Monthly Archives: May 2015

Flight 587 Memorial, Belle Harbor, NY

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The Flight 587 memorial is located on Beach 116th Street in Belle Harbor, New York.  It was designed by Dominican artist Freddy Rodriguez.  This memorial is dedicated to the memory of those who perished in the crash of American Airlines flight 587.  The flight took off from JFK airport bound for the Dominican Republic when it suddenly crashed into the Rockaway Peninsula on November 12, 2001.  In total, 260 passengers and crew and 5 persons on the ground died.

This is a beautiful memorial for a great tragedy.  The Flight 587 Memorial was designed by Dominican artist, Freddy Rodriguez.  It was dedicated on November 12, 2006.  The names of those who perished in the crash are inscribed on the bricks.  There is an inscription over the door opening that reads, “Despues, yo quiero no mas que paz.”  The English translation is, “Afterwards, I want only peace.”

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9/11 Tribute Park, Belle Harbor, NY

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The 9/11 Tribute Park is located on the corner of Beach 116th Street and Beach Channel Drive in Belle Harbor, Far Rockaway Peninsula, Queens.  The park and monuments is dedicated to the 70 residents of Rockaway Park, as well as the 343 firefighters who died on September 11, 2001.

The gazebo was designed by artist Patrick Clark.  The roof of the gazebo is covered with stained glass which has the names inscribed names of 70 Rockaway Park residents that were killed on that day. The 343 memorial sculpture was designed by Russian sculptor Isabella Slobodov, and completed by Patrick Clark.

It was a sunny, clear day in spring when I visited the 9/11 Tribute Park.  There is a great view of lower Manhattan.  Sitting on one of the benches in the park, it is a very relaxing and calm place to be.  I thought of the anguish residents of Belle Harbor must have experienced to stand on this very site and witness the horrific tragedy that unfolded on September 11, 2001.  As I reflect about this memorial, I come away feeling how closely net this community was before this tragedy and how much stronger it became afterwards.


Tony “Mr. Padre” Gwynn


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Anthony “Tony” Keith Gwynn was born on May 9, 1960 in Long Beach, California.  He was recruited to play basketball at San Diego State University in 1977.  Tony eventually played both basketball and baseball at SDSU.  In 1981 he was drafted by both the San Diego Padres and San Diego Clippers.  He stuck with baseball and spent his entire career with the Padres, until his retirement in 2001.  He remained closely connected to SDSU becoming the head baseball coach.  Tony Gwynn, along with his wife, was very involved within the community around San Diego.  They established a foundation providing programs and services for underserved children in San Diego.

Tony Gwynn battled salivary gland cancer for many years.  He attributed his illness to the use of chewing tobacco throughout his baseball career.

He is survived by his wife, Alicia, son Anthony Jr., daughter, Anisha, mother, Vendella, and his siblings Charles and Chris.

Growing up in San Diego, Tony Gwynn was always a visible and active member in the community.  For me, more so than him being a talented athlete, I respected how he held himself while off the field.  When I went home to San Diego for a visit this past February, I noticed just how much of an impact Tony Gwynn had on the city. I spend some time walking through my alma mater San Diego State University and admired the baseball field and stadium named in his honor.

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Who Was George E. Wibecan?

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Just who was George E. Wibecan?  It’s a question I ask myself each time I see his portrait in the school’s auditorium.  I thought whoever he was; his contributions to the community must have been significant for a school to be named in his honor.  As my research on him began, I quickly realized that tracing Mr. Wibecan’s mark on Brooklyn history was not as simple as I thought.

Most of the biographical information about Mr. Wibecan was written in his obituary, published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on Friday, July 19, 1912.  Mr. Wibecan, being of Danish and West Indian decent, was born in St. Croix.  At the age of thirty-two, he joined in holy matrimony to a woman sixteen years his junior.  He and his wife immigrated to the United States in 1863.  He and his wife had one child, George E. Wibecan Jr.

George E. Wibecan Sr. was actively in the fight against injustices and discrimination against Black people.  Mr. Wibecan was president of the H.H. Garnet Republican Club, served chairman of the Negro division of the Republican State Committee.  He was probably led into political activism due to incidents that he personally experienced.  According to his obituary, Mr. Wibecan was chased by a mob during the Draft riots in New York in 1864.  He was able to escape by hiding in a boat within the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  In addition to his work within the New York political scene, he had his own business in fruit trading, and served as a postal superintendent for the United States Postal Service.

George E. Wibecan died on July 18, 1912 in his home in Cypress Hills, NY.  He was a member of the Holy Name Society, in addition to other organization of the Catholic Church.  Not surprising,

My last thought about Mr. George E. Wibecan Sr. is that there is so much more to his story of activism and political influence still to be discovered.  From what I have read, George Wibecan was well connected and respected in the community and state because of his dedication to the cause of achieving equality for those being denied their lawful rights.





Maria Hernandez


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Maria Hernanez Park is located in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. Maria Hernandez was a resident of Bushwick and outspoken neighborhood leader in the fight against drugs dealers on her street.  Maria was born and raised in Brooklyn.  She attended New York University and earned a degree in accounting. She worked as a bookkeeper for a medical management company in New Jersey.

Along with her husband, Maria Hernandez fought to rid their street of the drug dealers that were destroying it.  They approached the drug dealers directly and worked with the police for a solution.  Maria and her husband worked vigilantly to expose the problem of drugs in their neighborhood by organizing block parties, social, cultural, and athletic activities with the goal of educating and uniting her neighbors in the struggle to rid the streets of drug dealers.

Maria Hernandez, a wife, mother of three children, and community activist, was gunned down in her own home on August 8, 1989. Five bullets hit Mrs. Hernandez as shots were fired from outside through the window of her home.  William Figueroa, a 26-year old heroin dealer was arrested, and charged with her death.  Police believed that two other men were involved with the shooting.

People like Maria Hernandez, and her husband, are the unsung heroes of communities all over the country.  They typically don’t get the media attention or wide-range support as some public figures do.  However, they continue to fight for what causes they passionately believe in.  It’s unfortunate that Maria Hernandez’s life was taken before her fellow community members and law enforcement made the necessary changes to improve the neighborhood.  However, I don’t believe she died in vain.  The neighborhood is cleaner, and safer than it was in 1989, and I think Maria Hernandez would be pleased to see the families playing in the park dedicated in her memory.

Jose Gervasio Artigas



In Honor to General Jose Hervasio Artigas

In Honor to General Jose Gervasio Artigas

Located on Spring street and 6th Ave. in Manhattan. In fact, the building behind the statue is my old High School. In 1810 José Gervasio Artigas offered his services to the Buenos Aires junta that was leading an independence movement against Spain. After winning the battle at Las Piedras, he besieged Spanish-held Montevideo for a time. He then became the champion of federalism against the efforts of Buenos Aires to assert centralized control. From 1820 till his death in 1850 he lived in exile in Paraguay.


facts about the General Jose Gervasio Artigas found in Spanish on  :



This cathedral is a must see if you visit Italy. It’s simply amazing on how it was built and how it looks in person. I couldn’t picture it looking the same as it did when I googled it but it was exactly the same, which amazed me. This picture is from the bell tower located next to Duomo, also one of hardest tower I have ever climbed. This Duomo amazes me in the sense of how large it is and the attraction it brings in Florence. I had to do research while I was there and found out that it look over 14 years to build and they actually gave up on the Duomo in the middle of construction because they couldn’t find out how to fix the roof as technology and architect wasn’t caught up with the times. They however had figured it out by a new architect climbing on the roof and showing them how it done one brick at a time. This Duomo is located near everything in Florence and for good reason as how lovely it looks. This was the largest brick Duomo built. I must say I want to visit it again as one time is not nearly enough to take in this magnificent sight.

Rape of Sabine


This sculpture attracted me at first sight. I was wondering what it meant at first but finally gave up and read the information sign. I found out that it meant a lot to the Italians because in their prior history, Romans tired to marry or engage in sexual activates with Sabine women however the men of that tribe didn’t allow it. Since the Italian did it anyway and this sculpture then starting making sense because it show one man defeating another and then taking his women. Although I don’t believe with the treating of women as property however I get this sculpture because it does show that and how they forcefully took the women after defeating their husband or anyone that protected them. I really was attracted to this sculpture by the fact, on how this was built and amazing it looks. It gives me a headache to think about how I would even start with this sculpture but somehow it was done. I find it amazing how that back in the back people made these sculpture with less technology we have now, well almost no technology.

The David


The David by Michelangelo

As I was in Florence, Italy for a couple of days, I had to stop by and see this beautiful famous sculpture. It still amazes me on how much effort and time was taken in building this famous piece of art. This picture doesn’t do this art justice but definitely glad I went to see this. These types of sculpture are made completely out of marble, which I still can’t believe someone had the capacity to make this. As I read up on this sculpture, I found out that it’s symbolizes defense of civil liberties. Michelangelo built the David before his fight with Goliath, which shows why he has a rock in his left hand and a sling in his right hand. I could see that happening because David looks focus rather than happy or sad because it’s time for the battle. I believe everyone should look at this sculpture because it will inspire everyone as I did for me. One of my dreams after seeing this it to make a marble sculpture due to the time and dedication it’ll take to make a masterpiece or at least an armature masterpiece for me. I would especially love to watch Michelangelo make this masterpiece as he nearly perfect everything from the hair, veins, finger and toes. This sculpture was just simply amazing.

Anne Frank House


Anne Frank House

As I traveled to Europe this spring break, I thought it would be a great to check out the famous Anne Frank house, which I have both heard and read about. I truly believe that this was one of the best places; I have ever visited due to the environment that is in this house. As I waited close to about one hour to get inside, I couldn’t help but think about how it would be inside. When I made it inside, I couldn’t believe how beautiful they have preserved the house and you get the feeling that you stepped inside a time machine. I was truly in unbelief about how different the houses were back then. As I kept on going and following the path, it only got better because of all the information videos and picture they have put up. I still can’t believe the condition Anne Frank and her family had to live and survive through. As I walked through this house and in the secret room, it made me feel like the Nazi was actually in the house with me and I could see them run around and cause chaos. I believe everyone should visit this if you do go to Amsterdam. After getting outside, I couldn’t believe how stupid people were or still can be to discriminate amongst someone else due to their race, religion or belief. Truly sad to hear what happened to Anne Frank at the end.