Jeffrey Axelrod was crushed by a cement truck when turning off Delancey onto Christie. In October, his friends dedicated a ghost bike to him.
Jeff was remembered at a candlelight vigil in his Cobble Hill neighborhood soon after his death.
Although it was an occasion for mourning, the mood remained buoyant
with fond tales of the man who had clearly touched the lives of many.
“I'd say we should observe a moment of silence, but that would really
not be appropriate for Jeff,” said one friend, drawing fond laughter
from those gathered. Instead of somber remembrances, friends told
stories of a man vibrant and full of life, and seemed to take heart in
the memory of a man who lived life to the fullest.
Axelrod was a lifelong Brooklyn resident, having grown up on Coney
Island long before he became a fixture in the Cobble Hill community.
Although Axelrod was a strong Cobble Hill resident, his life's work
and enthusiasm for community reached far beyond local matters, recalled
friend Seth Asher.
“He was very involved in cycling, and improving safety for bikers in New York," he said.
In fact, a group of friends have been discussing organizing a Ghost
Bike memorial in Axelrod's honor. The monument would be placed at the
scene of the accident to remember the fallen cyclist, with the hope that
no more casualties would occur there.
Throughout the evening it became apparent that Axelrod was a man of
many passions and hobbies. Long time friend and neighbor Erik Nadoban
recalled Axelrod's chess skills.
“It was really how he took on everything – to its fullest. He was impressive for a recreational player. He was hard to beat.”
“He literally knew music inside and out,” added Nadoban.
As one neighbor recalled, Axelrod had worked hard to study Chinese. He was dedicated enough to carry on full conversations.
“He would talk to the people at the Chinese food restaurant up the street!” remembered Nadoban.
Axelrod's enthusiasm for life – whether through music, cycling or
bringing fresh produce to the community as a founding member of the Cobble Hill Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
– was palpable through the memories shared. The CSA fondly names
Axelrod the “heart and soul of Cobble Hill” in a commemorative post on
“He was super smart and he knew it,” reminisced Paul Glankler, who
first recruited Axelrod into the CSA around 2000. “He was always himself
– unpretentious, no grand-standing – and he had a wonderful outlook
despite a natural cynicism.”
Axelrod apparently also had a penchant for immaculate fashion.
“He was a great dresser. Sharp, with a 1940s style,” said Nadoban – a
fact reaffirmed with admiration in many conversations throughout the
Glankler added, “He was noble – definitely left-thinking, and interested and engaged. He saw everything with ethics.”
Jeffrey Axelrod was a neighborhood fixture, a resident who reportedly
greeted everyone with a smile, approached life with a bawdy sense of
humor and stood behind his causes with tenacity.
He will be missed.