City officials never told new Riverlink Park concessionaire Dan Nelli it was there, in fact they don’t want anyone to know about a piece of the fallen World Trade Center that sits hidden near the fence at Amsterdam’s Riverlink Park. It was supposed to serve as a memorial to those who died in the tragic terrorist attack on American soil savagely killing over 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001.
Robert von Hasseln, Amsterdam’s Administrator of Community and Economic Development who also holds the position of City Historian, wanted to make sure that Amsterdamians never forget that day when the hijackers took over American Airline flight 11 that changed course in the air over Amsterdam, New York, eventually crashing into the World Trade Center towers in New York City. Von Hasseln arranged to have a surviving column of the World Trade Center’s north tower transported to the City of Amsterdam to be memorialized in a fitting presentation at Riverlink Park.
The 11,000 pound, 18 foot column was unceremoniously dumped on the East end of Riverlink Park five years ago. There was supposed to be a monument built around the erect column with a public dedication ceremony in Spring of 2012. On December 15, 2011, Amsterdam’s Mayor Thane described the proposed memorial to Recorder reporter Jarrett Carroll;
The cement column will be planted upright into the ground once the ground is workable again. We will be mounting it as an obelisk on the section of land between the cafe and the blacktop, There will be a circular mediation area surrounding it with trees, explanatory signage and benches. It will be a strong symbol that will serve as both a visual and abstract representation.
The memorial was never built, the public dedication ceremony never happened. The World Trade Center artifact remains where it was dumped five years ago, hidden behind Riverlink Park’s event tent.
This serves as another failed promise of the Thane administration, a disgrace to those who died and a slap in the face to those Firefighters, Police Officers, Paramedics and volunteers who worked so hard to rescue victims of that attack.
Today I met the new Riverlink Park concessionaire Dan Nelli, whose contract includes maintenance and upkeep for the entire park. He is determined to help see that this forgotten memorial is displayed with proper respect.
UPDATE # 1
Although Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane blocks all communication with me, a friend sent me her Facebook response to this blog article, which currently has over 9,000 views just for this post.
“What the author fails to mention is that we have never had funding to build the memorial. We have been begging individual donors and companies for design, engineering and materials. Recreation Director Rob Spagnola thinks he may have enough in the Recreation budget to get this done over this coming summer season. This has nothing to do with disrespect. This boils down to the dollar.” -Mayor Ann Thane
It seems Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane is changing her tune from her previous response trying to place blame on this writer for not contacting her first, which is a little difficult to do since the Mayor refuses to speak with this blogger and blocks all communication. Saving face in an election year? Talk about political spin!
“There will be a story on this in the Recorder. Recreation Director Rob Spagnola gave an interview today to Nicole Antonucci. There is wild speculation and misinformation swirling since this hit on FB, which is really disappointing. The memorial has been designed and engineering specs drawn up. A landscaping plan has also been done. We have enough money in an insurance recovery line which was finally blessed of on by the council after several months of wrangling and we’ll get this done this season. This had been in the works but the author never attempted to talk with city staff about where this all stood before writing commentary that is clearly speculative and biased. The good thing is that so many people care and are willing to help. Please read the article. It will straighten out a world of misunderstanding.” – Mayor Ann Thane