at
Canarsie Cemetery. Jones said she and Zammett’s family will go out to
the intersection after the funeral to place flowers and a photo of her
cousin near where he was hit.
A few years ago a traffic light was installed two
blocks north of the accident site at 158th Avenue and there has always
been a light at 157th Avenue, where St. Helen School and the Rockwood
Park Jewish Center — and a kindergarten at the center — are located.